Sony Cybershot DSCT300

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After I accidently reversed the car over our second Nikon Coolpic S60, we were lucky enough to be given the Sony Cybershot DSCT300 as a gift. It's a handy, pocket-sized camera which we thought would be an ideal "happy snaps" style camera ... you know -- one for baby pics. Overall, and especially considering the price tag (zero), it hasn't been a dissapointment.

Sony Cybershot DSCT300Coming from the Nikon, the big difference is the 3.5" wide screen touch panel that covers just about the entirety of the rear of the case. Through this you can control nearly all functions of the camera aside from the zooming, on/off and actually taking the photo (there's button up top for all those functions). The screen is terrific for configuration changes and for viewing already taken shots but for framing and taking the actual photo, if you're in the outdoors the screen can be difficult to see -- a problem not isolated to this particular brand or model. The zoom "lever" is located on the top right corner of the camera -- it is a bit fiddly, and we rarely use it.

Vital statistics include a 10.1-megapixel Super HAD CCD that captures enough detail for photo-quality poster-size prints, a Carl Zeiss 5x optical zoom lens, a 3.5-inch widescreen Clear Photo LCD Plus display with Face Detection and a 15 MB internal memory card (though we use it with a Sony 4 GB memory card).

Configuration changes on the Sony Cybershot are fairly intuitive, though on first start-up we needed to refer to the manual a couple of times, and there is a minor irritant of needing to confirm selection changes before they are enacted. There's also a sound effect to go with every touch -- that would be one of the first things we'd suggest you disable. With such a large display and all the beeping and hooting, it isn't a surprise that the battery lasts a shorter time than you may expect. After a couple of days of only moderate use (albeit with heavy viewing of taken photos afterwards) the battery was near dead -- so don't forget the compact and lightweight charger!

For happy snaps, in bright outdoors light, the camera takes fine photos with very rich colour. In subdued, indoors light, the photos are not so great. For action shots, ie., anything to do with a young child -- we found it took the photo too slow and the kids were already half out of shot by the time the camera snapped. The video, which offers surprsingly clear sound for a camera in this class, is best used outdoors.

Overall, if you're looking for a moderately priced digital camera for taking outdoor shots -- especially static ones and those of people who can stay still for more than one second -- then you'll probably find the Sony Cybershot DSCT300 to be a more than satisfactory purchase. The camera gets resoundingly positive reviews on, and, priced at under US$400, it is certainly not the priciest camera on the block.

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