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Sony N1 Review: (Part 3 of 6)

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A detailed real-world review of the Sony N1 compact digital camera.

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Manual Mode

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Sony N1 offers a few useful of manual controls. I can set the exposure settings manually, hurrah! However I missed being able to set a custom WB. The N1's Auto WB indoors sucks.

If I was surprised to find a couple of manual controls, I was amazed to find that the N1 offers control over saturation, contrast, and sharpness. By setting them all at their lowest setting, I was getting very reasonable JPEGs, which were able to take decent amounts of processing before breaking up. Another kudos to Sony.

Focus mode

There's something a little bit special hidden in the N1's focus modes. There's no manual focus. There's the basic AF which everyone is used to, and there's a distance guessing game.

If you choose to use the basic AF, then you'll find you can optionally AF using a choice deceptively called "Spot". Basically, touch where you want in focus. This works great for landscape work on a tripod. This is one of the Sony's best features, for the instant DOF preview makes it all work perfectly.


In general, the N1 proved to be a decently snappy camera. It only sucks badly in continuous shooting mode, where it managed to shoot at just 0.9fps. Bugger. Switch it on and be prepared to wait around 1.7 seconds. Switch it off in around the same time. Not too bad.

While the N1 isn't the fastest thing in the world, if you take your time when shooting you'll never find its speed to a real problem. If on the other hand you're a split-second kind of guy, steer well clear. Focus times were average.

Battery Life

Battery life is another area where the camera shines. I can pop off 300-400 shots before it needs a charge. Great performance, considering how much of a battery drain that screen must be.

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