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Great for those "Cybershot moments"
Jul 9, 2008 (Updated Jul 16, 2008)
a Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
...and updated version of "kodak moments"...
Recommend this product?
Ive had so many digital cameras over the past few years, and have never completely been happy with any of them. My most recent digital camera came closest, it was an HP, but my son took that over and it was time for me to (and Im sure youll feel sorry for me here
) shop for a new digital camera
Id done a little research when I was looking for my new camcorder which I have reviewed (My Cold Weather Camcorder review of JVC Everio GZ MG-21 Flash Media Camcorder). So when it came to really looking for a new digital camera, I had a baseline on which to build. Of course, technology moves so fast, some of the cameras Id looked at only months before were now obsolete!
My contenders were the Canon Powershot, Olympus Stylus, Casio Exilim, Nikon Coolpix, and Sony Cybershot. They are all good digital cameras, and it was tough to make a decision. I wanted a slim camera that I could carry in my pocket. I also wanted a big screen and intuitive function controls. It had to have more than 6 Megapixels to help with enlarging and reducing photos to print and Face Detection would be a huge positive. But the thing I wanted the most was a lithium ion rechargeable battery I hate carrying disposable batteries around, and having to throw the spent batteries away its such a waste. I also didnt want to spend over $225 less if possible.
Of course, each brand I considered had so many different models, and were so similar in size, functions, megapixels, and screen size that my search eventually came down to what was available locally at either Wal-Mart, Circuit City or Target. I eventually settled on Sony Cybershot W-80 because above all the other cameras, the Sony Cybershot W-80 has a Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar lens. I bought it online at Circuit City.com where I got an internet discount
and could still drive down to the store and pick it up the same day. I paid $199 plus tax.
The Sony Cybershot W-80 has 7.2 megapixels, 3X optical zoom, and 2X digital zoom (digital zoom just makes the pics larger, not closer) super steady shot, a high ISO rating (3200), 1080HD, face detection, a Carl Zeiss lens, self timer, movie capability, and a rechargeable battery. In the box there was:
Plug in battery charger
Rechargeable battery pack NP BG1
USB A/V multi use cable
and instruction manual
The camera needs a Memory Stick Pro Duo to store photos, and there is not one included in the box, so I had to buy one of those too. There is an internal memory, but it is only 31MB, so it wont store many pics and would then need to be plugged in to the PC to download. At the recommendation of the sales associate, I chose the 2GB Memory Stick Pro Duo Ultra because transfer time between camera and memory stick with the Ultra is practically instantaneous. The only reason I mention the type of memory stick is because many people return digital cameras thinking they are defective, when they are simply using a generic media memory card, instead of one specifically made for digital cameras like the Ultra. Have you ever been taking a digital picture and there is a delay between pushing the button and capturing the picture? And then you dont get the photo you thought you would because your subjects have looked away or moved? The Ultra eliminates that.
I checked everything out and plugged the battery charger into the wall to charge the battery. While I waited, I went online to e-Bay to buy a 2nd battery, and a car charger vital for my camera bag, and took a good look at the outside of the camera. It small and thin, made of brushed steel, measuring 3 5/8 x2 3/8 x29/32 and weights about 5 ounces. The screen measures about 2 ½. The top of the camera has a bright silver panel with the microphone, on/off button, and shutter button. The back of the camera has a viewfinder on the left side and on the right side of the camera, there is a zoom button, mode dial, menu control dial, home button and playback button.
The Mode dial allows you to adjust the settings, can be set to Auto, Program, movie mode, high sensitivity, soft snap, twilight portrait, twilight, landscape, beach and snow.
The Control dial allows you to set the camera to shoot in Macro mode, adjust the flash to on, off or auto with red eye reduction, set the display, and set the self timer.
Menu allows you to adjust image size, face detection, record mode, color, focus, steady shot etc.
The battery took about 5 hours to charge, and it slots into the camera through the silver cover on the side of the camera. Under the same cover is also the memory stick port. The battery is held in by the battery eject level that slips across the battery when it is in place, and is moved to the side to eject the battery. The memory stick is just pushed in, and when you need to remove it, you push it in again and it pops out.
Starting up the camera for the first time by pressing the small oval button on the top of the camera, the Zeiss lens extends from the camera, and the camera asks to set the date and time. Once this is done, you can start taking pics! Set the size of your picture, the higher the megapixel setting, the larger the picture will be when you download it. The camera will tell you the recommended setting for e-mail pictures. Set the mode you are shooting in, twilight, soft snap, beach etc, and zoom in to your subject. The face detection will recognize faces and focus on those. Press the large button on top of the camera, and viola. You will be able to review the picture on the LCD screen for about 15 seconds. Part of the benefit of having the ultra memory stick pro, is that the camera is ready to take the next photo very quickly.
Once you have finished taking pictures, you can review your photos by pressing the playback button and delete those you dont want using the menu button and following the directions on the screen. To download the remaining pictures, you can either connect the camera to your PC or your HDTV using the multi function A/V USB cable, or you can eject the memory stick which has your photos on it, and, using a card reader, download them to your PC.
My results were a bit disappointing at first. Some of my photos were too dark, some a strange color until I realized that I could set the mode for darker or brighter photos using the beach, snow, twilight etc settings. I played around a bit with the settings by taking the same picture on different settings I was then able to keep the picture I wanted and delete the rest. If in doubt as to what my camera setting should be now, I do the same thing. I was able to take the best macro pictures I have ever taken of the beads I make to upload to my website, and the face recognition worked fine for one face or multiple faces they were perfectly in focus. Steady shot is great, until you are on maximum zoom (equivalent to 105mm on a still 35mm camera), then there is very slight shaking, but without the steady shot, on the maximum zoom pictures would look like youd taken them on a caffeine high!!
Im definitely happy with this camera, it is the closest thing to the perfect camera for me. Its easy and fairly intuitive to use, I do get confused with the mode and menu dials, and am sometimes looking on the wrong dial or pushing the wrong button for the feature I want - there are 6 of them!. If I could make one change, there would be less dials and buttons on the back, and more functions on each dial. With more practice and reading the manual, Im sure I will get the hang of it but when that Kodak moment comes up, Im not about to sit down and read the manual before taking the picture!
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Amount Paid (US$): 199
This Camera is a Good Choice if You Want Something... Easy Enough for Anyone to Use
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