Full (First Look) Review posted for Sony DSC-V1!|
(Monday, April 21, 2003 - 05:52 EDT)
I'll begin here with my conclusion: This could well be the digicam that finally earns Sony the respect of the "enthusiast" crowd.
The upper end of Sony's Cyber-shot line have long sported features the equal of many high end models from other manufacturers, but until now, it's never seemed to me that their top-end units really got the respect they deserved from the true "enthusiasts." Some reasons have been obvious: A proprietary-only external flash connection (remedied with the F717), and a memory format that maxed out at 128MB capacity. Even taking these factors into consideration though, I think there's been a widespread perception of Sony as a consumer electronics company, rather than a camera manufacturer, and that's hurt acceptance of their higher-end digicam products.
Having now seen and extensively played with their latest digicam offering though, I think all this could be about to change. The new DSC-V1 and new Memory Stick PRO format have removed the external-flash and media-capacity limitations as objections. On a purely camera level, the V1 shows great promise, with an impressive combo of 4x zoom with 5 megapixel sensor, and a range of genuinely useful Sony-only features like Night Framing and Hologram Autofocus.
Final judgement will have to await my testing of a full production model, but for now I can say that the V1 definitely belongs on the short list of anyone who's shopping at the high end of the digicam market. I think this one could give Canon, Nikon, and Olympus (among others) a little heartburn... Check it out!