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Sony DSC-S75 Review

February 2001 | By Phil Askey


Review based on a full production DSC-S75

The DSC-S75 is a progression from last years DSC-S70, despite the use of a 5 in it's name the S75 isn't using one of the new 5 megapixel sensors, rather the same 3.3 megapixel sensor seen in the S70. Sony have introduced the S75 as a replacement (and improvement) over the original S70.


What's new since the DSC-S70?

Sony DSC-S70 Sony DSC-S75
  • More use of metal in the case structure (now "Champagne" finish)
  • Repositioned lens (more central), thus repositioned viewfinder and flash (looks more "camera like", improves grip space)
  • Microphone positioned closer to the front of the camera top
  • New autofocus assist lamp
  • Faster autofocus
  • Larger hand grip with thicker rubber grip (better)
  • Larger, angled shutter release with better "soft squeeze" feel to the half-press
  • Top of the camera is now flat with new large exposure mode dial instead of PLAY / STILL / MOVIE dial of the S70
  • Dedicate exposure modes (via exposure dial): Auto, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, Scene, Movie
  • Dedicated Play and Setup modes (via exposure dial)
  • Improved power switch now located surrounding mode dial (much better)
  • Flash hot-shoe (only for Sony flash units - no connectors)
  • Better engineered spring-loaded compartment door
  • Rotating / hinged hand strap buckle on left side
  • Camera knows if you leave lens cap on (!)
  • Battery / Memory Stick compartment now on base of camera instead of side (worse)
  • Whole camera has a smoother "rounder" feel
  • Rear of camera controls tidied up, more logical layout and all-in-one rear piece
  • More controls on exterior of camera: Macro focus, self-timer, exposure compensation, spot metering, AE Lock
  • Volume / exposure control is gone (yay!) - replaced by jog-dial
  • New jog-dial for changing camera settings / scrolling through images in playback
  • Smaller, though brighter LCD screen with anti-reflective coating, new "Bright" LCD backlight option makes LCD very bright and easy to see even in strong sunlight (better)
  • LCD composition brackets
  • LCD status panel moved from the top to the rear of the camera (more information displayed)
  • Exposure information now displayed on rear and status LCD in all exposure modes
  • Reworked on-screen menus (better)
  • Reworked on-screen information display (better)
  • Image information playback mode (displays three images with exposure information on selected center image)
  • Much faster image browsing in playback mode thanks to new "rough image" display before loading full image
  • Two JPEG compression levels; Fine and Standard (better)
  • MPEG EX - movies limited only by Memory Stick storage space
  • Clip Motion mode - as first seen on the DSC-P1
  • Two image burst mode
  • One-push manual white balance
  • Selectable ISO sensitivity: ISO 100, 200, 400 or Auto
  • Finer gradation of exposures (more shutter speeds and apertures available in the priority modes)
  • Gone is 1/30 sec slowest shutter speed aperture priority limit
  • 14-bit DAC (vs. 12-bit on the S70) - benefits of which have yet to be proven
  • New low price

What's the same?

  • Sensor - same Sony 3.34 megapixel CCD
  • Engine - essentially the same "under the hood" as the S70
  • Lens - same "Carl Zeiss" 7 - 21 mm (34 - 102 mm equiv.) F2.0 - F2.5
  • Storage - Memory Stick (goes without saying, still only 8MB included)
  • Battery - same excellent NP-FM50 InfoLithium
  • Dimensions - almost exactly the same size
  • Weight - almost exactly the same weight


Lens

The debate rages on, the S75 appears to have the same lens as last years S70 which we discovered is the same as used by Epson's PhotoPC 3000Z, Canon's G1 and a couple of other digital cameras.. This begs the question, who is the original manufacturer and why do Sony claim it's a Carl Zeiss lens when the other manufacturers don't?

Epson PhotoPC 3000Z Canon PowerShot G1
Sony DSC-S70 Sony DSC-S75


Review Update

The original review was based on a pre-production camera, Sony have since provided us with a full production unit, we have now updated this review to reflect the final camera. Here's a summary of what's changed since the original camera we reviewed:

  • Power switch is now larger and moved to a 3 o'clock position around the mode dial
  • Label for LCD button has changed from DISPLAY to "DSPL/LCD ON/OFF"
  • Visual confirmation of focus position is now clearer (focus point is "sharpened" on-screen)
  • Shot-to-shot times roughly halved (3.6 seconds vs. 6 seconds)
  • Slightly better colour, marginally improved resolution

Areas of the review which have been updated (often completely re-written, tested and re-shot samples) are marked with "*U".


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

Photographs of the camera were taken with a Canon EOS-D30, images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (normally 1024 x 768 or smaller if cropped) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Adobe Gamma at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This review is Copyright 2001 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey.

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