Sony digital camera opinions?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Cathy, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. Cathy

    Cathy Guest

    I've been looking at a couple of Sony cameras which I quite like- newer
    ones that came out not long ago. They use AA batteries and one comes
    with a charger for AA batteries, but they told me in the store, you can
    use any any kind of AA chargeables. The memory stick is proprietary to
    Sony which I knew. I saw a message here that gave me the impression
    that a Sony may not be such a good idea because of proprietary memory
    sticks. I know they are more money than SD or CF, but I would probably
    only get a 128 MB memory stick, which is not much more money than the
    SD.
    As you go up to higher memory cards, there is more difference in money,
    but I doubt I would be going any higher than 128MB. What are peoples
    experiences or opinions here of Sony digital cameras?

    Cathy
     
    Cathy, Apr 19, 2005
    #1
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  2. I have had a P200 for two months and am very pleased with it. It
    doesn't use AA batteries but its lithium battery lasts for about 370
    shots or 3.5 hours of viewing time on the LCD. I haven't come close to
    draining a battery yet. The newer Sony's all seem to have very good
    battery life.

    As for the picture quality, I have been very satisfied with the P200.
    It's not on par with the photos from our Digital Rebel but they're
    surprisingly good for a point and shoot camera. I doubt you would be
    disatisfied with most of the compact cameras available today. The hard
    part is determing what features are most important to you and then
    finding the camera that has them.
     
    Michael Johnson, PE, Apr 19, 2005
    #2
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  3. Cathy

    Cathy Guest

    The girl in the camera shop today, said that the two Sony's I looked at,
    both used AA alkalines and AA rechargeables, and with one of the Sony's
    it came with a charger and 2 AA rechargeables. The other one just came
    with rechargeable batteries but you would have to buy a charger. It was
    cheaper than the one with the charger and rechargeables. The girl said
    that the newer Sony's are mostly coming out with AA batteries.
    I like that idea more than proprietary chargers and batteries. I was
    wondering about the memory stick and how it performs as compared to SD
    and CF. I checked the price of a 128MB memory stick, (not the Pro
    version) and it was not much more than the 128MB SD memory cards, as the
    MB's went up, so did the difference in price between memory stick and
    SD. Also, is there a big difference between memory stick and Pro
    version? which do you use?
    Have you taken any indoor pictures with a flash? and is red eye a
    problem with flash?

    I doubt you would be
     
    Cathy, Apr 19, 2005
    #3
  4. Cathy

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Sony products are usually more expensive than others, partly because of
    the general policy toward proprietary everything in their products. For
    that reason, avoid buying their products. I was vastly amused by my
    brother in law with his Sony 717 at the family christmas party, changing
    his memory stick 'end' every few pictures, which I snapped happily with
    my Kodak which gets 300 pictures on a 256meg card.
    I believe some of his pictures are included on my webshots albums. Just
    look for the ones with the overly intense reds with the orange tint.
     
    Ron Hunter, Apr 19, 2005
    #4
  5. Cathy

    Justin Thyme Guest

    Most low-end sony camera's have pretty ordinary lenses. Don't even bother
    with one unless it is a higher end unit with the zeiss lens. Even then,
    you're pretty much paying more to get less compared to Canon, Nikon, Pentax,
    Olympus, Casio, Kodak, Fuji (did I leave anyone out?). The one thing sony
    have in their favour is that they are "lifestyle" cameras, ie trendy. This
    doesn't correlate to "good image quality" or "well featured". So if you want
    to look "cool" in the teenage sense of the word, buy a sony. If you want to
    get better features in a cheaper camera, buy anything else.
    BTW, memory stick is absolutely hopeless - many models are limited to a
    maximum of 128MB. Some of the higher end models overcome this by using the
    newer and even more expensive memory stick pro. Memory stick is also the
    slowest format by far. It is particularly noticeable at the lab when trying
    to read photos off memory stick - they chug along and seem to take forever.
    Every other format flies along. I've struck another problem too - quite a
    few sony cameras seem to have a proprietary JPG format, where if you open
    files directly off the card with anything other than the sony software, they
    will appear with the image tiled 4 or 9 times over the image area.
    Basically sony cameras are crap - get one if you want to look cool, but if
    you want to take photos, get anything else.
     
