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Monday, January 16, 2012

Sony Cybershot DSC-V3 Review- A Cybershot Powerhouse

Sony Cybershot DSC-V3 Review- A Cybershot Powerhouse
January 2012, Carl Garrard 
Sony DSC-V3 Price Check
Sony V3 Review: As Canon clearly shows with the G1X, the age of the enthusiast level rangefinder styled compact is far from dead. Sony's DSC-V3 was the last of its kind, unfortunately, and one has to wonder just how far along that camera's successor would be now if Sony had only continued the V series lineup. Although the V series is seemingly a forgotten line for Sony, it still remains a unique and interesting camera some 7 years after it's introduction for some shooters like me. I've even made Sony a V5 blueprint/concept in this review (complete with image!).

Sony DSC-V3 Price Check

Sony V3 Review: Introduction, the Basics

In Sony's Cybershot glory days the DSC-V3 was a successor to the popular and capable DSC-V-1, and improved greatly upon that design. Both shared a similar Carl Zeiss lens but just about everything else was changed or upgraded on the V3. Sony's V3 is a 7.2mp rangefinder styled full featured prosumer compact camera that sports a wide range of unique features and full 14 bit raw capability (yep you heard right, a Sony compact that has raw). On the front of the V3 you see the heart of its design, a 34-136mm f/2.8-4 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens with an automatic lens cover which is surrounded by a thick aluminum accessory lens adapter ring. It also sports an optical viewfinder and some other surprises which I will go into more on the rest of the review.

Sony Cybershot DSC-V3 Physical Views
Front- Note: AF Illuminator, IR lamp, Optical Viewfinder, Flash
Rear-Note: Manual controls galore, and dual media card switch
3/4 View- Nice big grip and Rangefinder no-nonsense styling

Sony V3 Review: How it competes today: The Sony V3 still has a competitive feature set nearly 8 years after its introduction, and in the digital age that is nearly a lifetime. In the category it competes in there is a checklist that enthusiasts look for as a staple for a camera of this type that the Sony V3 includes, such as:
  • Optical Viewfinder (larger view than most compacts)
  • Large LCD screen (2.5" is plenty)
  • Many external Manual controls
  • Raw capability (V3 records in 14 bit raw here)
  • Versatile Sharp Lens (Carl Zeiss here) w/ability to use filters/adapters
  • Good grip
  • Flash Hot Shoe (the open type, not current proprietary type Sony uses)
  • Larger than usual compact sensor (1 1/8" type, bigger than most small compacts)
  • Excellent low ISO image quality and better than average high ISO image quality
  • Small enough to fit into coat pocket
  • Excellent Build Quality (magnesium body panels and some metal controls)
Sony DSC-V3 Price Check

Sony V3 Review: Unique Features/Unique to Sony

Boasting a plethora of unique features, it simply baffles my mind why this camera was not continued in Sony's lineup. The V3's unique features are its Hologram AF illuminator (laser grid pattern auto focus assist lamp), Night shot infrared mode (more on this in a bit), and Night shot framing mode. Unique to Sony compacts are its 14 bit raw files (only Sony compact ever to boast raw) and dual media card slots (Sony memory stick and a compact flash slot). Also worth mentioning are its larger than normal 1 1/8" Super HAD CCD 7.2mp sensor, and big sharp f2.8-f4 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens.

Sony DSC-V3 Showing its  Hologram IR Lamp illuminating (purple light)

Sony V3 Review: Why I like the Sony V3

As a reviewer/photographer/consumer alike, I'm an enthusiast at heart and I am especially fond of rangefinder styled cameras and rangefinders as an alternative camera to a DSLR. I find these kind of cameras especially appealing for travel and lightweight duty in a backpack which the V3 seems to serve especially well. Today they are just as attractive as an optional camera as they have ever been which gives testament and market validity to the rangefinder design. Rangefinders simply aren't going away.

Sony's V3 is unique amongst it's own herd of sheep. It is the only compact camera Sony ever made that included the capability to shoot raw, and the only compact Sony camera ever that has 14bit A/D conversion.

