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Sony DSC-S980 Digital Camera

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5.0 (1)

Unlock Your Creativity

Unlock your creativity with the 12.1 megapixel DSC-S980 Cyber-shot® digital camera. Offering an array of shooting modes and easy-to-use features, the S980 is equipped with SteadyShot™ image stabilization for reduced camera blur and also has high sensitivity ISO 3200 for better shots in low-light situations. This powerful point-and-shoot also features Face Detection and six scene selections to help ensure you get the perfect shot. The S980 is available in silver, black and pink.

Product Features

  • 12.1 Megapixel Super HAD™ CCD Image Sensor
  • 4x Optical Zoom Lens
  • 2.7” LCD display (230k pixels)
  • Face Detection technology
  • SteadyShot™ digital image stabilization
  • High Sensitivity Mode (ISO 3200)
  • Scene Selection modes
  • Easy Shooting Mode
  • Histogram display
  • Function Guide
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • In-Camera Retouching Tools
  • Multi-purpose Resize function
  • Direct Playback Button
  • Picture Motion Browser ver. 4.0

SteadyShot™ digital image stabilization

SteadyShot™ digital image stabilization compensates for camera shake and helps prevent blur by capturing two photos at high shutter speeds and combining them into a single clear image.

Product Specs


12.1 Megapixels

LCD Monitor 2.7” LCD display
Power Source/Battery

Lithium-Ion NP-BK1

Zoom Optical 4x
Dimensions 3 3/4”(W) x 2 1/4”(H) x 15/16”(D)
Weight 5.5oz





Image Stabilization


Focal Length


Shooting Modes

Auto / Easy / Program Auto / High Sensitivity / Twilight / Twilight Portrait / Soft Snap / Landscape / Beach / Snow

Computer Interface

supports USB 2.0

Supplied Software

Windows: Picture Motion Browser Vers 4.0 (Mac not supported)

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S980’s Review


Disappointing image quality holds back an otherwise inexpensive and easy-to-use Sony point-and-shoot.
What’s not to love about a $150 camera? The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S980 is a bare-bones but well-designed pocket camera that offers some nice-looking specs for the price: a 12-megapixel sensor, a 4X-optical-zoom lens ranging from 33mm to 132mm, digital image stabilization, red-eye reduction, face detection, a 2.7-inch-diagonal LCD screen, and ISO equivalencies up to 3200.

Those aren’t groundbreaking specs, but they hit many sweet spots for a sub-$200 camera. Alas, the cost-cutting measures needed to happen somewhere, and in the case of the Cyber-shot DSC-S980, the trade-off is lackluster image quality.

In PC World Test Center jury evaluations, we pitted sample images from the DSC-S980 against those from a slew of other bargain-priced cameras in our sub-$200 camera roundup. The samples from the DSC-S980 were noticeably darker and, when the flash was turned on, less evenly lit than those of the competition. Overall, the DSC-S980 earned an imaging score of Fair.

Battery life was a much brighter note, however. The Cyber-shot DSC-S980 took a whopping 379 shots on a single charge of its lithium ion battery, enough for a battery-life rating of Very Good.

Like the higher-quality Cyber-shot DSC-W230 ($200), the DSC-S980 has a host of convenient design elements going for it. Topmost on that list is the mode dial, which provides quick analog access to six shooting modes (Program Auto, Auto Mode, Easy Mode, Auto ISO Mode, Scene Mode, and Movie Mode).

In Program Auto mode, with manually adjustable ISO settings, the DSC-S980 performed at a decent level in low-light scenarios. Noise became a bit disruptive at ISO 1600, and was extremely visible at ISO 3200. Even so, the camera snapped bright shots at high-light-sensitivity levels.

In Scene Mode, you get six options: a soft-focus portrait mode, a landscape mode, twilight modes for both portraits and scenery shots, and modes for snow and beach shots.

The Cyber-shot DSC-S980 shoots standard-definition, 320-by-240 video at 30 frames per second, saving them as AVI files. As with most basic point-and-shoots, you can’t use the zoom while filming video.

As usual with Sony’s point-and-shoot cameras, the on-screen navigation for selecting and adjusting settings is intuitive and well designed; users should have no problem picking the camera up and getting started right away.

The button layout is simple, which goes hand-in-hand with the camera’s basic set of features. The power button and shutter button are on the top right of the DSC-S980, while the A/V-out and DC-in ports are on the right side behind a flimsy-feeling plastic and rubber door.

On the back of the camera is a zoom rocker, the six-selection mode dial, a menu button for accessing contextual settings, and a four-way directional pad for navigating the on-screen interface. The four main directions on the circular pad also offer one-press access to the LCD screen settings, the flash, the self-timer, and the macro mode. Below that are two more dedicated buttons, to activate playback and delete photos. The battery and Memory Stick slot are tucked under a door on the bottom of the camera.

Of course, image quality is very important in a camera, which is why we can’t wholeheartedly recommend the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S980. Nevertheless, it is a nice, cheap option for an aspiring younger photographer, and it has basic, intuitive controls that would be easy for anyone to learn. For almost any other buyer looking for a Sony point-and-shoot, we’d recommend plopping down the extra $50 for the vastly better Cyber-shot DSC-W230.

User reviews

Average user rating from: 1 user(s)


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Sony DSC-S980 Digital Camera

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful


I use this camera to take pictures for my blog. I carry it with me daily and have never had any problems. The camera is tiny and so user friendly. Lots of programs from point and shoot to manual modes. Lots of individual choice on control but make sure you understand the options and functions or be prepared to play. If you've had a Sony digital before you will be familiar with the controls and the learning curve will be brief. I have had no problem with extreme shutter delay or blurriness. I found low light auto shoot had the worst delay but still was minimal, but I am not photographing a toddler. I got crisp pics with lots of fine detail and nice saturated color. Packaging is also great. The pink camera and matching case have been a real hit. I've received numerous, "oh, that is so cute!" comments when I've used it at the garden center, park, bookstore, etc. I have many cameras. I'm sure some of them are technically better but this one is good quality and convenient.
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Reviewed by freelance
October 20, 2009
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