The F828 employs a superbly sharp, all-glass 7x Carl Zeiss T* F2-2.8 Vario-Sonnar with a focal range of 28-200mm (35mm equivalent). It has a 7-bladed diaphram for realistic depth of field throughout its 13-step aperture range.
The auto focus range is 19.7 inches to
infinity, the dedicated macro mode has a range of 0.8 to 19.7 inches. The auto focus
system is a 5-zone AF, the focusing point can be automatically or manually selected.
The zoom lens is manually controlled by a large ring on the lens barrel, behind that ring is the manual focus ring. The top of the lens is marked with the 35mm equivalent focal lengths and Sony includes this petal-shaped lens hood. You'll want to use that lens shade outdoors because the zoom is quite wide at the 28mm end of its range.
The F828 features high-speed scan autofocus and a "hologram" focusing assist device to insure properly focused pictures no matter what the light levels are. This new autofocus system uses a Class 1 laser to paint a grid pattern on the subject and is perfectly safe, even when aimed directly at someone's eyes. I found it nearly impossible to "fool" the AF, the only out of focus pictures I ever got were when I was using the manual focus mode. The maximum range of the laser-assisted AF system is 4.5m
On the top of the camera is an infrared illuminator LED, this is used by
the exclusive Sony NightShot and NightFrame exposure modes. NightShot is the same as
that found on most Sony camcorders and generates a green-tinted monochrome image in total
darkness. Sony claims the NightShot mode is good from 0.3m to 4.5m but realistically
I wouldn't try to photograph anything much beyond a couple of feet unless using an
external Infrared illuminator. NightFrame uses the infrared illuminators to let you
see and frame your subject in total darkness and then switches to regular color
mode and uses the flash. This mode is highly useful and will be further explained on
the next page.
The eyelevel viewfinder is an EVF (electronic viewfinder) with a diopter adjustment knob on the top. This is a tiny 0.44-inch color LCD that's very resolute with 235,000 pixels (980x240). The "FINDER-LCD" switch to the right allows you to select the EVF or the color LCD as your viewfinder. You can also use the EVF to review images and make menu selections, it shows the same information as the larger color LCD. The amount of information displayed is controlled by the DISPLAY button.
As EVFs go I'd rate the F828's as excellent. Some EVF displays are incapable of
rendering the color of a scene and wash it out, the Sony EVF is high resolution and
displays color very well. You can even navigate the menu with it which is very handy
out in the bright sun.
The camera body swivels independantly of the lens, or is it the lens that swivels?
Either way the result is the same, you can tip the body and color LCD up to
70-degrees upward or 30-degrees downward. The tripod socket is on the underside
of the lens so this gives you great flexibility in the viewing angle.
The intelligent, multimode flash pops up from the top of the lens automatically when needed or it can be controlled manually. The F828 is one of but a few cameras to use true TTL (through the lens) flash control. Most cameras use a sensor mounted on the front of the camera and the exposure can be affected by strong reflections off of the subject or surrounding area. The flash range is 11.6 in. - 14.7 ft. (ISO set to Auto). Flash modes for Auto, On (Fill), Red-eye reduction and Slow-synch.
And note that the flash accessory shoe is now a "hot shoe" with a standard center
contact which will allow the use of 3rd party flash units.
Using the F828's hot shoe you can attach the new
Sony HVL-F32X High Grade speedlight that offers even more advanced features.
Flash range up to 48 feet, built-in modeling light, bounce and tilt head with
diffuser, 6 level manual flash selection, AF assist lamp, red-eye reduction
and automatic TTL Pre-Flash exposure control. Powered by four AA type batteries.
May be used on other Sony digital cameras with an ACC port via the included sync cable.
Retail price is $199.95 from
The older Sony HVL-F1000 flash (shown above) can also be used, the sync
cord plugs into the ACC port on the side of the lens.
