Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


Sony F828 Experience Report

A review diary by Uwe Steinmueller @Digital Outback Photo

Also photos by Bettina Steinmueller

Part 2



This review will be written again in the form of a diary. Most recent findings on top.

4/1/2004 Peter INova releases "Sony Advanced Cyber-shot eBook"

From the press release: "Owners of the original Sony eBook were thrilled with its revelations about the DSC-F707/717 cameras and the new Version 2 includes the 5-megapixel DSC-V1 and 8-megapixel DSC-F828 Cyber-shot cameras, each explored in depth.

Revised and updated throughout, the new 322 page eBook features interactive examples and even movie illustrations imbedded in the pages. A total of over 900 images help explain concepts as small as photons and as big as panoramics."

Readers of Outback Photo get a special shipping discount of $6.50. We read Peters earlier Coolpix book and found very well written indeed.


2/21/2004 8MP Digicam Buying Guide

We just published our new 8MP Digicam Buying Guide.

See our evaluation in the table above.


1/30/2004 In Carmel

Yesterday we were with the F828 in Carmel. Here is one of our favorite shots

Carmel Door

We call the process to create such an image "colorizing". It is a blend of the color and B&W version of an image (described in our new "Digital Photography Workflow Handbook").

For such subjects the aspect ratio of 4:3 is clearly better than 3:2 of normal 35mm digital cameras.

See same shot with the Olympus E-1. The result with the F828 holds up very well. But again composition with the EVF is no real pleasure for us.



1/27/2004 F828 on Tripods

Read our brief overview on Tripods, Haeds and Plates we use. Of course we usually use much more heavy cameras and lenses. But if you are into photography for the long run then you should buy a good tripod, good ball head and use Arca Swiss compatible plates.

F828 on Tripod

Really Right Stuff Plate

As you can see the Really Right Stuff plate is pretty small and still very well connectd with camera and tripod.

A tripod is not only a stabilization device but also a tool that helps you to improve framing!


1/22/2004 Michael Reichmann's F828 review part II
Michael shows some very nice pictures from the F828 and that is what photography should be all about.

1/18/2004 A "Snapshot" with the F828

The word "snapshot" has a pretty bad meaning for many serious photographers. We don't see it that way. With the F828 we have a camera with us that covers an amazing range (28-200mm equivalent) and in case we like the shot allows us to make pretty nice pictures from our snaps.

Clock in a Hollister Cafe

This an about two feet in diameter wall clock and it is some sort of replica. But to us it looked nice and we took some snaps with the F828 using the built-in flash. We feel that this shot shows what we liked about this clock. That means the F828 did the job. Yes we had some work in PS to remove the reflections from the flash, but was no big deal either (even removed some green from CA :-)).

Already at the time we took the shot we planned to make it into a B&W. But also our new hybrid technique (merging color and B&W) makes the clock look interesting:

"Colorized" version

Note: Our general workflow is covered in our current workflow booklets. The B&W conversion and the hybrid technique will be featured in an upcoming e-book.

Just for the record we show the original snap:


1/17/2004 "Why The Sony F828 Produces Consumer Angst" by Michael Reichmann

Please read Michael Reichmann's excellent article.

"The real issue is that we are about to enter a new era where the line between interchangeable lens DSLRs and fixed lens digicams starts to blur, and where measurable parameters like pixel count and sensor size are becoming increasingly of lesser importance than how suitable the device is for its intended task. And the things that determine suitability can't always be quantified."

Yes, this is exactly the reason that we now also cover this class of cameras.

"..because cameras are about much more than just measurements and specs...."

Yes again, your eyes are way more important than your camera.

Here are our main gripes with the F828 (in that order):

1. We find the F828 EVF (electronic viewfinder) not in par with any SLR

2. CA can be in cases tough to correct

3. Camera should be used at lower ISO values

That said we conclude that the F828 is a fun to use camera and can produce serious results. We will not hesitate to include prints from the F828 into our portfolios.

