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Old May 6, 2004, 4:07 AM   #1
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hi all,

Plan to get this camera, but i need some advice PRO/CON on this model. Please input. Oh... another thing, does this camera capable to insert DATE/TIME stamp on bottom right corner of the picture like all old sony cypershot models.

Thanks alot in advance.

B
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Old May 9, 2004, 11:15 AM   #2
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B,

Here is a mini-review I've written after buying a new P93 last week and returning it a day later in favour of a Canon A75...




<<<P93 Review.

The P93 dimensions are only a few percent down on my old P52 but it feels smaller, lighter...and less substantial.

When holding the camera for shooting/carrying in the right hand there is no longer that nice rib on the front for your fingers to grip, just a shallow slippery indentation. Also the (much critised) rubber port cover and thumb grip of the P52 is not there, just a shiny ridge in the casing. Overall the effect is to make it feel that the P93 is ready to slip through your fingers at the slightest excuse.

Funily enough, having taken away this rubber port cover/grip, Sony have moved the ports to the bottom of the camera with a similarly fragile feeling plastic cover that prises off and hangs akwardly on a "thread" when you need to plug in USB, AV or Power. This cover seems destined to break off sooner or later.

The viewfinder is slightly smaller than the P52, now reduced to 1.5" from 1.6". The Sony icons were already marginal to see with anything less than 100% eyesight, or in bright sunlight. Frankly an improvement was needed in this area and instead they've gone backwards.

One of the major areas that shows this up is when using Manual Focus.

At this price level (UK Retail £250-£300) I feel it is important to have some means of obtaining a fast shutter speed for moving objects. The only option on the P93 is to use its Manual Mode. For some reason Sony have choosen to ignore simply adding a Sports setting to the Scene Mode, as they did with the older P8 for example.

The problem is that the way of setting a Manual exposure is to view the LCD and toggle the shutter/aperture settings to receive a correct exposure confirmation. This is impossible in bright sunlight and fiddly to do when trying to capture a moving child or dog. It is going to be useless for School Sports Day and doesn't move forward one bit from the problems experienced with the P52 when trying to capture moving objects.

Another factor that seems to highlight this issue is that, in my opinion, the Sony Auto mode seems to defer towards slower shutter speeds than I would like. Oh for a Shutter Priority mode, or even a Fast Shutter Scene mode, so either could be activated and the camera left to do the rest without any further user intervention.

Manual Mode brings up another gripe. It only uses the maximum or minimum aperture, yes just two settings. Toggling between these causes the LCD go light or dark and the EV to range well off until you alter the shutter speed to a correct value. I was right to say before this is very crude besides the A75's 11-step aperture ability.

There must be potential reliability/damage issues with the telescoping lens set so far to the left. This problem is inevitable as cameras get smaller but at least with a centrally mounted lens (such as on the Canon A75) you have a chance at holding the camera with your left hand and not interfering with the lens extending or zooming.

Also when extended the P93 lens moves from side to side/up & down and makes a rattling sound - from brand new! Even if Sony are 100% confident there are no reliability issues with this it feels cheap. It compares unfavourably with the P52 which had a stub lens surround that was fixed, allowing the 2x zoom/auto lens cover to work protected within the camera body.

It is a minor issue but I preferred the Memory Stick location of the older models where it was separate to the batteries on the bottom of the camera. Now with the same door revealing the Stick and Batteries it is possible to shoot the batteries to the floor if you fumble getting the Stick out.

Images seem fine overall, they have a similar character to my P52 and other Sonys I've known. However the test images I've shot with the P93 to seem to show even more prominence in greens. In fact this morning I've just taken one image of the rather lush lawn, vegtable garden and trees that is overpoweringly "green".

On the plus side the P93 looks very nice with that familiar elongated Sony P-Series feel. I haven't the facility to take any measurements but the whole operation of the camera does feel *very* fast.

I like the top mounted Mode dial, and the fact it is nicely graphically represented on the LCD so you can change Modes as you look at the LCD without constantly tipping the camera to look where the dial is.

I don't doubt that this is a fast digicam with excellent battery life from its economical and widely available AA rechargeables. Image quality will appear excellent in 90% of the uses to which this camera will be put to by its target owners.

Sadly the previously mentioned downsides mean that there are just too many negatives for me to keep it so I'll have to look elsewhere for an acceptable balance of features. >>>



If you want I'll post the A75 review so you can compare them from one persons perspective.

