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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P100 Review
Date: Oct 1, 2004
HANDLING & FEEL
7.9mm, Program AE, Multi Pattern, 1/25 sec., F2.8
and ISO 100
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P100 is a compact
digital camera with dimensions of 108 x 52 x 26mm
(4 1/4 x 2 1/8 x 1 in.) and weighing 147g (5.4
oz). It feels solidly built with a metallic body
and a thin plastic strip going around the top
and left side (viewed from back). It is compact
enough to easily carry in a trousers pocket.
The Sony P100 is comfortable to hold despite
its small size, thanks in part to the small raised
bar at the back to anchor the thumb. It also helps
that the brushed metallic body is not slippery
and the slightly raised Cyber-shot logo provides
some friction. I'd recommend using the wrist strap
at all times to ensure you don't accidentally
drop the camera.
Since the power button and the shutter release
button are so close to each other, at first, I
keep pressing the power button when I mean to
press the shutter release button. The shutter
release button is on the soft side and I have
inadvertently taken a few shots when all I wanted
was to pre-focus.
The P100 has a quick review feature: just press
the left arrow to see the last picture taken.
I wish it would also allow me to cycle through
the other pictures, but to do that, you need to
turn the Mode Dial away from your preferred shooting
mode to Playback.
Startup time of the P100 is blazingly f-a-s-t!
Yeah, get your left fingers off from in front
of the lens because as soon as you press the power
button, that lens just juts out in under 1 sec.
I never have to worry that I will miss a shot
because the P100 is turned off: I know it will
be ready in about 1.5 sec. (about 1/2 sec. to
wait for the image to appear in the LCD monitor).
Power down is equally fast. Were it that all digital
cameras had such fast startup times! There is
no appreciable shutter lag.
The P100 has an optical viewfinder, but as is
characteristic with compact digital cameras, the
view is too tunnel-like and small. Fortunately,
the 1.8 in. LCD monitor has lots of resolution
(at 134K pixels) to allow precise focusing. Speaking
of focusing, the AF Illuminator works like a charm
in low-light situations (even complete darkness),
allowing the AF to lock everytime without hunting.
The LCD does not gain up in low-light, though
the orange AF Illuminator light does allow you
to kind of view what you are trying to take.
When you turn the Mode Dial, a visual representation
also displays on the LCD monitor, and spins with
the Mode Dial. I'm not too sure I like this implementation,
though I guess this may be useful in the dark
when it's difficult to read the engravings on
the Mode Dial.
Controls are easy and straightforward to use,
and the placement of controls at the front and
back are such that there is enough space for your
fingers and they do not get in the way of the
lens or flash. The Menu structure is very simple
(the way I like it) and remembers where you last
left it. For example, if you go into the Menu
and sets Sharpness, the next time you press the
Menu button, the menu will be positioned on the
Sharpness setting. Since Exposure Compensation
is only accessible via Menu, I would recommend
that you always navigate back to it before leaving
the menu. This way, a press of the Menu button
will automatically put you into exposure compensation
Compact, pocketable, elegantly designed, and
fast, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P100 is always
ready to capture the important moments.