Sony DSC-P9 Review
ISO (Sensitivity) Adjustment
ISO equivalence on a digital camera is the ability to increase the sensitivity of the CCD to allow for faster shutter speeds and/or better performance in low light. The way this works in a digital camera is by "turning up the volume" on the CCD's signal amplifiers, nothing is without its price however and doing so also amplifies any noise that may be present and often affects colour saturation.
The Sony DSC-P9 provides an Auto ISO sensitivity mode which varies sensitivity between ISO 100 and 320 depending on light levels. In addition you can also manually select ISO sensitivity of 100, 200 or 400. The samples below are 100% crops from patches on a GretagMacBeth ColorChecker shot at different sensitivities with both the Sony DSC-P9 and (for comparison) a Canon PowerShot S40. Note that although the P9 doesn't support ISO 50 I have included the S40's ISO patch crops for reference purposes.
|ISO 50||Sony DSC-P9||Canon PowerShot S40|
|n/a||1/13 sec, F4.5|
|ISO 100||Sony DSC-P9||Canon PowerShot S40|
|1/15 sec, F4.5||1/25 sec, F4.5|
|ISO 200||Sony DSC-P9||Canon PowerShot S40|
|1/30 sec, F4.5||1/50 sec, F4.5|
|ISO 400||Sony DSC-P9||Canon PowerShot S40|
|1/60 sec, F4.5||1/100 sec, F4.5|
What's initially worth noting is how much "more sensitive" the S40's exposures are at the same ISO sensitivity. This is yet another example of how much difference there can be between one manufacturers interpretation of ISO 100 and the next. Indeed, at each sensitivity the S40 was able to achieve two thirds of a stop faster shutter speeds. Using a light meter it was easy to ascertain that the the P9's ISO sensitivities are accurate and that the S40's are about 0.7 EV more sensitive than described (ISO 50 = ISO 80, etc.)
With this in mind we can see that at the same "sensitivity" noise levels between the two cameras are virtually identical. Overall the S40 comes out on top with its additional ISO 50 and the fact that it's sensitivities appear to be almost a stop faster than the P9.
The DSC-P9 is part of a new line of Sony digital cameras which finally offer us a good range of white balance options. At this level there's no manual preset white balance but we do get the full range of Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten and Fluorescent. The results are mixed, under natural light the Daylight / Cloudy options provide a useful way to 'lock' the white balance (although Auto had always been fairly good under natural light). Overall these new pre-programmed settings worked fairly well, white balance presets for Incandescent and Fluorescent light both worked well (an area where most digital cameras trip up). Kudos Sony.
|Outdoors, Auto||Outdoors, Cloudy||Outdoors, Daylight|
|Incandescent, Auto||Incandescent, Incandescent|
|Fluorescent, Auto||Fluorescent, Fluorescent|
Low Light Focus
This test measures the minimum amount of light under which the camera can still focus. The focus target is our lens distortion test chart (shown here on the right), camera is positioned exactly 2 m (6.6 ft) away.
Light levels are gradually dropped until the camera can no longer focus. This is carried out at both wide angle and telephoto zoom positions (as more light reaches the focusing systems with a larger aperture).
This test target is the optimum type of subject for most "contrast detect" AF systems (as it has a vertical line at its center), you should consider the results below the best you could expect to achieve.
|Lens position||Aperture||AF Assist lamp||Lowest light focus|
|Wide angle (39 mm)||F2.8||On||Complete darkness|
|Telephoto (117 mm)||F5.6||On||Complete darkness|
|Wide angle (39 mm)||F2.8||Off||0.9 EV (4.7 Lux, 0.4 fc)|
|Telephoto (117 mm)||F5.6||Off||2.3 EV (12.3 Lux, 1.1 fc)|
Light intensity (Lux) = 2.5 x 2^EV (@ ISO 100), 10.76391 Lux = 1 foot-candle (fc)
The DSC-P9's AF assist lamp is a very powerful orange bulb type, it manages to light the scene (even at fairly long distances) in complete darkness and achieve good first-time AF locks. Without the lamp the DSC-P9 can still focus at very low light levels at wide angle, but as we'd expect needs a little more light at full telephoto.
Compared to the DSC-P5 the P9 boasts an extended flash range of 0.5 - 3.8 m (1.8 - 12.5 ft). It appears to achieve this additional range by utilizing Auto ISO and increasing sensitivity to ensure that flash power is sufficient to light the entire subject.
Sony have recently been plagued with "Blue Flash Syndrome" (certain types of flash shots having a strong blue cast), this has affected several of their models. The DSC-P9 does appear to have partially escaped, although it was clear that flash white balance was a little inconsistant (see two hand shots one after another).