David







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Old May 9, 2004, 3:37 PM   #3
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In the U.S., the P100 and W1, due out shortly, seem to be a lot more camera than the P93, and for "just" a $50 difference. Steve has reviewed the W1 and P100. They each have bigger LCDs than the P93, have the trim function, and other features. I found it helpful to go the the Sony.ca website and download the owners' manuals for all 3, study them, and really find the spec differences. Of course, the P100 and W1 each have a Zeiss lens and the capability of lens adaptors. Check those manuals out.

BTW, the one I'm anxiously waiting for now, to compare, is the Kodak DX7440, which also has a $349.99 list, same as the P93, but isn't due out till June. Go to the Kodak website and check it out!

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Old May 14, 2004, 4:28 PM   #4
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Hi David, Your review of the P93 was very disheartening.The fact that the Manual Mode uses only the maximum or minimum aperture is poor. One doesn't get that notion from reading the specs. Also the problem with the saturation (bright green lawns) I found in the P92 also but the P93 specs mention a sharpen, contrast and saturation option that can be used. Were you able to try this?.

At the moment I am trying out a Canon A80 but I would like to see yourreview of the A75. Thanks for all your info.




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Old May 14, 2004, 4:33 PM   #5
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Old Rooster, I got to the Candadian Sony site but was unable to access the manual for the P93 unless I registered and then I needed a Canadian Province and corresponding zip code. I see you are in Florida. How did you get around this?
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Old May 14, 2004, 5:22 PM   #6
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I have a friend in Toronto who let me use his address and zip code.
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Old May 16, 2004, 2:52 AM   #7
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Here is my A75 review...

First impressions after loading the batteries are that it feels nicely weighty and its hand grip on the right hand side gives the most secure way to hold any of the compact digitals I've handled. It looks good quality in the same way of most Sony cameras, feel when handling is about the same as the P93 but they are both a little worse than the very solid metallic feeling P52. I'm glad to say now I have found thatthe A75 willfit in the top pocket of a Wrangler jacket, snug but it goes.

On powering up indoors the first thing I noticed was the very crisp 1.8" LCD. This looks far better than either the 1.6" of the P52 or the 1.5" P93. Stupidly Canon have kept the much critisised "chrome" surround to the LCD. This means you see a distracting framed reflection of your face when viewing the LCD in many situations.

Moving outdoors the highly reflective LCD screen is far more difficult to see in anything brighter than average light than the matt finished "anti-glare" Sony design. Luckily the icons are so much larger and more colourful than the Sony so they are still OK to read. Playing back and reviewing indoors is a pleasure with that nice screen though.

Thankfully the lens is completely free of play when extended. This compares so well to the very tacky feel of the rattling P93 lens. Moving through the Menu options to take a few shots is OK. Not particularly easy but no better or worse than the Sony interface.

Immediately I started taking pictures I noticed the more sluggish overall response than the *very* rapid P93. It is about on a par with my P52 for average outdoor shots, and slower in poor light or indoors. Thankfully the response when the shutter is part pressed (to auto-set everything) is swift so I'll be using that facility a little more than I would with the P93 which seemed to take pictures instantly from a standing start.

When using the half-press I love the way the shutter/aperture values are clearly displayed and also a framimg rectangle appears around whichever of the 9-point auto-focus areas are being used. This is excellent and has already demonstrated that sometimes cameras will focus on an unexpected part of the frame.

Image quality is good with better balanced colours than the Sony but to be honest images come off the camera with less impact than the slightly sharper Sony look. I find maximum resolution and Superfine mode are needed all the time to get the best from this camera.Annoyingly I've already noticed purple fringing on objects like telegraph poles against white clouds, something I'd never seen with either Sony to any degree.

Have to be honest though the Sony has the potential for better images if they could just get those greens toned down. In fact if you took two images side by side on best settings of both cameras, and there was minimal green in the subject, I think the Sony image would look better every time. You might say well the Sony is 5MP and Canon 3MP so it's unfair comparison but remember they are in the same price bracket. Discount price in the UK is Sony £249 and Canon £200...but add a quality charger/battery set to the Canon for a fair comparison and that narrows the difference to less than £20.

