Sony Cybershot DSC F828 | Digital Camera Review | Adjustments
The Cyber-shot DSC-F828 is a digital camera with that many settings; it makes the photographic heart beat faster. The high resolution of 8 Megapixels, the bright lens with all-round range, pre-set scenes and settings like Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority are ingredients one needs to come to creative results. For those who still didn't find the courage to manually change the settings and who'd rather be safe can chose one of the pre-set scenes like: Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Landscape or Portrait. Under dim lit conditions a night image can be captured on a distance. The emphasis during activating this mode lays on the slower shutter speed so a tripod or small wall is necessary to prevent moved images from happening. When taking pictures of people under dark light circumstances the Twilight Portrait mode is the suitable scene to chose. At this setting a faster shutter speed is used but beside that also the internal flash is used to enlighten the foreground. One, who would like to use the camera to capture the beautiful panoramic views in the surroundings of Altea (Spain) where I was testing the DSC-F828, can use the 28mm wide angle and activate the Panorama mode. Far away subjects will be focussed on, reaching a depth of field as large as possible. The last scene setting is the Portrait mode, when emphasis is put on the vague background and the subject is captured sharp and clear.
Of course the DSC-F828 can do more than photographing on cruise control. The real possibilities of this digital giant come forward when aperture priority, shutter priority or complete manual operation is activated. The aperture range to choose from begins at a respectable f2.0 (Wide angle) to f8. Shutter speed can be adjusted to a value between 1/2000 and 30 seconds. I would have liked to have seen a faster shutter speed from a minimum of 1/4000, more so in combination with a bright f2.0 wide angle. The sunny circumstances on the beaches of Spain, even in March, get peaks in fast shutter speeds. The images I want to make with an aperture of f2.0 in the aperture priority mode, need some editing afterwards to keep the high contrast, those images get somewhat over-exposed.
Sony has equipped the camera with a lens that can be referred to in one word: magnificent. The brightness that gives just that little bit of extra light is a very welcoming part. The 7x optical range, 28-200mm compared with a 35mm camera, gives the photographer every freedom to decide on a composition. In spite of the large focal range the minimum focal distance is only 2cm from a subject. The macro function is the key that opens the door to macro photography. One who is experiencing this world for the first time will learn to appreciate the amazing world of one square meter around him or her after the first amazement. We see a bit of distortion in wide angle, however not very disturbing and comparable to the experience I have with wide angle lenses. Some (sunny) images show some colour fringing after extremely enlarging a detail of an image. This critic you can take in two ways. First in practice very few users will search there monitor with a magnifying glass, but some users will say: "yes, it is visible." Second way is to print the image that showed the colour shifting. And the print of this image is simply perfect! High sharpness, good detail, and rich contrast colours. Some distortions or so-called negative features like noise and colour shifting can always be brought forward by enlarging a detail of an image. But if we finally do what is logical to do with a camera: print the images, all the negative features disappear like snow in summer. The macro images are also sharp and if stepped down on the aperture even sharp on the edges. The internal flash can not be used at this extreme close-up distance because the extra light goes over the subject. A minimum flash distance of 50cm is needed.
Beside the optical zoom the DSC-F828 also features different versions of a digital zoom: the digital precision zoom as well as the smart zoom. The digital precision zoom enlarges the image twice compared with the selected optical zoom of that moment. The maximum zoom is 14x (twice 7x optical). It is not advisable to use this setting often because the image quality drops. The smart zoom is a function that puts the emphasis more on the image quality. Thus enabling to zoom into a subject without reducing the image quality. In fact this function is more or less the replacement of the optical zoom. Of course the optical zoom has our preference but it is interesting that by means of improved algorithms the quality of digital zooming increases.
Beside the possibility to take still images the camera also has a movie mode. The camera features three qualities in which the movie can be recorded, namely: 160x112, 640x480 and 640x480 Fine. The latter setting is only possible when using a Memory Stick PRO or Microdrive storage medium. In the starting days of digital imaging recording a short movie of 10 seconds was really something, nowadays the resolution is sufficient to show the movie on a large television screen, but there are also different editing possibilities inside the camera to edit the movie (delete, delete frames, divide).
A new function on the DSC-F828 is the support of the PictBridge standard. It can be found through the Set-up menu of the camera and is also referred to as USB Direct Print. This function enables connecting the camera directly onto a printer that supports PictBridge in order to directly print the image from the camera onto the printer. During the last shows, like PMA in Las Vegas and CeBIT in Hannover, Germany, it turned out that PictBridge is fully established.