Sony DSC-U30
 

Sony DSC-U30

This was my first camera, and the one that got me started in photography.

Sony DSC-U30

Sony DSC-U30
Ultra-compact camera

May 28, 2003 - August 20, 2004

  • Body
    Size
    85 x 40.3 x 29.7 mm (W x H x D)
    Weight
    89 g
    Flash
    Yes
  • LCD
    Size
    1"
    Resolution
    64460px (293 x 220)
  • Photo Features
    Resolution
    2MP (1632 x 1224)
    Format
    JPG
    ISO Range
    100 - 320
    Exposure
    Auto
    Lens
    5mm/f2.8 (33mm equiv FOV)
    Sensor
    1/2.7" Super HAD CCD
  • Video Features
    Resolution
    116 x 112 @ 8.3fps
    Format
    MPEG1

This was my first camera, and the one that got me started in photography. (5/5)

The DSC-U30, so named because of You, Your Friends and "U"[*][a], wasn't a professional's camera by a long shot. But it was a lot of fun. It didn't have any manual controls, nor did it have zoom.

Front with lens cover closed
Front with lens cover closed

The light-blue circle is (or rather, was) a mirror that you could use to take a self portrait, or a photo of yourself and someone else. I could never get the aiming figured out despite this, though.

Front with lens cover open
Front with lens cover open

This starts the camera. It goes from off to ready for shooting in one second.

Back of camera
Back of camera

The USB socket is under the rubber seal in the bottom right, and to the right we see the cover of the battery and memory stick compartment.

Post-shot review
Post-shot review

The screen showed preciously little in terms of post-shot review. One could press the right button to zoom in 5x on the photo, but since the little display only had 64460 pixels, that only gave you an 80% view of the image.

Some would consider that a fatal limitation, and I would, too, if I were to buy the camera today. But for a beginner, this camera was as close to ideal as a camera gets:

  • A beginner like me wasn't confused by all the parameters that a DSLR exposes - aperture, ISO, white balance, and all that - which put focus on getting the composition right. I've realized that once the composition is good, you'd have to try real hard to fail; and if the composition is bad, well, then there's nothing you can do.

  • It is so tiny I could put it in my pocket and have it with me all the time. As I write this, I have one camera with me - the one that is in my cell phone. My D40? It's at home. I cannot overstate the importance of daily practice. Having a camera with you, always, means that you will get better. It was also tons of fun: See something pretty? Capture it!

  • It starts instantly. Just flick back the lens cover and the camera is ready to shoot in a second. My cellphone requires me to press one button to bring up the lock screen, unlock the phone, tap one icon and wait two seconds for the camera to start. Talk about the state of the art of technology moving backwards!

These attributes have given the time I spent with the little camera an aura of a "golden age". You know, the time when things were simple and not so gosh-darn complicated as they are today. I don't like that kind of nostalgia, because it just makes me feel bad about my current output, so I figured the best way to cure myself of this delusion was to charge up two AAA batteries and take the little camera for a spin. Here are the results:

...ummm...
...ummm...

...hmmm...
...hmmm...

...oh...
...oh...

Looks like we have a broken sensor here. That's not a fitting memorial for such a fantastic little camera, though, so here are some shots from its better days:

The road across the north edge of what is now Kista Äng, but which was Kista IP before. Photo taken in November 2003.

2003-11-02 16:06

Lilla Slingan
Stockholm, Sweden

photography, review

Lilla Slingan

A small bridge at Åkers Styckebruk. Photo taken in November 2003.

2003-11-08 15:59

Åkers Styckebruk
Åkers Styckebruk, Sweden

photography, review

Åkers Styckebruk

Autumn leaves in Husby, after the rain. Photo taken in October 2004.

2004-10-08 09:50

Husby
Stockholm, Sweden

photography, review

Husby