In early 2000, Sony launched the Cyber-shot S70, packing the corporate’s newest three Megapixel CCD sensor with a Carl Zeiss-branded 3x zoom and a wealth of options at a worth of $800 that undercut lots of its rivals. I reviewed it within the August 2000 problem of PCW journal and favored it a lot I truly opened my very own pockets and acquired one.
Sure, this pricey viewers, on this episode of Dino Bytes, I’m retro-reviewing my very personal S70 to see if it nonetheless makes my coronary heart flutter 21 years after I spent the perfect a part of 700 kilos on it.
Relying in your area, the S70 was launched alongside the lower-end S50 and S30 fashions, however the S70 was the one you wished with the top-end three Megapixel decision. However regardless of sporting Sony’s greatest sensor presently for this type of digicam, the corporate determined to deal with it in a surprisingly boring physique: overlook the progressive rotating designs of the F collection up to now, as an alternative the S70 went for a physique roughly akin to a pack of butter in dimension and form, and about as snug to carry too. You may see the meagre grip from the highest, together with the straightforward three place mode dial, primary LCD data display screen and the mono mic for the video mode or audio clips. In the meantime on the rear, the S70 was sometimes Sony, a grasp of miniaturisation with a scattering of tiny buttons that weren’t notably snug. In use it felt fairly totally different to the Canon G1 and Nikon 990 which each benefited from a long time of expertise in stills digicam ergonomics.
For composition you had the selection of a 2in display screen, mounted in place not like the side-hinged G1’s show or the rotating physique of the 990, however that in flip did assist it meet a lower cost level. In the meantime within the nook was a primary optical viewfinder, truly the primary on a Sony Cyber-shot.
Sony made a giant deal concerning the lens, with its 3x optical vary equal to 34-102mm and full management over the brilliant f2-2.5 aperture. However what made it actually particular was the Carl Zeiss branding, a collaboration that promised the sharpness the excessive decision sensor deserved. The mixture definitely delivered good wanting pictures, however appeared similar to the lens on Canon’s PowerShot G1 in addition to the Epson 3000Z, each sporting various branding. I nonetheless don’t know who made it, however I’m fairly certain it’s the identical lens on these three competing fashions.
Behind a flap you’ll discover a flash sync port, a proprietary USB plug and a3.5mm AV jack for composite video and mono sound for these TV slideshows. While you related the S70 to a pc, the cardboard was conveniently offered as a detachable drive, but when, like me, you’ve misplaced the cable, you’ll want a Reminiscence Stick card reader.
In the meantime within the rear nook is a DC enter to cost the battery contained in the digicam. Sony equipped the S70 with an AC adapter that doubled as a charger and a mains energy provide, when most cameras charged you further for one. Charging was swift too, however annoyingly the AC adapter was bigger than the digicam itself, which proved a ache when packing for journeys.
Behind a big flap on the facet of the digicam you’ll discover the battery compartment, house to the substantial NP-FM50 Information Lithium pack which allowed the S70 to point precisely what number of minutes of cost remained. Higher nonetheless, it boasted over double the lifetime of many rival cameras, particularly those who took AA batteries, confirming the S within the mannequin title stood for Stamina. Sadly my unique battery not holds any cost, however replacements can be found. I purchased a DSTE FM-50 alternative from Amazon which price simply 12 kilos and appears to work nicely to date.
Additionally housed within the battery compartment is the reminiscence card slot, with the S70 unsurprisingly adopting Sony’s proprietary Reminiscence Stick format within the full-length chewing-gum form. I’d misplaced the S70’s USB cable so used my Sony U20 digicam as a card reader because it has a extra commonplace USB port.
The S70 might have housed Sony’s greatest sensor for this type of digicam on the time, nevertheless it wasn’t the primary digicam to boast three Megapixels. Canon’s PowerShot S20 had that honour with the very same 1/ 1.8in CCD, recording pictures with 2048×1536 pixels, sufficient to make a 7x5in print at 300dpi or perhaps a 10x8in at a push. Once more, going through criticism from earlier fashions which turned their JPEG compression up too excessive, Sony had gone gentle on the S70 with pictures measuring round 1.4MB every, however annoyingly with no different JPEG choices. This meant you may solely squeeze round 5 images onto the meagre 8MB stick equipped with the S70, at a time when most rivals got here with 16MB playing cards and a selection of JPEG compression. The S70 did supply some various codecs although, together with a mono GIF choice for doc seize in addition to an uncompressed TIFF, however measuring 9MB every you couldn’t even match one onto the equipped card.
Velocity was additionally a difficulty. These TIFF recordsdata took roughly 40 seconds to report, whereas the digicam itself took a number of seconds to power-up, enter playback or cycle between pictures. But it surely did at the very least present numerous publicity management together with aperture and shutter precedence modes, the latter accessing speeds between 1/1000 and eight seconds.
You might additionally report video on the S70, albeit at a high quality QVGA mode, with 320×240 pixels at 15fps with mono audio. Clips have been additionally restricted to 15 seconds every.
Velocity and questionable ergonomics have been the S70’s draw back, however modest buffering and a carefully-pruned feature-set allowed it to undercut the Nikon COOLPIX 990 and Canon PowerShot G1 whereas delivering related high quality. These have been the cameras I aspired to, however the S70 was the one I may truly afford and it served me nicely, staying in my household even after I upgraded it a 12 months later to the four Megapixel S85.
As I’ve talked about in evaluations of different three Megapixel fashions from across the Yr 2000, it represented a turning level not simply in worth, however in decision, being the primary time digital pictures actually turned usable for me.
The S85 was the final S mannequin on this boxy form, with Sony launching and experimenting with a number of various collection, together with the favored P vary. The S returned every now and then, however not with the influence of the S70 and S85 which to me are boxy classics of the day and superb for collectors.