The Sony Cybershot DSC J10 is a small, stylish digital camera. It has 16 megapixels and a 4x optical zoom lens. Sony are aiming the camera at someone looking for a no fuss digital camera that is small enough to carry more or less anywhere.
The Cybershot DSC J10 is available in three different coloured versions. The first is predominately white with a strip of pink. The next is mainly black with a strip of blue. The final version is turquoise with a strip of black.
Why Buy The Sony DSC J10
The Cybershot DSC J10 looks attractive and slips easily into a pocket. The fact you can recharge the battery via a computer USB cable may come in handy from time to time.
93.6 x 59.4 x 17.3mm
Top 10 Features
Megapixels and Zoom
The Cybershot DSC J10 has 16 megapixels and a 4x optical zoom lens. The focal length of the lens is equivalent to 35 - 140mm in 35mm format. This makes this camera one of a decreasing number of models that do not offer a wide angle lens. This will only be an issue to you if you like to photograph wide scenes and groups of people.
One advantage of having so many megapixels at your disposal is that you can decrease the number you use to take your photographs in return for extra zoom. Extra zoom becomes available on a sliding scale with a maximum of 28x zoom available when you shoot at VGA resolution (Note VGA resolution is too small to produce prints with).
Built in Memory
Sony have built 4GB of storage into the Cybershot DSC J10. It does not use memory cards. So you will need to clear down the memory once you have filled the memory with images.
USB Arm and Battery Recharging
Sony have equipped the Cybershot DSC J10 with a USB arm. This flips out from the side of the camera. The arm is used to plug the camera into a computer port when you wish to upload photos. It is also used to charge the battery.
LCD Screen Size
The LCD screen is 2.7 inches in size. This is slightly smaller than the standard 3 inch screen size you can normally find at this price point.
Most Sony digital cameras are equipped with the Sweep Panorama feature. This makes it extremely easy for you to create panoramic shots. All you need to do is place the camera in Sweep Panorama mode, press down the shutter button and sweep the camera round in an arc.
One of the most impressive features this camera has is its ability to focus from 1cm away from the subject. It is hard to find a camera that is able to focus from closer in than that.
By way of contrast the movie mode is very limited. You can only record low resolution video clips. These are unlikely to be of sufficient quality for playing back your clips on a television set.
There is a special shooting mode called Intelligent Auto. When you use this mode the camera attempts to identify the type of scene you are photographing. When it is able to do this it selects what it believes to be the optimum settings for the shot.
The smile shutter is a bit of a gimmick, but you may find it useful. Once this feature is activated the Cybershot DSC J10 will automatically fire off a photo if it detects someone is smiling.
A Few More Advanced Features
Although this camera is primarily a point and shoot model Sony have added in a selection of more advanced features for when you would like to take a little extra control over the way your photos look. Among these more advanced features you have access to controls such as white balance (to adjust colour), ISO (to freeze movement and increase brightness in low light) as well as different types of metering (giving you closer control over the brightness or darkness of your photos). You also have access to exposure compensation. That may come in handy with the Cybershot DSC J10 as it has a tendency to over expose photos from time to time.
The Cybershot DSC J10 has a very smooth finish. This makes the camera look good, but you are likely to find the surface of camera soon becomes smeary and covered in fingerprints. Owing to the finish a bit of extra care is needed when holding the camera to ensure the camera does not inadvertently slip out of your hands. For this reason it is not a great camera for families with younger children that may get their hands on the family camera from time to time. The bottom of the camera is very narrow, so further care is required when putting the camera down without it falling over. The smooth surface does not make a great deal of difference when you are holding the Cybershot DSC J10 ready to take a photo. You should still be able to take a good enough hold of the camera. One plus point is that there is plenty of room to place your thumb.
Lens and Flash Position
Sony have equipped the Cybershot DSC J10 with an integral lens. This means the lens unit remains inside the camera body even when fully zoomed in. As you look at the camera from the front the lens is positioned in the top right hand corner. That placement should not pose a major problem, but it is possible for a stray finger to partially block the lens.
