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As photography is a bit of a hobby of mine I have used many different cameras and so there for feel I can give a fairly good review on the one I own now.
After many cameras which have failed to produce what I was looking for I was introduced to the Sony Cyber-shot which has many different models. The model I am reviewing today is the one I purchased personally although I have used others too.
This particular model the cyber-shot dsc-p9 has a very wide variety of useful functions such as a 3x zoom lens which is equivalent to a 39-117mm this zoom is backed up by a 2x digital zoom. It also boasts a 1.5 inch monitor to preview your photos on before storing or just to browse through them after storing; the screen is easily big enough to get a very good idea of what the photo is going to look like after printing.
Another good aspect of this camera is the battery system (InfoLITHIUM battery system). A lithium battery has a higher amp hour than a normal alkaline battery so there for lasts longer, the infoLITHIUM battery is also rechargeable so saves on the constant cost of replacing batteries. However if you intend using the camera for prolonged periods of time i.e. more than 2 hours at a time then it is advised to buy a second battery.
The charging of the battery is very quick and once charged as I have mentioned will allow aprox 2 hours of snapping before needing recharged. With cameras I have owned in the past I have known them to go through 2 AA lithium batteries in that same time frame at the cost of around £5 a pair it makes photography an expensive hobby.
The main thing everyone looks for in a camera these days is megapixels, What megapixels mean to your camera is basically the higher the megapixel the more dots there are making up the final image there for allowing it to be zoomed in further on your pc or to be printed larger without the picture becoming distorted or blocky. This particular camera has 4 megapixels which these days is nearer the top end of the market than the bottom but can be improved upon. To give an example of how clear the pictures are that this camera is capable of taking, I can take a photograph of a person from the waist up and once on my pc zoom in on there face till only the eye is in view and the picture still hasn't broken up. An image taken on this camera could easily be blown up to poster size without distortion taking place.
This camera also has all the other features you would expect such as Optical viewfinder, Automatic exposure control, Built-in flash (with 5 modes and an intensity adjustment) and Memory Stick storage. It is capable of taking up to a 2 gb storage stick which would allow you to store up to 1000 photos at full resolution which I am sure you will agree is more than enough. When purchased however it comes with only 16mb of memory enough for only around 12 full resolution photos so a memory stick is a must straight off.
The design of this camera is another of its great features; its streamlined silvery metal body is only an inch longer than a typical business card, and nearly the same height, top to bottom. Measuring just 4.5 x 2.0 x 1.4 inches. Even with the battery and memory card installed, the P9 fits easily into even small pockets or purses. Despite its small size, the P9's elongated shape provides plenty of room to extend two average-size fingers comfortably across the front and top of the camera, without blocking the lens or any camera controls.
This camera like many now can not only take still image photos but with enough memory installed can also take video footage and record sound. I have made a few short videos of my son when he's been doing something particularly funny and we do not have the video camera with us and have been delighted with the results even when put on DVD via the pc the image and sound quality is very good.
Many of the features of this camera will probably be a bit beyond you if like me you are only a mere amateur however with the help of the very clearly laid out instruction manual you will be using these features like you have known them all your life in a very short period of time. You can then use the extensive extras (which I will list later) to adjust the way your photos are taken or you can simply point and shoot on automatic mode, either way the quality of picture you will have taken will be first class.
Having used this camera in many different places I can vouch for its ability to perform in any light, for instance I have used this camera in Tenerife in brilliant sunshine and the auto exposure allowed perfect photos to be taken, I have used it in night clubs both to video and take still images which came out perfect also, I have even used it to take pictures at a firework display and for those of you who have tried that its very difficult to get anything more than a blur but the pictures I took with this camera turned out great.
I paid around £200 for this camera but that was a few years ago now and I believe they can be picked up for half that price now which is a bargain. Although the model has now been super seeded it is the perfect camera to start out with before moving on to bigger things. I am only now after 3 years of usage thinking about changing and shall still be holding on to this camera too as for everyday use I doubt it can be beaten.
For your money you get.
Wrist strap. .
16MB Memory Stick. .
