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Sony DSC-S70 DIGITAL CAMERA review
(by Mike Slocombe, Internet Magazine, Feb 2001)
Building on the success of their earlier Cybershot digital camera series, the latest Sony DSC-S70 camera eschews the groovy swivel lens and ultra compact shape of its predecessors and goes for a more traditional appearance - but don't be fooled by its conservative looks, this puppy is packed with the latest features and innovations!
Image resolution has been bumped up to an impressive 3.3 megapixels, with the superb Carl Zeiss 3x f2~2.5 zoom lens (equivalent to 34-102mm on a 35mm camera) producing some of the sharpest pictures I've ever seen from a digital camera.
Battery life has also been extended way past the competition with a mighty 120+ minutes per charge with a nifty 90 minutes recharge time using Sony's superb InfoLithium battery: compare that with NiMH batteries which usually conk out after an hour and take an age to recharge.
Battery life can be conserved further by using the new optical viewfinder, while a handy LED display on the top plate provides a readout of exposure modes, memory stick and battery status.
Most of the action however takes place on the bright 2 inch colour LCD monitor at the rear where most of the advanced controls can be accessed via a rocker button.
These include a slew of exposure options, including Program, Aperture and Shutter Speed modes, spot metering, night, panfocus and landscape modes, several flash settings (including external sync) and macro focusing right down to 4cm.
This level of control makes the camera a truly creative tool, capable of matching the output of far more expensive cameras.
Images are recorded onto Sony's proprietary Memory Stick and can be easily transferred to your PC by dragging and dropping the files using the supplied MGI PhotoSuite software and USB link.
TIFF or JPEG images taken at the highest 2,048 x 1,536 resolution will produce superb quality 10" x 8" prints but they'll quickly fill up the stingy 8 meg Memory Stick supplied. Serious users will soon be tempted to invest in larger capacity Memory Sticks or use lower resolution settings.
Files can also be saved in 'text mode' which makes it easier to read photographed text by saving the image as a black and white GIF file and 'email mode' which captures an additional smaller, 320 x 240 image for faster e-mail transmission.
For many web authors the built in 'movie mode' may prove a tempting prospect as it makes it a cinch to film small MPEGs for a website, capturing up to 15 seconds of action (with sound) at 320 x 240 pixels (60 secs at 160 x 120) ready for editing on your PC using the bundled MGI VideoWave suite.
Overall, this is one of the best value digital cameras on the market, offering both point and shoot ease and enough advanced options to keep even the most adventurous photographer happy.
Output quality is outstanding and its multimedia capabilities make it all the more tempting for web authors.
Rating (out of five): FIVE STARS
PROS: Superb quality, long battery life, advanced controls
CONS: only supplied with 8 meg memory
(A more detailed review is available at the excellent dpreview.com website)
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