A few weeks back, I bought my first decent digital camera. Two weeks later, the lcd display stopped working. Pure white, nothing there. It still took pictures, but random aiming is just a little less than I need. So I returned it, and bought something better.
The Sony Cyber-shot's encompass a lot of different models; the DCS-S60 is at the lower end of the scale with a price tag of $229.95. The major upgrade from the camera I returned is that the Sony has a real zoom lens.
The lens on the other camera had bothered me a bit: it was always exposed. With the Cyber-shot, the lens retracts and is covered when the camera is shut off. I feel better about that.
I also liked that most of the controls on the Cyber-shot are manual buttons and knobs as opposed to having to call up a menu on the lcd screen. There are more advanced functions that do require the lcd menu, but most of the day to day stuff can be used without that.
The DSC-S60 comes with a "Read this first" quick start fold-out that gives you basic usage instructions. I found that quite annoying: first, it should be a pamphlet rather than this unwieldy (14" x 20") piece of paper that I could hide my iBook under.
Secondly, the User's Guide, which is an appropriately sized pamphlet, does not include things covered in the quick start paper - the index refers you to Step 3 in "Read this first" and so on. Everything should be in the User's Guide - EVERYTHING. If I had been using digital cameras for years, maybe that basic usage material would seem childishly obvious, but for now, I have to keep referring back to it and do not like having to look in two places.
The battery life is supposed to be much better with this camera. I used up quite a few AA batteries with the other camera, and decided to spend the money on longer lasting lithium batteries this time. The manual asserts that I can get at least 260 minutes and 400 or more pictures from one set of batteries; that will be a big improvement.
One minor glitch: when connected to my Mac, iPhoto can't delete the pictures in the camera. That's no big deal, but I don't need these pictures after I transfer them and it's a little annoying to delete them one by one. On the other hand, I notice that a lot of people nowadays seem to use their digital camera as their traveling photo album, so it may be that I'll actually want to leave some pictures there permanently. We'll see. I'll have to buy a memory stick if I want more than will fit in the built-in 32MB.
I'm not a camera geek. Photography has never interested me very much, but probably a lot of that was the complication of loading film, getting everything focused and set right for the light, and most of all the delayed gratification of having to wait for pictures to be developed. A lot of that goes away with a digital camera, so who knows, I may become much more of a fan.
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More Articles by Tony Lawrence © 2009-11-07 Tony Lawrence