Never shy of giving the consumer an almost bewildering array of choices, in May 2004 Sony added yet another (its fifth) 5 megapixel, 3x zoom camera, the DSC-F88 to its 2004 range. Seasoned Sony watchers will immediately recognize the inner swivel lens design, which has made several appearances in Sony's product lineup since the DSC-F1 back in 1996. What makes the F88 slightly different to its predecessors is the inclusion of a 3x Carl Zeiss zoom lens (which uses the same folded optics as the Cyber-Shot T1) and an optical viewfinder; it is also a little larger than the F1/F5/F55/F77 models that came before it. Specification-wise the F88 is very similar to the T1 and W1, save for a smaller screen and the aforementioned swivelling lens, which rotates through 300 degrees, giving considerable shooting versatility and the ability to take perfect self-portraits. As well as a wealth of scene modes the F88 has a smattering of real photographic controls (including a full manual exposure mode) and a very capable movie mode (640x480 pixels, though only at 16fps). Here's a quick run-down of the key features:

  • 5.1 Million effective pixels Super HAD CCD
  • 3x Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar lens
  • 10 scene modes
  • InfoLITHIUM stamina battery
  • Optional wide angle converter lens and docking station
  • MPEG1 movie mode
  • 1cm 'magnifying glass' mode
  • 300 degree rotating lens

Key specifications

Street price • US: $409
• UK: £285
Body Material Metal and plastic
Sensor • 1/2.4 " CCD, 5.25 million total pixels
• 5.1 million effective pixels
Image sizes • 2,592 x 1944
• 2,048 x 1,536
• 1,280 x 960
• 640 x 480
Movie clips • 640x480 pixels @ 16fps
• Duration only limited by card capacity (streaming)
• MPEG1 with sound

• 38 - 114mm equiv. (x optical zoom)
• F3.5-4.2
Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar

Focus • TTL Autofocus
• 5-area multi point AF
• Centre-AF
• Single shot or Monitoring AF (continuous)
• 8cm macro mode (Wide), 25cm (Tele)
• 1cm 'Magnifying Glass' mode
• Manual focus (6 presets)
Shooting mode

• Auto
• Program
• Manual
Scene modes:
Magnifying Glass
• Twilight
Twilight Portrait
Soft Snap
High-speed shutter (sports)
• AE compensation -2.0EV to +2.0 EV in 1/3EV steps

Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO100,200,400
White Balance • Auto
• 4 presets
Image parameters • Saturation (3 levels)
• Contrast (3 levels)
• Sharpness (3 levels)
Picture effects (Black & White, Sepia)
Continuous 1.6 fps, up to 9 frames (5MP fine mode)
Flash • Built-in
• Auto, Manual on/off, Red-eye reduction: on/off, Slow sync: on/off
• Range (ISO auto): W 0.15 - 2.2 m (0.5 - 7 ft), T 0.25 - 2 m (9.5 - 6.5 ft)
• Compensation (+, normal, -)
Storage • Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO
• 32 MB MS supplied
Viewfinder • Optical Real Image type
LCD monitor • 1.8" TFT, 134,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0 High Speed
• A/V out (via multi connector or dock)
Power • InfoLITHIUM NP-FR1 rechargeable (in-camera charging)
• (includes AC adapter)
Other features

Spot & Multi metering
Multi burst mode
300 degree rotating lens
Live Histogram

Weight (inc batt) 163 g (5.7 oz)
Dimensions 97.8 x 74.4 x 25.6mm (3 7/8 x 1 3/16 x 3 1/4in)

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

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