Steve's Digicams

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

User Review

First Look posted 8/16/00
Full review posted 8/24/00


Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot
Click to take a QTVR tour of the s30

The Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot features a 1/2.7" 1.3-megapixel Super HAD CCD image sensor that yields 1280 x 960 uncompressed TIFF or finished JPEG still images. For optimum printing there is a 3:2 (1280 x 848) aspect ratio setting. The DSC-S30 can also in-camera interpolate images up to 1472 x 1104 pixels. Special recording modes for Text and Email.

The DSC-S30 has a Sony 3x (equivalent to a 35mm 39-117mm) optical zoom with a 2x digital zoom option. High-speed scan autofocus with 5 manual focus presets plus macro mode. To insure the best possible image quality there is a 12-bit A/D conversion, 4-step adjustable sharpness and 4-mode white balance. Exposure control can be any one of seven Program AE modes with Aperture priority (F2.8 - F11) or Shutter priority (4 - 1/725 sec).

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

On the back is a 2-inch EX-Bright TFT color LCD with 123,000 pixel resolution. It serves as the camera's viewfinder, picture review, menu and data display.  The backlight is adjustable via a switch on the side as well as a finer adjustment in the setup menu.

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

The LCD swivels up and down 180 degrees and can rotate around 280 degrees to face backward, sideways or forward for self-portraits.

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

When the camera is not being used you turn the LCD around backwards and latch it up against the back of the camera to protect the screen.

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

On top is the speaker (beep sound only), mode dial and the shutter release.

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

The only thing on the bottom is a metal tripod socket.

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

Here's the left and right side views, a little farther down and we'll open up the door on the right side and show you what's in there.

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

The S30 sports a 3x optical zoom equivalent to a 35mm 39-117mm lens. It has a 2x digital zoom option but this is a crop and magnify operation that results in a somewhat degraded image. The lens is threaded for 37mm filters and add-on lenses. Unlike other 3x zoom lenses this one does not extend or retract.

Focus range is 10 inches to infinity in normal mode and down to 1.2 inches in the macro mode. The focus is either automatic or manually controllable via presets for 0.5m, 1.0m, 3.0m, 7.0m or infinity.

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

The built-in intelligent flash has Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced and Suppressed modes plus variable intensity adjustment (high, normal, low) via the menu. The working range is from one to just over eight feet. .

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot
FOCUS: Autofocus, Macro or one of the five preset distances.
LCD BACKLIGHT: Bright or Normal.
FLASH:  Auto, On, Off, Redeye).
4-Way Jog Switch: Push UP to enable onscreen menu, Up / Down / Left / Right to navigate menus.
VOLUME: Not really a volume control, used to change the aperture value or shutter speed in the AE modes.
DISPLAY: Turns on/off the data overlays on the LCD.
PROGRAM AE: Automatic, shutter, aperture, panofocus, landscape, twilight, twilight plus.
The zoom lens control is on the top, in the middle is the power switch and the AC adapter/battery charger plugs into the DC IN port on the bottom.

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

On the left side of the camera are the I/O ports: A video output port which is user-selectable for NTSC or PAL formats. And a high-speed USB data port.

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

On the right side is the combination battery and memory compartment.

The battery is a Sony "M" series NP-FM50 InfoLITHIUM rechargeable 7.2v "battery with a brain" -- it tells you on the LCD exactly how many minutes of runtime is left.   Additional NP-FM50 batteries are available for $60 - it's always a good idea to have a second battery.

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

The storage media is the Sony Memory Stick, a 4MB module is supplied.

Memory Sticks are now available in 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64MB capacity and 128MB and 256MB size are scheduled in the next year.   I recently purchased a 64MB stick for less than $100 so the prices are now less than comparable sized CompactFlash cards.   For latest Memory Stick pricing click here

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

The Sony DSC-S50 and the DSC-S30 Cybershot are almost physically identical.   The major difference is the S50 has a higher resolution 2.1 megapixel imager and can record movies and sound.

Bundled Software

The S30 comes with MGI PhotoSuite SE on CD and is compatible with Windows 95, 98 and NT as well as Mac OS 7.5 and higher. MGI PhotoSuite SE downloads images from the camera via the USB port and there's a standard USB cable included. The S30 transfers very quickly on the USB port at around 900KB/second.

Continue on to
Page Two

DSC-S30 Specifications

  • 12 Bit A to D Conversion: Yes
  • Image Device: 1/2.7" 1.3 megapixel SuperHAD CCD
  • Max Image Size: 1472 x 1104 interpolated, 1280 x 960 native
  • Format: JPEG, TIFF or GIF (text mode only)
  • 3:2 Mode: Yes
  • LCD Display: 2" Ex-Bright 123k Pixels
  • Optical Zoom: 3x (39-117mm 35mm equivalent)
  • Precision Digital Zoom: 6x
  • Shutter: 18-step, 4 - 1/725 sec
  • Aperture: 9-step, F2.8 to F11.0
  • Focus: AF/5-preset manual
  • Auto Exposure Programs: Aperture, Shutter, Panfocus, Landscape, Twilight, Twilight Plus and Spot Metering
  • Storage Media: Memory Stick 4 - 64MB
  • A/V Out: Video
  • Auto Orientation Mode: Yes
  • Bundled Software: MGI Photo Suite
  • E-Mail Mode: Yes
  • Index Playback: Yes
  • Intelligent Flash: Yes
  • Picture Effects: Solarize, Black & White, Sepia and Negative Art
  • Protect/Delete Images: Yes
  • Red Eye Reduction: Yes
  • Remaining Indicator: Yes
  • Self Timer: 10 Sec
  • Slide Show Mode: Yes
  • Text / Economy Mode: Yes
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.75 x 2.76 inches (113 x 68 x 69mm)
  • Weight: 13 ounces (370 g) excluding the battery pack

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