Image Quality

I fear this is where I shall fall foul of Sony's generousity in lending me this camera. But this is an objective and factual review and (obviously) all opinions expressed are my own.

Low light noise

On many many occasions images from the camera exhibited very high CCD noise, this could be a combination of a poor CCD and the fact that the longest exposure is just 1/60s. On cloudy days, indoors (well lit) but without a flash or at high speeds noise was (IMHO) unacceptable. For a camera of this price with all of these useful features the ability to take low light images without excessive noise is a serious let down to this camera. The CCD noise problem is the compounded by the high JPEG compression used (but obviously required if you're storing on floppy disk).

In all but the best lighting conditions (or fairly close up with the flash) noise was evident.

Noise example (click for larger image) Noise example (click for larger image)

These three 2 x blow ups of the original image are good examples of the noise exhibitted by this camera.

Click on any of the three for the original image.

Noise example (click for larger image)

Chromatic Abberations

Another peculiarity of this camera was the magenta glow (chromatic abberations) seen around over exposed areas of an image, especially chrome or reflected metal. Note, all the images below were taken in AUTO mode.

Magenta streak example (click for larger image) Magenta streak example (click for larger image)

Barrel Distortion

Barrel distortion example (click for larger image) At the widest angle setting (zoomed right "out" - W) there is a noticeable barrel distortion caused by the lens system, although this can be corrected later in software you will never get the full image quality back again.

Image quality conclusions

The camera also had a 'fuzzy' or soft appearance to images, and every image had that "video capture" feel to them, inability to capture fine details and subtle colours was also apparent. But you must decide for yourself, see the samples gallery.

I'm afraid to say that in no way is the imag quality of this camera up to the quality exhibited by other cameras in it's price range. However, no other cameras in this price range have this amount of flexibility. You can't win them all.