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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-N2 Gordon Laing, November 2006

Sony Cyber-shot DSC N2 design and build quality

Sony’s Cyber-shot N2 is larger than many compacts, but rounded corners and clever proportions allow it to look smaller than it really is. Measuring 97x61x23mm, it’s actually not far off the height and width of Canon’s relatively hefty A640, but the much slimmer 23mm depth, lighter 185g weight with battery and lack of sharp edges or protrusions allow it to slip into pockets with relative ease. We’ve pictured it below alongside the Canon A640 and Fujifilm F30, and while personal preferences vary, it’s arguably the most stylish of the three.


from left: Sony N2, Canon A640, Fujifilm F30


The N2 has relatively few physical controls: there’s the power and shutter release buttons on the top, a switch on the side to select between movie, still photo or playback modes, while on the back are a small rocker to operate the zoom lens and a pair of buttons to adjust the display mode and enter the touch-screen menus. All other controls are presented using the large 3in touch screen which we’ll fully describe in the Features section.


from left: Sony N2, Canon A640, Fujifilm F30 top view


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Sony GPS unit

Like its predecessor, the N2 features a metal body and the build quality is to a very high standard; the brushed front surface with the lens folding back until its flush looks particularly smart. With most controls operated using the touch screen, there’s few moving parts other than the lens barrel which extends and retracts smoothly and quickly.

There’s a built-in flash with Auto, forced, slow synchro and suppressed options. Sony also offers the MPK-NA marine housing, allowing shooting at depths up to 40m

Connectivity and battery

The N2’s powered by the same compact NP-BG1 960mAh Lithium Ion battery as its predecessor, which Sony claims is good for 300 shots under CIPA conditions; that’s not bad considering the N2 uses its screen for almost all controls. Sadly it’s not an Info Lithium battery though, so you don’t get the exact number of minutes remaining, but an icon in the corner of the screen gives you a fair indication of how you’re getting on.

Sony GPS-CS1
   

Like the N1, the N2 employs a Memory Stick Duo slot and is also compatible with Memory Stick Pro Duo cards for greater capacities and performance; indeed you’ll need a Pro card to support the N2’s best quality video recording mode. The battery and memory card fit into a compartment behind a door on the side of the camera.

A single port underneath the camera delivers USB and TV outputs along with a mains input using a special supplied cable. These single proprietary connectors are all very well to save space on the body along with supporting optional docks, but if you lose the cable, you’ll be looking at a potentially pricey replacement. At least with a mini USB port and standard AV jack, you could use cheap and widely available cables should yours go missing. Finally, the N2 is compatible with Sony’s GPS-CS1 accessory, pictured, which can record and store your exact position in image files.

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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