Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F88 Review
The F88 is typically Sony, with the attention to detail we've come to expect in both design and use of materials. When the lens is 'closed' (rotated to face down into the camera body) the only protruding part is the knurled steel mode dial, and the whole thing slips easily into a coat pocket or purse. The majority of the body is covered in a matt-finish metal cladding, though the bottom is a fairly flimsy-looking plastic affair (the tripod mount, however, is metal) and the end of the camera nearest the lens is covered in natty (or should that be nasty) looking chrome-effect plastic. The rotating lens unit - the biggest selling point of the F88 - swivels through 300 degrees, from pointing directly down (the 'off' position) to facing backwards. The small optical viewfinder built into the lens unit can be used either with the lens facing forwards (when shooting with the color screen switched off, for example) or backwards (which means you can frame the shot with the viewfinder, but the subject can see the preview on the color screen).
In your hand
Although it might not look it at first glance, the F88 actually handles very well - the lack of any kind of moulded grip is countered by a small but effective chromed 'bar' that stops the camera slipping out of your hand. That said, we found the F88 considerably easier to use when held with both hands. There are a couple of minor niggles that take some getting used to, particularly when shooting with one hand. The main one is the rotating lens itself, which is too easy to knock with your shutter finger or thumb. The smooth, light rotating action may feel nice, but it is all too easy to accidentally move it or even turn the camera off (rotating the lens to point down cuts the power). A slightly stiffer 'notch' at the 90 degree (pointing forward) point would definitely be welcome, though after a few days use - as with any camera - you get used to the F88's foibles.