Controls on the top: Mode dial with positions for Setup, Movie, Play, Auto, Program AE, Shutter speed priority, Aperture priority, Manual and Scene (Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Landscape or Portrait) modes. The power switch is built around the Mode Dial.
The big silver button is the shutter release, behind that is the White Balance (auto,
daylight, cloudy, fluorescent, flash, manual) and Exposure Compensation (+/- 2.0EV in 1/3
steps) buttons, you hold them down and turn the Command Dial to change settings. The other
button is used to illuminate the data LCD display.
On the left side is a manual flash popup lever, note that you can set the camera to
automatically popup the flash in the Setup menu. The Flash mode (auto, on, slow-sync,
red-eye), Metering mode (multi-pattern, center-weighted, spot),
Macro focus mode, Drive/Bracketing mode (single, speed burst, framing burst, multi
burst, bracketing) and Night Shot/Night Framing mode buttons
are held down while turning the Command Dial to change their settings. A "virtual"
mode dial is displayed on the LCD or EVF while turning the Command Dial (see below)
The Focus mode switch selects Auto or Manual focus mode.
On the back is a high-resolution 1.8-inch color TFT monitor with 134,000 pixels. The MENU button calls up the onscreen menu system in Record or Play modes. To the left of the MENU button is the flash active/charging indicator. To the right is a 4-way selector joystick to navigate menus and control playback functions. Pressing it straight in accepts the current menu selection. The AE Lock button is used to lock the exposure settings, in playback it is used to delete images. The Command Dial is used to change various settings (shutter speed, aperture, flash modes, white balance, drive mode).
Across the bottom is the FINDER / LCD switch which toggles the display between the EVF
and LCD monitor. The
Display button controls information shown on EVF or LCD. The next button enables the
self-timer or the thumbnail index mode when in playback. The Magnify button is used to
enable the zoomed LCD view for manual focusing and the zoomed playback mode. The last
button is the Quick Review button to display the last image captured without going into
playback mode. On the right of the LCD is the CF/Memory Stick switch to select
one media type or the other.
Below the color LCD on the back is a flap that covers the AC charger jack, the A/V out
port for the audio and video connection to a TV, selectable for NTSC or PAL format. And a
fast USB 2.0 port for downloading, it's backwards compliant with USB 1.1 devices also.
The F828 is compatible with all Memory Stick cards, the older ones up
to 128MB and the newer Memory Stick Pro cards up to 1GB in capacity.
The F828 takes full advantage of the
Memory Stick Pro's high-speed parallel writing feature.
The F828 is the first Cyber-shot to be equipped with a CompactFlash Type II card slot in addition to the Memory Stick slot. You can use any solid state CF Type I or II card or IBM/Hitachi Microdrive. The F828 is FAT-16 and FAT-32 compatible which means you can use devices that exceed 2GB in capacity.
Shown above is the fast and spacious 45X speed Transcend 1GB card. Any serious user
needs to consider a seriously large memory card - those 8-megapixel images can
rapidly consume a lot of space. The raw SRF files are about 16.5 megabytes each!
Approximate Image StorageJPEG format, Fine (Normal) quality
The F828 is powered by the "M" series 7.2v 8Wh NP-FM50 InfoLITHIUM battery pack. As with all Sony cameras using an infoLITHIUM battery, the exact runtime remaining is constantly displayed on the LCD or EVF. Included is the AC-L15B combination battery charger and AC power supply which fully charges the battery pack in aprox. 150 minutes.
Sony claims a runtime of 185 minutes which equates to approx. 370 shots per charge when
using a Memory Stick, 350 shots if using a Microdrive. (LCD is on, capture one shot every
30 seconds, zoom alternately between W and T, use flash once every 30 seconds, power on and
off once every ten seconds and using Memory Stick.) Up to 200 minutes of continuous
movie recording with Memory Stick, 160 minutes with Microdrive.
This is the optional $49.95 Sony RM-DR1 wired remote control for any Sony digicam like the F828 that has an ACC port on it.
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