Sony Cyber-shot DSC-U10 review
I've taken around ~1100 pictures with my DSC-U20. I am a novice photographer with very little photographing skills but am an avid technophile. I think I need to mention that because people who are "intimidated" by electronic equipment have some difficulty in getting a good shot with a digital camera and I want to make sure people take that into account when reading this review. Still, here is my "layman's" take on this camera...
DSC-U20 is a simple, point and shoot camera and it functions really well. Although one still needs to focus before a shot by pressing down the trigger half way, it is relatively really simple to take a picture. The first thing you notice right away is its compact size. It's simply beautiful. If you have big enough hands, you can palm the camera completely. The compact size allows you to bring the camera ANYWHERE without thinking about its weight or bulkiness. I carry it around my neck under my shirt and usually no one can even tell I have a camera.
The battery life is decent. I have taken 160 photos with one charge on a 128mb Memory Stick (about 1/3 photos with flash) in the highest resolution. The life of the battery varies however depending on usage. All the people I know with the DSC-U20 (4 people) can usually take around 100 pictures no problem with one charge with plenty to spare. You do need 2 sets of batteries to completely fill up a 128mb MS with 240 shots.
The charger that comes with the camera is not great. It takes around 12+ hours to charge 2 AAA NiMH batteries. I would recommend getting the Quick Charger kit. It comes with 2 more AAA and it works out if you have a 128mb memory stick. BTW, you can’t use alkaline batteries for this camera. After about 10 pictures, it goes dead. (Those who know digital cameras know this, those who don’t…well… don’t)
The extra functions in the camera are decent but if you’re really looking for fancy functions, you shouldn’t be looking for a camera at this price point anyway. This camera is for quick shots and those on the go. It’s great for gatherings and parties who take pictures without worrying about its artistic presentation. Nevertheless, the extra functions allow you to take good pictures in a variety of environments. I really like the night shot function.
The start-up time is good. It takes about 2-3 seconds to get ready.
Picture quality. At times you can get great beautiful shots but sometimes it can come out blurry. Let me explain. Outside shots (in the sunshine, etc) come out great. You get vibrant colors and beautiful contrast. The times it came out bad is only during night and indoor shots. The camera can be grainy at times during night and indoor shots if you do not take the picture correctly. Lighting, focus, and stability are extremely important for indoor shots with this camera. (On the other hand, you often get similar results with run-of-the-mill 35mm cameras in similar situations so I really can’t complain too much.)
Shots taken with the timer have varying qualities. I have used the timer extensively and some of my indoor shots came out bad. I think the reason is it doesn’t focus well if you’re too close to the camera during a timed shot. Burst mode is great although flash doesn’t work when using this function. Also, focusing during burst mode is almost out of your hands.
There is no zoom. Some people find this annoying; I look at it as a blessing. Less moving parts= less worries. For a casual user, I think zoom is really not needed. It’s merely a novelty in the beginning and I rarely use zoom on cameras anyway. And, if I need to zoom into an object 2x or 3x, I’ll just walk closer to the object and take a picture. Simple as that. When I hand a camera to others to take a picture of me, rarely can a stranger figure out how to properly hold the camera, let alone work with a zoom function if there is one.
LCD screen. Although small, it gets the job done.
U20 Case (Not included). I bought the Sony case designed for this camera. It fits well. Unlike other cases by some other manufacturers, the act of inserting the camera doesn’t rub against the lid and slightly open it. There is a small compartment inside for an extra memory stick. I can fit 2 sticks. There is no room for extra batteries.
I bought this camera for size and convenience and it has been well worth it. I have taken pictures at basketball games, indoor parties, outdoor parties, inside cars, in complete darkness, in blinding direct sunlight and it has fared well in all those situations. I recommend this product. Hope this helps!