Barrel and Pincushion Distortion
Virtually no measurable pincushion distortion at full telephoto (very good) but somewhere between 1.1 and 1.2% barrel distortion at wide angle. This wide angle barrel distortion is about what we'd expect for an ultra-compact extending lens system as used on the DSC-P9.
|Barrel Distortion, 1.2% @ wide angle||Pincushion Distortion, 0% @ telephoto|
Purple Fringing (Chromatic Aberrations)
Although the DSC-P9 does exhibit very slight purple fringing, it's definitely at the bottom end of the scale. Pretty much in line with what we've seen from the DSC-P1 and P5. There was also a certain amount of blooming around overexposed areas of an image.
|Example of chromatic aberrations in an "every day" shot|
|Our now standard chromatic aberration test shot - visible chromatic aberrations.|
Overall Image Quality / Specific Issues
Sony appear to be taking a more cautious approach to colour these days. The DSC-P9 exhibits good, neutral colour balance. Colours are good and accurate but are generally not over-saturated (a complaint many have had of previous Sony digital cameras). Overall image quality is good, especially considering the camera's small proportions.
Ghosting / Blooming
Images taken at either maximum (F2.8 at wide angle, F5.6 at telephoto) or slightly smaller apertures did suffer from a certain amount of ghosting (blooming?) around bright / over-exposed areas of the image. This appears as a halo around the bright area, as you can see in the two examples below. While not a major issue and isolated to a few shots it is worth noting.
|White ghosting visible around the white body of the pelicans|
|Yellow ghosting visible around the bright (over-exposed) yellow sunflowers|
Apple has updated its professional video editing app Final Cut Pro X to version 10.4.6. The update brings full 64-bit support, a new feature that helps convert older formats and much more.
Tonight's episode of NBC's Tonight Show, hosted by Jimmy Fallon, was filmed entirely on Samsung's flagship smartphone the Galaxy S10+.
Camera Bits has released the long-awaited update to its photo ingestion software in the form of Photo Mechanic 6.
SmugMug Films has shared its latest film, Streets in Mind, which takes a look at the life and work of London-based street photographer Alan Schaller.
We were in Japan earlier this month for the annual CP+ show in Yokohama, where we sat down with senior executives from several camera and lens manufacturers, among them Nikon.
Sony has released firmware version 5.0 for its flagship mirrorless camera, the a9. The update brings AI-driven autofocus modes, an improved menu structure and other updates.
Night Sight, Portrait Mode and (surprisingly) wide-angle selfie mode are features that we're currently loving about the Pixel 3's camera.
The Auschwitz Museum has asked visitors to be more respectful after an upsurge of pictures posted on social media showing people posing on the train tracks that lead to the main gate.
This week Chris and Jordan take the new Leica Q2 for a spin, and while most of us in the Northern Hemisphere are welcoming spring, they head even farther north than usual to visit ice castles. Because #Canada.
Harvard is facing a lawsuit over profiting from 19th century daguerreotypes that captured the portrait of a slave and his daughter on a South Carolina plantation.
From the detailed textures in rural landscapes to the incredible lighting inside futuristic buildings, the photorealism of Unreal Engine 4 is blurring the lines between fiction and reality...you know...aside from the spaceship.
Facebook has sent out emails to affected users requesting they change their passwords following a discovery that over 20K Facebook employees had access to 600 million passwords.
We've added Panasonic's new Lumix S1 and S1R full-frame mirrorless cameras to three of our buying guides. If you're looking for a quick summary of each model, then have a read.
YouTube channel Photoshop Cafe has shared a video detailing ten tips and tricks you can do to both fix and speed up Photoshop when it's running slow and sluggish.
It's not going to be the banger of the year, but it'll get a few laughs.
DJI has confirmed its drones won't be affected by the GPS 2019 week rollover.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has teamed up with Kodak to release a beer that's capable of doubling as a film developer.
The Diana Instant Square is a retro-inspired camera with manual controls that's fun to shoot in good light, but largely unpredictable in its operation.
Residents of a Paris street plagued by Instagrammers, selfie takers and music video crews are asking the city government for a weekend and evening ban to give them some peace.
The adapter plugs into the Osmo Pocket's USB Type-C port and features a 3.5mm TRS jack to plug in various external microphones.
Checkout allows Instagram users to select products for purchase and make payments directly in the app.
GauGAN as it's known, can create photorealistic images from basic drawings using the power of artificial intelligence.
The EOS RP is Canon's latest full-frame mirrorless camera, with diminutive dimensions and a diminutive price. Find out how it stacks up and get our thoughts in our early review.
Montana judge Dana L. Christensen has ruled the Republican National Committee did not infringe upon the copyright of photographer Erika Peterman after they took a photo from a Democratic candidate's Facebook page without permission and altered it to use in a derogatory promotional mailer.
Nikon has launched updates for three of its programs to address various bugs and glitches that could cause crashes and unwanted results.
LEE Filters has launched the LEE100, its next-generation filter holder that improves the design and looks in all the right places.
With the arrival of some much-needed sunshine and final production firmware for the Panasonic S1, we've been able to get outside and really start putting the camera through its paces.
Importing, culling and tagging photos is about to get a whole lot faster and look a whole lot better with the impending arrival of Photo Mechanic 6.
On its own, the FTZ adapter retails for $250 and when bundled it dropped the cost to just $150. Now, Nikon is offering it for free with all Z6, Z7 purchases in the United States.
Profoto said it spoke with Godox back at Photokina 2018 and continues to contact Godox in an effort to stop it from marketing its V1 light.