Sony cyber-shot DSC-P1

(01/22/2001) – WHAT’S HOT: With its light and compact shape, the Cyber-shot fits nicely in your pocket or purse, and its mostly metal case has a nice feel in your hand. Learning to use this camera is fairly quick and painless, owing to its uncomplicated button controls and easily navigated menus. Its ability to record short video and sound clips makes sharing shots with your friends and family especially cool. If you like to shoot where it’s wet, the optional US$250 underwater case is solid and functional, with large buttons for most of the camera’s controls.

WHAT’S NOT: Its tiny menu labels can be hard to see. The bundled 8MB Memory Stick card cannot hold even one of this camera’s high-resolution, uncompressed TIFF images; you’ll need to upgrade to a 16MB or larger card if you want uncompressed shots. (At the best resolution in .jpg format, the Memory Stick holds five shots.) This camera is not a great choice if you like plenty of control over focus and exposure: You get no manual focus, and exposure options are limited to exposure value (EV) and a programmed automatic that lets you select for five types of scenes, such as twilight, landscape, and spot-meter mode. Changing the EV up or down requires a trip into the menu system–it’s not hard, but it’s not quick or convenient, either. All of this makes the Cyber-shot a bit pricey for its features.

WHAT ELSE: Our test shots were about average quality for a 3.34-megapixel camera. Our formal flash shots tended to be a bit overexposed, and some of the more subtle colors were lost. In our high-resolution still life, the Cyber-shot produced fine details but also fairly severe moire banding patterns on groups of fine lines. Casual shots indoors and out looked nicely exposed, and colors seemed true overall. If you want to be especially creative, you can choose from several built-in image effects, including solarizing, shooting in black and white, or adding a sepia tone. The camera uses a proprietary Sony lithium battery that lasted a relatively short time in our run-down tests compared with other cameras we’ve evaluated–1 hour and 20 minutes, or 115 shots.

BEST USE: Innovative design and small size make this camera a great choice for casual photographers and frequent travelers who like their gear simple, functional, and attractive.

Buying Information

Sony Corp. Cyber-shot DSC-P1

CDN$ 1,499

3.34 megapixels, 2048-by-1536 maximum resolution, 39-117mm focal range (35mm equivalent), f2.8-f5.3 aperture range, shutter speeds from 2 seconds to 1/2000 second, optical and LCD viewfinders, USB and video connections, bundled 8MB Memory Stick card, Sony lithium rechargeable battery, 8.8 ounces with batteries; MGI PhotoSuite 8.1, MGI VideoWave SE+ software. 1-year parts warranty, 90-day labor warranty; toll-free support for 15 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Prices listed are in Cdn currency.