Internal Flash

The pop-up flash on the CD1000 has a rated range of 0.6 m (23") - 2.5 m (8.2 ft). The flash performed fairly well, good colours and a well measured exposure. That minimum distance must be fairly closely adhered to if you want to avoid overexposing your subject. On the whole we found it better to use the Low Flash output setting which produced slightly underexposed images but avoided blown out highlights (and were easier to work with later).

Skin tone test #1, Normal Flash Output Skin tone test #2, Low Flash Output

As you can see, close up (this shot at the flash's minimum range of 0.6 m) it's better to use a low flash output (retained the wall colour).

Coverage test, CD1000 did very well, that pop-up flash has plenty of power and a good wide angle of coverage, very little drop off at the edges means you'll be able to take good group photos without worry.

One annoyance (and this is certainly connected to the auto focus system used in most of the current Sony digital cameras) was the inability to setup the camera to not shoot if it doesn't have a good focus lock. The two shots below are a perfect example of this, taken one after another for the first the camera hadn't got a focus lock but took the shot anyway, for the second it had. The only way out of this is to half-press first, check the focus visually then fully press (annoying if you're in one of those spur-of-the-moment situations - this problem isn't just isolated to the CD1000 it's apparent in other Sony digital cameras).

My solution? A menu option which you can set: "Shooting priority / Focus priority".

First shot, no AF lock but shoots anyway Second shot, this time good AF lock

Macro Mode

For a camera with such a huge optical zoom the macro performance of the CD1000 is fairly impressive. Unfortunately in an attempt to get the smallest frame coverage (closest possible macro) you'll suffer from soft corners and some barrel distortion. The samples below were shot at with the smallest frame coverage (38mm or 1.5"), take a close look at the ruler shot and you'll see the soft corners.

I took these shots several times with different apertures in an attempt to remove the softness and these were the best, front of the lens about 38mm, 1.5" away from the subject (oddly the same as the frame coverage..) and zoom at around half (190 mm), aperture F8.0 / F4.0.

Movie Mode

The CD1000 has three movie modes, 320 x 240 HQ (15 seconds), 320 x 240 (15 seconds) or 160 x 112 (60 seconds). Movies are recorded with audio and can be played back directly on the camera or a TV using the supplied cables. New to the CD1000 is full screen playback (previously movies were played as a smaller frame). One annoying problem with movies on the CD1000 was that the sound of the CD-R writer can be heard on quieter movies.

In the sample below (of our regular model, Tammy) the noise in the first few seconds are birds outside, you can hear the CD-R writer around 12 seconds into the clip, recorded as 320 x 240 HQ.

(320 x 240 MPEG1 5,366 KB)

Big Zoom

In case you hadn't noticed the CD1000 features a big, very big, zoom lens. At 10x it shares the top spot of 2 megapixel digital cameras with Olympus's upcoming C-2100UZ. It's also optically stablised which means that it's possible to take full zoom shots without at tripod. To give an example of just what that zoom means we've put together three samples:

Almost full wide angle (43 mm as 35mm equiv. focal length)
Full tele (360 mm as 35mm equiv. focal length)
Full tele + 2x Digital Zoom (720 mm as 35mm equiv. focal length)

Wow, that's one hell of a zoom. It's hard to deny that if you need a big zoom and 2 megapixels is enough for you (shooting amateur sports or wildlife) then the CD1000 should be near the top of your consideration list (obviously I've not reviewed the Olympus C-2100UZ yet).