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Sony DSC-F505V

Sony updates their popular DSC-F505V with a 3 megapixel sensor (2.6 million effective pixels) and all-new electronics!

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Page 3:Design

Review First Posted: 06/01/2000

The DSC-F505V continues to be quite the eye-catcher (as was the DSC-F505), and on the outside, the two cameras look like identical twins. There are a number of differences between the older and newer models though. The F505V provides the increased accuracy of 12 bit digitization, which improves subtle tonal and color rendering, particularly in strong highlight areas. It also offers improved aperture and shutter control with full 1/3 stops gives more precise adjustment. The DSC-F505V added an external flash connection, which supports the HVL-F1000 external flash unit. Other improvements include an optional uncompressed TIFF file format, improved manual focus operation, faster processing speed and an improved interpolation algorithm for better detail rendering and less noise.

The rotating lens definitely tops our list for flexibility and innovation with its nearly 180 degree rotation. The large lens dominates the design, and leads to a very different way of holding the camera, but we very quickly became used to this. The large lens barrel actually makes for very stable camera support, encouraging a two-handed grip, and providing good support around the unit's center of gravity. Because the tripod mount is actually located on the bottom of the lens, you can tilt the body of the camera up for easier reading of the LCD monitor (no more leaning over). What's more, the rotating lens gives you more shooting options as you can point the lens straight up or nearly straight down, while still viewing the LCD in a normal orientation. The magnesium alloy body remains relatively light weight at 15 ounces (435g) without battery and memory stick. The bulk of the weight lies in the lens. Dimension-wise, the DSC-F505V spans 4.25 x 2.5 x 5.4 inches (107.2 x 62.2 x 135.9 mm). Excluding the large lens, the body itself is very compact. Although the size of the lens prevents it from fitting into small pockets, its functionality well makes up for it. (We're a little confused by the reference to the all-metal magnesium alloy body: Our test unit had a plastic body, at least on the outside: Perhaps what Sony means is that the internal structural body is made of magnesium alloy, although the outer "shell" is plastic.)

The front of the camera basically features the shutter button (angled down from the top a bit) and the lens. On the lens are the pop-up flash, tripod mount, focus control and the macro, white balance and spot meter buttons.

The camera back holds the LCD monitor, a few controls and the external flash connector. There's also a small thumb grip attached to the battery and Memory Stick slot cover.

The side of the camera opposite of the lens holds the Memory Stick and battery compartment, both covered by a locking, sliding door.

The lens itself carries a number of controls on its side, readily accessible to your left hand, which will normally cradle the lens for support.

The remaining controls live on the top of the camera, and include a mode dial, power switch, zoom lever and microphone. The USB and A/V out jacks are also on top of the camera, beneath a sliding cover that flips up to open.

The bottom of the camera is pretty nondescript except for the sound playback speaker and two small rubber pads that cushion the camera slightly when set on a hard surface. As we mentioned earlier, the tripod mount is actually located on the underside of the lens barrel.

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