Sony – Cybershot DSC-U40 review

tiny digital camera
Photo of Sony – Cybershot DSC-U40

If you’ve ever cursed yourself for not having a camera with you because you gave up lugging the heavy things around, then Sony’s 2-megapixel Cybershot DSC-U40 could be the camera for you. Measuring just 83 x 39 x 26mm and weighing 114g, with the all-metal DSC-U40 it’s more a case of losing it in your pocket than finding a pocket big enough.

The stylish Cybershot DSC-U40 comes in three colours; blue, graphite and silver. Like its older sibling, the DSC-U10, it has a sliding door covering the lens. Sliding the door sideways activates the camera in under a second, so none of those dodgy moments in the pub will ever be lost again. To turn the camera off again simply slide the door back over the lens.

To connect to your PC it uses an USB interface. There is no optical viewfinder but the 2.5cm LCD panel is sharp and clear and as a power saving feature the back lighting can be turned off with the screen remaining viewable.

With no optical or digital zoom, the DSC-U40 is easy to use, and without zoom there’s hardly any shutter lag, especially if used in the Fast Action mode. The lens itself has a focal length of 5mm (equivalent to 33mm for a 35mm lens) and an f2.8 aperture. For focusing there is a four-step manual preset as well as auto, with a minimum focus distance of 0.1m.

Picture quality is very good considering the size of the camera, but to get the best out of it does need a steady hand and decent lighting conditions. The flash has four modes; Auto, Forced On, Forced Off and Red Eye Reduction and an effective range from 0.5 to 1.8m.

The exposure control has two main settings – auto and scene selection, the latter comprising five settings; Soft Snap, Illumination Snap, Twilight, Active Outdoor and Vivid Nature. There is also a 10 second self-timer.

The camera uses either MemoryStick Duo or MemoryStick Pro Duo flash cards for storing shots, with a 128MB MemoryStick Duo holding up to 245 shots in ’2M’ mode (1,632 pixels by 1,224 pixels) or 1,316 in VGA mode (640 pixels by 480 pixels).

In movie mode the DSC-U40 can capture videos in MPEG1 format (but without sound), and although there’s not much space (approx. 11 minutes at 320 x 240 pixels using a 128MB MemoryStick Duo) it’s still a useful feature to have.

Bundled with the camera are two AAA rechargeable Ni-MH batteries, a battery charger, USB cable, a carry strap, a rather tiny 8MB MemoryStick Duo card and a Duo adapter.

Company: Sony

Contact: 08705 111 999

The compact size of Sony's Cybershot DSC-U40 makes it an ideal camera to always have with you, not as your primary camera - it's a little too limited for that - but as a quick point-and-shoot tool for those moments you don't want to miss.