Sony DSC-V3 Review

Steve's Digicams

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V3

First Look posted 8/30/2004
Full review posted 11/22/2004

Click on the Cyber-shot V3 for a QTVR tour

The Cyber-shot DSC-V3 is a compact yet fully-featured 7.2-megapixel digital camera that was designed to satisfy the needs of advanced photographers. Housed in an all-black, metal alloy body that resembles a 35mm rangefinder camera, the DSC-V3 is equipped with a Carl Zeiss 4x optical zoom lens and loaded with state of the art digital features. It incorporates Sony's Real Image Processor to provide for fast start-up and shot-to-shot times as well as superior image quality. In-field framing and review has been greatly enhanced with its generous 2.5-inch color LCD and you'll enjoy the security and comfort offered by the large handgrip.

The DSC-V3 provides a full range of exposure control that includes: Auto, Program AE, Shutter-speed priority, Aperture priority, Full Manual and 7 pre-programmed Scene modes. In addition it also offers the Sony exclusive Nightframing and NightShot modes which use its built-in infrared illuminators for image capture in total darkness up to 15 feet. To insure that the lens is always sharply focused, the DSC-V3 is equipped with Hologram AF illuminator that "paints" your subject with a safe laser pattern. Low-light shooting is further enhanced by slow-shutter noise reduction that produces the cleanest possible image.

The DSC-V3 features a 5-area Multi-Point auto focus system. The camera evaluates five separate areas of the frame and then intelligently focuses on the subject, displaying the selected focus point, or the user can choose any of 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 manually set to an equivalent of ISO 100, 200, 400 or 800.

Select from still image sizes as large as 3072x2304 for prints all the way down to 640x480 for email or web page use. Images can be stored in standard JPEG with 2 quality levels, uncompressed TIFF, or CCD-RAW format. Menu options allow for adjustment of the color saturation, contrast and sharpness as well as special effects like sepia and black & white. Sony's 14-bit A/D Conversion captures a wider dynamic range from highlight to shadow. The builtin flip-up 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 advanced Sony HVL-F32X Auto-Programmable external flash.

Motion video can be recorded in the MPEG-VX Fine mode that captures full screen VGA (640 x 480) resolution at 30fps or 16fps with audio. The length of these movies is only limited by the media. The camera is powered by a Sony NP-FR1 InfoLITHIUM rechargeable battery that supplies power for about 260 shots per charge. The battery is charged in the camera with the supplied AC charger / power adapter.

DSC-V3 Major Features:

  • 7.2-megapixel Sony CCD imager, up to 3072 x 2304 still image capture
  • Carl Zeiss 4x Zoom, 34-136mm equivalent + 4x "Smart" digital zoom
  • Large 2.5" TFT color (123,000 pixels) LCD screen
  • JPEG, uncompressed TIFF and RAW file formats
  • Burst mode captures up to 8 frames at 2fps
  • VX Fine movie mode 640 x 480 w/audio 30fps, length limited only by media
  • Auto, Program AE, Shutter speed priority, Aperture priority, Full Manual, plus 7 Scene modes
  • Sony exclusive Nightframing and NightShot modes
  • 5 Area Multi-point AF; auto or manually selectable AF point
  • Sony exclusive Hologram Laser AF focus-assist system
  • ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100, 200, 400 or 800
  • Adjustable color saturation, contrast and sharpness
  • Noise Reduction: Auto at 1/25 second or longer shutter speeds
  • 14bit A/D Conversion - allows a wider dynamic range from highlight to shadow
  • Auto pop-up flash with Red Eye Reduction and Slow Synchro
  • Flash hot shoe for dedicated HVL-F32X Auto Programmable flash
  • Full speed USB 2.0 Auto-Connect to host computer
  • InfoLITHIUM rechargeable battery and AC charger/adapter included
  • Dual media slots: Memory Stick Pro and CompactFlash Type I

The Cyber-shot DSC-V3 is available now for about $700.

Physical Views

Sony DSC-V3

Sony DSC-V3

Sony DSC-V3Sony DSC-V3

Sony DSC-V3

Sony DSC-V3

Sony DSC-V3

The CyberShot DSC-V3 and a CD for size comparison.

Sony DSC-V3

The Cyber-shot DSC-V3 and the Canon PowerShot G6 for comparison.

Continue on to
Features & Controls

DSC-V3 Specifications

CCD Imager 1/1.8" (.556") Sony Super HAD
7.2 Megapixel Effective
Image Resolutions Still (JPEG Fine/Std or TIFF):
3072 x 2304
3072 x 2048 (3:2)
2592 x 1944
2048 x 1536
1280 x 960
640 x 480
RAW (3072 x 2304)

VX Fine (640 x 480, 30fps)
VX Standard (640 x 480, 16.6fps)
HQX (320 x 240, 16.6fps)
Presentation (320 x 240, 8.3fps)
Video Mail (160 x 120, 8.3fps)

Lens Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 4x Zoom, 7 to 28mm (34 to 136mm equivalent), F2.8 - F4.0
Filter Thread: 52mm with VAD-VHA conversion lens adapter ring
Digital Zoom 8x "Precision Zoom"
Focusing System 5 Area Multi-point AF: Automatic or manual selection of AF point

