Sony DSC-V1 Review

Steve's Digicams

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V1

First Look posted 2/25/2003
Full review posted 6/1/2003

Click on the V1 for a QTVR tour

Sony's new Cyber-shot DSC-V1 includes some of the most advanced features of the DSC-F717 such as the 5.0-megapixel effective imager, Nightframing, NightShot and Hologram Laser AF-Assist and puts them into a compact body style closely resembling the DSC-S85. However the DSC-V1 is 25% smaller and 30% lighter and wrapped up in a highly durable metal body. It features a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 4x optical zoom with Sony's new 4x "Smart Zoom" digital zoom that now uses the full CCD image and avoids the usual image degradation of other digital zooms.

The DSC-V1 caters to the needs of the more advanced photographer with a full range of exposure control that includes: Auto, Program AE w/Shift, Shutter-speed priority, Aperture priority, Full Manual and 8 pre-programmed Scene modes. In addition it also offers the Sony exclusive Nightframing and NightShot modes using built in infrared illuminators for image capture in total darkness up to 15 feet. To insure that the zoom lens is always sharply focused the DSC-V1 is equipped with Hologram AF illuminator that "paints" the subject with a safe Class 1 laser pattern. Low-light shooting is further enhanced by slow shutter noise reduction that uses a dark-frame subtractive method to produce the clearest possible image.

The user can select from finished still image sizes from 2592x1944 for large prints all the way down to 640x480 for email or use on web pages. The finished images can be stored as standard JPEG Exif 2.2 in Fine or Standard quality or as an uncompressed TIFF. Menu options allow for adjustment of the color saturation, contrast and sharpness as well as special effects like sepia, solarize, and negative art. Sony's 14-bit A/D Conversion allows for a wider dynamic range from highlight to shadow to be captured. The built in popup 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 new Sony HVL-F32X Auto-Programmable external flash or the HVL-F1000 external flash.

The DSC-V1 features 5-area Multi-Point auto focus. The camera evaluates five separate areas of the frame and intelligently focuses on the subject, displaying the selected focus point, or the user can choose any of the 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 locked in at an equivalent of ISO 100, 200, 400 or 800.

Motion video can be recorded in the new MPEG-VX mode that captures full screen VGA (640 x 480) resolution frames at 16fps with audio. The length of these movies is only limited by the media, record up to 5 minutes 54 seconds on a 128MB Memory Stick (up to 44 minutes can be recorded on the new Memory Stick Pro 1GB flash card.) The camera is powered by a Sony NP-FC11 InfoLITHIUM rechargeable battery that always lets you know exactly how long it will last thanks to an onscreen digital indicator. It packs enough power for 170 shots with the LCD on or 230 shots with the LCD off. The battery is charged in-camera with the supplied AC charger / power adapter.

DSC-V1 Major Features:

  • 1/1.8" Sony Super HAD 5.0 Megapixel Effective
  • Carl Zeiss 4x Zoom, 34-136mm equivalent + 4x "Smart" digital zoom
  • Still Image: 2592x1944, 2048x1536, 1280x960, 640x480
  • MPEG Movie: 640 x 480 VX w/audio 16fps, length limited only by media
  • Auto, Program AE, Shutter speed priority, Aperture priority, Full Manual plus 8 Scene modes
  • Sony exclusive Nightframing and NightShot modes
  • 5 Area Multi-point AF; auto or manually selectable AF point
  • 13-step manual preset focus
  • Sony exclusive Hologram Laser AF Assist system
  • ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100, 200, 400, 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 new dedicated HVL-F32X Auto Programmable flash
  • Sony HVL-F1000 flash can be used via ACC port
  • 1.5" TFT color (123,000 pixels) LCD Screen with Auto Brightness
  • USB 2.0 Auto-Connect to host computer
  • NP-FC11 InfoLITHIUM rechargeable battery and AC charger/adapter included
  • Sony Memory Stick & Memory Stick Pro compatible to 1GB, 32MB included.

