Review: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S75
Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2001
Friday, June 28, 2002
Cyber-shot DSC-S75 ($699) is Sony's entry into the high end
3.3 Megapixel market. The S75 has some tough competition: Olympus,
Nikon, Canon, and Toshiba all make excellent 3 Mpixel cameras as
well. The DSC-S75 has a ton of features... but is that enough to
stand out from the crowd? Find out below in our review...
in the Box?
DSC-S75 has a very good bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
3.3 Mpixel Cyber-shot DSC-S75 camera
InfoLithium battery w/charger and AC adapter
cap w/ strap
featuring MGI PhotoSuite software and drivers
really isn't much to comment here since the bundle is good. If I
was to complain about anything, it would be that the 8MB Memory
Stick is way too small for a 3 Megapixel camera. I won't go into
the fact that the Memory Stick is a proprietary format -- you won't
find many non-Sony products that support it.
all of Sony's cameras and camcorders, the S75 uses the InfoLithium
battery. This battery tells you how many minutes are left until
the battery dies. The included NP-FM50 battery will last for roughly
165 minutes before needing a charge. Recharging the FM50 takes about
kudos to Sony for including a lens cap with strap.
6/20/01: The DSC-S75 is indeed Mac OS X friendly. First, though,
you must visit the Setup Menu and change the USB Mode to "PTP".
Once that's done, the Image Capture app. will launch when the camera
is connected under Mac OS X.
find Sony's manuals not very user friendly. The layout and organization
needs work -- they're just like the one included with your VCR.
DSC-S75 is pretty traditional looking and should be easy for first-timers
to pick up and use. The body is a mix of metal and plastic and feels
solidly constructed. It is a bit bulky so don't expect to keep it
in your pants pocket. The dimensions of the camera are 4.625 x 2.875
x 2.625 inches, and it weighs 426 g (1 lb) fully loaded [Sony didn't
provide the empty weight that I normally reference].
front of the S75 is the first stop on our review. The "Carl
Zeiss" lens looks familiar -- I think we've seen this one before
on Canon, Epson, and Toshiba cameras. This F2.0 lens has a focal
range of 7 - 21mm, which is equivalent to 34 - 102mm. The lens is
threaded (52mm) and a number of filters and lenses are available.
other item of note on the front is the AF illuminator, for focusing
in low light situations.
back of the DSC-S75 is where most of the action is. The 1.8"
LCD is bright and fluid, though it seems to attract thumb and nose
the LCD is the info display most often found on top of most cameras.
This display basic information, which in this case is battery life,
shots remaining, and flash setting, as well as the shutter speed
right of that is the zoom control, which is well-placed for easy
thumb access. To the right of that is the thumb wheel (which is
also a button) that is used for adjusting manual settings such as
shutter speed, aperture, and exposure compensation.
the other side of the LCD info display you'll find an optical viewfinder.
The size is just right, and there's diopter correction for our fellow
that you'll find the four-way switch, which is use for menus and
basic camera functions as well. This includes:
that you'll find buttons for:
the lower right of the photo, you can see (under a rubber cover)
the port for the AC adapter (included with camera).
the top of the camera, you'll find the mode wheel, shutter release
button, microphone, and a shoe for an external flash.
flash shoe is "cold" and uses a proprietary flash sync
port that you'll see on the side of the camera in a second. I wasn't
able to figure out what flashes are supported (nothing is mentioned
in the manual about external flashes at all).
mode wheel (which has the power switch below it) has a very "notchy"
feeling (that's a good thing) and has the following options:
further explanation on these:
Mode: Choose between Twilight, Portrait, and Landscape. The camera
picks the best settings for these situations. I don't like how
you have go to to the Setup Mode to change this though.
Priority: You pick the aperture, the camera picks the appropriate
shutter speed. The choices range from F2 - F8 and will vary a
bit depending on the focal range used.
Priority: exactly the opposite, you choose the shutter speed and
the camera picks the correct aperture. You can choose from a number
of speeds ranging from 8 sec - 1/1000 sec.
Manual: You choose both the shutter speed and aperture. The values
available are the same as above.
this side of the camera, you can see the speaker, accessory port
(for external flash?), USB port, and A/V out port. Those last two
ports are kept under a sturdy plastic door.
much is happening on the other side of the camera. Where's that
Memory Stick slot then?
to my surprise, the slot is in the battery compartment! Here you
can see the bottom of the S75 with included FM50 battery and 8MB
Memory Stick. Also of note down here is the metal tripod mount.
the Sony DSC-S75
camera turns on with much fanfare and takes about 4 seconds to "warm
up" before you can start taking shots. When the shutter release
is pressed halfway, it takes less than a second to lock focus. The
delay between the time the button is fully depressed and the shot
is taken is minimal. Between shots, you'll only have to wait about
two seconds. The zoom controls were also speedy and accurate.
view from the LCD in record mode
DSC-S75 has a number of choices for image size and quality. Check
out this table which describes them:
Standard on 8MB Stick
Fine on 8MB Stick
is an uncompressed TIFF mode on the S75, but you can't fit a single
TIFF on the included Memory Stick.
