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After my first foray into digital photography in 2004 with a 5 Mega-pixel compact, this Sony, which was the replacement, has been pretty much a quantum leap.
The jump to 12 Mega-pixels is noticeable, but the real differences are in the colour balance and the absence of those annoying black outlines or shadows round outlines, especially when using the flash.
So, the Sony has proved to be an excellent and easy to use all-rounder, whether for point-and-shoot holiday photos or more serious landscape and close-up photography.
First impressions are good, the silver finish is high quality, almost giving the impression of metal-bodied cameras of days gone by. It is light to hold, but not too light, if that makes sense, feeling substantial and well balanced. Taking photos can be either in a fully automatic mode, with anti-shake and face detection modes, or you can introduce various manual overrides to cope with situations such as back-lit scenes.
A further feature which I particularly like is the ability to place grid lines on to the screen; as any dedicated landscape photographer will tell you, dividing the screen into thirds, as these lines do, avoids composition errors such as placing the subject in the centre of the shot. And the horizontal lines are a great way to avoid a sloping horizon on seaside shots!
The screen itself is bright and relatively reflection free - its matte finish is a lot better than most mobile phone screens I've used - while all controls and on-screen menu are intuitive in use. On-screen graphics are clear and well presented, without looking "cheap" as in some lower-end cameras.
The camera takes the usual 2 AA batteries, which I find last pretty well, depending on how much the flash and/or zoom are used.
Overall a high quality and practical compact, which also allows for a bit of control and creativity in picture taking. I'd recommend it.
I miss film; I really do miss the action of loading a camera with film and not actually knowing what the outcome will be until they are developed. To think that fifteen years ago the term digital camera was relatively unknown, now we have cameras on phones. So back to the future and with my other half's birthday coming up and some serious hints being dropped I thought that a new digital camera would be just the thing that my other half wanted. I didn't want this to be on a phone as I am a firm believer that phones are for talking on and not taking pictures, so the two subjects are totally separate in my books. I personally have always liked Sony as a brand, I have had the pleasure of owning a number of cameras from this company before and find them easy to use without having a 300 page manual to go through beforehand, in fact the thing that I always liked is that the settings on each camera are generic and therefore makes transition to a newer model a lot smoother. In this case there are no issues, just slip in a couple of AA batteries and away you go.
Total weight is just 128g!
The DSC-S2100 is a nice size camera, not really much bigger than my Samsung C3050 in size making the camera easy to carry and easy to store, this easily fits in a shirt pocket as well as jeans. However the size is just one thing as the power the camera has is truly amazing for something of this size and this for me is where the camera excels. With the ability to take photos in 12.1 megapixels, to give some idea that's a massive 4320 x 3240 in screen true size, or to put it another way I was able to print pictures off in A3 without any blur kicking in. I was able to zoom into things using the 3x zoom from a slight distance without the need to move closer, I knew that as I was taking a shot to the maximum quality that I could easily edit on my computer later. With a large 3 inch screen on the back of the camera that nicely takes up almost 80% of the area, the screen shows the picture just taken in rich high quality that you'll know instantly when a shot meets your standards, if not using the buttons on the right it's just a case of deleting then starting again. The screen impressed me as the
Settings wise I always tend to stick to Auto although the camera does have other settings such as Landscape and a Moon symbol representing Night. There are a total of eight altogether and to be honest I am still getting used to these. Basically these setting are pre-determined to allow you as the photographer the ability to take the best picture you can in whatever circumstances. Trouble is that unlike other cameras this isn't easy to choose as there is no dial on top means a simple spin and click to the one required, this method is far easier than what I have seen in the past as this allows a quicker choice in a few seconds rather than going through the Menu as you have to do here. There is also a manual option that I dare not use as this could mean I open the aperture or adjust the balance the wrong way and make some interesting captures!
Given my experiments the S2100 is fully compatible with standard Duo-Pro memory sticks and therefore means that the camera is media compatible with the other members of the Cybershot family. Given the size of the Stick and the setting on the camera itself it is possible to take in the region of 700 shots with a 2 gigabyte Memory Stick, however the camera can easily drain the batteries before 100 shots are reached which doesn't sound much, but given the fact that the camera was turned on to take the photo over a 2 hour time period I didn't actually think this was bad at all. Don't forget if you use the flash then this will reduce the life of the battery even further. The flash itself was quite intense given the size of it on the front of the camera, and when used will leave a few green circles in the eyes after. However using this does give an even covering of light of the subjects and produce a nice clarity that still allows the natural colours to be captured rather than introducing a level of bleaching that turns everything white.
Even video taken come out smooth as well, this is mainly down to the higher frame rate that the recordings are taken with and therefore captured the sound in a sharp manner that allows speech to be recognised and sounds to be identified without the tinny-ness that can occur on a mobile phone. People who are captured walking or in motion are given a smooth flowing effect rather than a flicker book production. With the now standard Sony functions of Red Eye Eliminator and Steadyshot allows the user simply to hold and shoot and is totally hassle free without having to fiddle to ensure focus. Most of the time I was taking the photos one handed, as I didn't want to put my drink down!
I wouldn't expect the camera to be taken to a place like an air show or places where the reaction time depends on the quickness of the camera being used with a higher calibre of zoom, for that you would need a bigger camera and possibly one at a more professional level such as an SLR that can be tricky to use to start off with but easy when one acclimatises. The S2100 is for parties and close up photography, a good example being a car on a drive way or a family occasion. This is the perfect thing to have as it is easy to carry, can go into a small bag quite easily. As an entry level camera it would be a great start and an excellent introduction into the world of photography.
I had seen this precise model in CEX at £92.00, but thought that I could get it cheaper and didn't want to purchase a second hand camera for more than a new one. In fact Argos had this on sale at £79.99 which I though was a bargain as this was some twenty pounds cheaper than the price in the catalogue. To compliment this, what is really needed is a storage pouch and this will protect the camera; it really is a dinky little thing.... dinky yet extremely powerful for something of this size. It seems to me that another leap has been taken, a leap that has again made some of my kit redundant.