The V3 also included technologies that were prevalent in Sony's Cybershot cameras of the time such as a laser grid AF illumination lamp (Sony calls it Hologram AF) and an Infrared mode that does dual duty: First as an IR only shot (Nightshot IR), and the other used to aid autofocus in complete darkness -without the use of an AF illumination lamp. Sony called it "Nightframing".

I've seen some funny stuff on the internet and TV with "ghost hunters" using the V3 as a tool to take pictures of  poltergeist and other strange phenomena in complete darkness. Um,  believe whatever you will about these stories, but the fact remains the V3 can indeed see in the dark. I'll leave it at that.

Nightframing allows the V3 to frame and focus in complete darkness without a subject seeing any light transmitted from the camera. The photographer can view the subject in full infrared however when the final picture is made, it is made in the normal color spectrum of light.

How does the V3 shoot using IR? Simply put the V3 has a movable IR filter in camera. Most cameras have a permanent IR filter over the image sensor blocking IR light. When the V3 is in Nightframing or Nightshot modes, the IR filter is moved out of the way of the sensor automatically- letting a full spectrum range of light pass into the sensor surface.

IR light is not filtered in this mode. To help during no light situations Sony designed the V3 with an IR lamp on the camera to illuminate subjects in complete darkness- essentially giving the V3 (and the photographer watching the LCD screen) night vision. Below is a sample of what you see on screen and how the final image looks- the green tinge is due to the IR light and how the camera processes that "color".

DSC-V3 Nightshot Mode

Sony used this IR system on a few cameras, namely the F (F717/F828) and V (V1/V3) series only. It's a brilliant system that is gone on all future Cybershot cameras, as was the hologram AF assist. Both were removed to save cost on future cameras. I don't know about you, but I'd gladly pay the extra fee for these features. Sony, put them back in!

Sony's hologram AF assist is the best ever designed. I've used every type of AF assist on the market and without a doubt this one is the most effective. A class one laser is used to project bright laser lines in a pattern that allows the V3 to shoot and accurately focus in completely dark conditions void of any light at all.

SONY's Hologram AF Assist- Class 1 Laser, Grid Pattern, pure genius!

I like the V3's image output quite a bit, especially in raw (although the Jpegs aren't that bad at all), and I like the output of every ISO setting (including the secret ISO settings). I find that if I shoot raw the V3 can give the latest and greatest serious compacts a run for their money, granted at a lower resolution. (See more on this topic in the image quality section of the review).

I use every feature the V3 has and I wouldn't want to get rid of any of them. A progressive improvement in its current features would however be welcomed along with adding some of the newer cool image stacking and HDR features would be nice. Features like that would make the V5 modern, and including a sweep panorama mode that would actually work seamlessly with a smaller sensor and lack of focal plane shutter would also be greatly appreciated.

Sony V3 Review: Its Successor- What I'd Prefer or Change

Sony DSC-V3 Price Check

Lets pretend that the Cybershot division at Sony wakes up and decides to introduce a new V3 Cybershot successor. They really should, it's the perfect time for a V5 and I'd love to be a consultant on it's design- I'd even work for free if need be. Yes, I'm serious. If that ever happens here's some of what I'd design/include on a future (V5) model:
  • Larger Optical Viewfinder w/center AF point (or new  OLED EVF) on left side vs. center
  • AEL Lock button under the thumb
  • Zoom toggle switch replaced with a mechanical zoom ring on the lens (See Fuji X10)
  • In place of zoom toggle, move the multi-controller wheel down in place of it
  • At least a 2/3" sized sensor (no more than 12mp), preferably 4/3 size @10mp
  • Faster aperture (f/2-f/2.8 ideal)
  • 24-120mm f/2-f/2.8 Lens (Carl Zeiss)
  • Macro on the long end of the zoom range
  • Retain Nightshot and Nightframing, and Laser AF illuminator
  • Speed up start up and shut down times by at least half as much time as it currently takes
  • Increase battery life by double its current performance
  • Allow use of NS and NF (above) in all modes and all shutter speeds (this is absolutely critical!)
  • Retain 14bit raw A/D conversion
  • Increase ISO range from 50-3,200
  • Introduce a DNG Raw option
  • 2.7" 460K Swivel screen (will settle for stationary screen of those specs)
  • Include new front control wheel (customizable)
  • New on board flash location (pop up type would be great, center fixed type would be acceptable)
  • Improve grip design 
  • All metal exterior construction (especially the battery door)
  • -4 to +4 EV compensation range
  • Retain hot shoe type
  • Add an image stabilized sensor, or lens type image stabilization
  • SD and CF slots
  • Simplified exterior (less soap marks and advertisements of features on the body)
  • Few other things I didn't mention in this list, like getting rid of some buggy operations (bright sun small aperture syndrome for example)
Sony DSC-V3 Price Check
The image below is somewhat of an idea of what I'd like the "V5" to look like. A more simplified front face, flash moved to a pop up style, and larger OVF (I re sized it for this image) moved to the left of the camera along with the eyepiece. Other things like the AF illuminator and IR light would need to be moved around to accommodate those changes.

