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Design

As you can see the overall design of the P5 is very similar to that of the P1. Long and thin with the lens mounted at the left edge this leaves plenty of space on the right side of the camera for the battery and MemoryStick. The front grip has changed, the P1 used to have a small 'lip' for finger grip, now there are twelve plastic dots arranged in a grip pattern. Sony have slightly redesigned the lens (steel face) and kept the automatic lens cover. The front of the camera (when powered off) is now flat.

Here, the P5 beside Nikon's 2 megapixel Coolpix 775 and 3 megapixel Coolpix 880. The P5's distinctive design and lack of hand grip set it apart from other cameras, it's shorter but longer than some so it's difficult to categorize it, it falls somewhere between compact and ultra-compact. It's certainly small enough to drop in a bag or jacket pocket. Fully loaded the P5 is just 20 g (0.7 oz) heavier than the lightest 3 megapixel digital camera, the Kyocera Finecam S3 which has only a 2x optical zoom lens.

Despite the lack of a shaped hand grip the P5 is still easy to hold, it's long thin design tucks itself into your hand and the LCD screen is always in view. There's also a nice plastic moulded thumb grip on the back just below the zoom controller.


Status LCD

The status LCD which used to be on the top of the P1 has been reduced in size and moved to the rear of the P5 just above the LCD monitor. The reduction of information actually seems to be an improvement, there's less clutter and still enough information to allow you to use the camera with the LCD monitor turned off. This LCD also provides battery charge information when the camera is connected to the AC adapter/charger.


Main LCD Monitor

Some things haven't changed, and that's a good thing when it's the same excellent bright and high resolution (123,000 pixel) 1.5" LCD which we first saw on the P1. This little screen is bright, sharp and clear, it has a decent anti-reflective coating which also means that it can be used outdoors even on the brightest day.


Viewfinder

No surprises here, same old optical tunnel style viewfinder with a no center of frame cross or brackets, there are also no parallax error lines (to help correct misalignment at close subject distances). There's also no dioptre adjustment. Good job the rear LCD is a good one.

The lights beside the viewfinder indicate:

Red Steady Writing to Memory Stick / Self-Timer
Green Steady Good AF Lock
Green Blinking Quickly Focusing
Green Blinking Slowly Can not focus
Yellow Blinking Slowly Flash charging
Yellow Solid Battery charging (connected to DC supply)


Battery / Storage Compartment

Another well built sprung metal hinged compartment door which clicks closed and fits flush into the body (it's the little touches that matter the most). Behind this door we'll find both the battery and Memory Stick compartment. As you can clearly see from these images the P5's new battery is the same height / width as a Memory Stick. The battery is released by flipping a small latch, the Memory Stick slot is the push clip-in, push spring-out type.

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