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  • Sony DSC-M1 Cybershot
Camera: DIGITAL STILL CAMERA, 5.1 MEGA PIXELS, 3.0x ZOOM, MPEGMOVIE 4TV

Manufacturer: Sony Corporation (Japan)»www.sonystyle.com/intershoproot/···pecs.pdf

Supplier: B&H Photo (New York)»www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/control···9&is=REG

Price: $549.95 (+shipping)

Summary Specifications:
Carl Zeiss(r) Vario-Tessar(r) Lens 38-114mm (35mm Equivalent)
2.5" Free Angle Hybrid LCD Monitor
1/24" 5.1 Megapixel Effective Super HAD (tm) CCD
Memory Stick Duo(tm) Media (32MB included)
Rechargeable InfoLithium Battery

Dimensions:
2" x 4 1/2" x 1 1/16" (wxhxd)

Weight:
7.5 oz. (including battery, media and strap)

Background:
The DSC-M1 became available in December 2004 -- about the same time our nine year old camcorder started eating Hi8 videotape in its pre-holiday test run. We were already looking for a pocket/purse camera, the DSC-T1 featured in Sony's long-running TV commercial, "Slo Mo" with Steven Tyler. Our holiday budget would not handle such a pricey point & shoot plus the camcorder replacement. We ordered the DSC-M1 as a compromise solution.

Camera:
The packaging is compact and well-designed. Following initial use instructions is easy. A small stenciled icon near media slot assures proper insertion of the tiny memory media. The slot has no cover, so the media can be checked at a glance. The Battery compartment cover's flexible hinge does not inspire cofidence and takes care in closing. Over-
night charging is recommended before turning on the camera.

The DSC-M1's innovative design starts on the outside. Closed for carrying, the body's solid feel and brushed, dark gray metal finish impart a sense of quality. Handling is eased by the recessed strap connection and rounded corners. A standard tripod mount is provided. The lens, LCD Monitor and control buttons are concealed when closed.

Rotating the LCD monitor 90 degrees turns the camera on and reveals its unique controls inside. It is ready to point and shoot instantly. The camera has two (2) trigger buttons, "PHOTO" on the left and "MOVIE" on the right. It is that simple.

Holding the camera vertically with the index fingertip tucked under the LCD monitor, the thumb easily finds both triggers and the zoom slider between them.

The large, bright LCD monitor adjusts for comfortable shooting and playback viewing, even in difficult lighting. Swiveling 270 degrees, it can turn parallel to the lens for perfectly framed self-portraits. There is no viewfinder.

A secondary control toggle is located just under each trigger button. Toggling "5 SEC" under the "MOVIE" trigger limits video clip length for e-mailing and memory conservation. The "HYBRID" toggle under the "PHOTO" trigger allows it to capture several seconds of video, a still "freeze-frame" image and then a few more seconds of video with one click. The internal memory buffer actually records the video scene BEFORE the trigger is pressed, so the still image is saved at the correct moment followed by more video afterwards.

Rotating the monitor back into the closed position turns off the camera and automatically covers the lens.

Output:
The CyberShot Station provides connections for USB, video, audio and power cables.
Included software is easily installed and performs basic functions well.
Still image quality is excellent for a point & shoot camera.
640x480 movie video appears equal to Hi8 on widescreen TV and audio is stereo.
Hybrids are fun, producing a movie clip and a still image file.

Real-world test:
Our first outing with the DSC-M1: a weekend visit to New Orleans. It goes everywhere we go. It is the first camera I can carry in my pocket and forget I have it with me until I need it. I shoot hundreds of still images and movies. Daylight shots of the architecture are stunning. Movies of Bourbon Street at night include the sounds and movement. Hybrids capture our laughter.

Surprises:
Lefties can use it comfortably.
Vertical format is for still photos only.
When its too dark for hand-held stills, it's not too dark for a video.

Pros:
Its portability and speed yields quality still images and movies that would be missed by other cameras.
Decision to shoot still images or movies can be made on the fly without having to carry or switch cameras.

Cons:
Included Memory Stick capacity is extremely limited.
High price of camera and proprietary media.

Essential Accessories:
Two (2) 512MB Memory Stick Pro Duo Media
Spare NP-FT1 InfoLithium Battery Pack

Also Considered:
Sony has reduced the price of the DSC-T1 which shares the DSC-M1's still image electronics to $399.95.
Sony's $349.99 DCR-TRV460 Digital8 camcorder offers similar video and media features plus image stabilization not available on the DSC-M1.

Conclusion:
The Sony DSC-M1 produces excellent stills and movies, but must be held to be appreciated.

Expand got feedback?

by viofam See Profile edited by tmpchaos See Profile
last modified: 2005-02-06 02:31:58