DIWA Silver Medal Award

DIWA Award for Sony V1

22. September 2004: The DIWA organisation of collaborating worldwide websites (Digital Imaging Websites Association) today announced that Sony Inc. has been awarded Gold and Silver medals for two of their excellent digital cameras. The DIWA test experts honoured the Cyber-shot DSC-F828 with gold, accompanied by the Cyber-shot DSC-V1, which qualified for a silver medal. The awards are the results of comprehensive, independent reviews of different samples, made by a number of DIWA camera testing experts from Europe and USA.

The Cyber-shot DSC-V1 digital compact camera was very well accepted by the DIWA testing team. Not only did the robust body impress them, but also image quality surpassed their expectations for a compact camera with a 4x zoom lens. The well reputed Carl Zeiss lens brand, 34-136 mm zoom range and high speed f/2.8-4.0 attribuites, proved them wrong.

The DIWA test experts unanimously say: "Sony may not have a legacy to show as a camera manufacturer, but their electronic skills are undisputed. With legendary Carl Zeiss onboard, Sony now has all the optical expertise they may require, proven by these excellent Cyber-shot cameras. The compact Cyber-shot DSC-V1 is also a high-grade digital camera with a tough exterior, but with the creative mind of an imaging guru."

Physical Views

Sony DSC-V1

Sony DSC-V1

Sony DSC-V1Sony DSC-V1

Sony DSC-V1

Sony DSC-V1

Sony DSC-V1

The compact CyberShot DSC-V1 and a CD for size comparison.

Sony DSC-V1

Here's the compact Cyber-shot DSC-V1 and the DSC-P72.

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DSC-V1 Specifications

CCD Imager 1/1.8" (.8475") Sony Super HAD
5.0 Megapixel Effective
Image Resolutions Still (JPEG Fine/Std or TIFF):
2592 x 1944
2592 x 1728 (3:2)
2048 x 1536
1280 x 960
640 x 480

640 x 480 MPEG-VX
160 x 112 Video Mail

Lens Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 4x Zoom, 7 to 28mm (34 to 136mm equivalent), F2.8 - 4.0
Filter Thread: 52mm with VAD-VHA conversion lens adapter ring
Digital Zoom 4x "Smart Zoom" now uses the full CCD image to avoid the usual degradation of digital zooms.
Focusing System 5 Area Multi-point AF: Automatic or manual selection of AF point

Manual Focus: 14 Step Preset
Focusing Ranges Standard AF: 15.7" (40cm) 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: f/2.8 ~ 8.0
Shutter Control Automatic: 1/8 seconds to 1/2000 second
Manual: 30 sec to 1/1000
Exposure Metering Multi-Pattern, Center-weighted averaging or Spot
White Balance System Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Tungsten, One-Push manual
Exposure Compensation "+" or "-" 2 Stops(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, Fast Shutter, Fireworks)
ISO Auto (100-800) or fixed 100, 200, 400, 800
Recording Mode(s) Still image: JPEG, Email (adds 320x240)

3 Shot Burst

3 Shot AE Bracketing

Sony Nightframing and NightShot

Movie Mode: MPEG VX: 640x480 - full screen playback- 16fps w/audio - length determined by media capacity
MPEG Video Mail: 160x112 - 8fps w/audio

Clip Motion Mode: Animated GIF (160x120 or 80x72)

16 Frame Multi-Burst, captures 16 frames and saves as 1280x960

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
Negative Art
Viewfinder Optical real-image viewfinder
LCD 1.5" 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 or Memory Stick Pro (tested to 1GB, does not support high speed transfer function, does not support Access Control security function)
32 MB card included
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 v1.5, USB Driver SPVD-008
Image Playback Index display 9 frame, 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-FC11 780mAh InfoLITHIUM rechargeable battery
AC-LS5 adapter/charger included

Battery life: 170 shots LCD on, 230 shots LCD off
Recording time: 85 minutes LCD on, 120 minutes LCD off
Viewing time: 180 minutes
Date/Time Calendar Simultaneous recording into image date
Size 3-15/16" (W) x 2-9/16" (H) x 2-1/8" (D)
(99mm x 65.2mm x 56.9mm)
Weight 10.9 oz. / 298g (with battery, Memory Stick)
Optional Accessories ACC-CSFC Starter Kit (LCS-CSFC, NP-FC11, MSAC-A8)
NP-FC11 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.

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