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kjeal Sep 25, 2005 4:11 AM


Whilst popping into Jessops, it hit me that there are so many digital cameras out nowadays.

I own a Sony V1 (and an unfortuante W1) and I would like get opinions on how my V1 (i've had it for 6 months now but its a 3 year old camera!) would compare on image quality with the new generation of cameras.



JimC Sep 25, 2005 7:13 AM


I think the DSC-V1 is probably capable of producing better photos in more conditions compared to thevastmajority of newer models. It's got a very sharp lens, good image processing,and it'srelatively full featured, too. Some users do find the ergonomics challenging (but, that's a matter of preference).

Of course, opinionsare going to vary on what's a better camera, and no one camera is perfect for every shooting condition. Each design is going to be a compromise in one area or another.

Is the camera not meeting your expectations?

kjeal Sep 27, 2005 4:28 PM

The image quality issue is something everyone wants - however, on paper, my friends brand new Canon S70 seems to make my V1 redundant.

In fact I think the ergonomics of the V1 are quite good (even the pop-up flash)

I've only had the V1 for 6 months now (got it for just over £200, brand new!) and I don't think that i've started to really use the camera, but in the back of my mind, will a 3 year old camera match or exceed the image quality of a brand new camera of 2005?

....Digital cameras have come A LONG way over the past 2 years.......

JimC Sep 27, 2005 5:01 PM

If you really think that we've come that far, buy a new camera and test yours side by side with it. Then, compare the photos and see which camera you like best.

Then, you're comparing photos taken in the same conditions at the same time from two different models.

Compare the photos on screen, and at the print sizes you'll normally use. Chances are, unless you're printing at very large sizes, you're not even going to notice a dfference in detail by going to a higher resolution model with similar lens quality to your V1 (and most models are not going to have a lens as sharp as yours).

You may see some color or saturation differences, but each model will be a bit different in how it processes images (some tend to be very contrasty which some users may like, but that results in loss of highlight and shadow detail). Some may have higher saturation than others, etc. But, most of those types of things are adjustable in the camera, or via Post Processing.

Can you buy a better camera? It depends on what you mean by "better" and in what conditions you're shooting in. But, sure you can probalby find something better for something (just like you could when the V1 was introduced). Do you need a better camera? You'll have to answer that one.

A lot would depend on the conditions you're using one in. If you're taking photos in lower light, I'd avoid many newer compactmodels.

For example, many of them may have more noise at higher ISO speeds compared to your V1, since sensors have been getting smaller in some of the subcompact models (1/2.5: or 1/2.7"or smallersensors versus the 1/1.8" CCD in your V1). The V3 still uses a 1/1.8" CCDand it's now 7MP versus 5MP.

Some sensors have improved, but many newer models nowmore noise compared to your V1 as ISO speeds are increased.

Look at how you are using a camera before deciding if you need a new one or not.

Unless you have a need for something in particular (for example, higher ISO speeds where a DSLR model may be a better choice, or more optical zoom, or a need for very large prints), then I wouldn't think that a new camera is "better".

It's only better if your existing camera isn't fullfilling your requirements, and you can see a visible improvment (that you think warrants upgrading) in the photos taken in the same conditions you're using your camera in now, at the viewing and print sizes you need.

Wildman Sep 27, 2005 6:35 PM

Another issue is how fast your camera "wakes up" and how much shutter lag you experience with it. Speed has improved a lot with the newer cameras.

As an aside, I have an old Canon Powershot Pro90, a wonderful camera with a great 10X (37-370mm equivalent) stabilized lens. Last November I bought an EOS 20D and a couple of lenses. I dragged the Pro90 out the other day to pass along to my son. I was amazed how slow the old camera really is.

The real answer to your question is... "it all depends". If you're happy with what you have, use it till you want more performance. Lots of folks buy the next camera because it's the thing to do. If your current camera takes the kind of pictures you like, wait a while. The next generation (whatever that means) will always be better.

