Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V1: test and review

With a rich set of features and a 4x optical zoom, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V1 pentamégapixel is one of the smallest compact cameras we’ve tested so far. Despite some flaws, the V1 with its generally good performance and images that are fun to see, is a prime candidate for photo enthusiasts.

Slightly too large to slip easily into a shirt pocket, the silvery aluminum alloy case V1 is not very original. Its weight of 300 grams, battery and Memory Stick included, located in the middle of its class. V1 gives the impression of being well built. The controls are precise and a logical layout but with some exceptions frustrating to use. The menu navigation controller that is also used for selecting options macro, self-timer, flash and quick viewing is on the back of the device in too deep recess for the right thumb can handle it easily. Menu keys are tiny and Resolution. The exposure compensation buttons, manual focus and exposure lock not distinguished enough. Accordingly, adjustments are often done in the dark. Moreover, the natural position of the fingers of the right hand tends to block the movement of the lens when the zoom moves to the shorter focal lengths. As for the left index finger, he falls right on the flash cover and embarrassing its automatic opening.

Although the menus are fairly well designed. Many functions require a long voyage. This is particularly the case meters, shooting in bursts of white balance, red eye treatment that should be accessible via buttons.

Well and incorporating a host of features, it lacks s some refinements such as a diopter adjustment for photographers wearing glasses or a customizable delay of the power failure. Exposure compensation is adjustable to ± 2. The traditional Sony exposure compensator three flash levels is also available. In Program mode, you can select different combinations of aperture and shutter speed. Brightness, contrast and color saturation are adjustable.

Night Vision

The V1 has the NightFraming and NightShot mode which both use infrared to display in very dark environment scenes of the screen, even in total darkness. In this context, NightFraming allows color photos while capturing NightShot infrared image.

The photos are saved in JPEG or TIFF formats. The V1 offers five resolutions and two JPEG compression levels. Unfortunately not support RAW format. The V1 can also enter a short film in MPEG-1 to the resolution of 640 x 480 pixels with sound, within the capacity of the Memory Stick. With the Clip Motion function, it is possible to merge successive shots to create an animated GIF. In half a second, the Multi Burst takes 16 shots in low resolution and arranges them in a single file whose contents have the appearance of a press sheet by contact.

The 4x optical zoom lens carries the prestigious brand of Carl Zeiss and covers a reasonable range of focal lengths, or from 34 to 136 mm in 24×36 terminology. The maximum aperture – f / 2.8 to f / 4.0 – is acceptable without being exceptional. A threaded collar surrounding the lens can accommodate a special adapter for extra lenses, filters or other accessories of 52 mm in diameter.

Overall, the V1’s performance is satisfactory. Starting lasts three seconds. The shutter lag (time autofocus included) is on average 0.6 seconds but can reach nearly 3 seconds when using the up laser dot in low light. The minimum time between shots in JPEG views going from one second to about 2.5 seconds after ten pictures (when the buffer saturated) and can reach 6 seconds when using the flash (taking into account the cooldown). The delay lengthens considerably when it comes to TIFF images since it amounts to 45 seconds! Another inexplicable weakness V1 vis-à-vis its competitors: its Burst Mode 3 Burst outlet in a second, takes exactly three photos, nothing less.

Lacks some sensitivity

The rapidity of shots V1 comes with an excellent autofocus system that uses five distinct areas to determine the focus and that ambient light is good or bad. Partial or total darkness, the impressive setting laser focus functions up to 4.5 m. The development can also be done manually. The zoom is somewhat noisy and controllable position accurately.

The LCD screen of 3.8 cm that shows 98% of the picture is reasonably accurate and usable in a bright outdoor environment. The optical viewfinder is a little dark any more, it lacks parallax correction marks and displays approximately 84% of the scene.

Images of V1 well bear comparison with those of other devices in the category of pentamégapixels. Our test photos appeared sharp and rich in detail with oblique lines and smooth edges. The colors were bright, flesh tones pleasing and in most cases, the exposure time was adequate. The barrel distortion for the shortest focal lengths and pincushion those for the highest focal proved rather weak.

We would like the V1 offers settings below ISO 100. However, this sensitivity, V1 suffers less noise than most other pentamégapixels models. Compared to all other digital cameras, the V1 provides ISO 400 pictures clear enough. The noise increases when the maximum sensitivity (ISO 800). Unfortunately, increasing the contrast, Sony postprocessing algorithms tend to introduce yet more noise.