Top of camera controls
The top of the camera is straightforward enough, shutter release button, mode dial, night framing / night shot button and power button. Sony has gone for larger shiny buttons for the top of the camera and although they look a little awkward they're actually well placed. Overhanging the rear of the camera and 'under your thumb' is the multi-function jog dial (it has a click 'pressed' function too) which can be used to change value settings such as shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation. This dial can also be used to browse images in play mode. My only gripe would be that Sony still stick with having a separate play mode on the mode dial, a shift to shooting priority play would be far better.
|NIGHT FRAMING / SHOT||Night framing / Night shot
Press this button to toggle from normal shooting to Night framing mode (IR illuminated, IR sensitive view, flash on, Hologram AF assist, exposure in normal mode) and once more for Night shot mode (IR illuminated, IR sensitive view, flash off, Hologram AF assist, exposure in IR mode).
Power On / Off
| 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 V3's program AE mode is flexible (program shift), you can turn the jog 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 jog 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 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 jog dial change aperture. Available apertures:
Wide: F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0, F4.5, F5.6, F6.3, F7.1, F8.0
Tele: F4.0, F4.5, F5.6, F6.3, F7.1, F8.0
The V3 has six scene modes:
• Twilight Portrait
Enter play mode, displays the last image taken or the last image on the media card (detailed later in this review).
|SET UP||Set Up
Enters the camera's main setup menu (detailed later in this preview).
When you power the camera on in P exposure mode it immediately activates program shift, this requires only a turn of the jog dial to change the shift and it would be all too easy to shift up to F8 without noticing (perhaps carrying the camera while switched on). The camera remembers the program shift between exposures so it would be possible for a entire shooting session to be affected by this. The simple solution would be (a) to require a click of the jog dial before entering program shift and (b) a clearer indication on the LCD monitor that you are in program shift mode.
As with all compact digital camera lenses their optimum operating aperture is around F4 / F4.5 and most other prosumer level digital cameras will use this by preference. Once you go above F5.6 you start to loose resolution due to diffraction and so the DSC-V3's current program-line is counter-intuitive to maintaining optimum resolution.