Sony DSC-U10 Review
The CyberShot DSC-U10 is designed as an entry level, "I just want to take pictures" camera and is an excellent example of just how far the miniaturization of digital cameras has come. For $199 (as of 10/2002) you can now have a tiny 1.3-megapixel digital camera that takes much better pictures than one would expect. It has no optical or digital zoom but its auto focus range is from four inches to infinity. This is the first of two cameras that are built similarly and called "CyberShot U". The DSC-U20, a 2.0 megapixel version of the U10, is due in November 2002 for about $270 . The image quality of the CyberShot DSC-U10 is impressive and will easily compete with much larger cameras.
The DSC-U10 is designed for the Point-n-Shoot user that wants to carry a camera without being limited by its size. Its user controls are adequately minimal, well labelled and logical. The Mode slide switch on the top changes between the Still Record, Movie and Playback modes. The camera is an automatic exposure type with no Manual exposure but does have manual focus preset capability. From sliding open the lens cover to capturing your first frame is under five seconds and frame to frame capture rate is a little under two seconds. There is a continuous "Burst" drive mode that allows shooting up to five consecutive frames at three frames per second in the 640 x 480 mode only. These times are based on 1280 x 960 1.3MP images without the flash on. For flash pictures add three or four seconds. Playback of images is also robust. The only thing missing is a Video Out feature for viewing on a TV, something that should be easy to implement seeing as how it outputs the signal to the color LCD on the back.
Still images can be captured at 1280 x 960 (4x6" prints), 640 x 480 (Email) resolution and stored as standard JPEG format. Up to 15 seconds of 160 x 112 motion video without audio can be captured per clip in MPEG-1 format.
The Memory Stick is the storage media for this camera, they're available up to 128MB which would handle about 375 images at 1280 x 960 size. The power source is two AAA batteries and they are available everywhere. NiMH batteries are the best choice as they have more current and are not thrown away after just one use. Sony includes a set and the charger with the camera. We strongly suggest picking up a couple more pairs as the LCD has to be on all the time,there is no optical viewfinder. The LCD can be set so that the backlight is off which will help with battery consumption. When operating like this, we were very pleased with the drain rate for only having two AAA batteries for power.
The CyberShot DSC-U10 consistently delivers sharp and colorful images. The $199 price (10/2002) is right for a camera with this resolution, size and, most importantly, picture quality. It's a perfect choice for anyone looking for a micro-digicam with good picture capability. If you want a camera that you can keep in your pocket or purse or wear around your neck -- The CyberShot DSC-U10 needs to be on your holiday wish list.
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