Sony DSC-F505 Review
Battery & MemoryStick Compartment
On the right side of the camera back is the battery and MemoryStick compartment door. Held in place by a sliding latch, push the latch down and slide the door towards the back. The door mechanism itself is lightly spring loaded so it opens cleanly to 90 degrees exposing the MemoryStick and battery. The MemoryStick is ejected by pushing it (SmartMedia style), the battery is held in place by a small spring loaded latch. Overall it's a clean, functional piece of design.
Sony's proprietary MemoryStick is an impressive bit of technology. Considerably smaller than other flash formats yet sturdy and well built enough to withstand the odd knock. Connectors on the MemoryStick are protected by a protruding plastic comb (smart). MemorySticks are already available in capacities up to 32MB and recently announced 64MB (meaning that Sony have managed to catch up with mainstream CompactFlash and overtaken SmartMedia). Unfortunately Sony only include a 4MB MemoryStick with the F505 which means just 8 shots at 1600 x 1200 FINE JPEG (shame on you Sony). Combined with the USB connector onboard or PCA2 PCMCIA adapter transferring images off is a breeze.
On the back of the camera is the AV (yellow coloured) connector which used in conjunction with the supplied AV cable gives you a composite video out and audio out for connection to a TV or VCR (for slideshow presentation for instance). The camera gives a live feed of whatever would normally be on the LCD, which means you *could* use it as a webcam connected to a video digitising board.
On the top of the camera back is a small black door which slides to the left and flips over to expose the USB and RS232 connectors. Yep, at last, manufacturers are putting sensible connectivity on their cameras, USB has been a common cry amongst digital camera buyers this year, although the trend in the last few months has been to include a USB connector, and Sony have now joined in on the F505. This is good news for Windows 98, Windows 2000 and iMac users, you'll be able to use the F505 as a MemoryStick reader for transferring contents back to your computers (us Windows NT 4 users will have to use an external PCMCIA or MemoryStick adapter - MSAC-PC2 PCMCIA adapter shown below; optional).
Supplied Accessories "In the box"
Please note, I wasn't supplied the camera in a retail box so I can't vouch that this is the absolute set (for instance there wasn't a USB cable or any software, in the final retail pack there would be). Also the "In the box" contents tend to differ depending on region.
- Sony DSC-F505 Digital Camera
- 4MB MemoryStick (1 of)
- Wrist strap
- Serial connection cable
- USB connection cable
- A/V connection cable
- AC adapter "dummy battery" and cable
- NP-FS11 InfoLithium battery (1 of)
- AC-VF10 AC Battery charger / Power adapter
- Power cable
- Users manual / guide
- Warranty card
- Software pack (varies)
I'd recommend at least another 16MB or 32MB MemoryStick (probably two more would be better) and one spare battery (so you can have one on charge whilst using the other, or for those long shooting sessions). If you've got a laptop or already have a PCMCIA adapter for your desktop PC then the MSAC-PC2 PCMCIA adapter would also be a good purchase.