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Sony DSC-F717 Cybershot 4 to 5 Megapixel
Submitted by kurttarvis a Expert
Date Reviewed: June 23, 2008
Strengths: amazing image quality, long battery life, you can zoom with a ring on the end of the lens (similar to SLRs), NightShot which can be used in pitch black or for infrared, has an LCD and viewfinder, easy to use functions, can focus automatic or manually, amazing macro.
Weaknesses: very large and awkward for some people, not great autofocus in certain times especially for rapid moving objects
a big, yet quite sturdy camera. takes very sharp images and has a 5 megapixel sensor. It has a large lens that you can move so you can see the viewfinder in awkward situations. It also has the NightShot feature which is awesome in pitch black and can also be used with filters in daytime as an infrared camera without having to pay $400 for conversion (my main use of the camera). It has 5x optical zoom plus pretty good digital zoom. I have used for over a month and have had complete success with it and it's a great addition to put in my secondary bag (first bag is a Nikon D40x [dSLR] and a Canon EOS 1N [SLR]). Anyways, It has plenty of good features on the camera and even some cool effects right on the camera such as sepia and negative. This is a good camera that has superb image quality and it's a shame Sony no longer markets cameras with NightShot (night vision)
Duration Product Used: 2-5 years
Price Paid: $325.00
Purchased At: ebay
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by a5d a Expert
Date Reviewed: August 22, 2006
Strengths: Lens (f/2.0-2.4, 38 - 190 mm) produces excellent 5 megapixel pictures. Battery life is measured in days. Compatible with Megabyte memory sticks. Electronic internal viewfinder easily switched to external LCD viewer. Consult a good, detailed review somewhere to see the complete list of strengths I don't use.
Weaknesses: Slow shutter response has to be tweaked for adequate action shots. Flash will never be fast enough because the camera preflashes for exposure even without red-eye correction on (makes beautiful exposures, though). Does not have SLR otpical viewfinder. Somewhat big and awkward for some people, but no more so than most digital SLRs.
This camera has been discontinued for a few years, now, but you might find one in good condition somewhere. I think it filled a niche that Sony failed to replace.
It is an awkward, somewhat big camera as digital cameras go, but that is becasue It consists of a big lens with a big battery mounted in an "L" shape. It's not so big when you learn to cradle the lens in the left hand rather than grasp the body. Somewhere between these two big items the designers managed to add the focus, exposure, computers, electronic view finder, 1.8 in. LCD monitor, 5 megapixel resolution and memory stick. The lens is big because it has a maximum aperture of f/2.0 to f/2.4 and 38mm to 190 mm (equivalent) optical zoom. The battery is big because it is Lithium and won't run down in the middle of something.
Many reviewers have complained that the camera has a slow shutter response. This was my initial experience, too, but I managed to work around that by making some of the decisions for the camera. For example, I set spot meter and center focus and use shutter priority when I am photographing something where timing is important. Whenever possible I use the prefocus half-release to tell the camera which automatic setting I want. (This harkens back to the old days when shooting slide film, where one would expose on the highlights or the shadows, depending on how the details were lit). These adjustments have given me decent shutter response.
Another complaint from reviewres is that the "TIFF" exposures take too long. My own comparisions show that the difference between the highest resolution JPG and TIFF is not really visible. But the transfer to memory is still too slow for burst mode even using JPG. What is important with JPG exposures is that they cannot be saved as JPG a second time if they are edited. After the first crop, exposure correction, or whatever, they must be saved as TIFF or the compression algorithms will throw out detail.
The camera makes stunning JPG photographs. I enlarged some to 16X24 and you have to be looking for problems to see them. If you enlarge too much, there may be some magenta shadowing on horizontal lines, but you are down in magnifying glass territory to see it. Barrel and pin cushion distortion have to be measured with a straight edge to be noticed.
But the real strength of the camera lies in its low light capability. Indoor shots with no flash come out crisp and sharp. Lower light can use night focusing, and if you don't want to scare everyone in the room, you can use the laser multipoint focusing in the dark.
This camera obviously has disdvantages compared to an SLR. THe most obvious is the fixed lens. On the other hand the electronic viewfinder gives some clue as to how the picture is going to look since exposure adjustments show in the viewfinder. The viewfinder, unlike the external LCD viewer, can be seen in sunlight and gives the same information.
I have used the camera basically as a snapshot camera, but I get so much better shapshots than the smaller snap shot cameras that I have to loan it out occasionally when someone wants to make pictures on stage, back stage, at parties, or in other low light situations. I have also made some fairly good pictures mixed in with all the snap shots. They may or may not be professional quality, but they are at least "advanced amateur" quality. In other words, people who see them don't complain the imperfections, they usually want to know what kind of camera I used..
Duration Product Used: 21+ years
Price Paid: $800.00
Purchased At: I forget. Someone on
Similar Products Used: Sony Cybershot DSC P7 3 megapixel digital
Canon Rebel 35MM SLR
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by jeans a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: September 6, 2004
Strengths: Great x5 (36-190mm) lens with very useful reach
Fast aperture (really helps in those not-so-perfectly-lighted situations)
Nice swiveling body design
Most importantly - gives AWESOME results
Weaknesses: Some pictures have somwehat dull colors
Compared to the DSLRs it has:
have to dig into the menus to changes the settings
only acceptable start-up times
Compared to other digicams, it has a limited feature set, but for the price you'll have to give up either features or quality. I prefer to give up on features (all the imortant ones are there)
One of the greatest (non-DSLR) dital cameras available. For its price it's a real winner! Replaced it with Nikon D70 after having it about 8 months.
Price Paid: $680.00
Purchased At: eBay
Similar Products Used: Nikon CLX4300
Submitted by karusel a Intermediate from Slovenia
Date Reviewed: February 8, 2004
Strengths: -it delivers great photos
-very useful nightframing
-excellent laser-pattern focusing in low light
-zooming/focusing cannot be heard
-you can tilt the lens
-great macro closeup ability (be careful to turn macro function on when needed and off when not)
Weaknesses: -lifeless and unresponsive, compared to (film) SLRs
-accepts memory sticks only - expensive
-rather heavy depreciation
-shooting .tiff is impossible, unless you can afford to wait 1/2 minute
-3 images burst is pretty useless, since you really have to push the button in the exact right moment, if you miss, you can helplessly wait for images to be written while your duck or whatever dissapears out of sight
-definetely not good for a candid snapshots at night, unless you don't care much about the red eyes
-even with painfully slow red eye reduction turned on, some red eyes are mostly still noticeably visible, not much though
After almost a year of use I can state, that 717 is a great camera that is well worth the price. It does need some getting used to, specially if you come from the film SLR territory. The design is either odd, or very 'cyber' whichever you choose to call it, but trust me, people around will always call it cool.
Note: I really had to think hard to put down all the weaknesses, the strengths that I've put down are the ones that just stand out, everything else about it is good, the menus, buttons, functions etc. etc. etc.
Also, the camera isn't an SLR, so don't expect it to behave like one. When I was buying it, there simply was no better 5 megapixel compact digital camera than this one and I was picking it for months, was never disappointed and still love it...
Submitted by Kimberley Converse a Expert
Date Reviewed: January 1, 2004
Strengths: The macro lens is superior.
Rechargeable power packs and easy to use Sony sticks.
Weaknesses: Action and sports shots.
Digital zoom (versus optical zoom).
I don't miss my SLR. I recommend this camera to everyone who sees me taking photos. Powerful options and settings. I take photos for websites and for brochures. It is the one camera I bring for my photo shoots.
Price Paid: $800.00
Purchased At: Best Buy
Similar Products Used: none
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