Have a look at our F828 Gallery.



1/15/2004 Santa Cruz Pier

Nice closeup at 200mm (crop)

We think this is a nice shot (taken with 5MP JPEGs) and even cropped. THere is a slight purple cast in the shadow part of the head but in this case it does not really metter.


1/13/2004 White balancing of F828 JPEGs

To improve the white balance of JPEGs can be tricky (although the automatic WB is pretty close). Here is a Photoshop plugin that does a nice job:

PowerRetouche White Balance Plugin

Before and after correction

The goal is actually not to make the colors absolute correct but make them pleasing. The colors in the original are too cold and in the corrected version maybe slightly too warm but at least more pleasing to the eye.

This tool allows you to correct WB either automatically (we would hardly use any auto tools) or by using settings that are equivalent to classic photo filters.

You can find a link to this plugin in our PS filter directory.


1/11/2003 B&W with the F828

You can do nice B&W work with the F828. We use PowerRetouche B&W Studio for our grayscale conversion. The advantage of B&W is that it does not show the chromatic aberrations. Noise is as much a problem in B&W as in color. Try to stay in low ISO.

California Oak near Niles Canyon

Door at San Jose Mission

Door closeup


San Jose Mission Door

The above shot showed again some green CA edges. We reduced the effect with Panorama Tools (read our section below).

We added today's shots to our F828 Portfolio.

Phil Askey published today his F828 review.

1/9/2004 Booklet DOP1011"Photoshop CS for JPEGs using Layers"
We just released our JPEG workflow for Photoshop CS. Price 17.95 for about 150 pages PDF. Read the table of content.

1/6/2004 Booklet DOP1010 "Photoshop Elements 2 for JPEGs using Layers"

For a long time we promote a workflow that uses raw files. But the reality is that most photographers use exclusively JPEG for many different reasons. Especially the Sony F828 is much better used in a pure JPEG workflow (read in our review why).

We create versions of our booklets that feature a pure JPEG workflow. The first booklet (90 pages) features a layer based workflow in Photoshop Elements 2 and is modestly priced at $12.95 (you can order here).

We will soon release a second booklet that uses Photoshop CS for a JPEG based workflow.



Outback Photo Camera Evaluation Chart Sony F828

Sony F828
View Finder
Quality of the electronic Viewfinder
Swivel Viefinder The Konica Minolta has a nice Swivel Viewfinder
Swivel LCD Swivel LCD can help viewing the LCD better
not need due to swivel body design
How much detail can be represented
Color Quality
How well are colors rendered
How well works the automatic white balance
Best detail does not help if you get too much noise. But we would not get noise neurotic either.
Chromatic aberration shown
sometimes severe
Purple Fringing
Extra purple fringing beyond CA
sometimes severe
Lens Range
What range is covered by the zoom (in 35mm equivalent)
28-200mm (good range)
Manual Zoom Ring Manual zoom rings feel nicer than electronic controls

Manual Focus Ring

Manual focus rings feel nicer than electronic controls
yes (don't think the EVF is good for manual focussing though)
Live Histogram
Showing a live histogram. Featuring a live histogram for all 3 color channels would be even better.
good (luminance)
Raw recording
How well is the use of Raw supported
poor (8-10 secs for each file the camera is blocked)
Raw SW
Manufacturers Raw software. Many raw files can be opened by Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop CS
poor (8bit only)
We are no experts on flash
Flash Synch If you work a lot with flash check the flash connectors and flash synch speed
not tested
Does the sensor use the classic three color RGBG Bayer pattern or like the Sony F282 a new four color RGBE pattern
Sensor Sensor type and manufacturer
Sony 8MP CCD
Startup Time to power up the camera
Shutterlag Delay from pressing the shutter till the picture is taken
Autofocus Autofocus quality (low light, low contrast)
AF Speed Autofocus speed
Size Smaller does not mean better
Handling How does the camera feel in use. This is very subjective.
Other Reviews
Review methodology (or lack of :-)) here.


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