LCD Screen Quality
The LCD screen is highly reflective. It is not always easy to see clearly in bright or darker conditions.
The Cybershot DSC J10 is on the slow side to turn on and take the first pictures. Individual shots once the camera is up and running are also on the slow side.
Controls on Top of the Cybershot DSC J10
On the top of the camera are the on / off button and the shutter button. There is also a small zoom control.
Controls on Back of the Cybershot DSC J10
A control switch on the back of the camera allows you to change the shooting mode. Next to this sits a button show you photos you have already taken. Further down comes the main control section. This includes the normal circular section with controls on each compass point. These are to change the LCD display, set flash, turn on the self timer and activate the smile shutter. In the centre of this area is a button to confirm a setting. The final two buttons give you access to the menu system and to delete unwanted images.
What's in the Menu System
The main menu runs to 3 pages and has 14 items. There is a separate set up menu. This has a further 23 options for fine tuning the camera.
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
The sharpness of the shot is good. The big problem though is that the Cybershot DSC J10 is unable to capture a great deal of detail in the brighter areas of the shot. This leads to a loss of definition on the boats. As these are the main subject of the shot this is a key weakness.
For your shots this means that your photos may be lacking in detail when you have a lot of contrast in the shot with lots of light and dark areas.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
This is a tough test. There are some issues when the test shot is viewed at full magnification, but these are unlikely to show up unless you get over ambitious with your print sizes. These issues revolve around a lack of definition in areas of one colour and a touch of purple fringing. An example of when definition is lacking is where there is a lot of similar coloured foliage on the trees.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
Zooming in produces a shot of an acceptable snapshot standard. There are no major problems, but there is further evidence of the weaknesses encountered in the first two photographs. There is also a little noise creeping in that takes the edge off the clarity of the shot as you move out towards the edges of the shot.
On the whole this is a good effort. There are one or two places where the brickwork looks a little blotchy at full magnification, but you are unlikely to be studying your photographs in quite that much detail.
Moving closer in increases the quality of the shot. There are no problems with noise, the level of detail or overall sharpness.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
A touch more power from the flash unit would have ensured a more even spread of light. This would have brightened up the hair towards the bottom of the shot and brought out extra detail. Aside from that point the shot is fairly typical of a smaller compact digital camera. The skin tones look good. Many digital cameras overpower the pink in the skin tones giving the shot an unnatural look. This is avoided by the Cybershot DSC J10.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
Often when flash is not used the camera makes creates a picture with a warmer look. Although that is not the case here the photo has enough light and definition levels are good too.
The macro shot scrubs up quite well. The Cybershot DSC J10 manages to get the main subject in sharp focus. It is also able to throw the surrounding area out of focus to further accentuate the main subject. The shot is very bright and you may consider it a touch over exposed.
Colours are standard. They may lack a little punch compared with some digital cameras, but the upside of this is that they give your pictures a natural look.
Noise is likely to creep into your photos from time to time. This will probably be most noticeable in areas of light shade or if you are taking photos where the light is not all that good.
Picture Quality Summary
The Cybershot DSC J10 does find it difficult when photographing light coloured subjects. Other problems can be brushed under the carpet with smaller prints, but this issue is likely to be noticeable even with small print sizes.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time
Ease of Use
There is nothing especially challenging about the Cybershot DSC J10. It is a fairly straightforward point and shoot digital camera. Sony have added in one or two more advanced features, but you do not have to use them if you are looking for complete simplicity. There is also a special Easy Shooting mode if you find the standard set up confusing in any way.
Points I Like
Built in Memory - Ease of Use - Battery recharge via USB port
Where it Could Improve
Low definition movies - over exposed images
The Sony Cybershot DSC J10 looks good and is easy to use. It has one or two extra features that are not widely available elsewhere. When it comes to picture quality it is a bit run of the mill. There are better pocket cameras out there if picture quality plays a significant role when you are deciding which camera to buy.
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