Steve's Digicams

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

Rec/Play Screens & Menus


Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

Here's a typical record mode screen with the Menu Bar enabled. Across the top is the camera information Indicating graphically and numerically the amount of battery power remaining, the position of the zoom lens, image size, number of pictures taken plus a graphical representation of the amount of space that is left on the Memory Stick.

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

Record mode menu options are:

  • SELF-TIMER: 10-sec selftimer

    • Picture Effect: Solarize, Black & White, Sepia and Negative Art.
    • Date/Time: Overlays the date and time on the image.

  • FILE:
    • Format: Format the MemoryStick
    • Position Sensor: Auto-rotates portrait mode images
    • File Number: Numbers files in sequence or resets the file number when a new card is inserted or formatted
    • Image Size: Select size of still image 1472 x 1104, 1280 (3:2), 1280 x 960, 1024 x 768 and 640 x 480.
    • Record Mode: (still images)
      • TIFF uncompressed (also write a JPEG)
      • Text: records a B&W GIF file
      • E-mail: records a 320 x 240 JPEG file plus the selected size
      • Normal: records a JPEG file in the selected image size.

    • Digital Zoom: 2x digital zoom on or off
    • Sharpness: image sharpness from -2 to +2
    • White Balance: Auto, Indoor, Outdoor or Hold (manual).
    • Flash Level: High, Normal or Low.
    • Exposure: Compensation (EV) -2 to +2 in 1/3 steps

  • SETUP:
    • Demo: Turns the demo mode on or off (only when powered by AC)
    • Video Out: NTSC or PAL.
    • Language: Set menu language to English or Japanese
    • Clock Set: Set date and time
    • Beep: Beep on or off or only as a shutter noise
    • LCD Bright: Adjusts brightness of LCD backlight

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

Turning the mode dial on top to the Play position brings up the last image captured. Overlay data included is battery condition, image size, image number and total number of images plus remaining space on the Memory Stick.

The Menu Bar can be "popped up" across the bottom, more on this below.

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

While viewing an image you can use the zoom control to magnify the picture up to 5x and pan around the zoomed image using the 4-way jog switch.

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

Choosing the Index option brings up 6 small thumbnail images so you quickly search through the stored images to select one to display full screen.

Sony DSC-S30 CyberShot

The Play mode menu options:

  • INDEX: Displays six thumbnail images to quickly search through the stored images (see the second frame above)

  • DELETE: Deletes the displayed image

  • FILE
    • FORMAT: Format the MemoryStick
    • ROTATE: Rotate portrait images in 90 degree increments
      • Interval: Set interval between pictures (3,5,10,30 or 60 secs.)
      • Repeat: Slide show repeat function on or off
      • Start: Start slide show
      • Cancel: Cancel slide show function
    • PRINT MARK: Mark images to be printed using DPOF information
    • PROTECT: Write protect images from erasure.

  • TOOL
    • Copy: Copy images
    • Resize: Resize image to 1024 x 768 or 640 x 480

    • Video Out: NTSC or PAL format
    • Language: Menu language English or Japanese
    • Clock Set: Set date and time
    • Beep: Turn beep sound on or off
    • LCD Bright: Adjust LCD backlight

Steve's Conclusion

The Sony DSC-S30 is a very compact 1 megapixel digicam that delivers excellent images. It has the ability to record still images in various sizes and features a number of exposure options. And speaking of options, this camera is loaded with options for recording and saving images. Still images can be saved from 1-megapixel size down to VGA in both uncompressed TIFF or JPEG format with a number of quality settings. There's special modes for Text and Email too.

The Sony InfoLITHIUM is one of the best battery system available for high-drain devices like digicams. A year ago I had my doubts about the Memory Stick media but they have since become plentiful, larger in capacity and cheaper per MB than CompactFlash cards. They're still slower at R/W operations than CF but the new Lexar brand Memory Sticks are getting faster.

The S30 is equipped with a 3x zoom lens with a fast F2.8 maximum aperture which makes it a better than average performer in low-light situations. If you need to shoot closeups of small objects the macro mode will let you get down about 3cm from your subject. You also have full manual focus control too. The lens exhibits the usual amount of optical distortion as most in its class, there's mild barrel distortion in full wideangle and moderate pincushioning at the extreme telephoto position.

The S30's Programmed AE modes make it easy for the beginner or experienced photographer to capture that special moment. Shutter speed priority lets you freeze fast-moving subjects and aperture priority gives you control over the focus depth of field. Landscape mode that sets the focus to infinity and night scene uses slower shutter speeds and slow-syncro flash to iluminate foreground objects. Most users will probably just leave the camera in fully automatic and shoot away but the advanced features are there if you want or need them.

The only real negative about this camera is a lack of an optical viewfinder as is found on the DSC-S70. The color LCD must be used for framing as well as reviewing your pictures. It is a bright LCD and there's even a switch on the side to make it even brighter but it does leave you wanting for an optical finder outside in the bright sunlight. I find it difficult to hold a camera out in front of me when framing or following a moving subject. It is more natural to put a camera up to your face and use an eyelevel viewfinder. It might just be personal preference, there are a lot of Sharp ViewCam type camcorders out there and people don't seem to mind using them in that fashion.

Sony has an even higher resolution version of this camera in the 2.1 megapixel DSC-S50 if you need to print those special moments larger than 4x6" size. The S50 also has a movie mode that the S30 lacks but other than that these two cameras are very similar. I'm sure that both of these cameras will find their way into the hands of many satisfied users as they are priced right and deliver excellent image quality.

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