Sony DSC-N2 Operation

With its touchscreen technology and sparse physical controls, the Sony DSC-N2 is a breeze to operate. A sliding Mode switch on the side of the camera puts it into Movie, Still Record, or Playback modes, and the rest of the camera functions (aside from zoom) are controlled through the LCD display. The stylus makes navigating the LCD display quite simple, but a fingertip or fingernail does the job just as well. Though some users may need some adjustment time to get accustomed to the touchscreen display, most should feel comfortable in less than half an hour.

Record Mode Display

In record mode, the LCD monitor displays the subject with a fair amount of information, indicating approximate battery life remaining (graphically), flash mode, focus mode, AF area mode setting, any currently-selected exposure compensation setting, ISO setting, the current size/quality setting, number of images that can be stored on the remaining Memory Stick space at the current size/quality, aperture and shutter speed, and if the AF assist lamp is activated. Pressing the Sony N2's Display button adds a small histogram to the lower left corner. A third press eliminates the histogram, and whittles the information display down to the AF area, flash mode, exposure settings, EV compensation, AF assist lamp, and focus mode.


Playback Mode Display

In Playback mode, the default image display shows the most recently captured image, with a modest information overlay present. Pressing the Sony N2's Display button once adds the exposure information and a small histogram to the overlay, pressing it again removes the information and histogram overlays entirely. Pressing the wide-angle side of the zoom lever takes you to a display showing images on the Memory Stick in groups of nine small thumbnails. You can navigate a blue arrow cursor over these thumbnails by using the arrow keys displayed onscreen. Pressing the telephoto side of the zoom lever will bring the currently-selected image up full-screen. Pressing the telephoto side of the Sony N2's zoom lever when viewing an image full-size on the LCD screen will zoom in on the image, up to a maximum magnification of 5x. Again, blue arrow "keys" display onscreen to navigate through the view.

 

Sony DSC-N2 Modes and Menus

Still Record Mode: Indicated on the Mode switch by a camera icon, this mode sets up the Sony N2 to record still images. A selection of exposure modes are available through the Record menu, including Auto, Program, and Manual, plus eight preset Scene modes: High Sensitivity, Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Beach, Landscape, Soft Snap, Snow, and Fireworks. High Sensitivity mode raises the camera's ISO setting to 1,600, while enabling a noise reduction setting to reduce the effect of image noise. Both Twilight modes capture images in low light, although the Twilight Portrait mode automatically enables the Red-Eye Reduction flash mode, combining it with a slower shutter speed to let ambient lighting brighten the background as well. Because the Sony N2 employs a slower shutter speed in both Twilight modes, a tripod is highly recommended to prevent blurring from camera movement. The Beach and Snow modes optimize the camera for bright situations and prevents color loss from overexposure. Landscape mode sets the focus at infinity and uses a smaller lens aperture to capture sharp details both near and far away. Fireworks mode attempts to preserve color when photographing fireworks or other colorful lights at night. Finally, Soft Snap mode is best for portraits, enhancing skin tones and keeping focus slightly soft for more flattering portraits.

The Auto mode puts essentially all of the exposure controls and options (except zoom, image size, macro and flash modes) under automatic control, while Program mode puts only aperture and shutter speed under automatic control. In Manual mode, all options are available to the user, including aperture and shutter speed. The Manual mode shutter speed range increases, extending to a maximum of 30 seconds.

Playback Mode: Playback mode is noted on the Mode switch with the traditional Playback symbol (a right arrow enclosed within a rectangle outline). In this mode, you can scroll through captured images, delete them, write-protect them, and set them up for printing on PictBridge-compatible printers. You can also copy, resize, and rotate images. A fun tool in Playback mode is the Paint menu option, which turns the LCD screen into a canvas for doctoring up images. You can use the included stylus (or even a fingernail) as a paint brush, and the Sony N2 offers a few tools for drawing lines, painting, adding small graphics, and cloning images in-camera. Once you've altered the image, you can save the new image as a separate file, or cancel the whole thing and start over. There's even a screen calibration tool in the Setup menu to help you get the LCD screen as true to print as possible.

Movie Mode: A filmstrip icon marks this mode on the Sony N2's Mode switch. In Movie mode, you can record moving images and sound, for as long as the Memory Stick Duo or internal memory has space. Resolution and quality choices are 640 x 480 Fine (30 fps), 640 x 480 Normal (17 fps), or Video Mail 160 x 112 (8 fps). While recording, a timer appears in the LCD monitor to let you know how many minutes and/or seconds are remaining on the Memory Stick, and how long you've been recording, so you'll have some idea of how much time you have left. Recording in 640 x 480 Fine (30 fps) mode is only available with a Memory Stick Duo PRO card. Unfortunately, optical zoom is not supported in movie mode.

The Sony N2 offers a Burst mode separate from the movie mode and selected via the touchscreen menu, which captures series of images for as long as the Shutter button is held down. Frame rates and the maximum number of images depends on the image quality and resolution settings, as well as the amount of available memory space. The N2's Burst mode is actually a bit slow, however, as I clocked it at about 0.8 frames per second in large/fine mode, for only three frames. In VGA mode, the frame rate speeds up only a little, to 1.02 frames per second, for 15 frames. A Multi-Burst mode captures files much faster, though at a much smaller resolution, but it's much more useful for very active subjects. You can choose a frame rate interval (1/7.5, 1/15, or 1/30 second) through the Record menu, and the camera captures 16 small images at this rate. The Sony N2 also offers an Auto Exposure Bracketing mode, which captures a series of images at different exposures in case you're not sure which exposure is best.

