Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P150 Review
Date: Nov 8, 2004
Wednesday, Oct 27, 2004 - Here's what I receive
in the box:
- Sony P150
- 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-P150 is quite
compact and definitely JeansPocket
Certified. It is very well designed and built,
and looks elegant whether it is powered on or
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 P150.
The Sony P150 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 7.2MP resolution (at 3072x2304 pixels), the
supplied 32MB Memory Stick can hold about 9 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
Pro holds about 68 images, so we recommend a 512MB
Memory Stick Pro. Buy the "Pro" since
the hi-res movie can only be recorded on the Memory
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 P150 does not have manual White Balance,
but its intended audience will probably not care.
AWB works well outdoors or using flash indoors,
but the P150's weak point is AWB indoors without
flash and under artificial light. If you use flash
indoors (as most of us do), then colours are reproduced
faithfully. The P150 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 allowing you to frame your subject
for a couple of seconds).
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.
Having gotten the opportunity to use it a second
time now (first with the P100), I have to say
my first impressions stay valid: there's no maximize
screen icon, so you have to drag the window to
make it bigger (and even this is hit and miss);
the thumbnails are presented in a page format,
which makes it very difficult to quickly navigate
to a picture on the last page.
What I missed when reviewing PicturePackage for
the P100 is that there are actually two more features
in it: Automatic Slideshow Producer allows you
to easily create a simple slide show with music
and effect; and, CD Backup allows you to burn
your images to a CD-R.
The Operating Instructions Manual is
well illustrated and explanations are clearly
written, though the fonts are quite tiny.
18.7mm, Program AE, Multi Pattern, 1/13 sec.,
F4.5 and ISO 100
The following write-up is similar to the one
for the Sony P100.
the Auto mode, the Sony P150 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
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.
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.
can display a live histogram in Shooting mode.
Usually I prefer to use Center AF but I find that
the Sony P150's 5 Area Multi-Point AF works very
well so I default to it. I also usually prefer
to use Spot metering but the P150's Multi-Pattern
metering works quite well.
P150 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
For the Sony P150, transfer is about 4.5 sec.
per image using USB1.0 on my PC running Windows
XP (Pentium 4, 1.6GHz); since the P150 permits
USB2.0 transfer, this should be even faster. The
Sony P150 provides an AC adaptor that plugs directly
into the camera to recharge a completed depleted
Li-Ion battery in about 200 min.
Compared to the Sony P100, is the extra 2MP resolution
of the Sony P150 the only difference? And isn't
it true that more pixels crammed onto the same
sized image sensor means more noise and worse
image quality? Surprise, surprise! The Sony P150
keeps a lid on noise while delivering greater
image detail, as high as some of the prosumer
models, with the result that image quality is
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P150 is an elegant,
compact digital camera that gives great results
in point-and-shoot mode. Because of its excellent
image quality, we believe the Sony P150 may well
be the best compact P&S available.