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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V1

A no-excuses "enthusiast" camera from Sony: 5 megapixels, 4x zoom, fast AF, and features galore

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Page 1:Intro and Highlights

Review First Posted: 04/18/2003, Updated: 7/1/2003

5.0-megapixel CCD for resolution as high as 2,560 x 1,920 pixels.
Faster autofocusing and accurate results with NightShot, NightFraming, and Hologram Autofocus technologies.
Compact rangefinder-style design.
Ultra-sharp 4x zoom lens.
Full "enthusiast" features, including flash hot shoe and extensive exposure controls.

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Manufacturer Overview

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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 what's arguably the broadest line of digicams in the industry, with multiple models in several distinct product lines. Last year, they made waves with the DSC-F717, an impressive update to the F707 model. This year, Sony brings many of the ground breaking features offered by the F717 to a (much) more compact form factor, with the stylish new DSC-V1.

The new V1 model is boxy and compact, shaped like a familiar 35mm rangefinder models of years past. The V1's 5.0-megapixel CCD captures high resolution images, and its full complement of exposure modes provides as little or as much control as you might want. Looking at the "compact rangefinder" form factor, Sony decided that the market need a camera that size with both a 4x zoom lens and a 5-megapixel CCD, and the V1 was born, a compelling combination. But what's most impressive about the V1 is its inclusion of Sony's NightShot, NightFraming, and Hologram AF technologies, which greatly add to the camera's flexibility and usefulness in low-light shooting conditions. An expanded Scene exposure mode also now offers Snow and Beach settings, increasing preset options beyond the standard Twilight, Portrait, and Landscape offerings. Finally, the V1 also offers Sony's new "Smart Zoom" technology, for better image quality with digital zoom, as well as their new MPEGMovie VX format, allowing movie and sound recording at VGA quality, to the capacity of the memory card. Finally, the V1 features true Through-The-Lens (TTL) flash metering.

Taken as a package, the DSC-V1 offers one of the most compelling feature sets of any camera on the market, expanding the definition of what a true "enthusiast" camera can offer, while still maintaining a very competitive price and trim form factor. If they'll just take the time to look at it objectively, I think the V1 could really open the eyes of the enthusiast crowd, showing Sony's true capability as a camera company.

High Points

  • 5.0-megapixel CCD delivering image resolutions as high as 2,560 x 1,920 pixels. (4.94 million effective pixels.)
  • 1.5-inch color LCD monitor.
  • Real-image optical viewfinder.
  • Optional "live" histogram display in viewfinder.
  • 4x optical zoom with up to 4x Smart Zoom.
  • 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 six preset Scene modes.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/1,000 to 30 seconds.
  • 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, pop-up flash with four operating modes.
  • External flash hot shoe as well as proprietary connection socket.
  • True Through-The-Lens flash metering.
  • MPEGMovie VX mode with sound recording. (Full VGA-resolution movies, recording time limited only by memory card capacity.)
  • "Burst 3," Auto Exposure Bracketing, E-Mail, Voice, and 10-second Self-Timer modes.
  • Uncompressed TIFF, GIF, and JPEG image file formats (movies saved as MPEG).
  • Image storage on Sony Memory Stick.
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility.
  • Power from Sony NP-FC11 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.


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