Record Menu:


Record Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level Third-Level Notes
Color Mode
- Normal
- Sepia
- Black & White
 

 

Metering Mode
- Multi
- Center
- Spot
   
White Balance
- Auto
- Daylight
- Cloudy
- Fluorescent
- Incandescent
- Flash
   
ISO
- Auto
- 100
- 200
- 400
- 800
- 1,600
   
Picture Quality
- Fine
- Standard
   
Record Mode
- Normal
- Burst
- Exposure Bracketing
- Multi Burst
   
Bracket Step
- +/- 1.0 EV
- +/- 0.7 EV
- +/- 0.3 EV

 

Only available if Exposure Bracketing mode enabled
Interval
- 1/30
- 1/15
- 1/7.5
 
Only available if MultiBurst mode is selected
Flash Level
- High
- Normal
- Low
 
Controls the intensity of the flash
Contrast
- High
- Normal
- Low
   
Sharpness
- High
- Normal
- Low
   
Setup
   
Accesses the main Setup menus


Playback Menu:


Playback Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level Third-Level Notes
Album


  

Menu:
- Exit Album
- Slide Show
- Delete
- Volume
- Protect
- Rotate
Displays the available digital albums

 

Slide Show
- Effects
- Music
- Image Folder
- Repeat
- Start
Effects:
- Simple
- Nostalgic
- Stylish
- Active
- Normal

Music:
- Options 1-4
- Off

Folder:
- Folder Select
- All

Repeat:
- On
- Off

You can download music from a computer to use with slide shows, or stick with the camera's default options
Paint

  
 
Displays image with paint tools for use with included stylus. Options to save or delete altered image as well.
Delete
- Delete
- Exit
   
Volume
- Eight levels from - to +
 
Adjusts playback volume for slide shows and movies
Folder
- Select Folder
 
Selects folder for image playback
Protect
- Protect
- Exit

 

Marks file for write protection, or removes protection
DPOF
- DPOF
- Exit
 
Marks file for printing on a DPOF device, or removes print mark
Print
- OK
- Cancel
 
Enables direct printing to a PictBridge device
Resize
- 10M
- 8M
- 5M
- 3M
- 2M
- VGA
 
Resizes selected image
Rotate
- OK
- Cancel
 
Rotates images in 90-degree increments, either clockwise or counterclockwise
Divide
   
For editing movie clips, lets you divide a section and save it separately
Setup
   
Displays the Setup menus


Setup Mode, Camera 1:


Camera 1 Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level Third-Level Notes
AF Mode
- Single
- Monitor
 
Single adjusts focus with Shutter button, Monitor acts like Continuous AF, but holds focus with a half press of Shutter button
Digital Zoom
- Smart
- Precision
- Off
 
Enables either of the digital zoom modes, or disables all digital zoom
Red-Eye Reduction
- On
- Off
  
 
Activates the Red-Eye Reduction preflash to prevent Red-Eye. If enabled, fires the preflash in all flash modes.
AF Illuminator
- Auto
- Off
 
Auto puts the camera in charge of when the AF assist is needed


Setup Menu, Camera 2:


Camera 2 Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level Third-Level Notes
Auto Review
- On
- Off
 
If on, the review displays the most recently captured image for a few seconds on the LCD monitor


Setup Menu, Memory Stick:


Memory Stick Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level Third-Level Notes
Format
- OK
- Cancel
 
Erases all images from the internal memory or memory card, even write-protected files
Create REC Folder
- OK
- Cancel
 
Creates a new folder for storing images
Change REC Folder
- OK
- Cancel
  
 
Selects which folder images should be recorded to
Copy
- Internal Memory
- Album
 
For copying files between the internal memory and the memory card


Setup Menu, Album:


Album Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level Third-Level Notes
Write in Album
- On
- Off
 
Sets camera to write photos to the album as they are shot
Format
- OK
- Cancel
 
Erases all album information, even files that are write protected
Check Album
- Exit
  
 
Verifies that album data is ok


Setup Menu, Setup 1:


Setup 1 Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level Third-Level Notes
Download Music
- Exit
 
Downloads music for slide show playback
Format Music
- OK
- Cancel
 
Erases music files


Setup Menu, Setup 2:


Setup 2 Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level Third-Level Notes
LCD Backlight
- Bright
- Normal
 
Adjusts the brightness of the LCD display
Beep
- Shutter
- On
- Off
 
Turns the camera's beep sounds on or off, or sets a sound only for the shutter release
Language
- English
- Simplified Chinese
- Traditional Chinese
- Spanish
- French
- Italian
  
   
Initialize
- OK
- Cancel
 
Resets the camera's settings to default

 

Setup Menu, Setup 3:


Setup 3 Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level Third-Level Notes
File Number
- Series
- Reset
 
Series continues numbering regardless of memory card. Reset starts over with each new memory card
USB Connect
- PictBridge
- PTP
- Mass Storage
- Auto
   

Video Out

- NTSC
- PAL
  
   
Clock Set
- Date Style
- Date and Time Set
 
Date Style adjusts the format of the date and time display


Setup Menu, Setup 4:


Setup 4 Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level Third-Level Notes
Calibration
- Cancel
 
Appears to calibrate the appearance of the LCD monitor, presumably so that changes made in Paint mode are as accurate as possible when compared to the printed version
Housing
- On
- Off
 
Indicates whether an underwater housing is in use

 

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