Sony DSC S500: A Quality Entry Line Product

Post by Maxime Rousseau

I got this camera as a Christmas gift last year, and although initially disappointed of not having received the higher end DSC Wxx Series camera, it turned out to be a great device, specially considering the retail price.

Build Quality

Like all Sony products that I have previously owned, this camera looks and feels sturdy. It has a nice weight to it that makes you feel that the casing is full, and the weight is very well distributed, which helps with shakiness when holding the camera. Mine came in perfect condition, with no warps in the plastic, faded or chipped paint, etc. All components are sturdy and well attached to the body. In opened and closed position, and even while opening and closing, the lense assembly is solid on it's mechanism. The LCD screen at the back is very big and bright.

Features

With such a price tag, this camera had what it needs to get the job done.

-Picture Modes:
-6 MP JPG format (Highest Quality, recommended for general use)
-3:2 format
-3 MP mid JPG (For smaller but less memory hogging pictures)
-2 MP JPG (Low Quality)
-VGA 640 x 480 (Lowest Quality, useless really)
-320 x 240 AVI camera mode at 25 frames per second
-ISO speeds
-80
-100
-200
-400
-Many pre-programmed modes
-Auto
-Night Shot
-Portrait
-Landscape
-etc
-Built-in flash with many modes
-2 and 10 second shutter timers
-Burst Mode capable of just a bit over 1 picture per second.
-Connections
-Audio-video out (cable supplied)
-USB connection

Pictures

In ideal light, such as outside, and in very well lit rooms, the 400 ISO is enough and produces quality photographs, of a surprising quality I might even add, considering that this camera does not possess the Vario-Tessar lenses of it's cousins the DSC-W's. As soon as the light begins to dim, the pictures become blurry, but it's nothing that a steady hand or tripod cannot handle.

The autofocus is a bit slow compared to some higher end Sony 's Canon's and Olympus', but still does the job very well. Personally, I like to always take advantage of the two stage picture button, and always ensure that the focus is perfect before taking the shot.

I've done a lot of tourism with this camera, and I can certify that it's a quite fast snapper, even in moderately lit places such as churches.

As for the ergonomy of the whole thing, it is pretty well balanced, with all the buttons and knobs at the right place for easy access, with no superfluous controls. The only problem I can think of in the use aspect of it is really the buttons. I thought this was a problem specific to mine, but turns out that there are many reports of tough button. Example: I press the first half of the shutter for the auto-focus, then the second half for the release, but once out of so much times it won't go until I press really hard, despite the click is felt.

Battery life is extraordinary when you do not use the flash. I took nearly 300 pictures with a single charge of Duracell Ni-Mh rechargeables.

The only thing that you have to consider before buying this is that it uses Memory Stick Pro Duo medium to store picture, and that the latter is significantly more expensive, and of lesser availability than the defacto standard, the SD card. Make sure you shop around and calculate a complete price for camera AND stick before buying.

In the end, if you are tight on cash and want a small point and click that will serve you well, this one is for you.

Originally seen on Epinions.