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Sony have this to say about the camera:
"Get superior battery life with the powerful Cyber-shot® DSC-S60 digital camera from Sony. Featuring Stamina® technology, it provides up to 110 shots with the supplied alkaline batteries and up to 550 shots with optional NiHM rechargeable batteries. Other highlights of the DSC-S60 include an amazingly detailed 4.1 Megapixel image capture, 3X optical zoom Carl Zeiss® Vario-Tessar® lens, 32 Megabytes of built-in memory3, and a huge 2-inch LCD monitor4. It also includes Sonys own Real Imaging Processor for fast start-up, fast shutter speeds, and maximized battery performance."
You can find more information on their website.
The Camera: It's
fairly compact and made out of silver/grey plastic.
Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax PC-550 35mm automatic.
Specifications / Features:
Average box contents
- a case, and recharagable batteris would have been nice.
Battery usage: Up to 100 images with alkaline batteries and 440 images with fully charged Ni-Mh batteries according to Sony (this is slightly better than the S90) - as this camera takes AA batteries I would highly recommend you get some high power Ni-Mh rechargable batteries and a charger to go with this camera. Battery life seemed very good - I managed about 90+ photos using the supplied Alkaline batteries.
Menu Options / Modes: The camera mode is selected using the rotating dial.
Photo mode/menu: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown on the right below:
Screen / LCD display in photo mode: (shown on the left) The screen is a good resolution (115k), and updates smoothly - the colours appear accurate. There is a live histogram available and the screen is clear and the text and menus are easy to read. Optical Viewfinder: The electronic viewfinder is a bit small for me as I wear glasses, however it's not as small as some I've seen.
Photo menu options are: Exposure compensation, Focus (Multi, Center, 0.5m, 1m, 3m, 7m, infinite), Metering mode, White balance, ISO, Picture Quality (Fine, Standard), Photo mode (Multi burst, burst, normal), Flash level, Picture effect (Sepia, Black and White, Normal), Saturation, Contrast, Sharpness.
Further photo options can be accessed in the Camera setup menu, as shown below. The options are: AF mode, Digital Zoom, Date/Time, Red eye reduction, AF-illuminator, Auto Review, and Enlarged Icon.
Setup menu options: (shown on the right, above) LCDbacklight (Bright, Normal, Dark), Beep, Language, Initialize, File number, USB connect, Video out, Clock Set. There's also a 'Memory Stick Tool' menu, the options are: Format, Create REC folder, Change REC folder, and Copy.
Movie size options are: Quality (640 Fine, 640 (Standard), and 160. Further options are: Exposure, Focus, Metering, White Balance and Effect.
Playback (Review) mode/menu: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown on the right, below:
Playback mode: Scrolling through the photos is quick. The zoom is fairly quick up to 5x.
Playback menu options: Folder, Protect, DPOF, Print, Slide, Resize, Rotate and Divide.
Picture Size / Quality: The camera takes the following size pictures, and the following number of images will fit on the 32mb memory provided with the camera:
You can fit a small number of images on the 32mb memory card - a larger memory card is definitely recommended, unless you want to use the lower image sizes / higher compression options in order to fit more pictures in memory. There is a good choice of image sizes, and there is a good choice regarding image compression.
A larger memory card
is relatively cheap, and highly recommended, I would recommend at a bare
minimum a 128mb or 256mb memory card, and preferably a 512mb memory card,
or larger, especially considering the relatively low prices - the larger
the memory card, the more photos you will be able to take. If you are
likely to go on holiday then the largest memory card you can afford would
definitely be worth investing in, as you don't always know when you will
next be at a computer. Find the latest prices from Amazon.co.uk: 256mb,
Speed: The camera is fairly quick to switch on and take photos. The screen updates are quick and smooth (in good light). The playback mode is also fairly quick. Playback mode allows you to zoom as close as 5x. The camera has a quick continuous shooting mode. The camera shutter response seemed fairly quick. Overall the camera is fairly quick, slightly quicker than the Canon Powershot A520, but not as quick as the Canon Digital IXUS 30.
