Thursday, July 19, 2007

'Tis the season for a Sony Cyber-shot

discgolf2

This shot is of my friend John attempting a ten foot putt on the 18th hole at El Dorado Park in Long Beach. I love this gentle and relaxing game. I could play it every day. I play with a couple of guys from work each week in a regular game. It is a good way to blow off steam.

I shot this as a test of the new Sony Cyber-shot Digital Camera DSC-T100/R. I fired into the sun to check lens flare and focus, and to see if the camera could freeze action. I had a little trouble catching my friends in the act of throwing a disc. The delay is about a half second. With practice, I was able to get the hang of the timing.

The DSC-T100/R fits an amazing combination of high-tech features into super-slim dimensions. It has high-resolution 8.1 MP imaging, a powerful 5X optical zoom lens and a huge 3.0" Clear Photo LCD Plus™ screen that lets you snap and share photos easily. Innovative technologies like Face Detection, in-camera retouching, D-range optimization and HD (high definition) output expand the possibilities of digital photography -- and the Sony Double Anti-Blur Solution lets you shoot in low light without flash to preserve the mood. The Cyber-shot DSC-T100 is available in four colors, including silver, black and red.

With the Face Recognition option activated, the pictures are always in focus. My main problem was seeing subject. When shooting into the sun or at a reflection, the view screen develops vertical white streaks which are distracting. The problem surfaces whenever a bright light source is in the frame. However, it does not translate to the image.

The macro feature is outstanding. Short of spending a few hundred dollars for a good lens, the macro and extreme macro capabilities are impressive. I shot my G15 key board in ambient light from two inches away and found the result usable. I'm not going to show the picture here because apparently my keyboard needs a cleaning. One important thing to keep in mind is that even a slight misalignment of the digital film plane and the subject will result in distortions. The most common being bending lines.

I noticed a problem with over saturation in my earliest tests. I took a couple side-by-side comparison photos with both the Cyber-Shot and my Nikon. Photoshop showed the Sony with deeper saturation levels on the reds and greens, while blue seems slightly less saturated. A slight adjustment corrected the problem - but who want to buy Photoshop?

My main beef with the Sony Cybershot is that it is to small for my thick manly hands. It felt like I was holding a $350 toy. My guess is the camera was designed around a woman's hand size. For example, the control buttons on the back way too small for my thumbs to use without fumbling and checking my orientation.

I tend to shake when I shoot with a small camera, so the image stabilization feature is a valuable feature. The face recognition feature guarantees good portraits. I've tried to screw things up on purpose and was unable to take an out of focus picture. Where was face recognition when I was shooting film?

The Cyber-shot comes with a USB cable interface. I tried uploading on an iMac, Windows laptop and desktop systems. The interface was seamless. I was moving files into Picasa or iPhoto in seconds. Anybody could do it.

In general, I would give the camera high marks for the ease of use designed around a novice photographer needs and high marks for overall utility. It is a camera my wife, young son, or even (gasp), a user could handle without any special training. Which means I will be buying lots of them.

2 comments:

aidan said...

You've sold me. We were considering the Nikon D80, but when you consider the price difference the Sony seems like the better deal overall. C-Net has a good series of reviews on new cameras and they grade the Cybershot DSC-T10 at 7.8 out of 10 . Not too shabby. You have to be careful of user feedback on some forums because complaints may be more related to user attitude and/or mishandling than an actual product flaw. One guy I read went on at length about the shutter jamming on the Sony but it seems to be a rare complaint. I totally agree on the size of these gadgets. My daughter uses a silver snuff box of a thing with buttons I also have difficulty getting my paws around.

RickU said...

That's a nice shot. I wish we had more disc golf courses around my area. We do have 1 fantastic 27 pin course at a state park in Gaithersburg, MD.

I'd get bored playing there every day, but I do enjoy going when the weather isn't miserable.