Readers of my reviews will know I'm not a huge fan of digital zoom as it's often a badly implemented and seldom used (by owners) marketing "ploy" to sell cameras which don't have an optical zoom. The CD1000 features a huge 10 x optical zoom, as such it's only one of two 2 megapixel digital cameras to share this accolade, the other being the Olympus C-2100UZ. On top of this it has a smooth range of digital zooms which can be used.
They are however simply cropping (selecting the mid part of the image) and sampling-up, the only advantage in doing digital zoom inside the camera is (a) if you don't have any photo software to magnify (and interpolate) the image or (b) to digitally zoom without zooming the JPEG artifacts.
|Full optical zoom (360 mm as 35 mm equiv. focal length)|
|Full optical zoom + 2 x digital zoom (720 mm as 35 mm equiv. focal length)|
Not sure why you'd want digital zoom on top of the amazing 10 x available, but I suppose it's useful if you shoot at lower resolutions (1024 x 768 or 640 x 480).
Aperture Priority Mode
Aperture priority is where you designate the aperture and the camera calculates the best shutter speed, if the exposure is outside of the cameras range (either over or under exposing) the aperture will flash on the LCD screen. Used properly Aperture Priority can be invaluable as it has a direct effect on depth of field (the distance in front and behind the focal point which will be in focus when taking the shot).
The CD1000 has a good range of apertures. Useful in good light, but crippled in medium to low light because of a lower shutter speed limit of 1/30s in Aperture Priority mode (a common complaint of the current range of Sony digital cameras) ... Why, I'm not sure, but it means that unless you have good light you'll not be using small apertures (or using shutter priority mode to attempt to achieve the right shot). Available apertures: F2.8, 3.4, 4.0, 4.8, 5.6, 6.8, 8.0, 9.6, 11.
Aperture Priority mode is accessed through the Program AE button. A basic example of aperture priority is shown below for more read my digital photography glossary:
|Exposure: 1/30s, F2.8
(Less depth of field)
|Exposure: 1/4s, F11.0
(More depth of field)
It's also worth noting that I DIDN'T use Aperture Priority mode to achieve the shots above (I used Shutter Priority), that's because we wouldn't have been able to take the second shot at 1/4s, in Aperture mode the lowest shutter speed the camera would allow is 1/30s...
Twilight+ mode (low light) / Long Exposures
As with other Sony digital cameras the CD1000 features two Night modes, Twilight and Twilight+. Twilight seems to lock shutter speed at 1/30 sec, Twilight+ allows for longer exposures (up to two seconds with ISO locked at 100). In this mode the LCD refresh rate halves and a brighter preview image appears to be built by combining two frames. Below are some samples of Twilight+ mode, the last sample was using Shutter Priority at 2 seconds shutter speed.
|Twilight+ mode, 1/8s, F2.8, reported ISO 80|
|Shutter Priority, 8s, F2.8, reported ISO 80, first shot|
|Shutter Priority, 8s, F2.8, reported ISO 80, second shot 20 mins later, camera cooler|
Twilight+ works pretty well (as we've seen in other Sony digital cameras). I had to switch to Shutter Priority to capture the last two shots as Twilight+ is limited to a maximum 2 second exposure. Using the "let the camera cool down" trick works just as well with the CD1000, the last two shots were taken on a cool night (about 10 degrees Celsius) first one just a minute after taking the camera outside, the second after leaving the camera to cool down for 20 minutes. (Cool CCD = Less noise)