NP-FC10 InfoLITHIUM rechargeable battery pack. .
AC adapter / in-camera battery charger.
Software CD containing Pixela ImageMixer v1.0 and USB drivers.
Accessories I would recommend are
Extra NP-FC10 InfoLITHIUM battery pack
Larger capacity Memory Stick (minimum 512mb)
And a carry case to avoid scratching the screen.
The cameras basic features
3x zoom lens (equivalent to a 39-117mm).
2x digital zoom.
1.5-inch LCD monitor.
Automatic exposure control.
Built-in flash with five modes and an intensity adjustment.
Sony Memory Stick storage (16MB card included).
USB computer connection.
InfoLITHIUM battery system (AC adapter included).
Software for Mac and PC
The special features
Twilight, Twilight Portrait, and Landscape preset shooting modes.
Movie (with sound) recording mode.
Clip Motion animation and Multi-Burst slow motion modes.
E-Mail and Voice Memo capture modes.
Shutter speeds from 1/2,000 to two seconds (with automatic Noise Reduction from 1/2 to two seconds).
Aperture range from f/2.8 to f/8.0.
Creative Picture Effects menu.
Image sharpness adjustment.
Self-timer for delayed shutter release.
Macro (close-up) lens adjustment.
Spot Metering mode.
Auto ISO setting or 100, 200, and 400 ISO equivalents.
White balance (colour) adjustment with five options.
DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) printing compatibility.
Sony Marine Pack available as a separate accessory for underwater photography.
This camera is an excellent ultra compact point & shoot digicam. Small enough for you to take with you where ever you go which is good because you never know when you will want to capture a perfect moment and although most of us now have cameras on our mobile phones the images they capture are not good quality. This camera is also very robust and not likely to be broken with the slightest knock unlike some. Image quality of this camera is surprisingly good for a subcompact camera, better than most I've seen, with excellent colour and resolution. Overall, the DSC-P9 looks like an ideal "take anywhere" camera.
I would recommend this camera to anyone without delay. It only comes with a one year manufacturers warranty but I am on my third happy year with it now with no problems to speak of!!
Thanks for reading this review I hope it has given you enough info on which to base a purchasing decision on!
The Sony Cybershot DSC-P9 is a 4 megapixel compact 'point and shoot' camera. The DSC-P9 is not a new camera by any means, having been released in 2002, and has been since superceded by other cameras in Sony's (particularly confusing) lineup, notably the 5 megapixel DSC-P10 and 5.1 megapixel DSC-P93 cybershots. However, little other than the increase in photo resolution has changed during this time, and as I rarely find myself taking photos in the DSC-P9's maximum resolution (2272x1704), I'm sure bargains can be had buying the P9 over its younger brothers! This is my first review, so please bear with me here. Any constructive criticism is welcome! So, what do you get for your money? Well, the camera specs are: o a 3x OPTICAL zoom, a 2x digital zoom, and can take photos at 2272x1704, 2272(3:2), 1600x1200, 1280x960, 640x480 o a movie recording feature with microphone, at 320x240 HQX, 320x240, and 160x112. o Scene Selection (3 modes: Twilight / Twilight Portrait / Landscape) o Auto Focus with 3 Area Multi-point or Centre AF o Low light focus assist illuminator o Adjustable Flash with Red Eye Reduction o A 1.5" TFT display (I don't think I've even looked through the viewfinder!) o Audio and Video (NTSC or PAL selectable) output o Dimensions 113 x 53 x 36 mm o Weight (Inc. batt) 203 g Supplied goodies: o Sony DSC-P9 Digital Camera o Battery Pack o AC Adapter / Charger o Memory Stick (16 MB) o Hand Strap o USB Cable o A/V
7;able o Instruction Manual o CD-ROM: Sony USB Drivers, bundled software Appearance: The camera looks great, with an all over brushed steel effect than doesn't look or feel tacky at all. The camera is quite small - the width is less than that of a CD, and the height much less than half a CD's width. Equally at home carried in the palm of your hand or slipped into a jacket pocket. The camera is quite light, although certainly not enough to feel flimsy; the camera seems very sturdily built. In fact it seems to have survived a drop from a few feet onto concrete with no damages (if you're in the market for the camera don't worry, I'm not selling my camera anywhere at the moment!). The camera's edges are nicely rounded, and after extended use your left hand will really appreciate the larger curve on the left side! The 'dots' on the back of the camera help you find the controls, and the metallic 'hook' grip on the front of the camera as an extra safeguard. In