Ease of use: The camera is easy to use, although the camera does have a lot of options and features. The controls on the back of the camera are fairly easy to use. The camera is compact although not as compact as other cameras. The menus are responsive, easy to use, and the options are big enough and easy enough to see clearly. The modes are easy to access, quick and simple - there's a fully automatic mode as well as various scene modes for simple point and shoot operation.
Ergonomics and Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The buttons are fairly easy to use, and they are in a good position. There seems to be the right amount of buttons. The buttons feel okay, the shutter release is quite decent. The buttons are labelled fairly well. I thought the camera felt very good ergonomically, although it seemed quite heavy.
Image Quality: Here are some sample photos/video(s) taken in various settings, such as Inside, Noise, Outside, Zoom, Macro, Movie to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Larger versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the new gallery!
Inside: The camera has good colour. It has a powerful flash, and copes well with group photos. The camera did a good job at focusing the majority of the time. Red-eye didn't seem to be a problem. Noise seemed quite low.
Noise: Noise is generally a bad thing - it removes detail, and gives a grainy effect over the image. With digital cameras noise can be a real problem as digital camera noise is often made out of blue, red or green dots. As the ISO setting increases, pictures tend to have more noise. Noise is most noticeable in dark areas of photos. The camera has an Automatic mode for ISO levels, and manual ISO settings (ISO80, 100, 200, and 400) - below you'll find the noise test image, plus actual pixel crops from the image taken at different ISO settings.
Noise levels appear low at ISO80 through to ISO200. At ISO400 noise is visible, but still quite low, although it appears as though detail may be being lost due to noise reduction.
Outside, the camera had very good colour, with good contrast and saturation. There was good detail, although images were slightly soft. Noise seemed low. I didn't notice jpeg artefacts in the images.
Zoom: This camera has a 3x optical zoom lens and a built in 2x digital zoom - in the case of this camera the digital zoom basically takes a smaller area of the photo and enlarges it using software blurring the image so that it is not pixellated. Generally it's best to avoid using digital zoom as it degrades the quality of the image and, often, better results can be obtained by using a photo package such as Adobe Photoshop. I've included examples below to show what the zoom is capable of. The camera also has a 'Smart Zoom' mode which enables a 10x total zoom in VGA mode.
Lens noise and zoom: The lens is quiet. The lens is quick at going from wide to telephoto - there are 8 steps between wide and telephoto. This gives you good control on how you frame your subject.
Other Image Quality issues: Purple fringing was very low.
Macro: To use this camera in macro mode, you switch to macro mode - you can use the macro mode at wide angle, all the way to telephoto. You can use the flash in macro mode. The camera can be roughly as close as 8cm away from the subject from the front of the lens in macro mode.
The macro mode is fairly average, in that you can't get very close to the subject, but the camera does a good job of toning down the flash, and colours and detail are good.
- 30fps with sound, when used with a Sony Memory Stick Pro card. You can't
use the optical zoom / digital zoom whilst filmign. The movie is recorded
as an .MPG file. Length is only limited by the memory card size. The quality
of the movie(s) is very good - the VGA mode is also good, 30fps is also
Summary: The Sony Cybershot DSC-S60 / S80 is a good all-round 4 megapixel digital camera, with a very good movie mode, and very good battery life. Image quality is good, and the camera offers some manual controls, but unfortunately lacks custom white balance and manual focus. The camera is on the expensive side, especially if you take into consideration the high cost of Sony Memory Sticks. The Sony Cybershot S60 is a good all round camera, and if you don't mind the price, then I would recommend this camera.
If you require more control, such as manual focus, custom white balance, and would like more zoom power, and a smaller metal body, then you would be better off with the Canon Powershot A520.
What I like:
What I don't like:
Remember to have a look at the test photos in the new gallery.