    Justin Thyme, Apr 19, 2005
    #5
  6. Cathy

    Larry Guest

    I have used a Sony F-717 for several years, as well as a Sony V-1 and a Sony
    F-828.

    The only one of these that uses anything other than a memory stick is the
    828. I have not found this to be a problem.

    Here where I am (Northeast USA) memory sticks are available at the local Wal-
    Mart for prices within pennies of the same size CF-card or SD-card, from
    several manufacturers other than Sony. I have not had any problem with these
    memory sticks, and I have a bunch of them (I think they are Lexar, but I dont
    have them here to check).
     
    Larry, Apr 19, 2005
    #6
  7. Cathy

    Larry Guest


    This is a load of CRAP-O-LA from someone who doesnt (obviously) know how to
    read a memory stick, and probably hate Sony for no good reason.
     
    Larry, Apr 19, 2005
    #7
  8. Cathy

    chrlz Guest

    I'll also happily stick up for the Sony cameras (even though I don't
    currently have one!), and the lenses on their low-end cameras are the
    equal or better of most similar cameras. And they supply the ccd
    sensors for an awful lot of those other cameras.. Rather than accept
    what you read here, get over to dpreview.com or imaging-resource.com
    and actually look at the reviews and the samples there. I just checked
    dpreview's conclusion on a typical mid-range Sony (DSC-L1), which uses
    a Zeiss lens by the way, as do most of their range.. DPReview said:
    ================= quote
    ...the L1 compares well with competitors such as the Canon SD300 and
    Olympus Stylus Verve Digita (both of which sell for slightly more)
    ================= endquote

    Memory Stick Pro are faster than the standard ones, and offer larger
    capacities. But for the cameras the OP is considering, the standard
    sticks should have adequate speed. It is hard to generalise given all
    the speeds now available, but in general terms the standard memory
    stick is *a bit* slower than standard cf/sd/xd cards, but the MS Pro is
    faster.. I suspect Justin's problem above relates more to his
    card-reader's system than to the memory sticks.

    I have had an extremely good run out of their gear - it is generally
    reliable, well-designed and tough (yes, even the low-end of their
    range), and even though I now have an Oly camera, the camera that I
    think I prefer over all those I have used is the classic Sony DSC-F717
    - I miss the old girl. Bad reds? Only if you don't know how to
    post-process, and use a red-challenged printer... The older F707 did
    have over-saturated reds, but even that was easy to deal with. Again
    take it from DPReview (admittedly an old review..) who said:
    =========================== quote
    Even a year on from my DSC-F707 review I find myself unable to name a
    new five megapixel prosumer digital camera which takes better pictures
    than the DSC-F717, and that is saying a lot. The key to the success of
    the DSC-F707 and F717 is the flexibility and quality of that fast F2.0
    - F2.4 five times optical zoom lens. It's sharp and fast with a
    trademark silent focus and zoom system which must be carried over from
    Sony's camcorder line. Sony has also proved that they listen to users,
    the F707 wasn't without its problems, a few of which were fixed in that
    model, the rest of which appear to have been addressed in the F717.
    Most notable is colour balance which is greatly improved, no more
    washed out and oversaturated reds, no more 'glowing greens'
    ====================== endquote

    And maybe it's different in the US, but here in Oz, the Sony cameras in
    the low-to-medium quality range are *exceptionally* well-priced
    compared to the competition. And if anything, I think Olympus makes
    the trendiest looking cameras, eg that mju thingy..

    Anyway, take all these posts with a grain of salt - we're all biased!
    And remember my favorite saying:
    "The plural of anecdote is NOT data."

