Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P150 Review
In addition to the default auto setting, the P150 has five white balance presets (sunny, cloudy, fluorescent, incandescent and flash). What it doesn't have, unfortunately, is a manual/custom white balance feature. Outdoors the auto white balance works very well, and it has a fair stab under incandescent (tungsten) too. As you can see from the test shots below, it does struggle with fluorescent lighting, so you might want to switch to the preset when shooting in such circumstances. Note that the very slight blue cast in daylight is not really visible in real world shots.
Outdoor - Auto WB
|Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red: -1.3%, Blue -6.9%
|Incandescent - Auto WB
Red: 2.2%, Blue -1.2%
Flash has never been Sony's strong point, and the rather under-powered unit on the P150 is usable, rather than outstanding. On the positive side, the color is almost perfect and the output is throttled down well when shooting nearby subjects, meaning blown-out results are rare. Other good news includes a fairly speedy recycle time, very short lag even when using the red-eye reduction and slow-synch and flash level output options. The autofocus illuminator only reaches a couple of meters at best, but it does allow the P150 to focus in almost total darkness.
The only real problem is that the flash isn't powerful enough, meaning indoor shots of people at night have totally black backgrounds, and it struggles with larger groups of people. There is also slight underexposure on most flash shots, but this can easily be fixed, and is a lot better than overexposure/blown out highlights.
Excellent color, slight underexposure
Virtually no color cast, slight underexposure
The P150's macro mode (as usual on this kind of camera) works best at the wide end of the zoom, when you can get as close as 6cm, capturing an area around 6cm across the frame. Inevitably there is some distortion, but it is fairly mild, and there is only the slightest vignetting and a little softness in the corners. At the tele (114mm equiv.) end of the zoom the macro performance is less impressive, capturing an area around 10cm across. There is little or no distortion, but still a little softening at the edges.
|Wide macro - 61 x 46 mm coverage
50 px/mm (1270 px/in)
Corner softness: Average
Equiv. focal length: 38 mm
|Tele macro - 101 x 75 mm coverage
30 px/mm (771 px/in)
Distortion: Very low
Equiv. focal length: 114 mm
Barrel and Pincushion Distortion
Whilst there is measurable distortion at the wide end of the zoom (around 1.8%), it is no worse than most ultra compact 3x zooms, and much better than many; it certainly doesn't have a significant impact on real-world shots. Edge sharpness at F2.8 leaves a little to be desired, but this is much improved by stopping down. There is negligible distortion at the telephoto end of the zoom.
|Barrel distortion - 1.8% at Wide angle
Equiv. focal length: 38 mm
|Pincushion distortion - 0.0% at Telephoto
Equiv. focal length: 114 mm
Specific image quality issues
For an ultra-compact 'point and shoot' 3x zoom camera the P150 cannot fail to impress, and there are very few serious problems with any real-world shots. Noise is visible in shadow areas at any ISO setting above 200, but with 7 million pixels squeezed into a 1/1.8 inch CCD this is hardly surprising. What is perhaps more surprising is how little noise actually impacts on everyday shots, and even more importantly, how well the P150 deals with scenes with a wide dynamic range - with a few exceptions (see below). It may be a little early to call, but it seems this 7MP CCD is a little gem. The lens isn't perfect - you can see a slight loss of sharpness at the corners, but it is rarely a serious problem in real world shots.
After examining literally hundreds of real-world shots we were most impressed to find little or no 'purple fringing' or blooming to speak of, despite some very testing conditions. What we did find was the occasional instance of chromatic aberration (CA). This manifests itself as very narrow colored fringes at the edge of the frame as shown below. It is important to note that this problem was all but invisible in 99% of our real world shots (though take a look at the full size resolution chart on page 7 for an extreme example).
|100% crop||38 mm equiv., F5.6|
Burnt out highlights/Dynamic range
First things first; I was very impressed by the P150's ability to hang onto detail in highlights and shadows even when the scene being photographed was very bright and very contrasty - in other words this new chip has a far better dynamic range than I'd expected. It is rare to see cloud detail being lost or blue skies turning white. In part I think this is down to the P150's slightly conservative approach to exposure and processing; images straight out of the camera can look a little (and only a little) underexposed and a touch flat. But the result is that images such as the one below are thankfully rare. Of course there are times when the CCD simply cannot capture the full range of brighnesses in a scene - particularly when, as here, the camera exposes for the shadows in the scene, causing slight overexposure. All in all very impressive indeed.