My idea of what the V3's successor should look more like. Note the position of the OVF view would not be impeded by a finger on the grip (as is you can see fingers), yet the new location of the IR/AF lamp would not be hindered either.

Sony DSC-V3 Price Check

Also making the Sony badge smaller and less conspicuous gives priority to the simplification of the design and I think looks a lot better. The pop up type flash would be centered and in front of the current hot shoe. I've left out redesigning the grip on photoshop here, but wanted to do a quickie job visually on more what I'd be looking for in a replacement of the V3 (sorry for the shotty PS job).

Obviously I could spend a lot more time on constructing visuals on what I'd like to see in a replacement but I don't have that much time on my hands. Sony could however make a very handsome simplified replacement for the V3 (somewhat similar to the above), keeping in mind the form following function aesthetics of the rangefinder design. And if Sony did so, and were smart about listening to enthusiasts needs, could be very successful with it. One look at the NEX7 and you know Sony can do it. A lot of former V3 owners and high end Cybershot fans would likely flock to it asap.

Sony V3 Review: A Couple Secret Infrared Features

I'm not even sure if any other V3 owners even know you can shoot up to ISO 2,500 right out of the camera. Sony doesn't mention this in any of its documentation that I could see, but I stumbled upon it doing some IR testing of the camera.  There are some limitations to using this ISO setting because for one, it can't be selected manually so you have to trick the V3 into using it or just shoot in very low light conditions.

V3 Screen shot. Note Raw recording ISO 2,500
The good part is that it will record images up to ISO 2,500 in raw. Just set the image quality setting to raw, and that takes care of that part. Secondly, you'll need to shoot in Program Auto or full Green Auto in order to access the IR capabilities of the V3 (pity that).  And lastly, set the V3 to AUTO ISO to gain access to higher ISO values than ISO 800. That's it. The images themselves don't look too bad either for an older sensor that is a bit smaller than today's premium compacts (testament to its excellent once class leading performance).

And another little "secret" about the V3, or better yet, less well known is the fact that you don't have to settle with the somewhat greenish IR look when using Nightshot IR. All you have to do is change the P. Effect setting in the menu to b/w or sepia, and you still retain all the benefits of IR without the green haze look. Here are a couple sample shots straight out of the camera (in raw) using both of the secrets I've outlined here.

ISO 2,500 from Raw (ACR processed, saturation 0)
ISO 2,500 from Raw/ACR (you can see the IR light patch here)

I really like the look of the grain at these higher ISO settings, clean, uniform, granular (and no banding!). Not bad for an older camera using older sensor technology at all. If you can live with the rules that using IR brings with the V3 (fastest shutter speed is 1/30th sec, always uses the largest aperture setting it can), the V3 can be used for tasks it probably wasn't ever mean too at all such as regular IR photography as shown below. All I did was use a 3 stop ND filter via filter adapter for this image.

