Gone were the days of film. Everybody was switching to digital. I even remember seeing the first mobile phone with a camera. Bluetooth and infrared transfers were the rage back in high-school. It didn’t take long for me to join the digital revolution. To me, it had a name: Sony.
My dad loved shooting video. We didn’t have a camcorder, but he did shoot weddings. After using all the film rolls, he would have a go at shooting with a big video camera. So naturally, he bought me a camcorder: the Sony DCR-DVD201E. Back in 2004, it was a pretty sweet piece of tech. Over $1000, it recorded on mini DVDs, had Carl Zeiss optics, with a 10x zoom and had a night shot mode. Granted it needed a special night mode since the sensor was tiny and the low light performance was crap. It even had Optical Steady Shot.
That camera really opened my appetite towards filming and editing. I learned about Sony Vegas, transitions, and all sorts of tricks. It’s responsible for my high-school end-of-the-year video, a couple of shorts I shot in college (they were mediocre at best) and the first memory of meeting my wife. So it’s only natural Sony became a favorite when it came to digital recordings.
The Sony camcorder could snap photos, but the resolution was utter garbage. Before going on my first vacation abroad, my parents decided it was time to get our first digital camera. I still remember browsing the models in one of the stores in my hometown. The Sony DSC-S650 was the chosen one. I could take photos at a whopping 7.2 megapixels and record videos at 640x480p. Keep in mind the iPhone had a 2-megapixel camera and it couldn’t even record videos. And it wasn’t available in my country.
Like any camera of that time, it was ok in good light and struggled in low light. The aperture didn’t help that much (f/2.8 at its widest end), but at least it had a 3x zoom (approx 35-104mm full frame equivalent). The worst thing about it was the memory card – then a proprietary Sony format (Memory Stick Duo).
As smartphones became better at photography, the Sony camera stayed with my parents. It did, however, manage to cement the Japanese brand in my mind.
In the next article, I’ll get to the wonderful Sony a5000 and my current a6300.