Conclusion - Pros

  • Excellent overall image quality
  • Very good white balance
  • Well implemented manual features: good manual focus, good manual white balance
  • Good program modes: Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Night modes
  • Good quality, sharp lens system with excellent zoom range (38mm - 190mm)
  • Relatively good Macro ability (down to 1.5" across frame)
  • The best LCD I've seen on any digital camera (you can use it in direct sunlight)
  • Fast LCD refresh rate
  • Great battery life from Sony's InfoLithium "S"
  • No need for additional AC adapter, charger doubles as AC power supply
  • USB connection
  • Fast processing
  • Automatically stores camera settings for next power-up
  • Superb 5x zoom in playback actually shows full image detail rather than blowup of a thumbnail
  • Great ergonomics, good weight balance
  • Well positioned tripod mount
  • Swivel back means you can always have the LCD facing you
  • Sensible lens thread (52 mm)
  • Well built, feels solid
  • Smaller than you think
  • Generates great a curiosity factor

Conclusion - Cons

  • Overly aggressive JPEG compression modes
  • No uncompressed image format
  • No anti-red-eye flash mode
  • No external flash connectivity (no flash synch)
  • No ISO control
  • No internal memory buffer - you have to wait for image to be written to MemoryStick before shooting next image
  • Some controls would have been nice on the camera body (aperture / shutter speed)
  • Limited low light ability
  • Limited shutter speed range in Shutter Priority (1/8s is slowest shutter speed)
  • Some noise in low light / shadows
  • Occasional AF problems (focusing on background)
  • Limited MPEG ability
  • Only supplied with a 4MB MemoryStick (shame on you Sony)
  • With a 5 times zoom it would have been nice to have a slightly wider bottom end (30mm?)
  • Yet another flash standard - MemoryStick (!?)
  • A little bigger than the competition

Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Sony DSC-F505:

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 8
Features 8
Image quality 9
Lens / CCD combination 9
Ease of use 9
Value for money 10

The Sony DSC-F505 breaks new ground in digital camera design, shocking at first it soon confirms itself as being well built, ergonomically designed and able to take excellent images. This camera is a serious contender to the Olympus C2020Z and Nikon Coolpix 950 which currently rule the roost. With it's bigger lens, hybrid LCD and InfoLithium batteries you could be forgiven for having it very high on your list. DO check out the image quality (next page).

UPDATE 9/Jan/2000: Nothing much to add to this conclusion, the production model proved to be vERY close to the pre-production I'd had initially, timiings, image quality and features are identical, perhaps the build of the camera was a little more solid (possible??) other than that the F505 is still a solid, excellent digital camera.

Highly Recommended

Click here to buy the Sony DSC-F505

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

Enter the Sony Discussion Forum