    If you are interested in a particular camera, get over to the above
    mentioned websites, and look at the reviews. There is much less bias
    over there..!
     
    chrlz, Apr 19, 2005
    #8
  9. Cathy

    Ed Mullikin Guest

    I've had the Sony DSC-F717 and liked it quite well. I sold it and bought
    the Sony DSC-F828 and I like it fine. They do make a 256 Memory Stick which
    I have. It requires one to change a switch position from the A to the B
    position when "one side" fills up so, in effect, it is two 128s in the same
    case.
     
    Ed Mullikin, Apr 19, 2005
    #9
  10. Cathy

    Cathy Guest

    But if he had a 256 MB memory stick, wouldn't that take the same amount
    of pics that your Kodak takes? I have looked at a few Kodaks, but almost
    all, except the DX 7440 which is too bulky for me, are all 1.6" LCD
    which is much too small for me.
    You mean his camera didn't take good pictures? The Sony pictures I've
    seen on review sites, have all been good. Maybe the newer Sony cameras
    are better?

    Cathy
     
    Cathy, Apr 19, 2005
    #10
  11. I was going to respond but there is so much disinformation in his post
    that I didn't know where to start. I think you summed it up well enough
    for both of us.

    I looked long and hard at the various ultra compact cameras currently on
    the market before deciding on the P200. I have a predisposition for the
    Canon brand but, IMO, the P200 is basically on par with the SD500 from
    the aspect of picture quality. Plus it has manual control for
    shutter/aperture (nothing fancy though), gives a live histogram,
    displays shutter/aperture settings before the shot is taken and has very
    good red eye control. Combine this with the P200 battery life, speed
    and $100+ cost advantage over the SD500 and it became an easy choice for me.

    Also, the memory stick wasn't an issue as I only have CF-II cards
    anyway. I would have to buy the SD cards anyway and I found the MS
    cards not that much more expensive.
     
    Michael Johnson, PE, Apr 19, 2005
    #11
  12. Cathy

    Chip Gallo Guest

    I recently sold nearly $2,000 worth of Sony DSC-F717 and gear and got
    about 30 cents on the dollar. I found that the 717 took acceptable
    birthday party photos but when I wanted to shoot ice skating and other
    more demanding subjects, the camera had serious limitations.

    When I used the higher sensitivity settings, it had lots of noise. I
    often had to use Neat Image and that would result in a softer look. The
    color tended toward blue and I found myself doing custom white balance
    with Warm Cards to correct for this.

    The auto focus was unpredictable, even after thousdands of pictures. I
    ended up removing the haze filter in an attempt to get better focus.
    Sometimes it was ok but convervatively half my pictures seemed lacking
    in the focus department.

    If this were a $600 camera (which it essentially was when I sold it),
    these wouldn't be big issues. For a $1,000+ camera I expect more. Of
    course in the digital SLR range, you can easily spend 2 or 3x but you
    will get more realistic color and predictable AF and lower noise too.

    In some ways I like the pictures that my daughter's $250 Fuji E510 takes
    better than the 717. Go figure ...

    Chip Gallo
    www.flickr.com/photos/chipgallo
     
    Chip Gallo, Apr 19, 2005
    #12
  13. I don't know if I would recommend putting too much emphasis on the types
    of bateries a camera uses. The reason is that everything has a downside
    and the AA verses proprietary battery comparison is no different. About
    the only upside to AA's is that you can buy them about anywhere in a
    pinch and the rechargables are cheap. The downside is they are larger,
    heavier and can discharge a good amount if the camera sits for more than
    a couple of weeks. The lithium bateries are lighter, smaller and hold a
    charge for a long period af time. In addition, the Sony lithiums have
    chips in them which allow the camera to tell you exactly how much time
    is left in the battery charge. It is very accurate. Plus I can buy
    spare batteries from ebay for $10-$20 each. Also, because of the great
    battery life of the P200 (as it is on most of Sony's newer cameras) I
    really don't worry about running the battery down. I can store 270
    picture on my 1 gig Memory Stick Pro and since the battery is good for
    370 shots I will run out of memory space well before the battery dies.
    I carry the camera around will me all the time and have found that the
    charge holds up quite well for weeks at a time.

