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Top of camera controls

The top of the F828 is dominated by the (rather oversized) mode dial which is made from a solid piece of metal and feels like it wouldn't be out of place on a Leica. At the front is the tilted, larger shutter release button (personally I think it's a little too big and shiny). It's nice to see that Sony (since the days of 'indoor / outdoor') have now realize the importance of white balance control and have placed the WB button just behind the shutter release and next to the exposure compensation button. Note that when you turn the mode dial a pop-up display appears on the camera screen to indicate the currently selected mode (click here), this is very useful for changing mode without taking your eye from the electronic viewfinder.

Shutter release & auto review annoyances

I found two annoyances with the way the shutter release and auto review operate in the time immediately after taking a shot:

  1. With Auto Review enabled you have to wait for the auto review image to disappear before you can re-press the shutter release. You can not interrupt auto review (and you should be able to).
     
  2. If you re-press the shutter release during auto review or with auto review off during the period of time the screen turns black the button press is ignored and you must remove your finger from the shutter release button and press it again.

The second problem caught me out several times when I wanted to 'pump' a few shots of the same subject, I found I had to concentrate on introducing a delay to allow the camera to ready itself for the next shot. Not what I expected of a high-end prosumer camera.

Hold button and turn command dial

Sony has improved the F828's controls so that you are (a) less likely to accidentally change a setting and (b) to make it easier to quickly change. You now must hold a feature button (such as white balance, exposure compensation etc.) and turn the new command dial (under your thumb, rear right corner of camera) to make a change. Once you press the button a small half-circle 'virtual dial' display appears on the left side of the camera screen (LCD or EVF), the center option (yellow color) is the currently selected setting, turn the command dial and this on-screen display rotates to indicate the newly selected setting (useful when using the EVF).

Changing white balance: hold white balance button and turn command dial
(Black background used for clarity)
Changing exposure compensation: hold exposure compensation button and turn command dial
(Black background used for clarity)

Buttons

WB White Balance

Hold button and turn command dial.
 • Auto
 • Daylight
 • Cloudy
 • Fluorescent
 • Incandescent
 • Flash
 • Manual
 • Manual Set
Exposure Compensation

Hold button and turn command dial.
 • -2.0 EV to +2.0 EV
 • 0.3 EV steps
Control Panel Backlight

Press this button to activate the Control Panel LCD's green backlight, the backlight will stay on for approximately seven seconds.
MENU Menu

Displays or removes the current mode menu. The F828's menus are laid out similarly to previous Sony Cybershot's in that they are displayed as a bar of options along the bottom of the screen, however they have had a slight facelift (detailed later in this preview).
Four way controller / AF area mode

The F828 has a joystick style of four way controller, I found this much easier to use than the normal four way pad or even four separate buttons. The joystick itself can be pressed in for OK / Set / Confirm action in menus. In shooting mode you can press the joystick in to change AF area mode (Multi-Pint, Center AF, Spot AF). In Spot AF mode you can move the AF area around the frame (using the four way controller) to an almost limitless set of positions.
AE LOCK AE Lock / Erase

In record mode this button is used to lock Automatic Exposure, when locked a green asterisk is shown in the bottom right corner of the camera screen to indicate the exposure is locked. Press again to unlock. This button doubles for erase in play mode.

Mode Dial

Auto Exposure

In this mode the camera automatically selects aperture and shutter speed based on the current metered exposure value and Auto ISO sensitivity. You can change Image size, Flash mode, Macro focus, Continuous mode and Nightshot mode. All other settings are 'locked out'.
P Program Auto Exposure

In this mode the camera automatically selects aperture and shutter speed based on the current metered exposure value, exposure compensation and selected ISO sensitivity. All settings can be changed in Program AE mode including ISO, metering etc. Note that the F828's program AE mode is flexible, by this I mean you can turn the command dial to select alternate aperture and shutter speed combinations (indicated as P* on the LCD monitor).
S Shutter Priority Exposure

In this mode you select the shutter speed and the camera will calculate the correct aperture depending on metered exposure, exposure compensation and ISO sensitivity. Turn the command dial change shutter speed. Available shutter speeds:
30, 25, 20, 15, 13, 10, 8, 7, 5, 4, 3, 2.5, 2, 1.6, 1.3, 1, 1/1.3, 1/1.6, 1/2, 1/2.5, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, 1/8, 1/10, 1/13, 1/15, 1/20, 1/25, 1/30, 1/40, 1/50, 1/60, 1/80, 1/100, 1/125, 1/160, 1/200, 1/250, 1/320, 1/400, 1/500, 1/640, 1/800, 1/1000, 1/1250, 1/1600, 1/2000 sec
A Aperture Priority Exposure

In this mode you select the aperture and the camera will calculate the correct shutter speed depending on metered exposure, exposure compensation and ISO sensitivity. Turn the command dial change aperture. Available apertures:
Wide: F2.0, F2.2, F2.5, F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0, F4.5, F5.6, F6.3, F7.1, F8.0. Tele: F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0, F4.5, F5.6, F6.3, F7.1, F8.0
M

Manual Exposure

In this mode you select the aperture and the shutter speed from any combination of the above. The difference to the metered exposure is indicated on the LCD monitor as an EV value from -2.0 to +2.0.

SCN Scene Program

The F828 has four scene program modes:
 • Twilight
 • Twilight Portrait
 • Landscape
 • Portrait
Play

Enter play mode, displays the last image taken or the last image on the media card (detailed later in this review).
Movie Clip

The F828 now supports various video modes (listed below) including the mighty impressive 640 x 480 @ 30 fps with audio (which is virtually NTSC progressive). In all movie record modes you can record video continuously until the storage media is full. One limitation is that you can only shoot 640 x 480, 30 fps to a Memory Stick Pro, not Compact Flash.
• 640 x 480, 30 fps with audio *
• 640 x 480, 16 fps with audio
• 160 x 112, 8 fps with audio
* Memory Stick Pro or CF Microdrive Only
SET UP Set Up

Enters the camera's main setup menu (detailed later in this preview).
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