Sony DSC-V1 Review
Full review posted 6/1/2003
Click on the V1 for a QTVR tour
Sony's new Cyber-shot DSC-V1 includes some of the most advanced features of the DSC-F717 such as the 5.0-megapixel effective imager, Nightframing, NightShot and Hologram Laser AF-Assist and puts them into a compact body style closely resembling the DSC-S85. However the DSC-V1 is 25% smaller and 30% lighter and wrapped up in a highly durable metal body. It features a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 4x optical zoom with Sony's new 4x "Smart Zoom" digital zoom that now uses the full CCD image and avoids the usual image degradation of other digital zooms.
The DSC-V1 caters to the needs of the more advanced photographer with a full range of exposure control that includes: Auto, Program AE w/Shift, Shutter-speed priority, Aperture priority, Full Manual and 8 pre-programmed Scene modes. In addition it also offers the Sony exclusive Nightframing and NightShot modes using built in infrared illuminators for image capture in total darkness up to 15 feet. To insure that the zoom lens is always sharply focused the DSC-V1 is equipped with Hologram AF illuminator that "paints" the subject with a safe Class 1 laser pattern. Low-light shooting is further enhanced by slow shutter noise reduction that uses a dark-frame subtractive method to produce the clearest possible image.
The user can select from finished still image sizes from 2592x1944 for large prints all the way down to 640x480 for email or use on web pages. The finished images can be stored as standard JPEG Exif 2.2 in Fine or Standard quality or as an uncompressed TIFF. Menu options allow for adjustment of the color saturation, contrast and sharpness as well as special effects like sepia, solarize, and negative art. Sony's 14-bit A/D Conversion allows for a wider dynamic range from highlight to shadow to be captured. The built in popup flash has modes for red-eye reduction and slow synchro and uses a pre-flash for precise metering of the exposure. It also has auto daylight synchro fill flash for backlit or shadowed subjects as well as dynamic flash white balance for greater color accuracy. The hot shoe allows the use of the new Sony HVL-F32X Auto-Programmable external flash or the HVL-F1000 external flash.
The DSC-V1 features 5-area Multi-Point auto focus. The camera evaluates five separate areas of the frame and intelligently focuses on the subject, displaying the selected focus point, or the user can choose any of the five points for manual control. The Multi-Pattern Metering independently meters the light in 49 points of the frame to establish the optimum exposure, even when highlight and shadow aren't centered in the frame. There are options for center-weighted averaging and spot metering when desired. The ISO Sensitivity can be set to Auto or locked in at an equivalent of ISO 100, 200, 400 or 800.
Motion video can be recorded in the new MPEG-VX mode that captures full screen VGA (640 x 480) resolution frames at 16fps with audio. The length of these movies is only limited by the media, record up to 5 minutes 54 seconds on a 128MB Memory Stick (up to 44 minutes can be recorded on the new Memory Stick Pro 1GB flash card.) The camera is powered by a Sony NP-FC11 InfoLITHIUM rechargeable battery that always lets you know exactly how long it will last thanks to an onscreen digital indicator. It packs enough power for 170 shots with the LCD on or 230 shots with the LCD off. The battery is charged in-camera with the supplied AC charger / power adapter.
DIWA Silver Medal Award
The Cyber-shot DSC-V1 digital compact camera was very well accepted by the DIWA testing team. Not only did the robust body impress them, but also image quality surpassed their expectations for a compact camera with a 4x zoom lens. The well reputed Carl Zeiss lens brand, 34-136 mm zoom range and high speed f/2.8-4.0 attribuites, proved them wrong.
The DIWA test experts unanimously say: "Sony may not have a legacy to show as a camera manufacturer, but their electronic skills are undisputed. With legendary Carl Zeiss onboard, Sony now has all the optical expertise they may require, proven by these excellent Cyber-shot cameras. The compact Cyber-shot DSC-V1 is also a high-grade digital camera with a tough exterior, but with the creative mind of an imaging guru."
Here's the compact Cyber-shot DSC-V1 and the DSC-P72.
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