Conclusion - Pros

  • Good image quality, good colour and capable dynamic range
  • Stylish and pocketable, slightly thinner and lighter than last years P1
  • Excellent build quality, metal case
  • 'Flat face' when lens is retracted
  • Automatic lens cover
  • Auto Focus assist lamp with good range
  • Manual focus, manual ISO (new)
  • Supplied battery and AC adapter / charger
  • Good internal flash
  • Quick review in record mode
  • Anti-reflective coating over LCD
  • MPEG EX unlimited length movie clips
  • Relatively good macro ability
  • USB connectivity
  • EPSON Print Image Matching compliant

Conclusion - Cons

  • Lens quality at max aperture and telephoto / softness near edges
  • Lens exhibited chromatic aberrations and some barrel distortion
  • Slow start up time
  • Limited white balance options, no manual white balance preset
  • Limited night / twilight ability
  • Average battery performance (would probably need a spare battery)
  • Battery charger connection behind rubber door (docking station better?)
  • Edge positioned tripod mount

Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Sony DSC-P5: (3 megapixel ultra-compact)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 9
Features 7
Image quality 8
Lens / CCD combination 7
Ease of use 8
Value for money 8

The DSC-P5 is built and designed to be the kind of camera you can take anywhere, it will slip into a bag or a jacket pocket, with its flat surfaces nothing will get snagged or damaged. Build quality is very good and so is egronomic design, despite its lack of hand grip the camera is easy to hold and shoot with. It's lighter and smaller than last years DSC-P1 thanks mostly to that new '4 Memory Sticks' battery.

Overall image quality was generally good, not as sharp as the DSC-S75 but with similar colour and tonal balance. Dynamic range was very good, no sharp clipped highlights instead highlight detail tended to be maintained before over exposure.

Price wise the camera is certainly competitive, consider that this camera is $200 cheaper than the announced price of the DSC-P1 and generally cheaper than most of its 2 megapixel 'ultra-compact' competition. We'll probably see street prices come down to the $500 level soon.

However, all is not well with the lens, and this really spoiled my experience with the P5, at full or near to full telephoto and wide open (maximum) aperture images were soft, this effected resolution and had a 'smudge' effect on highlights. Add to this the fact that the user has no control over aperture and getting soft images becomes a game of chance.

Above Average

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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