Four 5-Megapixel Cameras In Review

Fast Or Slow Shutter Speed

If we just counted the time it takes to boot and record JPEG photos, the DSC-F707 could be champion for speed. But unfortunately that does not apply to autofocus, which takes twice as long as the E-20. Allow about two seconds for focus, versus one and a half for the Coolpix 5000 and Dimage 7.

First Impressions

Let's start out with the negatives first. Although the built-in flash can be set at different levels of intensity, it tends to reduce sharpness and the amount of detail. Furthermore, we discovered that default usage results in the red-eye effect for all living subjects (excepting flies, earthworms and the like). Even more surprising, it produces red-eye even for people in profile. The red-eye reduction option must always be used if you are taking family snaps, and this can be tiresome: it is long-winded and power-hungry. It would be much better if you could activate it at will, meaning fast. It's a pity that Sony did not provide access to it via the flash button on the selection dial. You have to exit the recording mode and go into setup to activate it in the second to last option of the first tab. This is all far too complicated, so it's much simpler, even more than with the other three, to just forget the flash. One solution would be to use higher sensitivity, but ISO 400 gives too much grain and the camera only uses the "Grain reduction" function when the pause time is over two and a half seconds. It's better to use ISO 200, which is usually satisfactory.