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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P100

Sony Digital Cameras

   


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P100 Review

Review Date: Oct 1, 2004

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P100

User's Experience

Thursday, Sep 16, 2004 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • Sony P100
  • 32MB Memory Stick
  • Wrist Strap
  • Interface Cables: USB and Video
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery and AC Adaptor
  • English & French Instruction Manuals: Operating Instructions Manual
  • Software CD: PicturePackage ver1.0

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P100 is quite compact and definitely JeansPocket™ Certified. It is very well designed and built, and looks elegant whether it is powered on or off.

I like the AC adaptor which means I do not have to remove the battery from the camera to recharge it, plus you use it when transferring images to your PC and won't risk a dead battery midway during the transfer. On the other hand, this also means that you will not be able to recharge a depleted battery and use the camera for picture taking at the same time. An optional compact battery charger BC-TR1 is about CAD$99.99, ouch! An optional InfoLithium rechargeable battery NP-FR1 will set you back another CAD$79.99. A CAD$20 on-line accessory coupon is included with the P100.

The Sony P100 comes with all kinds of optional accessories: wide-angle and telephoto converters, a docking station, polarizing filter kit, Neutral Density (ND) filter, water-proof housing (underwater rated up to 132 foot depth), tripods, and flash.

At 5MP resolution (at 2592x1944 pixels), the supplied 32MB Memory Stick can hold about 12 images. Remember, this memory card is for you to practice using your new camera; when you are ready to go out and start shooting, you would most certainly need a larger Memory Stick: a 256MB Memory Stick holds about 94 images, so we recommend a 512MB Memory Stick Pro. Buy the "Pro" since the hi-res movie can only be recorded on the Memory Stick Pro.

The viewfinder is optical and gives a small tunnel, though quite clear, view. I prefer to use the 1.8 in. LCD monitor to frame the shots since I can see exposure information on the screen. At 134K pixels, the LCD monitor is quite clear and very usable outdoors even in the sun. I do find it a bit difficult to see in very bright sun.

The Sony P100 does not have manual White Balance, but its intended audience will probably not care. It does have an AF Illuminator but no high-gain LCD so, though you won't be able to see much if anything in extreme low-light, you'll still be able to lock focus (your subject will be bathed in the strong orange light of the AF Illuminator).

The PicturePackage software is barebones and basically allows you to transfer images from the camera to your PC, then to view them. You can rotate them, too, and that's about it (you can't even delete an image). Sony here is betting most of its intended users either will not bother to post process images, or already have an image editing software, such as Photoshop Elements. I, for one, am very glad they got rid of Pixela ImageMixer, and let's hope PicturePackage will be improved shortly.

The Operating Instructions Manual is well illustrated and explanations are clearly written, though the fonts are quite tiny.

Clock Tower: 1/500 sec., F5.6 and ISO 100
Clock Tower :
7.9mm, Program AE, Multi Pattern, 1/500 sec., F5.6 and ISO 100

Exposure Compensation Besides the Auto mode, the Sony P100 also has Program Auto mode which is similar to Auto except you have control over the ISO, white balance and can dial in an exposure compensation. The menu system remembers which function you last set, so it's a good idea to leave it at Exposure Compensation before you turn off the menu. This way, a press of the menu button will immediately bring you to exposure compensation. You would then use the Up and Down arrows to select a +ve or -ve exposure compensation.

Manual ModeIncredibly, there is also a Manual mode, allowing you to change both aperture and shutter speed, with an EV value displayed to indicate how much above or below you are compared to what the camera determines to be the correct exposure. In Manual mode, you can take long night exposures of up to 30 sec.

Scene ModesA number of Scene Modes provide easy automatic exposure determination for preset situations. You have to memorize the symbols to know which scene mode you are setting, though they become quickly intuitive: Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Landscape, Soft Snap, Snow, Beach, High Speed Shutter, Fireworks, Candle.

Live HistogramYou can display a live histogram in Shooting mode. Usually I prefer to use Center AF but I find that the Sony P100's 5 Area Multi-Point AF works very well so I default to it. I also usually prefer to use Spot metering but the P100's Multi-Pattern metering works quite well.

 

The P100 displays the amount of time left before the rechargeable Li-ion battery fails. Note that it takes about 1 min. before the correct battery remaining time displays. This is only a guesstimate and, under certain conditions, the time remaining may not be correct, so don't become overly reliant on it. Better to have a spare battery ready just in case.

Transfer is average at about 3-4 sec. per image. The Sony P100 provides an AC adaptor that plugs directly into the camera to recharge a completed depleted Li-Ion battery in about 200 min.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P100 is an elegant, compact digital camera that gives great results in point-and-shoot mode. It's a camera that turns head, with people exclaiming how compact and light it is when they handle it. Also, I find that its cool form and shape screams "digital" and, looking less than a conventional rectangular camera, seems to put people more at ease. For a 7.2MP resolution version, check out the Sony P150.

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