Sony MVC-CD300 Review
The CD300 offers control over the cameras internal sharpening algorithm with a setting of -2 to +2 (minus being less sharpening, positive being more). The samples below are 200% crops of different sharpening levels for the same scene.
|Sharpening 0 (Default)|
Again, as I noted on the previous page the CD300's sharpening algorithm seems to be far less aggressive than most (and all previous Sony digital cameras except the S75), this means we get fewer artifacts and a cleaner image. Obviously if you prefer your images to look sharper straight out of the camera you can leave the sharpening setting set to +1 or +2.
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 CD300 does indeed have optical zoom, and has a range of digital zooms which can be used on top of the standard 3x optical zoom. These zooms range smoothly from nothing to 2.0x. 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, No Digital Zoom, 3x equiv.|
|Full Optical Zoom, 2x Digital Zoom, 6x equiv.|
Aperture Priority (A)
Aperture priority is where you designate the aperture and the camera calculates the best shutter speed. 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). As you adjust the aperture the camera immediately reflects this change in the image on the LCD screen.
The CD300 offers a wide range of apertures. Thankfully Sony have addressed the previously limiting slowest shutter speed of 1/30 sec, now the camera will allow exposures as slow as 8 seconds in aperture priority mode. Available apertures:
- Wide: F2.0, F2.2, F2.5, F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0, F4.5, F5.0, F5.6, F6.3, F7.1, F8.0
- Tele: F2.5, F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0, F4.5, F5.0, F5.6, F6.3, F7.1, F8.0
Aperture priority is now a separate exposure mode selectable by turning the exposure dial to the "A" setting, roll the jog-dial to select an aperture. A basic example of aperture priority is shown below:
|F2.3, 1/60 sec, narrow depth of field||F.8, 1/5 sec, larger depth of field|
Shutter Priority (S)
Shutter priority is where you designate the shutter speed and the camera calculates the correct aperture. Shutter priority is now a separate exposure mode selectable by turning the exposure dial to the "S" setting, roll the jog-dial to select the shutter speed. As you adjust the shutter speed the camera immediately reflects this change in the image on the LCD screen. Available shutter speeds:
- 1/1000, 1/800, 1/640, 1/500, 1/400, 1/320, 1/250, 1/200, 1/160, 1/125, 1/100, 1/80, 1/60, 1/50, 1/40, 1/30, 1/25, 1/20, 1/15, 1/13, 1/10, 1/8, 1/6, 1/5, 1/4, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.8, 1, 1.3, 1.6, 2, 2.5, 3.2, 4, 5, 6, 8 secs
Manual Focus on the CD300 offers 14 steps of focus from 0.1 m to Infinity, pressing the Focus button displays the current focus distance on the screen, roll the new jog-dial to select the focus distance (metres):
- 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5, 0.8, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 3.0, 5.0, 7.0, 10.0, 15.0, Infinity
Auto Exposure Bracketing
A new feature not seen before on Sony digital cameras (although a common feature of other digital cameras). Bracketing is the automatic exposure of an odd number of frames, typically three or five, over and under exposed by equal steps to enable the photographer to select the best exposed frame at a later time.
The CD300 supports bracketing of three shots at either +/- 0.3, 0.7 or 1.0 EV from the metered exposure, it takes the over exposed shot followed by the normal then under exposed shot (+,0-). It takes these shots in a burst, only one press of the shutter release is required. The example below was taken using +/-0.7EV bracketing:
|+0.7 EV exposure
1/15 sec, F6.3
|+0.0 EV exposure
1/25 sec, F6.3
|-0.7 EV exposure
1/40 sec, F6.3