Sony DSC-M1 Review

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-M1

First Look posted 9/9/2004
Full review posted 5/5/2005

Click on the M1 for a 360° QTVR tour

The Cyber-shot DSC-M1 is a compact 5.1-megapixel digital still camera that features VGA resolution MPEG4 motion video capture at 30fps with stereo audio. The camera, a slim, matte-black device about the size of a deck of cards, is held vertically, and its 2.5-inch articulated LCD swivels upward and rotates a full 270 degrees. This new shooting orientation provides more surface area to access both the menu navigation buttons and two "hot" buttons to for direct access to recording stills and video.

The M1's enhanced video functions include recording with the new MPEGMovie 4TV feature, the MPEG-4 compression format that significantly increases picture quality and resolution while dramatically reducing file size. Employing a reduced bit rate (from 11Mpbs to 2.5 Mpbs), MPEGMovie 4TV mode enables the recording of up to 27 minutes of VGA-resolution, 30-frames-per-second video with stereo sound on an optional 512 MB Memory Stick PRO Duo™ media card, or up to 54 minutes with the optional 1GB card, available soon.

Sony CyberShot DSC-M1

A new hybrid record mode makes the most of the scene being captured by automatically recording five seconds of QVGA video before and three seconds after the still image is snapped, creating a more complete record of the sights and sounds of the moment. The video and still images are stored as two separate files, but played back as one in the camera.

The camera uses a Carl Zeiss® Vario-Tessar® 3X optical zoom lens, and the zoom operates even while capturing video. The M1 model also uses Sony's Real Imaging Processor™ circuit, an ultra-fast processor that enables quick start-up and rapid shot-to-shot times. It also enhances the speed of advanced features that help the user get the picture right the first time, including sophisticated auto-exposure, auto-white balance and five-area, multi-point auto-focus features.

Sony DSC-M1

The M1 camera operates using Sony's InfoLithium® rechargeable battery system, displaying approximate to-the-minute remaining battery life on the LCD. It comes bundled with a custom-sized Cyber-shot Station USB cradle for keeping the battery charged and the camera connected to your PC for easy downloading. The Cyber-shot Station also connects to a TV for playing back videos and stills on the big screen.

The DSC-M1 is bundled with PicturePackage™ 1.2 application, which includes a function for converting MPEG-4 video clips into the AVI format, allowing for easy editing. It is available now for about $500.

DSC-M1 Major Features:

  • Sony 5 Megapixel effective CCD image sensor
  • Carl Zeiss "folded" 3x Zoom (38-114mm equivalent in 35mm photography)
  • Magnifying Glass Mode for photos as close as 1cm
  • Still Image: 2592x1944, 2592x1728(3:2), 2048x1536, 1600x1200, 640x480
  • MPEGMovie 4TV (MPEG4): 640x480 or 320x240 w/stereo audio at 30fps or 320x240 at 15fps
  • Auto, Program AE plus 9 Scene modes
  • Live histogram display in capture and playback
  • 5 Area Multi-point AF; auto or selectable Spot AF point
  • Swiveling 2.5" TFT color (123,000 pixels) LCD Screen
  • ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100, 200, 400
  • Adjustable color saturation, contrast and sharpness
  • Noise Reduction: Automatically cleans up long exposure images
  • 14bit A/D Conversion - allows a wider dynamic range from highlight to shadow
  • Built-in flash with Auto, Fill, Forced Off, and Slow Synchro (Red Eye reduction avaliable)
  • USB 2.0 Auto-Connect to host computer
  • Rechargeable InfoLithium battery and charger included
  • Cyber-shot Station camera dock included
  • Memory Stick Duo & MS Duo Pro compatible to 1GB, 32MB included.
  • DPOF and PictBridge direct-print USB compatible

Physical Views

Sony DSC-M1

Sony DSC-M1

Sony DSC-M1Sony DSC-M1

Sony DSC-M1

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Features & Controls

Sony DSC-M1 Specifications

Image Device: 1/2.4" 5.1 Megapixel Effective Sony Super HAD™ CCD
Still Image Sizes: 5M 2592x1944
5M(3.2) 2592x1728
3M 2048x1536
2M 1600x1200
VGA 640x480
Recording Media: Memory Stick Duo Media (32MB included), Memory Stick Duo PRO Media
Zoom: Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar "folded" (internal) 3X Optical, 6.7 - 21mm (38-114mm equivalent)
11 elements in 8 groups, 3 aspheric elements
Smart Zoom™ Feature: 0 - 4.0X
Digital Zoom: Precision, 0 - 2.0X Range, 6X Total
Filter Diameter: n/a
Auto Focus: 5 Area Multi-Point AF, Center AF, 5-Step Manual
Minimum Focus Distance: 19.7" (50cm)
Macro Focus Distance: 3.1" (8cm)
Magnifying Glass Mode: 1-20cm (0.39-7.9 in.)
Shutter Speed: Auto: 1/8 - 1/1000 sec.
Program Auto: 1 - 1/1000 sec.
Aperture Range: F3.5/F5.6 (W); F4.4/F10 (T)
Exposure Compensation: +/- 2.0 EV, 1/3 EV Steps
Color LCD: 2.5" 123K pixel hybrid LCD Screen
Flash Modes: Auto/Forced On/Forced Off/Slow Synchro Red-Eye Reduction: On/Off
Flash Effective Range: 0.3 - 1.5 m (1 - 5 ft.)
White Balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Flash
Burst Mode: 4 frames @3fps (5M JPEG fine)
Picture Effects: Sepia, Black & White
ISO: Auto, 100, 200, 400
Scene Modes: Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Landscape, Candle, Beach, Snow, Magnifying Glass Mode, High Speed Shutter and Fireworks
Self-Timer: 10 Seconds
Video Output: NTSC/PAL Selectable
Still Image Modes: Normal (JPEG Fine/Standard), Burst, Auto Bracketing
MPEG Movie Mode: MPEGMOVIE 4TV with Stereo Audio (640 x 480 at 30fps),
MPEGMOVIE 4TV with Stereo Audio (320 x 240 at 30fps),
MPEGMOVIE 4TV with Stereo Audio (320 x 240 at 15fps)
Hybrid Record Mode: Continuously accumulates 320x240 15fps video with sound, and records 5 seconds before still image capture and 3 seconds after. Still image recorded at selected resolution.
Microphone/Speaker: Yes, Stereo/Yes
USB Terminal: Supports USB 2.0
Cradle Compatible: Yes, included
Compatible Battery: Sony InfoLithium NP-FR1 3.6v 4.4Wh
Supplied Software: Picture Package™ for Sony v1.2 (Windows), USB driver
OS Compatibility: Microsoft® Windows® 98/98SE/Me/ 2000/XP Home/XP Pro
Macintosh® OS 9.1/9.2/X (10.0, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3)
Supplied Accessories: NP-FT1 Rechargeable InfoLithium® Battery, AC-LM5 Battery Charger, UC-MA Cyber-shot® Station, Stereo A/V Connecting Cable, USB Cable, Wrist Strap, MSA-32A 32MB Memory Stick® Media, Memory Stick Duo Adapter, Software CD-ROM
Dimensions: 2" x 4 1/2" x 1 1/16" (51 x 114 x 27.8mm)
Weight: 6.5 oz (185g) Body; 7.5 oz (215g) Body w/Battery, Media & Wrist Strap
NOTE: Specifications as represented by the manufacturer.

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