It’s the camera

Quite often I get asked about the camera I use to take the photos at my web site.
So, I thought I would just put this quick page together with some information about
the camera and some eye candy that has nothing to do with synths.

The camera I use is a Sony DSC-S70. I fell in love with it the first day I picked it up.
I have used several other digital cameras and found this to be the best to suit my needs.

The camera has 6 selectable resolutions:
640 X 480 jpg, which normally yields a file around 80Kb
1280 X 960 (1.3 mega-pixel) jpg, file around 550Kb
1200 X 1600 (2.1 mega-pixel) jpg, file around 1.1 Mb
2048 X 1536 (3.1 mega-pixel) jpg, file around 1.45 Mb
2048 3:2 ratio resolution (I never use this one)
2048 X 1536 fully uncompressed tif (about 9.2 Mb). This is what the mags want.

Almost all of the web photos were taken with the medium,1.3 mega pixel resolution and
then the JPG compression turned up (on my PC) to get the file size down around 150K.
The camera by default saves all the jpg in the highest quality mode.

Most people are so concerned about mega-pixel resolution, storage capacity, and the
zoom length, they forget to think about the lens. This camera has a
Carl Zeiss lens. If
you know cameras, you know this = good.

Here are some of the other features I considered critical when I bought the camera:
- Optical viewfinder – You need this in the sunlight
- Manual exposure controls – You have decent control over shutter speed and f-stop.
- External flash connector – In case you want more than the built in flash.
- Built in USB port – I hate adapters. The camera plugs right to the PC and that’s it.
- Rechargeable battery – This one charges right in the camera, it will run the camera
continually for 2.5 hours. Easily a whole day out of photo taking. I purchased
an extra battery, but I have never needed it during a daily outing.
- Screw on adapter lets you use filters like you would on a 35mm camera lens.
I also have a 2-X tele and wide-angle lenses that screw onto this adapter.
- Memory format – this uses the Sony memory stick. A format that will be around
a while looking at Sony’s use of it in PCs and everything.

Here are some things I found on it I didn’t know I needed, but appreciate:
- Diopter correction on the viewfinder – take your glasses off and dial the viewfinder.
- Manual and automatic focus – I find I use automatic all the time. It’s that good.
- Takes short movies – great for internet stuff, has audio too (speaker and mic).
- Light sensitivity is equivalent to about 1600 ASA film – I almost never use flash.
- A / V output – hook it right to your TV. Better than gathering around the PC to look
at family photos. Has a slideshow feature built in. I hooked it to the TV in the hotel
room on vacation to look over the photos I had taken that day.

Here is what I don’t like about the camera:
- Any adapters screwed on the lens, partially block the optical viewfinder.
- The movie feature has some sort of timing issue. They play back too fast on my PC.
Sony has some sort of driver fix. I did not download it as I never use the movie
feature and I didn’t want to take a chance the movie driver would screw up my PC
movies as they work now.
- The time between photos is not quick. The camera takes about 1 ˝ seconds to
adjust the auto focus and exposure. So, if you feel the need to rip off a few frames
rapidly, you would be disappointed.
– Lens extends out when the camera is turned on. It you accidentally turn the camera on without removing the lens cap, you will get an error, and must turn the camera back off to reset the error. However, this is easily remedied by purchasing the screw on adapter. I leave the adapter on the camera at all times as it provides protection for the lens. The lens cap (you have to buy a larger size lens cap) goes on the end of the adapter and the problem of turning the camera on without the lens cap removed disappears. I recommend getting the adapter anyway.

I use the 64Mb memory sticks. They are around $100 each. They down load to the PC
via USB in 3 minutes. They hold 108 of the medium resolution (1.3 mega-pixel) photos.
They hold 43 of the 2048 X 1536 highest resolution photos (jpgs). TIFs – well you only
get 6 of those I think.

Here are some photos I took in Montana and Seattle on vacation summer 2000:

Eye Candy:

High resolution – Rocky mountains: my favorite vacation photo
High resolution – Small waterfall in the Rockies – slow shutter speed
Medium resolution – Night sky in Whitefish: almost dark
Medium resolution – Fireworks
Medium resolution – More fireworks
High resolution – Mountain and lake near Kalispell
Medium resolution – Seattle garden
Medium resolution – Seattle garden

And finally, a link to Digital Photography review’s website review of this camera.
Thanks to Al Wagner for directing me to this:

Oh yes. You will need about $800 if you get one of these.

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