Manual Focus: 14 Step Preset
Focusing Ranges Standard AF: 19.7" (50cm) to Infinity

A/F Macro: 3.9"(10cm) to Infinity

Preset Manual Focus: 0.1m(3.9"), 0.2m, 0.3m, 0.5m, 0.8m, 1.0m, 1.5m, 2m, 3m, 5m, 7m, 10m, 15m or Infinity

Auto Focus Assist Illumination Hologram AF assist up to 4.5m
Aperture Control Automatic: F2.8 - F8.0
Aperture Priority: F2.8 - F8.0
Manual: F2.8 - F8.0
Shutter Control Automatic: 1/8 seconds to 1/2000 second
Shutter Priority: 30 sec to 1/1000
Manual: 30 sec to 1/1000
Exposure Metering Multi-Pattern, Center-weighted averaging or Spot
White Balance System Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent,Flash, and One-Push manual
Exposure Compensation ±2 EV in 1/3 EV increments
Exposure Control Full AUTO
Program AE
Shutter speed priority
Aperture priority
Full Manual
Scene Mode (Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Portrait, Landscape, Beach, Snow, Candle)
ISO Auto (100-800) or fixed 100, 200, 400, 800
Recording Mode(s) Still image: JPEG, Email (adds 320x240)

3 Shot Burst
Speed Burst
16 frame Multi Burst
3 Shot AE Bracketing
Sony Nightframing and NightShot
Raw and Tiff modes

DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) Print Reserve, All print reservation, Date/time; Trimming
Noise Reduction Auto at 1/25 second or longer shutter speeds
Clear Color / Clear Luminance NR
Image Effects Sepia
Black & White
Viewfinder Optical real-image viewfinder
LCD 2.5" TFT LCD (123,000 pixels) for viewing or reviewing
Flash Built-in Flash, Auto pop-up type
Flash Modes Auto Flash
Red-eye Reduction
Slow Synchro
Fill-in (forced on)
Flash Off
Flash Working Range When ISO is set to Auto: 1.6 to 11.5 Feet (0.5 to 3.5m)
Flash Hot Shoe Dedicated contacts for Sony HVL-F32X Auto-Programmable Flash
Sony HVL-F1000 flash can be used via ACC port
Removable Media Card Memory Stick/Memory Stick Pro or CompactFlash Type I
Selftimer 10-second delay
Outer Connectors USB (Auto-Connect) v2.0, Accessory, Video, DC input
Auto-connect USB Compatible with Windows 98/98SE/ME/2000 Pro/XP - MacOS 8.5-9.2/OSX
Supplied Software Pixela™ Image Mixer Software for Sony v3.5, USB Driver SPVD-008
Image Playback Index display 9 or 16 frames, up to 5X enlargement, Slide-show
Operating Environment Operation: 32° F - 104°F (0°C - 40°C)
Storage: -4° F to 140°F (-20°C to 60°C)
Power Supply NP-FR1 4.4Wh InfoLITHIUM rechargeable battery
AC-LS5 adapter/charger included

Battery life:Approx. 260 shots (based on CIPA standards)
Date/Time Calendar Simultaneous recording into image date
Size 4.7 in. (W) x 2.8 in. (H) x 2.24 in. (D)
(119.3mm x 72mm x 57mm)
Weight 15 oz. / 410g (with battery, Memory Stick)
Optional Accessories ACC-CSFC Starter Kit (LCS-CSFC, NP-FR1, MSAC-A8)
NP-FR1 InfoLithium® Battery
AC-LS5 AC Adaptor/In-camera Charger
LCS-VHA Deluxe Soft Leather Carrying Case
LCS-VHB Deluxe Semi-Soft Carrying Case
LCS-CSB Sport Style Carrying Case
LCS-CP2 General Carrying Case
HVL-F32X External Auto-Programmable Flash
HVL-F1000 External Flash
VAD-VHA Conversion Lens Adaptor Ring
VCL-DEH07V Hi-grade Wide End Conversion Lens
VCL-DEH17V Hi-grade Tele end Conversion Lens
VF-58CPKS Polarizing Filter Kit*
VF-58M Neutral Density Filter Kit*
VF-58SC Special Effects Filter Kit*
MSA-32A, MSA-64A, MSA-128A Memory Stick® Media
MSA-128S2 Memory Stick® Media with Select Function (256MB total)
MSX-256, MSX-512, MSX-1G Memory Stick PRO Media
MSAC-HGA8 Memory Stick® Media
Carrying Case
MSAC-US70 Memory Stick PRO Media USB Adaptor / Mouse
MSAC-US20 Memory Stick PRO Media USB Adaptor
MSAC-PC3 Memory Stick PRO Media PC Card Adaptor
VMC-14UMB Replacement USB Cable
RM-VD1 Multi-Function Wired Remote Control
VCT-D680RM Remote Control Tripod
VCT-R640 Lightweight Tripod
VCT-MTK Travel Tripod

* VAD-VHA Conversion Lens Adaptor Ring Required

NOTE: These Specifications are as represented by the manufacturer.

Continue on to
Features & Controls

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