    As for going with the regular or Pro versions of MS, it really depends
    on the camera you buy. On the newer Sony's you will need the Pro
    version, or off-brand compatibles, to take video in the highest quality
    setting (640x480 @ 30 fps). If you don't care about this then the
    regular sticks will work just fine. I use the Pro version so I can use
    the highest quality video option.
    The indoor flash is good up to around 12-15'. This is about average for
    these types of cameras. For the P200 red eye is not a problem. Its
    design has the flash located away from the lense which almost eliminates
    red eye. Some of the other Sony's do have problems with red eye, as do
    most cameras in this class.
     
    Michael Johnson, PE, Apr 19, 2005
    #13
  14. I have zero experience with other Sony cameras. The P200 though seems
    to be a very good camera for a point and shoot. That being said, if I
    am going to be taking pictures that are important to me or in difficult
    circumstances, the Digital Rebel gets the call. I've had it for 18
    months and it has really performed well. IMO, with the Rebel having
    dropped in price now that the XT is out, anyone spending $600+ on a
    digital camera should buy it over any of the non-DSLR units.
     
    Michael Johnson, PE, Apr 19, 2005
    #14
  15. Cathy

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Much of what he says is to the point, but his conclusion doesn't hold
    water. I wouldn't call the Sony 717 crap. HUGH, and cumbersome, and
    poorly balanced, yes, but not crap.
     
    Ron Hunter, Apr 19, 2005
    #15
  16. Cathy

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Oh? Wal-mart sells 1GB Memory Sticks? How much are they? Grin.
     
    Ron Hunter, Apr 19, 2005
    #16
  17. Cathy

    Ron Hunter Guest

    My DX6440 has a 1.8" LCD. Large enough, but I would rather have the 2"
    one on the DX7440. The DX6440 produces files that are between 300k and
    1.7Meg. The Sony 717 makes files that are several meg each in the mode
    he was using, so he was filling his cards several times as fast I was,
    and with the requirement to switch to the other 'half' of the card at
    each 128 meg. It wasn't a pretty sight.
    If I wanted, I could buy a 1GB card. The 256meg card will hold about
    300 pictures. I can't imaging needing 1200 pictures on one card. I
    would be worried about losing a whole vacation.
    The pictures he took all seemed to have great resolution, but the color
    was a bit 'off', especially on the red end. Perhaps he had the wrong
    settings as he just got the camera.
     
