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The Sony DSC S650
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You are currently in Film, Photography, Digital Animation, Broadcasting / Production
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Thu Oct 04, 2007 11:42 am Reply and quote this post
The Sony DSC S650 is a seven megapixel starter digital camera. It has astandard three times zoom lens. It is easy to use and likely to appealto anyone looking for a less expensive camera from one of the leadingbrands. The DSC S650 is on the large side to fit into a pocket, but iscompact enough to be carried around without a problem.
The DSC S650 produced quite a strange set of test photos. For once Iwas more impressed by the indoor shots in poor light than with any ofthe other test photos I took.

My biggest gripe about the outdoor scenic type shots is the focusing.The pictures are simply not as sharp as I like to see. This is not justtowards the edges of each shot but even towards the centre I feel theshots could be sharper. This is true of all three shots, one with thezoom lens half extended, one with the zoom not used at all and thefinal shot with the lens fully extended.

Another issue I have is that many of the test shots could have beenbrighter. This is true of all the outdoor test shots to some degree,but especially the second test without the zoom in use.

The glare of the sun also causes the camera a problem. The shots weretaken on a very sunny day, but there is still a level of detail lostthat I think could be improved on.

Colours are strong. This can be seen in the skies and with the darkergreen foliage in the outdoor shots. The test shot for colour shows thestrength of the blue, but unfortunately areas that should be white havea blue tinge and areas that should be yellow have a green tinge as theblue mixes in.

Next up is the outdoor portrait. This is another photo where I feel itcould have been brighter. I have no problems with the skin tones, but Iwould like to see the entire photo lightened up a notch or two.

Oddly the two lowlight photos are the best. Perhaps the camera works atits optimum with the flash on. The indoor portrait is well focusedalthough it could also be lighter. There is no evidence of red eye inthe shot.

In extreme lowlight the camera is able to focus well again. In thistest the camera is fairly close to the beer bottles and the camera isable to lock onto the subject and focus successfully.

Focusing is not a problem with the macro shot. Again the problem is a lack of light.

Looking at the two test shots taken with higher ISO settings they are abig disappointment. Whilst it is rare for a camera to do well in thistest the results show a lot of noise and deterioration even at ISO 400.At ISO 1000 the photo hits the dreadful mark.

Shutter Lag and Recycling Times
The shutter lag delay for taking a single photo was 0.41 seconds. Thisis just above average. For five photos it took a respectable 8.30seconds. Turning the flash on and repeating the tests is a whole newball game. Times increased dramatically to 2.21 seconds for a singlephoto and 22.67 seconds for five photos. Sometimes it seemed to take anage to get the camera to focus with the flash turned on.

You can compare this camera to other models by taking a look at the Shutter Lag Comparison Table.

The 3x optical zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 35 - 105mm in35mm format. The zoom power of the DSC S650 can be increased by using afeature called smart zoom. More and more smart zoom becomes availableas you decrease the resolution you are shooting at. A maximum of 14xsmart zoom is available at the lowest resolution. 6x digital zoom isanother alternative.

For lining up shots there is a 2" LCD screen. This is made up of115,000 pixels. I must say I found the screen more or less impossibleto see in bright sunlight. It was by far the worst camera in this areaout of the ten I was testing at the time.

The flash works up to 3.5m. This falls to 2m when the zoom lens is inuse. Flash modes are Auto, Forced Flash, Slow Syncro and No Flash. Redeye reduction is also available.

There is the usual selection of scene modes. These are Twilight,Twilight portrait, Soft snap, Landscape, Beach, Snow and HighSensitivity. By selecting the type of scene you are about to photographthe camera is able to use what it considers to be the optimum settingsfor the shot.

Shutter speeds and aperture size are controlled automatically. Theshutter speed works in the range 1 - 1/2000 seconds. The maximumaperture is f/2.8 - f/4.8. For close up work you can get to within 5cmof the subject.

A number of more advanced functions give you access to ExposureCompensation (+/-2.0 EV, 1/ 3 EV step),White Balance (Auto, Daylight,Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Flash), Metering (Multi Pattern andSpot) and ISO (Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1000). You can also adjustlevels of sharpness.

There is a burst mode. This allows you to take up to three shots at amaximum speed of 1.5 frames per second. You can also use the self timerwhen you would like to appear in the shot. The self timer offers a twoor ten second delay. The DSC S650 also comes with a couple of specialresolutions. The first is for playing back photos on a widescreentelevision. The second takes photos the ideal size for making 6 x 4"prints.

You can record movies at a maximum resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. Thetop speed is 30 frames per second. Sound can be recorded and althoughzoom cannot be used while the movie is in progress it can be appliedbefore shooting starts.

You can connect the camera to a compatible printer and computer. Icould not find a way of connecting the camera to a television set.

Contributed by sa_rocky, iVirtua Ultimate Contributor
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