Sony DSC-V3 Review
Features & Controls
The DSC-V3 is equipped with a F2.8-4.0 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 7-28mm 4x optical zoom with 34 to 136mm coverage (as compared to a 35mm camera), it is consists of 8 elements in 7 groups with 2 aspheric elements. The lens retracts into the body when powered down and is protected by a built in lens barrier.
The DSC-V3 employs a 5-point Multi-point auto focus system, with automatic or user
selectable AF point. The center AF target area can be wide or narrow. The working
range is from 19.7 inches to infinity in normal mode and in Macro the coverage is from
3.9 inches to infinity. You can also manually select one of thirteen focus distance
presets from 0.1m to infinity.
Included is this petal-shaped lens shade and adapter ring.
Optional Sony wide angle
VCL-DEH07V and telephoto VCL-DEH17V lenses (with VAD-VHA adapter ring) may be used.
Filters may also be attached using the VAD-VHA.
The DSC-V3 uses the same Hologram AF Assist as that found on the DSC-F828. The Hologram AF feature is a Sony-exclusive
laser focusing system designed to achieve accurate focus on subjects with little contrast
in dark conditions. It projects a safe Class 1, visible laser hologram pattern directly
onto the subject so the camera can detect the contrast between the edge of the laser
pattern as it falls on the subject. Sony claims a range of up to 4.5m for the Hologram
The eyelevel optical real-image zoom viewfinder has a field of view of approx. 80-85% (80%
in wide and about 85% at tele) of the final captured image. Strangely there is no diopter
adjustment even though this is a high-end consumer camera. The LEDs indicate card
activity/Self-Timer, Autofocus/Auto Exposure Lock and Flash status.
The built-in flash automatically pops up (OK it doesn't actually "pop up," it rotates
from closed to open) when needed and has modes for Auto flash,
Red- Eye Reduction, Slow Synchro and Flash Cancel. It 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 working range for the flash is 1.6 to 11.5 feet (0.5 to 3.5m).
The hot shoe allows the use of the more powerful Sony HVL-F32X Auto-Programmable external
flash with coverage up to 32 feet. It offers true TTL pre-flash control of the output and
adds bounce-flash capability and a more powerful AF-assist lamp.
On the back of the HVL-F32X is an illuminated monochrome LCD display. This flash has two
automatic settings and a manual setting with a 6-level adjustable flash output. There is
a low power modeling light function to help previsualize the lighting
and shadows created by the flash. The HVL-F32X is powered by four AA type batteries.
The Mode Dial has positions for SETUP, Movie, Playback, AUTO, Program AE, Shutter-speed
priority, Aperture priority, Manual and SCeNe. The SCeNe mode has 7
settings (Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Portrait, Landscape, Beach, Snow, and Candle.)
Controls on the back (right side): At the top you can see the Mode dial (described above.)
Below it is the Command or "jog" Dial, you push it inward and turn to change various
settings like shutter speeds, aperture values, focus distances etc. At the right are the
Zoom controls, which act as the index and magnify buttons in playback. To the left is the
CF (CompactFlash) / Memory Stick switch, this allows you to select the active media type
(both card slots can be occupied simultaneously.) Just below that is the Monitor button,
it turns the color LCD on/off and controls the amount of information that is
displayed. The 4-way selector lets you navigate through menus or select images during
playback. Pressing it in the center accepts selections. In record it lets you select the
flash mode, Macro focus mode, self-timer and Quick Review mode. The MENU button calls up
or dismisses the onscreen menus. The button on the bottom right lets you quickly change
the image size in record mode and acts as the image delete button in playback.
To the left of the optical viewfinder you'll find the Exposure
Compensation button, this allows you to quickly change exposure ±2 EV in 1/3
EV steps. Pressing the Focus button enables the manual focus mode, the distance is
set by rotating the Command Dial. The AE Lock button locks the current exposure
and white balance values - very handy when shooting multi-picture panorama shots.
The Frame button allows you to manually select the focus zone.
The I/O ports are on the side and include: the ACC port for accessory remote control
and older flash units.
Located on the bottom of the grip are the Memory Stick and CompactFlash Type I
card slots. The DSC-V3 can use any capacity
Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, and CF Type I memory cards. It is FAT and FAT32
compatible so it can be used with media >2GB.
Power is supplied by a small but powerful Sony NP-FR1, a 3.6V 4.4Wh InfoLITHIUM rechargeable battery pack. The battery is charged in the camera with the supplied AC-LS5 AC adapter/charger and a fully depleted battery is recharged in about 2 hours. Sony quotes a battery life of approx. 260 shots with a fully charged pack.
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