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, F3.4, measured light: 6.5 EV|
|Twilight+ mode, 1/2s, F2.8, measured light: 3.5 EV|
|Shutter Priority mode, 2.0s, F4.0, measured light: 3.5 EV|
A fairly good performance in low light, nearly every shot taken in Twilight+ comes out underexposed, but I'm guessing this is intentional and it's often very difficult for the metering system to get an accurate light measurement in very low light, rather than over expose and lose detail Sony decided to err on the side of caution. Even the two second exposure (last image) shows little noise (though focus was a little odd).
The pop-up flash on the DSC-F505V has a range rated as 0.3 m (12") - 2.5 m (8.2 ft), measured findings (thanks to Ulysses for these) are: From 0.3 m on out to about 3 m use the Low flash. From 3 m to 5 m use the Normal flash. Above 5 m use the High flash. Flash is generally not much good after 10 meters. It's location was probably the only choice based on the design of the camera. On the whole it works quite well, fairly consistently overexposing which can be corrected by selecting a Flash level of "Low" from the Camera menu.
|Skin tone test #1, Normal Flash Output||Skin tone test #2, Low Flash Output|
As you can see, close up (this shot at the flash's minimum range of 0.3 m) it's better to use a low flash output.
Flash output can be adjusted by one level up or down, with three settings: Low, Normal and High the camera at least gives an opportunity to correct for it's internal metering system or difficult situations. The three shots below were shot using each flash level.
|Flash Level Low||Flash Level Normal||Flash Level High|
Overall the F505V performed well in our flash tests, sometimes a little to strong up close but judicious use of the flash output level control will soon fix that (that's the beauty of digital, if it doesn't look right when you take the shot, take it again). It's worth noting that the F505V also has an external flash connector for Sony's own HVL-F1000 flash & bracket.
|Sony HVL-F1000 External Flash
(range: 1m - 8m)
The Macro mode available on the DSC-F505V allows for good macro shots, best frame coverage is found about one third through the zoom range at a distance of about 2 cm between the lens front and the subject. This produces an equivalent of 39.6 mm (1.6") across the frame (shame about the barrel distortion), not quite Nikon Coolpix 990 territory but still a very good performance.
|Sony DSC-F505V Macro Samples|
|Nikon Coolpix 990 Macro Samples (for comparison)|
The DSC-F505V features an MPEG movie mode, recording at 15 frames per second with audio. This can be set to either 320x240 or 160x112 resolution. Single button-press recording time can be set to either 10 or 15 seconds. Holding your finger down on the shutter release button allows for longer movies, however at 320x240 the longest recordable movie clip is 15 seconds, at 160x112 this increases to a maximum 60 seconds.
Interpolated 3.7 megapixel mode
The DSC-F505V features a 3.7 megapixel (2240 x 1680) interpolated mode. In this mode you shoot normally but the camera writes out an image larger than the captured pixels by using a technique called interpolation (stretching a single pixel across n.n pixels). The samples below show the difference between shooting at straight 1856 x 1392 (the native resolution of the CCD), at 3.7 megapixel interpolated mode and finally "resampling" the standard image in Photoshop to produce the same effect.
1856 x 1392
|Thumbnail of whole scene|
|3.7 mp in-camera interpolation
2240 x 1680
|3.7 mp Photoshop resample
2240 x 1680