Sony V3 Infrared Image (shot in Nightshot IR mode) using 3stop ND filter w/adapter tube
Check for Sony DSC-V3 Secret Features

Sony V3 Review- Image Quality

When taking normal images (color etc.) the V3 does an outstanding job today considering it's age. It can still make images nearly equal in overall quality to some of the best serious compacts I've used. Cameras like the G12 barely outperform it at lower ISO values. Here is a side by side comparison in lower light levels at ISO 800 vs. the G12.
Canon G12 vs. Sony V3 ISO 800 from Raw (Same Settings)
For a full size shot of the above just click on this URL:

When shooting raw, you'll gain a stop of dynamic range and about a half stop of ISO performance with the G12, but that is about it. In the image above though I do think I see more detail retained from the V3 in some areas of the image, pretty amazing considering the difference in resolution here (10mp G12 vs. 7.2mp V3).

For 13x19" inch prints the V3's sharpness and resolution has never disappointed me on images I haven't cropped. That's good enough performance in my book.

Sample Image Gallery- Sony V3 Review
This gallery contains hand held image samples that I've recently compiled with the V3, just click on the image for a larger view.

Nice Sharp Zeiss Lens
Plenty of camera for landscapes
Again, plenty of camera for Landscapes
Good for closeups, could be better but not bad
Again, good for close ups
Flash exposure is good- hey Dad, no red-eye!
Plenty of dynamic range here (Jpeg out of camera, Raw even better)
ISO 800 looks fantastic for a compact, Jpeg right out of the camera

Overall image quality is one of the V3's strong points. All ISO's look good, and the Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar lens is tack sharp. Although the lens will give some barrel and pincushion distortion, and CA's show on bright contrast edges, neither are worth worrying about. The lens is great, its only weak spot is a lack of wider angle and better macro performance but it's average in both categories and gets the job done. The range of 34-136 may not seem that good now, but it was pretty good in its day and it's more than adequate for most circumstances. You can attach wide and tele adapters if you need either too, if you wish.

Sony V3 Review: Shooting Speed

When shooting raw you'll need to wait about 13 seconds for a file to write, which is pretty darn slow by today's standards. Yet we are talking about a camera nearly 8 years old, and since it's Sony's only raw capable compact I'm not complaining. A super fast Sony HG Duo Memory stick card is needed for that speed too. Good thing is that Jpegs look great out of camera so if you don't have time to wait, just set the sharpness and contrast  to -1 and let the V3 go. Jpeg shooting is very fast, and it has some burst shooting capability as well (up to 8 frames at 2fps @ full resolution, or 12 frames at 4fps @5mp resolution).

Sony V3 Review: Video

When the Sony V3 came to the market, 640x480 resolution video at 30fps was the bees knees. Nowadays a camera with this specification would be laughed out of the camera market. However, if you don't really need high resolution video for most things (count me in there), the V3 does a pretty good job here and the sound is quite decent actually for mono sound using only one microphone. In order to achieve those numbers you have to use Sony's memory stick cards (HG Duo), it wont record at 30fps on a CF card at 640x480- best it will do 15fps. 

Sony V3 Review: Conclusion
That big control dial is lovely, so is that hotshoe and the rear thumbwheel/switch near the big dial

Today the Sony V3 still remains a very interesting and unique camera. Sony has since made nothing else quite like it when you look at its feature list. Although its a bit dated, it shows its age well. It comes with some quirks like slow raw writing times, and choosing a very small aperture for no reason in bright conditions (when set to auto exposure modes) which robs some sharpness from images due to diffraction. 

It's battery life is pretty average, but manages to squeeze a lot out of a relatively small lithium ION battery.  It's optical viewfinder is oddly placed in the center of the camera and fingers/lens show in the view as a result. Exposure settings are very limited in the IR Nightshot mode, but there are work arounds. 

All of these shortcomings (and more) could be addressed in a new updated refreshed and revamped model, without taking away what the V3 does so well. I myself have spoke in person with Mark Weir about the possibility of a Sony V3 replacement. And while Mark fell short of being at all committal about a V3 replacement, I could see his eyes light up when we discussed this camera and I do think it is one of Mark's favorites that Sony has ever produced. 

