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Sony's claim of using a fourth color in the CCD is pure genius. Only the images will tell if they really have something here. Unlike Nikon and Canon, Sony has decades of experience in building their own CCDs for all sorts of applications. I even used to be an applications engineer supporting people who were designing cameras using the Sony CCDs.
Compact fixed-lens digital cameras like this used to serve a purpose back when real digital SLRs cost thousands of dollars in 2003, but in 2004 real SLRs can be had for the same price as this this class of fixed-lens camera. Real SLRs give much better convenience and performance and are not much bigger.
This non-SLR competes directly with other similar compact cameras like the Nikon 8700. It is NOT an SLR camera and lacks the performance of similarly priced real DSLRs like the Canon Digital Rebel and Nikon D100 in terms of speed and noise. Personally I'd get a Canon Digital Rebel over this camera at the same price.
It is not a real SLR, since it lacks the reflex mirror (the "R" in "SLR") which means that you cannot see the image directly through the lens. Instead the DSC-F828 is like other EVF (electronic viewfinder) cameras, which means that you only get to see a small LCD screen through a peep hole with an electronic image that is somewhat delayed and of lower resolution than the ground glass of a real SLR.
The DSC-F828 shares the defects of other similar cameras, which is the usual maddening delays in operation and much noisier images and/or slower ISO speeds than real DSLRs.
The 8MP rating is of no significance compared to 6MP cameras. See the "Megapixel Myth." In fact, a 6MP real DSLR can make better images due to the speed and noise issues.
Lacks the important SHADE white balance setting. You'll have to dedicate the manual setting to this.
ISO 64 - 800
Direct zoom ring, just like a real camera (not a motorized zoom like most point-and-shoots)
Takes too long to turn on, well over a second, compared to a real DSLR.
2.4 FPS, 7 frame buffer in burst mode.
Too big for this class of camera. The Nikon 8700 and Canon Pro-1 are much smaller and do the same thing.
Image quality and speed is about the same as other non-SLRs like the Nikon 5700 and 8700, which means annoying delay in most photo situations and far more noise at even slow ISOs compared to real DSLRs. Ignore irrelevant claims about high burst speeds; the problem is that making the first image of any sequence just takes too long compared to real SLRs.
Ignore the RAW and TIF modes since these are unbuffered so the camera locks up for 10 seconds after each shot. See here for why I don't suggest RAW mode for any camera.
I love that the zoom ring is a real manual mechanical zoom control for instant adjustment unlike the ridiculous motorized Nikons and Canons. Unfortunately the zoom ring is made of cheap feeling plastic with a different finish than the rest of the camera and the pseudo-focal length markings, corresponding loosely to the angle of view you'd get on an old 35mm film camera at the mm setting, are just printed on. Also the "Zeiss" logo is just a blue sticker on the side of camera. Hrmph.
For my money I'd get a Canon Digital Rebel or Nikon D70 instead for faster operation and better image quality. For my money the Rebel should give cleaner images, work faster and be an all around better camera.
The only reason people seem to be impressed is the sole banner specification of 8MP, which means nothing as you can read at the megapixel myth. This 8MP camera has at best less than 10% more resolution than a 6MP camera, so what. 8MP thus looks the same as 6MP, and since the pixels on the CCD of the DSC-F838 are far smaller than those of a true SLR the overall quality is less than that of a 6MP true SLR.
If you are still sold on this class of fixed-lens camera I preferred the Canon Pro-1 for smaller size and easier operation.
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