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Sony DSC-N1 full review

Uncategorized author: admin 04.06.2006 2

Sony N1 front

New Sony DSC-N1 compact digital camera, 8.3 MPix, 3″ diagonal touch sensitive screen, high-sensitivity ISO800 settings

Sony have new competitor for Mpix race, new Sony DSC-N1 digital camera bringing 8.3 Mpix in compact class. Other uniqe feature that make this camera unique is huge 3″ diagonal LCD touch sensitive display. Other things that can make you interested in buying this camera, is high ISO800 settings, excellent 3X Vario-Tessar Carl Zeiss optical zoom with a focal length equivalent to 38 to 114 mm on a 35 mm camera.
Sony DSC-N1When you take N1 in your hand, you can notice solid built, feling is like its made from one part of metal. Front plate is from metal circular brushed from lens barrel. On the back side you find just few command buttons, only 4 of total 6 on the camera, and huge 3″ diagonal display. There is just one button for zoom control, mode selection slider, screen key and display button with quite cool effect of back-light icons when camera is on. Also other two buttons on this camera are on the top side power-on button, and shutter of course.
Sony DSC N1 lense DSC-N1 uses 8.3 Mpix 1/1.8″ CCD image sensor which effective uses 8.06 Mpix. What means that maximum image size is 3264 x 2448 pixels. Sensor have wide ISO sensitivity range from 64ISO up to 800ISO which is not common feature of this class cameras. For good pictures sensor is not enough so Sony uses wery good 3X Vario-Tessar Carl Zeiss zoom lens with focal length equivalent from 38mm to 114mm on 35mm film. On the wide angle end available apertures are f2.8, f4, and f8, and with the zoom at telephoto position, those apertures are f5.4, f8, f16. Shutter speed range is from 1/1000 second up to 30 seconds – which is not so often seen in compact camera class. A part from 3x optical zoom Sony offers “Precision zoom” which is common interpolation digital zoom – low quality and useless as every other digital zoom and a “Smart Zoom” as Sony calls it, it doesn’t interpolate-distort image but crop image so result is smaller image in 5Mpix and less.
Pictures can be taken in these resolutions and ratios:

  • 8Mpix: 3264 x 2448 pixels Maximum resolution of the imaging sensor
  • 3:2: 3264 x 2176 pixels
  • 5Mpix 2592 x 1944 pixels
  • 3Mpix: 2048 x 1536 pixels
  • 1Mpix: 1280 x 960 pixels
  • VGA: 640 x 480 pixels
  • 16:9 (HDTV): 1920 x 1080 pixels

all in JPG format, with just two available compression levels “Standard” and “Fine”.
Numerous modes are available for shooting pictures form “Auto” when your task is just to find a perfect frame and push the shutter button and camera will do the rest. To the eight Scene Modes : Twilight, Landscape, Twilight, Portrait, Beach, Candle, Snow, Soft Snap, Fireworks. Also the “Program” mode is available where aperture and shutter speed are handled by camera and all other settings are available for you. And full “Manual” mode allows you to take full control of your camera.

And Movies can be recorded in these formats:

  • 640 Fine – 640 x 480 pixels with 30 fps with low compression. *Note that this settings is only available when Memory Stick Pro Duo is used
  • 640 Standard – 640 x 480 pixels with 25 fps with high compression
  • 160 – 160 x 112 pixels with 25 fps

Zoom is not available in while recording a movie, it will be locked in position where it was before movie recording stated, but exposure and white balance are dynamically adjusted, during movie recording, which provides higher quality movie.

OK, now i want to preview my pictures and movies.

There is many options in preview mode, Album which stores a small copy of the images in the camera memory, so they are available even if you takeout the memory card with originals. Slide Show is very nice and unusual option its is possible to create slide show whit various transitions and background music.Paint mode allows painting, free-hand writing on the photos – using supplied stylus or your fingers, adding symbols, stars, flakes… draw lines in different colors and thickness… quite nice. Sony’s N1 camera is Pict-Bridge compatible so you can directly print images on compatible printers, NO computer needed. Also there are few more editing modes like Re-size, Rotate, Trimming – cropping, cropped part can be saved as new image. Camera even provides Movie editing, in basics but its quite useful feature to cut unimportant part of the movie and free part of memory card memory.
Sony DSC-N1 uses Sony’s Memory Stick Duo memory cards, also Sony does not supply Memory card in the box with DSC-N1, but camera have 26MB of internal memory. Internal memory will allows only 6 pictures in full 8Mpix resolution and JPG Fine quality while in JPG Standard quality you can store up to 12 images in internal memory. Throe its docking connector placed on the bottom side of the camera and supplied cable, its possible to connect camera to a TV set, computer via fast USB 2.0 standard or Pict-Bridge printer.
DSC-N1 is supplied with small Lithium Ion rechargeable battery (NP-BG1), external charger is supplied with camera and approximately charging time is about 4-5 hours.
Sony DSC-N1 compared to Nokia Phone
Camera is quite light (under 140g with memory card and battery) and small, here you can see it compared to my Nokia phone.

ISO comparsion

Sony DSC-N1 ISO64

Sample photos

Sony DSC-N1 sample image
Click to see full version *Caution large file – original image from camera 3.7MB

Sony DSC-N1 sample image
Click to see full version *Caution large file – original image from camera 3.5MB


We can freely say that DSC-N1 is a maker of a new class cameras, compact touch screen cameras, main reasons why you want to buy this camera is first of all great image quality. Low amout of color noise on 64ISO and 100ISO settings, usefull 400ISO settings. Large clear 3″ display, intuitive touch screan navigation. Camera is quite fast and responsive to all commands. It capatibility for long exposures stands out in this class. Some thing can be better like antireflex coating on the display and flash can be just a bit more powerfull.