Sony's Cybershot division apparently hasn't got the memo yet though (Mark no longer runs that division), and I think it is a grave mistake to not make a full featured compact that would compete with the likes of the Canon G12/G1X , or Nikon P7100. Not many makers are competing in this segment right now- that being the fixed lens rangefinder styled full featured compact with a big lens/sensor combination, and an optical viewfinder. Not everybody wants a compact system camera, and I believe they are an entirely different buyer altogether. Canon got the memo, Sony step up to the plate. Show us what Cybershot can be, again.

My imagination lights on fire when thinking of what a modern day V5 could offer. It also pains my heart to think about this too much though considering a V3 replacement will probably never come. Miracles have happened. I'll always remain hopeful that maybe, just maybe, Cybershot will show us something of a replacement *this* year. One thing is for certain, Sony are aware of the demand and many people are left scratching their heads as to why Cybershot won't make a V5.

For now, we have the Sony DSC-V3. A versatile, handsome, quirky rangefinder styled camera that sports excellent image quality at all sensitivities and best of all a very low used market price. If you like interesting and different cameras, I employ you to take a look at a V3 if you've never used one. It isn't perfect but it is certainly capable for many tasks that a lot of compacts today wouldn't even think of tackling (especially in low light situations) and its features are sure to make you popular at any social gathering.

As always, be safe and happy shooting.

-Carl Garrard

P.S. For the Sony Cybershot division: Get off your hands and make a V3 replacement. Stop making excuses and being silent on this. Your fan base deserves it and will love you for it.

Sony DSC-V3 Manufacturer Specifications


    * Movie Mode(s) : MPEG VX Fine with Audio (640x480 at 30fps) (MPEG VX Fine requires Memory Stick PRO media), MPEG VX Standard with Audio (640 x 480 at 16fps), Video Mail with Audio (160x112 at 8fps)
    * Picture Effect(s) : Black & White, Sepia
    * Removable Flash Media Compatibility : Tested to support up to 1GB media capacity1; does not support Access Control security function
    * Scene Mode(s) : Beach, Candle, Fireworks, Landscape, Snow, Twilight, Twilight Portrait
    * Still Image Mode(s) : Auto Bracketing, Burst, JPEG (Fine/Standard), Multi-Burst, RAW, TIFF
    * White Balance : Automatic, Cloudy, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Manual


    * Imaging Device : 1/1.8" Super HAD™ CCD
    * Megapixel : 7.2 MP
    * Recording Media : Memory Stick® Media, Memory Stick PRO™ Media, Memory Stick Duo™ Media (with adaptor), Memory Stick PRO Duo™ Media (with adaptor), CompactFlash® (Type I)


    * PictBridge Compatible : Yes


    * Battery Capacity : 4.4W (1220 mAh)
    * Battery Type : InfoLithium® (NP-FR1)


    * Hybrid Record Mode : N/A

Advanced Features

    * Image Stabilization : N/A
    * NightFraming System : Yes

Convenience Features

    * AF Illuminator Light : Yes (Hologram)
    * Clear Color/Clear Luminance NR : Yes
    * Date/Time Stamp : Yes
    * Erase/Protect : Yes
    * Histogram Display : Yes
    * Media/Battery Indicator : Yes
    * Multi-Pattern Measuring : Yes
    * NightShot® Infrared System : Yes
    * Power Save Mode : Yes (after approx. 3 min. of inactivity)
    * Real Imaging Processor™ Technology : Yes
    * Red-Eye Reduction : Yes (On/Off)
    * Self Timer : Yes (10 Seconds)


    * Docking Station : N/A
    * LCD : 2.5" (123K Pixels TFT LCD Screen)
    * Lens Construction : 8 Elements in 7 Groups, 2 Aspheric Elements
    * Lens Type : Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar®
    * Microphone/Speaker : Yes/Yes
    * Viewfinder : Optical, True Zoom

Operating Conditions

    * Flash Effective Range : 1'3"-8' (0.4-2.5 m)
    * Flash Mode(s) : Auto, Forced, Off, Slow Synchro

Service and Warranty Information
    * Limited Warranty Term : 1 Year Parts & Labor

