In praise of old digital cameras…

Many of the photos that appear on mikerophonography are the work of an ancient (well, it came out ten years ago!) Sony Cybershot DSC-S75.  Why?  Well, it’s the one that’s in the basement for one. Oh, and it takes smashing web photos!

Sony DSC-S75

The DSC-S75 is a 3.2 megapixel camera with a 3x zoom (34-102mm equivalent) lens.  Actually, the glass on the front of this old camera is quite remarkable and about twice as large as most cameras today.  It has a max aperture of f2.1, making this a pretty fast lens for its grade.  The sensor is also big 1/1.8″ sensor, again, much bigger than the ones found in today’s cameras.

This thing is built like a tank.  It feels good in the hand, without the need to menu dive every time you want to change a setting.  While the LCD is small (1.8″), it’s bright and sharp.

With the f2.1 lens, you can shoot handheld in lower light and still get a decent shot. It also features full manual controls (aperture-priority, shutter-priority, full manual and program mode) with a clever control dial on the back.  ISO levels range from 100 to 400.  At 100, photos are noise-free; at 400, noise is there, but since this is a big sensor, it looks more like film grain than the schmutz you get with today’s tiny-sensor, 12+ megapixel sensors.

I’ve used this camera for years.  I’ve collected the wide and tele conversion lenses, plus have used it with filters like polarizers, UV, even color filters.  I feel comfortable taking it everywhere (although it is definitely not a pocket camera) and and often amazed by the color and beauty of the photos that it takes.

The DSC-S75 uses the same charger system as my trusty TRV-120 Digital8 video recorder, making it easy to find a charger to top off the battery.  And the battery lasts a good long time, and holds a charge well between uses.  The only real downside to this camera is the media it uses — old Sony MemoryStick (not pro, not duo, nada) and maxes out at 128MB. Fortunately, I recently found a stock of these chips, so I have plenty to go around.

And since recording on the cheap is what we’re about here, this is the ideal camera.  I bought it used for about $50 in 2005 and am glad of it.  As long as it still takes decent photos, I’ll be using it here! For more info on the DSC-S75, check out one of my favorite digital camera review sites, Imaging Resource.

(Note: you’re probably wondering how I took these photos.  I used my “pocket” camera, a Canon SD780 — the tiniest little camera I’ve ever used!)