Conclusion - Pros

  • Good image quality, outstanding dynamic range, excellent metering
  • Great colours, only slightly lower resolution than its much bigger Zeiss clad brother the S70
  • Good auto white balance (improved from the S70)
  • Stylish, pocketable, robust with excellent build quality
  • Unsurpassed 3x zoom lens (for the physical size of the camera)
  • Automatic lens cover (flat face when powered off)
  • Fast zoom
  • Improved auto focus (over the S70/F505V)
  • Excellent InfoLithium battery pack & in-camera charging
  • Camera settings stored between power-ups (even without the battery...)
  • No need for additional AC adapter to supply "desktop power"
  • Usable internal flash
  • USB connectivity
  • Unique Animated GIF "Clips"
  • Audio with movie recording & Voice recording

Conclusion - Cons

  • Slightly slow startup, significantly slow scrolling between images in playback
  • Some Barrel distortion at wide angles
  • Nasty chromatic aberrations at full wide angle in extreme circumstances
  • Few choices for the shutterbug (though this camera isn't aimed at them)
  • Poor macro abilities (compared to the S70 & F505V)
  • Limited low light ability (2 second longest exposure)
  • Noisy lens extension / zoom mechanism
  • Lack of "in between" JPEG modes (something around 800 KB)
  • Small 8MB Memory Stick as supplied storage
  • Battery life could be better

Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Sony DSC-P1: (3 megapixel ultra compact class)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 9.5
Features 6
Image quality 9
Lens / CCD combination 8
Ease of use 8
Value for money 8

Sony really have done the ultra compact digital camera thing the right way. Hot on the heals of Canon's Digital IXUS (S100 ELPH) the P1 may not be quite as small but it's equally well put together, has a bigger 3x zoom lens, a 3 megapixel imager (vs. the Canon's 2 megapixel) and produces excellently metered, sharp, colourful images with bags of dynamic range. The P1 has that wow style factor that will make it an instant hit with your friends, easy enough for your granny to use with an image quality to challenge much bigger cameras... I liked it, a lot.


So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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