Weights and Measurements

    * Dimensions (Approx.) : 4 5/7" x 2 5/6 "x 2 7/15" (119.8 x 72 x 63mm)
    * Weight (Approx.) : 13 oz (360 g) Body; 14 oz (410 g) Body w/Battery, Media, Shoulder Strap


    * ISO : Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800

Drive System

    * Burst Mode : 8 Shot at 2fps (7MP JPEG fine)

Inputs and Outputs

    * Accessory Terminal : 2.5mm Mini-Jack
    * Audio/Video Output(s) : Yes (Multi-pin connector, NTSC/PAL Selectable)
    * Input(s) : N/A
    * USB Port(s) : Yes (Supports USB 2.02)


    * 35mm Equivalent : 34-136mm
    * Aperture : f2.8-f4.0 (W), f5.4-f10 (T)
    * Aperture Range : f2.8/f5.6 (W), f5.4/f10 (T)
    * Digital Zoom : 0-2.0X (Precision)
    * Exposure Compensation : ±2.0 EV, 1/3 EV Steps
    * Filter Diameter : 58mm (by required VAD-VHA adaptor)
    * Focal Distance : 19 3/4" (50cm) (Minimum), 4" (10cm) (Minimum Marco W), 15 3/4" (40cm) (Minimum Macro T)
    * Focal Length : 7.0-28.0mm
    * Focus : 5 Area Multi-Point AF, Center AF, 14-Step Manual
    * Macro Mode : 4" (10cm)
    * Optical Zoom : 4X
    * Shutter Speed : 1/8-1/2000 sec. (Auto) , 1-1/2000 sec. (Program Auto) , 30-1/1000 sec. (Manual)
    * Smart Zoom® Technology : 0-19X (at VGA Resolution)
    * Total Zoom : 8X


    * Operating System Compatibility : Microsoft® Windows® 98, 98SE, 2000 Professional, Me, XP Home and Professional; Macintosh® OS 9.1/9.2/OS X (10.0-10.3)
    * Supplied Software : Picture Package™ for Sony v1.1 (Windows®), Pixela™ ImageMixer VCD2 (Macintosh®), ImageData Converter v1.1 (Macintosh®), USB Driver, Cyber-shot Life tutorial (Windows®)

In the Box

    * A/V and USB Cables

    * Rechargeable InfoLithium® Battery (NP-FR1)
    * Shoulder Strap

    * Battery Charger (AC-LS5)
    * Software CD-ROMs


  1. What a handsome looking compact. This must be the camera that "inspired" Canon to redesign their G cameras starting with the G7.

    Thanks for reviewing another interesting camera Carl! BTW, I'm assuming this is focal plane shutter only?

  2. And i like the sound of 'V5'. A camera to combat the G1X perhaps?

  3. Did I read it right? 14-bit RAW? I wonder why the current Alpha & NEX cameras only shoot, at the most, 12-bit? The Hologram AF and the Nightshot IR sound like great features.

  4. The V3 was a fine, well-featured & barely pocketable. After struggling with the tiny V1, the V3 was a breath of fresh air. Too bad it was doomed by common consumers' universal desire to frame photos by peering at a faint 2.5-inch image held out at arm's length.

    Canon just announced a new compact with an OVF. Maybe that's the successor to the V3. Too bad it's so ugly.

  5. Yep I've always wondered about the 12 bit raw on Alpha. Doesn't make any sense.


  6. Fyi, the OVF on the G1X is nowhere near as magnified as the V3's, way different leagues. The V3 is at least 2x larger of a view than the G1X.


  7. Your article is excellent! I purchased the V3 when it was introduced. I loved it, the IQ, the optical VF and the built quality are all excellent. When I switched to the DSLRs, I gave it to my daughter who uses it still today taking pictures of her three kids. This was an excellent Sony product.

  8. I used my DSC-V3 from 2004 to 2011, only now having replaced it with the Nikon P7000. I still use it for IR photography. So of all the digital cameras I have ever owned it has served me the longest, in fact I just picked up a second battery so that I can keep it running even longer even if less frequently. Thanks for the blast from the past.

