Controls and design
Although not the first Sony camera to feature Night Framing and Night Shot modes, plus holographic AF assist, these features are certainly innovative.
While the V1 is put together well enough, its lightweight feel is odd and doesn't provide that comforting feel of robustness that is imparted by heavier cameras. The satin aluminium finish doesn't look like it will stand up well to the test of time and our review example has already recorded some marking.
The off-set to the right eye-level viewfinder is odd as it means you have to squash your nose up against the viewscreen. Most modern digital cameras site the viewfinder well to the left.
One main top-plate knob selects exposure modes, playback modes and the central set up mode. A single settings adjustment jog-dial thumb-wheel is provided just above a four-way navigation cluster that doubles as a mode selector for the flash settings, close focus modes, self-timers and a toggle between live preview and reviewing the previous picture taken. In the centre of the cluster is a fifth button but this doesn't appear to do anything most of the time. It does, however, serve to confirm settings choices when in main setup mode.
1.Exp compensation, 2.AF mode, 3.AE Lock, 4.Hot shoe, 5.Viewfinder, 6.Viewscreen on/off/histogram, 7.Night Frame/Shot, 8.Exp mode, setup knob, 9.Zoom, 10.Jog/dial, 11Up nav/flash, 12.Setup confirm, 13.Right nav/close focus, 14.Down nav/self timer, 15.Battery/memory stick compartment, 16.Resolution/erase image, 17.Menu, 18.Left nav/review, 19.Viewscreen, 20.Cover for external ports.
Above the cluster is a button that switches the viewscreen on and off as well as select a live histogram display. Below the cluster are the menu button and a shortcut button to the resolution menu setting in picture making mode or delete image function in playback mode.
1.Threaded accessory lens mount, 2.Viewfinder, 3.Shutter release, 4.Speaker, 5.Laser Holographic AF assist, 6.Flash (closed), 7.Self-timer lamp, 8.Infra red illuminator, 9.Lens (automatic cover).
Finally, three buttons to the left of the viewfinder eyepiece provide control for +/- EV override in shooting mode and thumbnail view in playback mode, focus mode selection and auto exposure (AE) lock.
It looks innocent enough but I found the V1's vertical zoom knob tricky to use at first.
The zoom control is a stubby vertical action thumb-operated lever. I found this quite difficult to get used to. Most compact cameras let you control the zoom with either a left/right thumb switch, or a forefinger-operated collar switch incorporating the shutter release button.
The V1's zoom lens doesn't extend in an extreme fashion through out its zoom range. Note the proprietary accessory port in the centre of the side of the body.
The V1's lens is of the type that is recessed when not in use, extending when the camera is switched on in picture taking mode. Zooming does vary the lens extension but this not extreme.
Three main ports are hidden under a flap to the left of the LCD viewscreen.
The three primary external connections offered by the V1 are the mini-USB 2.0 Hi-speed port, A/V composite video and mono audio 3.5mm jack socket and a proprietary power socket for the bundled mains adapter that charges the battery while it remains in the camera. There is also an accessory port on the left hand side if the body viewed from the back.
Sony's bundled software is very basic, including a picture transfer manager utility and a beginner's image viewing and tidying up program called Pixel ImageMixer.
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