S75's menu system is pretty simple, since many functions are buttons
rather than buried in the menu somewhere. Let's take a look at the
various menu items and what they do:
Balance (One-push, Auto, Indoor, Outdoor)
(Auto, 100, 200, 400)
Size (2048 x 1536, 2048 (3:2), 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 640 x
Quality (Fine, Standard)
Mode (TIFF, Text, Voice, E-Mail, Burst2, Normal) -- more on this
Level (High, Normal, Low)
Effects (Solarize, Black & White Sepia, Negative Art, Off)
(-2 to +2)
think that's the shortest list in some time. The "one-push"
white balance mode is indeed a manual WB mode. Shoot a piece of
white paper or whatever you want to be white, and you'll be able
to get accurate color in almost any lighting.
more details on those Rec Mode choices:
uncompressed large image - won't fit on 8MB Stick. Only one fits
on 16MB Stick.
records a GIF in black & white
Records an audio file along with a still image
Records a 320 x 240 image in addition to the recorded image
Records two images continuously
Setup Mode, there are a number of other options available. Here
are the interesting ones:
Mode Selection (twilight, landscape, portrait)
Image (MPEG Movie, ClipMotion) - explained later
numbering (series, reset)
DSC-S75 performed admirably in our macro test, in both color accuracy
and sharpness. The shot above used manual (one-touch) white balance.
You can get as close as 4 cm (1.6") in wide-angle mode, and
20 cm (8") in telephoto mode.
camera was about average in the nightshot test. For some reason,
all the lights in the picture are white rather than the yellow as
seen by the naked eye, and recorded by other cameras that same night.
Aside from that, there are no "unnatural stars" in the
sky caused by hot pixels.
I was very pleased with the quality of the photos from the S75.
But don't take my word for it, judge for yourself in the DSC-S75
movie modes is one of the best out there: the video and audio quality
is very good, and you can fill up the Memory Stick with video in
non-HQ modes. The only downside is that you cannot use the zoom
(optical or digital) during filming.
are three sizes available in movie mode:
of seconds on 8MB Stick
x 72 (Mobile)
quality is highest in 320 (HQ) mode, but you're limited to 15 second
clips. In the other modes you can record until the Stick fills up.
a thrilling 8 second MPEG video (2.8MB)
is also a feature called ClipMotion which will take 10 images and
put them into an animated GIF for you. You can do some stop motion
animation with this I guess.
DSC-S75's playback mode goes beyond the basic features found on
most cameras. Those include slideshows, DPOF print marking, protection,
thumbnail mode, and "zoom & scroll".
advanced features include:
- copies an image
change an image's size
- splits movies in half
- when zoomed into an image, you can crop the image down to the
selected area. You choose the resolution of the new image (the
old one is kept). The only thing to remember here is that if you
take a small area of an image and then blow it up, you'll lose
anything is missing, it's the ability to get information about your
photos, such as the aperture and shutter speed that was used.
Update 5/18/01: As it turns out, there is a way to get this
information. If you hit the zoom out button, it will go to 9 thumbnail
mode. Hit zoom out again and it will show 3 thumbnails, and exposure
info for each. That's better than nothing but I'd still like it
on the main full-size page.
also would've liked a delete button, rather than having to invoke
the menu every time I want to remove a photo.
S75 moves between images quickly in playback mode, and it shows
a low res version before a high res one replaces it.
Does it Compare?
the Cyber-shot DSC-S75, Sony has a very competitive entry in the
crowded 3 Megapixel field. The feature-set, easy-of-use, photo quality,
and price are all impressive. Most of my concerns are with the Memory
Stick format: it's proprietary, and the included Stick is way too
small. Obviously the second issue can be resolved, while you're
out of luck with the first one. If you're comfortable with the Memory
Stick format and like what you've seen, I can definitely recommend
the DSC-S75 as a great 3.3 Megapixel camera.
good photo quality
good bundle (except for Memory Stick)
menus mean it's easy to use
movie mode with sound!
I didn't care for:
zoom in movie mode
(and too small) Memory Stick format, and external flash port
image info in playback mode (except when you zoom out twice)
could be better
3 Megapixel market is crowded, so you have your work cut out for
you. Do consider the following other cameras before you buy: Canon
PowerShot G1, Casio
QV-3500EX, Nikon Coolpix 880,
and the Toshiba
always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try out
the DSC-S75 and its competitors before you buy!