|100% crop||38 mm equiv., F5.6|
The usually Apple-exclusive MacPhun software developer has announced that it will introduce PC versions of two of its most popular applications. Both Aurora HDR and Luminar should be available for the Windows operating system by the autumn of this year. Read more
Sony's newest G Master telephoto zoom, announced alongside the a9, is the first of the company's FE lenses to reach 400mm natively. We had one in California and photographed horses, portraits, and landscapes - check out how it did. Read more
Garmin has entered the 360-camera market with the VIRB, which captures 5.7K video at 30p as well as 15MP stills. Read more
Join DPReview editors Rishi Sanyal and Carey Rose on Facebook Live as they share their experience and answer your questions about the new Sony a9, Wednesday at 9:30 AM Pacific time. Click here for additional details and time zones
German media reports that the founders of the company behind the Panono 360-degree ball camera have filed for bankruptcy at a court in Berlin. Read more
With a claimed 800 new custom parts, Microsoft's updated Surface Pro comes with the latest Kaby Lake processors, better battery life, a new hinge, plus the Surface Pen is updated as well. Read more
DW Photo is attempting to resurrect the Hy6 medium format camera, though the legal tangles of its development may stop it being branded Rolleiflex.
The Kodak EKTRA, the company's 'camera first' smartphone, is now available to purchase in the United States. Read more
Apple and Nokia have settled their years-old patent dispute. Apple will make an undisclosed payment to Nokia and sign a licensing agreement related to digital health products with the Finnish company.
David Gibson, one of Britain's best known street shooters, shares all.
Photographers from the SKYGLOW project travelled 150k miles and took 3 million photos in increasingly rare locations: those without light pollution.
The world's fastest 200mm was produced for 16 years. In that time, only 8000 were made.
Photokina, the biennial photo industry trade show in Cologne, Germany, has announced that it will become an annual event beginning in 2018, and expand its focus to additional areas of imaging technology. Read more
No mic socket? No problem. In this video, Daniel Peters at Photo Gear News shows you how to make a lapel microphone using just a smartphone and a pair of earbuds.
How does the iPhone 7 Plus stack up against the Arri Alexa cinema camera? Watch this short video to find out.
Canon Australia's video series "The Lab" is designed to make photographers experiment and think outside the box. In the latest video a group of photographers create images based on their sense of taste.
The GH5 is expected to get a firmware update this summer to support 400Mbps internal recording. NewsShooter explores what memory cards you'll need to make it work.
Microsoft's new Surface Pro offers Intel's latest processor generation and improved battery life.
Riding a mountain bike downhill is dangerous enough in daylight, but potentially lethal at night. Which is where drones come in.
Rumors abound that Canon (and maybe Nikon) may produce a mirrorless camera based using their existing DSLR mount. Does this guarantee immediate great lens choice or a perpetually second-rate experience? Read more
According to rumors, the next camera from Nest will be able to capture 4K video, though that resolution will be only used for 'virtual' pan and tilt functions.
Boundary's Prima 'fully modular' backpack is expandable to 30L and has a removable camera case and tablet sleeve. Early Kickstarter backers can get one for $189.
Stanley Greene captured 'brutally honest' photographs in the war zones of the Middle East, Chechnya and Georgia. He was also one of the few African-American photographers working internationally.
Owners of Leica M cameras that suffer from peeling CCDs will be able to claim a free repair in the future so long as the camera was purchased within five years of the fault becoming apparent, the company has announced. Read more
The Carl Zeiss Jena BIOTAR 75mm F1.5 Red T lens is very rare and priced accordingly. It can be yours today for the low, low price of $15,000.
The MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed a drone that does not require any human control for recording tracking shots. Read more
In this terrifying video, Iraqi journalist Ammar Alwaely narrowly misses a sniper's bullet, which takes out his chest-mounted GoPro. Warning: strong language. Watch the video
A new report expects action camera growth to increase about 15% by 2021, with Ultra HD cameras driving demand. Read more
Profiles for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom have been released for Irix's ultra-wide 11mm and 15mm primes. Like all profiles, these correct for distortion and vignetting.
An upcoming firmware update from DJI will cripple its drones unless they are 'activated' on the company's website. Live streaming will be turned off and flight radius/altitude will be limited.