JimC Sep 27, 2005 7:24 PM

Wildman wrote:

Another issue is how fast your camera "wakes up" and how much shutter lag you experience with it. Speed has improved a lot with the newer cameras.

That's true (startup time, shutter lag, etc.). For example, I broke out an old Nikon Coolpix 950 (a 2 Megapixel model introduced in 1999)on Sunday and used it to take some photos at a party. It tends to take a lot longer than you may be accustomed to to "wake up" if you have it set to go to sleep at the default of 30 seconds. Startup time isn't the greatest either, and it probably wouldn't win any awards for AF speed, etc.

But, the camera the OP has is not very old (Sony DSC-V1), and it's not very slow from an AF perspective, either (thanks to it's laser based AF system). Can you buy a faster camera? Sure.

Again, it depend on what he considers to be "better". If he doesn't need anything faster, then a faster camera isn't really "better" for him. Ditto for other features (if they're not needed, then a new camera won't be better for him).

Heck, this one won't win any photography awards (it's justasnapshot I took at a party we had on Sunday). My niece and her third child (the baby) are on the left. I guess that means the baby is my "great niece" (I have a hard time with these kinds of things).

It's myyounger sister'stwenty somethingyear old daughter with herthird child in her lap (the other two children in the photo are not hers -- her other 2 children were somewhere else in the house). :-)

It's straight from the camera (a 2MP model manufactured in 1999) except for Auto Downsizing by only uploaded one of the snapshots taken with it to make a point that an older camera isn't necessarily a bad thing if it meets your needs.

Now, I did take photos with some other cameras, too (I was actually using 3 different cameras during the party at different times). But, an even old 2MP model made in 1999still works fine as long as you don't need larger prints, faster speed or a feature that it doesn't have.

Yep, it's not a very good snapshot, but that's not the camera's fault. ;-)

The original (no modificationsof any kind) can be found at this link:,

JimC Sep 27, 2005 8:08 PM

Another example....

The Kodak DCS Pro 720x, introduced in 2001 (yep, a newer 2 Megapixelmodel). :-)

It had a 9 stop dynamic range, with usable ISO speeds to 6400 (although only calibrated to ISO 4000). But, I think they were conservative then with Dynamic Range estimates (since newer raw conversion software may be able to pull more out of this sensor).

Resolution aside, I still think the photos from this model look better than any model Stevehas ever reviewed. Kodak did a terrific job on the sensor (and it's raw conversion software was pretty decent for 4 years ago, too).

Even Rob Galbraith's ISO 6400 images clean up well with modern tools (I ran one through Noiseware as a test). New DSLR models don't even have ISO speeds this high (and even thebuildings, etc., were taken at ISO 400).

Try taking a photo at ISO 3200 for 2 seconds with any current camera and see what you get compared to the sample Steve took at ISO 3200 for 2 seconds with this one.

If this thing wasn't so darn large and heavy, I'd buy one on the used market. I came pretty close to pressing the "buy" button a while back when I saw one at a bargain price, especially since it will use some Nikkor lenses I have. But, I came to my senses as I wouldn't want to lug one around. :-)

I wish they'd hire the engineers back that developed this sensor, make it larger (since it's only 2MP), and stuff it into a smaller and lighter DSLR (but not at the price of the older 720x). LOL

Don't go by resolution. Look at color, dynamic range (detail in shadows and highlights, etc.) at the viewing sizes or print size you're more likely to use. Note how much detail you've got in the sky (without overexposingand blowing highlights) whle still maintaining loads of detail in the shadows.Compare the same subjects in samples from newer models (some of the buildings are in virtually all model's samples here). OK - the images were Post Processed (usingthe old software available at that time). But, it would still be very difficult to match that kind of Dynamic Range.

Sure, if you're going to be printing at larger sizes, more than 2 megapixels may be needed. But, this camera had image quality that you still couldn't rival with new models in some conditions (since most won't even go to ISO speeds as high as this model if you needed something capable of up to ISO 6400), and most models still can't match it's dynamic range. The sensor was actually developed even earlier than this model.

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