Sony DSC-V3By: Shawn Barnett and Dave Etchells
A no-excuses "enthusiast" camera from Sony: 7 megapixels, 4x zoom, 2.5 inch LCD, better grip, and features galore.
(Next): Executive Overview>>
Page 1:Intro and HighlightsReview First Posted: 09/09/2004, Updated: 11/30/2004
Sony DSC-V3 EZ Print Link
Readers have requested free-formatted versions of our reviews (without the graphical accouterments of our page design), to make printing easier. We are accommodating this request with special copies of each review, formatted to allow the text flow to be dictated by the browser window. Click here for a print-optimized page of our Sony DSC-V3 review.
|Free Photo Lessons|
Announced in early September 2004, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V3 is the latest embodiment of that company's vision for an "ultimate" digital rangefinder-style camera. Sony Electronics Inc. has long held a dominant position in the digicam marketplace, delivering a wide range of models that enjoy enormous popularity with consumers. Currently, they offer one of the broadest lines of digicams in the industry, with multiple models in several distinct product categories. The only thing lacking is an interchangeable-lens SLR. Last year, Sony brought many of the ground breaking features offered by the biggish and unusual DSC-F717 to a (much) more compact form factor, with the stylish DSC-V1. This year, they skip a number from the V1 to the DSC-V3, in the process along with adding a little bulk with the new grip and flash area.
The new Sony DSC-V3 is still boxy and relatively compact, shaped like a familiar 35mm rangefinder models of years past, but with a decent grip. The DSC-V3's 7-megapixel CCD captures high resolution images, and its full complement of exposure modes provides as little or as much control as you might want. Like the V1, the V3 includes Sony's NightShot, NightFraming, and Hologram AF technologies, which greatly add to the camera's flexibility and usefulness in low-light shooting conditions. Scene exposure mode offers nine preprogrammed exposure modes, and a choice of Sony's "Smart Zoom" or "Precision Zoom" technologies offers better image quality with digital zoom. MPEGMovie VX format allows movie and sound recording at VGA quality, to the capacity of the memory card, without any arbitrary limits imposed by buffer memory capacity. Finally, the V3 features true Through-The-Lens (TTL) flash metering, a rare feature in the digicam marketplace.
Taken as a package, the Sony DSC-V3 offers most of what the V1 pioneered with a few key improvements, not the least of which is a higher resolution imager and a huge LCD. It's a camera clearly aimed at the enthusiast crowd, with many unique features to distinguish it from its competition. Read on for all the details!
Sony DSC-V3 High Points
- 7.41-megapixel CCD delivering image resolutions as high as 7.078 megapixels (3,072 x 2,304) from the "7.2 effective" megapixel sensor.
- 2.5-inch color LCD monitor.
- Real-image optical viewfinder.
- Optional "live" histogram display in viewfinder.
- 4x optical zoom with up to 4.75x Smart Zoom (depending on the resolution selected).
- 7-28mm Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens.
- Auto and Manual focus option and adjustable AF area.
- Hologram AF assist light for low-light and low-contrast focusing.
- NightShot and NightFraming IR modes for "no light" framing and shooting.
- Adjustable apertures from f/2.8 to f/8, depending on zoom position.
- Full Auto, Program AE, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and Manual exposure modes, plus seven preset Scene modes.
- Shutter speeds from 1/1,000 to 30 seconds in Manual and Shutter Priority modes, 1 to 1/2000 in Program Auto, 8 to 1/2000 in Aperture Priority, and 1/8 to 1/2000 in Full Auto mode.
- Adjustable ISO with sensitivity equivalents of Auto, 100, 200, 400, and 800.
- White Balance setting with six presets and a manual setting.
- Multi-Pattern, Center-Weighted, and Spot metering options.
- Contrast, Sharpness, and Saturation adjustments.
- Built-in, swing-up flash with four operating modes.
- External flash hot shoe as well as proprietary connection socket.
- True Through-The-Lens (TTL) flash metering.
- MPEGMovie VX mode with sound recording. (Full VGA-resolution movies, recording time limited only by memory card capacity.)
- "Burst 8" mode captures 8 full-res shots at 2fps
- Multi-burst (matrix of 16 images) Auto Exposure Bracketing, E-Mail, Voice, and 10-second Self-Timer modes.
- Uncompressed TIFF, RAW, and JPEG image file formats (movies saved as MPEG).
- Image storage on Sony Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, and Compact Flash Type I.
- DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) and PictBridge compatibility.
- Power from Sony NP-FR1 lithium-ion battery pack or AC adapter (included).
- AV Cable with NTSC and PAL format options
- USB cable and software CD for quick connection to a computer.