Most digital cameras, regardless of resolution, have puny image sensors. Who cares? You should. Bigger sensors, like the DSC-R1’s, take clearer pictures, because there’s less interference between pixels. This cam takes 10.3-megapixel images that are remarkably rich and free of noise. It also has a terrific lens that’s on par with the best SLR zoom lenses. But we missed a true through-the-lens optical viewfinder when focusing manually or shooting rapidly. And although the camera offers ISO speeds of up to 3,200, shots are grainy above ISO 800. – Dylan Tweney

Image sensor
The 0.85 x 0.57-inch CMOS sensor offers eight times the area of the chips in pocket cameras, producing noise-free shots.

Flip-up LCD
The unusually placed screen accommodates many shooting angles. Too bright to see the screen? Use the electronic viewfinder.

Manual zoom lens
The lens is bigger (24 to 120 mm) and faster (f2.8 to 4.8) than other cams in this price range. You zoom up to five times by spinning the barrel.

WIRED: Huge, detailed images. Surprisingly broad wide-angle setting.
TIRED: Permanently mounted lens means there’s no upgrade path. Inconsistent auto-focus. Bulky and heavy (2.1 pounds).


Rating: 3.5 bars (out of 5)

Link: Big Shot

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