    Ron Hunter, Apr 19, 2005
    #17
  18. Cathy

    Justin Thyme Guest

    I have noticed the extraordinary slow read times with both my Sony laptop
    with it's built in MS reader (if anyone can make a good MS reader, I'd
    expect it to be Sony), and with the machines at Fuji labs.
    BTW, my Sony laptop is a piece of junk too - can't wait for the lease to run
    out to upgrade to a Toshy or something. Supposedly the sony laptops were
    good, that's why i paid premium price for it. Yes the bundled software was
    good, but that's about it. Problems with the laptop include:
    It has a faulty hard drive that cause it to crash requiring a windows reload
    every couple of months. A couple of times a day it will freeze with the hard
    drive clicking. If I run various hard drive diagnostics on it they indicate
    that the HD is faulty. So far, that's ok, everything can have faults
    occasionally, it's been sony's handling of it that sucks - 3 times it has
    been to Sony for repair, 3 times it has come back with the standard recovery
    run with a message saying nothing was wrong. After the 3rd time they said
    they will charge if it goes back again. The warranty has only just run out,
    so I'll shortly be replacing the HD at my cost.
    One of the reloads was required just after I'd moved house and couldn't
    easily find my recovery CD's, so I reloaded with a standard WXP cd. I then
    needed drivers, and the only ones available from Sony's website are ones
    that have been updated since it was released, which was the video driver and
    nothing else. Generic drivers from the manufacturer of the sound card, usb
    ports, firewire port, etc wouldn't work, so my machine was crippled until I
    could find the recovery CD's. Rang Sony who wanted to charge for the call,
    but I convinced them not to - they no longer had recovery CD's available for
    my model (it was only 9 months old by this stage), so all they could suggest
    was sending it off to a repair agent for them to reload it, which would be a
    charged service. Alternatively perhaps I should consider upgrading. Luckily
    after a couple of weeks of hunting, I found the box where my CD's had been
    packed.
    Every other WXP-Home laptop I've encountered could be upgraded to XP Pro by
    just running the XP Pro upgrade CD - not the Sony - doing that to it causes
    it to constantly blue screen until the WXP-H recovery is run back on it.
    Now, onto the problems with their cameras - apart from the dreadfully slow
    read speeds. My wife _had_ a DSCP-100, and a work colleague has one too. a
    couple of friends also have other various models. None of us can print from
    any of the photo-labs if the image has been taken at anything other than the
    top resolution. At any lower resolution, the image that is read from any
    program other than Sony's software, will be tiled either 4 or 9 times over
    the image. I haven't struck this with anything other than Sony cameras. The
    simple solution is to shoot at full res all the time - then you don't get as
    many photos on the hopelessly inadequate (and far more expensive than
    everything else) 128MB cards. BTW, when we originally got the camera, MS was
    comparable to other formats for price. about 6 months ago, every other
    format except MS plummetted in price, so now 128MB MS is roughly 3 times the
    price of 128 SD for example. Thankfully we were able to find a sucker who
    paid us nearly what we paid for the DSCP100, the money is now being put
    toward a DSLR, while we happily use our 2MP Kodak DC3400 (which despite the
    lower resolution, takes photos that are clearer, have less noise, and more
    accurate colours) or film SLR in the meantime. My work colleagues with the
    DSCP100 aren't happy with it either, for pretty much the same reasons.
     
    Justin Thyme, Apr 19, 2005
    #18
  19. Cathy

    Cathy Guest

    It would seem to me that AA rechargeables would be good to have if you
    were going somewhere to take photos, or if you were overseas, and you
    would be able to buy AA's anywhere. Seems more practical and you would
    always have them on hand.

    The downside is they are larger,
    The two latest Sony cameras I looked at both have AA batteries and
    charger. Maybe Sony is using AA's more than they used to. If a camera
    takes lithium batteries, I guess you could buy extras. I am pretty sure
    that lithium recharables here, are a lot more money than AA's. I would
    only feel I had to buy extra lithium rechargeables if I was going on
    vacation or to some event, and I don't do these things too often, so it
    may not matter what kind of batteries I get when I think of it.

    Also, because of the great
    I would get a 128MB stick which would be fine for me. I wouldn't be
    taking nearly as many photos as you do.
    You can still get videoo with the non Pro stick can't you?
    I think the camera you have is the style with the lens at one end and
    the flash nearer the other. Thats probably good for not having much red
    eye. But the two new Sonys I looked at, are a different style than the
    older style, and the lens and flash are closer than on the P200. I saw a
    P100 Sony a few months ago. It was red. I liked it, but I was just
    learning about digital cameras then.
    We don't seem to get many colored cameras here, though I don't know why.
    I quite like them.

    Cathy
     
    Cathy, Apr 20, 2005
    #19
  20. Cathy

    Cathy Guest

    Yes, but the DX7440 is a bigger more bulky camera than the DX6440. Its
    much the same as the DX 7640. I've seen the DX 7440 and DX 7640 here at
    a couple of places, but not in many stores. I saw them in a store, but
    never checked them more closely as they are not very compact. They look
    like good cameras though.

    The DX6440 produces files that are between 300k and
    I can imagine.
    Not only that, but you would spend your whole vacation doing nothing but
    taking pictures.

    Cathy
     
    Cathy, Apr 20, 2005
    #20
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