  9. Thanks for the kudos guys, glad you liked the article :)!


  10. I have used and loved my DSC-V3 now for many years. Bought in Malaysia many years ago.
    Great to see an review of it 2012.
    I have used it a lot to document my jewelry but also other things.

    I have thought about usung the raw format more and today I was trying to find an input profile for it but so fare I haven not been succesful.

    - Would you know if there are any input file for it out there?
    thanks Göran

  11. Hi, I just bought a V3 from ebay, mostly for its night shot/IR capability. This has been a great article and I appreciate the comments and information for this camera in 2012.

  12. Well we got RX series - RX100 and RX1 look quite mighty.

    Though this V3 is quite pretty and packs a lot of punch. If Sony were to continue with IR and laser focusing RX and NEX would probably beat most DSLRs on AF performance. Unfortunatley I fear both were removed to avoid bad publicity and litigation:

    1) The IR feature was removed as supposedly certain clothing materials are translucent for IR light e.g. women on a beach may appear fully naked when shot in IR mode. The probable issue was widely publicized and Sony were pretty much forced to drop IR feature.

    2) The hologram laser IF probably was removed due to fears of damaging eye sight. From what I know laser devices had been banned for most non-commercial applications in many countries. I am trying to buy a small laser pointer with no luck for some while. They all seem gone.

  13. Actually I talked to the product manager in person about the V3 (Mark Weir), there were no hidden agenda's. Bottom line, it's a cost saving measure. The laser assist and movable IR filter added to production costs quite a bit. I think the V3 is one of those gems that Sony made, perhaps when Sony peaked as a camera maker.

    And by peak, I mean at the time... they were making cameras way beyond competitors in advancements. Plus they had great IQ at the time and still great prices. Those cybershot days are gone forever but Sony can be just as bright if they dare enough.


  14. Still a very cool compact, it just happened that i've bought a 2nd V3 for just 56 EUR
    at ebay these days, Carl. ;) Great bargain.

  15. additional note: just avoid small apertures smaller than F5.6, because it then get's
    really blurry because of defraction. F4 seems to be the ideal aperture for the V3,
    i am shooting mostly F4, seldom F5.6 and sometimes F2.8 aperture.


  16. I've had this camera for years. I now own a Canon G12 and a Pentax K5 but whenever I want to travel unencumbered and in areas where theft could be an issue, this is my camera of choice. It still delivers perfectly sharp, well-balanced images, and move mode is not too bad either. My only problem now is to get a new charger for it. Any ideas?

  17. Go for the Wasabi Power battery and charger for the V3 available on Amazon, highly recommended !

  18. fantastic camera.... the King of the Cybershots back in the day when innovation was exciting.

    The V3 traveled the world with me and will always hold a special place in my heart,

    A Sony legend.

  19. Thanks for this interesting review. I was wondering about the V3 and IR flash photography, and whether it was possible to use the Night Shot mode in conjunction with a flash unit covered by an IR filter. But looking at the instruction manual online it appears the flash function is disabled when in Night Shot mode, which is a pity. Unless of course you have found a workaround!

  20. After 11 years, still going strong and taking great looking pictures, I would say my V3 is the biggest return on investment in cameras.

    1. I own two, still using them in 2020 :-) Many drops over the years, got wet, etc., hasn't been a problem.

  21. I still use my V3 to this day, I have been working with 3x4cm photos for years and the battery is still original from 2004

  22. I also have a Sony dsc-h100v - a Canon, sx50hs - a Nikon d5200 - a Nikon d750 and other compact ones on the shelf gracing the studio, I also had the sony dsc-v1, but as soon as they launched the v3, I made the switch.

  23. Does anyone know how to look at how many clicks of sony dsc-v3? there is a site called Camera Shutter Life Expectancy Database and there is information about how many shots the shutter took before it died, but I don't know how to look at this camera model, I think it must be quite high due to daily work of many years.

    1. I'm still using both of my DSC-V3, you can still find them cheap on ebay so what does it matter?

  24. I am very sad as I've just lost my Sony Cybershot DSC-V3 and need to replace it. Can anyone suggest a comparable new camera? I realise they are second hand ones available but don't want to take that risk. Thanks for your help.