fact the front finger grip works surprisingly well, making it easy to hold and shoot with just one hand. The controls are well laid-out, the zoom and menu options directly affecting the picture are all on the back of the camera, and the power switch, take photo button and dial for picking what type of photo you want to take (still photo, movie, photo review) are all on the top of the camera. Everything is easy to reach, using the zoom control with your thumb will become second nature in no time. LCD Display: The 1.5" LCD display is nothing short of excellent. Completely visible in every lighting condition I've used it in; the screen is very bright, sharp and colourful, and has a special reflective coating. The thick protective cover is also very reassuring. Battery: <
br>Power can only be supplied by the provided battery pack, which is something of a double-edged sword - while it keeps the weight down on the unit, and is easier to deal with than having to constantly replace the batteries, if you're on the go and your battery is about to run out, there's not much you can do! Overall though, if you're able to reach a power point once every couple of days, this won't be a problem and gets a definite thumbs-up from me. Battery life is decent - I'd guess that you could get a solid two hours of usage out of it, and browsing some tests out on the web seems to back that up. Menu System: The menu system offers a wealth of options that you can access on the fly - no having to alter image resolutions or image quality whilst the camera is docked to your computer at home. The camera happily exists with lots of differently sized images, and movies all present on the same memory card. There are plenty of options available for the fiddler (i.e. me) to alter the next shot - focus can be explicitly set, light level corrections, white balance, image effects (sepia, B/W), and a lot more. I find it best to just leave things alone, having come home with a 'reel' full of out of focus photos once I've got the images up on the big screen. There are further options for manually or automatically setting flash, red-eye prevention (a real blinder this one), and timered shots. The LCD display can be switched off if necessary, which is good because this is quite a drain on the battery. Input/Output: On the back of the camera, underneath the main controls is a swing door that reveals the AC charger slot, USB slot and TV out slot. The TV out is an excellent feature, being able to show the contents of your memory card is ideal for boring your friends and relatives - slide show style!
You can also interact with the camera / images in this way, deleting photos if you wish. Downloading photos from the camera is easy, after installing the drivers onto your computer, connecting the USB cable from your PC to the camera makes the camera appear as another disk drive in Explorer. So it's very easy to work with the photo files - drag and drop, copy and delete. Image Quality: I'm no photographer, so if you want detailed comparisons between other cameras I'd try a professional camera review site, but from my experience with consumer-level digital cameras, the images that come out from the DSC-P9 are absolutely fine. Considerably better than my previous camera, the Kodak DC280, at comparable photo resolutions. Videos: The DSC-P9 can record movies, although if you want to use this feature I'd recommend buying a larger memory card as although the video is highly compressed, 16MB isn't going to get you a lot of video. The camera captures at 30 frames per second and has a microphone too. A problem with the video function is that you really need daylight or very good lighting to be able to see anything, a 60W light bulb won't do you any favours. Still, it'll be fine for filming the daylight hours of your holiday (so long as you don't go inside any badly lit places). Overall: If you've been reading so far I think you can tell I quite like the camera! The fact the camera comes with a memory card and battery pack is excellent, and means you can pretty much get going straight out of the box. A possible con is that the camera cannot be used as a web cam, but then web cams are so cheap now that you might as well just splash out on a dedicated one and not have to worry about your lovely cybershot falling off your desk. The movie featur
e is a bit of a disappointment, but it has its uses. The battery life is good, the camera looks great, feels great and I've had the camera a couple of years now, with no problems and I heartily recommend it. I'd imagine you can pick up the camera new for around £200. It'll probably go for less than that on ebay, seeing a couple of auctions at £110-£150 right now (but they'll go up!).