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Sony Cyber-shot S90 Review

May 2005 | By Simon Joinson

Review based on a production Sony DSC-S90

Despite some speculation when announced in February 2005, the S90 is not the successor to the highly-rated S85, but is one of two near-identical entry-level four million pixel cameras from Sony (the other being the S60; the main difference is that the S90 has a 2.5-inch screen and ships with rechargeable batteries). Although ostensibly a budget camera (with a street price of around $290) the S90 has more than its fair share of features, including seven scene modes, Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar 3x zoom, full manual exposure mode, VGA/30fps MPEG movie mode and a claimed 420-shot maximum battery life (using the CIPA standard).

  • 4.1 effective megapixels
  • Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens (3x optical zoom)
  • F2.8 - F5.6, 39-117mm (35mm equiv.)
  • Long life STAMINA battery: up to 420 shots per charge
  • 2.5” LCD (115,000 pixels)
  • Manual exposure function
  • Real Imaging Processor
  • Optional Cyber-shot Station dock
  • Scene selection (7 modes)
  • Histogram indication
  • Optional tele and wide lens adaptors
  • 32MB internal memory, plus Memory Stick PRO slot

Sony DSC-S90 Key specifications

Street price • US: $300
• UK: £190
Body Material plastic

• 1/2.7" Super HAD CCD
• 4.1 million pixels total
• 4.1 million effective pixels

Image sizes

• 2304 x 1728
• 2304 x 1536 (3:2)
• 2048 x 1536
• 1280 x 960
• 640 x 480

Movie clips • 640 x 480 @ 16 / 30 fps
• 160 x 112 @ 8 fps
• Limited only by the capacity of the memory card
• MPEG VX with sound

• Carl Zeiss 39 - 117mm equiv. (3x optical zoom)
• F2.8-F5.6
2x digital zoom

Focus • 5-Area Multi-Point AF
• Center AF
• 5-Step Manual
• 10cm macro mode (Wide)
Shooting mode

• Auto
• Program
• Manual
• Twilight
• Twilight portrait
• Soft Snap
• Landscape
• Beach
• Snow
• Candle
• AE compensation -2.0EV to +2.0 EV in 1/3EV steps

Shutter Speeds • 1/8 – 1/1000 sec (Auto)
• 2 – 1/1000 sec (Program Auto)
• 30 – 1/1000 sec (Manual)
Apertures f2.8 – f5.6 (W), f5.2 – f10 (T)
Metering • Multi Pattern
• Spot
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
White Balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Fluorescent
• Incandescent
Image parameters

• Saturation (3 levels)
Contrast (3 levels)
• Sharpness (3 levels)
• Color effects (Sepia, Black and White)

Continuous 0.7 fps up to four frames
Flash • Built-in
• Modes: Auto, forced on, forced off, slow sync, red-eye reduction
• Range: 1.6 – 12.5 ft. (0.5 – 3.8m)
Storage • Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO
• 32MB internal memory
No removable media supplied
Viewfinder • Real Image Optical
LCD monitor • 2.5 " TFT, 115,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB
• A/V out
Power • 2x AA type battery (alkaline, NiMH, NiMM)
2x AA NiMH 'STAMINA' batteries + charger included
In the box*

DSC-S90 camera
BC-CS2A NiMHBattery Charger
2 x NiMH batteries + battery case
A/V & USB Cable
Wrist Strap
Software CD-ROM (Picture Package™ for Sony v1.0 (Windows), Pixela™ ImageMixer VCD2 (Macintosh/Windows), SPVD-012.1 USB Driver, Cyber-shot Life tutorial (Windows)

Other features

PictBridge and DPOF compatible
Live Histogram & playback histogram
• Autofocus Illuminator
Optional 2.6x Tele converter lens (VCL-DH2630) $130
Optional 1.7x Tele converter lens (VCL-DH1730) $99
Optional 0.7x Wide converter lens (VCL-DH0730) $99
Optional Camera Dock (Cyber-shot Station CSS-SA) $80
Optional Slave flash + bracket (HVL-FSL1B) $100
Optional waterproof case (Marine Pack MPK-SA) $100
Optional filter kits and filter adapter

Weight (inc batt) 253 g (8.9 oz)
Dimensions 108 x 52 x 26mm (4.25 x 2.1 x 1in)

* 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).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal 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 article is Copyright 2005 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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