The AF assist lamp is very weak beside the Sony models, they could focus quickly and accurately in complete darkness but the A75 hunts and fails to lock on in indoor situations where you can easily see the object. This possibly the greatest failing for me with the A75. I know I only needed the facility perhaps one in a hundred shots but I had taken it for granted. The work around for this is to use manual focus which is easily toggled to with two pushes of the Macro button.

The Canon software is a bit better than that of the Sony which is terrible. I say that compared to my preferred image viewing and editing programs that I have on the PC anyway. This would be true of most camera software bundles I guess.

So overall the A75 doesn't romp home by a mile but it gets there by just enough to come out tops for my use and preferences.


Well after writing that another two days use changed my mind about keeping the A75. I became aware more and more that when you were at wide angle and f2.8 there was a great deal of purple fringing and softness at the edges of the image. Also I noticed it struggling with certain lighting conditions that I knew the Sony P-range would have handled (over-light highlights was the issue). Also there was an overall softness to the images that didn't appeal and needed post-downloading correction.

I must say though I loved the A75 to look at,hold and use. After a few daysexperience the menus to obtain manual focus and access to aperture/shutter modes were second nature. At this price point the manual mode options are really excellent.

So not for me but a good camera....if the A80 has less purple fringing it might be a better choice.

David





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Old Jun 2, 2004, 4:19 AM   #8
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Hi what camera did you eventually settle on?

I'm still undecided about keeping my A75 (see my recent A75 posts under Canon )for the same reasons you describe, and all the image processing I have to do to get it to look good.

Even after driving it like an SLR to get a decent aperture/shutter speed I'm still getting completely out of focus or soft shots under some conditions. I'm starting to notice consistent "trends" in the pictures it produces (image softness under Auto/2.8, "whited out" highlights, general image softness, no "guts" to the picture, purple highlights, sometimes completely out of focus/blurred shots, cold white balance, lack of saturation)

However I love the lcd, fast response, the manual over rides, and low cost.

The refund policy runs out this weekend so the Jury is still out. Im wondering if I should return it and wait for the Sony W1 or Olympus C60 to drop down in price.

I'm also starting toquestion the methodology of some Camera review sites with regardto ratingpicture quality.Quite what is the point of taking a shot on the beach under blindingly high light levels, Im sure even a $5 disposable camera will gain full marks here. Or taking a picture of a bowl or sweets on a table is beyond me. It is under Challenging and varied shooting and lighting conditions which will soon show up deficiencies in lens and camera design.
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Old Jun 2, 2004, 6:16 AM   #9
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asellus,

You'll know I sent back the Sony P93 for being difficult to hold, rattling lens, hard to see LCD/icons making it near impossible to use manual mode on the move etc etc.

Then I boughtthe Canon A75 that I found a little sluggish, just a fraction too large, had weak AF Assist lamp but overall said I'd keep it. After a few more days I started to notice softness to the edge of images and terrible purple fringing at max aperture/wide angle. Also I noticed badly blown highlights in some circumstances. Despite loving all the different shooting modes, and the operationalfeel,it had to go back.

Next I decided to up the budget and go for the ultimate (point and shoot) image quality and shooting modes. I tried a Sony V1 for the weekend. It did produce some stunning images and the continous autofocus modes enabled images to be captured I'd never succeeded with before. However the problem of a small LCD and tiny icons again troubled me, you needed to see the LCD on this camera to use all the functions and I couldn't in outdoor shooting situations. Also the V1 was a little large for my jacket and I kept holding down the pop-up flash and wondering why it didn't fire! Finally it was already an expensive camera and straight away I'd need an extra costly battery to get an afternoons use plus a stand-alone charger to free up the camera from recharging duties.

At this point I almost despaired that there was any camera I'd be happy with. Earlier someone had said to methat no camera would do everything and it was about compromise....very true.

Given my hasty dismissal of the Sony P93 you'll be surprised the camera I triedlast, and the one that is staying, is a Sony P12 outfit...the P10 in blue with an extra battery included plus a leather case.

What happened over this period of tests was that my priorities had shifted to concentrate more on the features I really needed...and I had to acceptsome otherelements that weren't 100%.

The P12 suffers the sameextreme left side lens position as the P93hence I've deleloped a different hold to other cameras. It's lens alsodoes rattle a small amount but as time went on I found so many did. It is smaller than I thought I first wanted.... but now I'm used to holding it the pocketability is very useful. The LCD is alsosmall but with no manual modes there is little need to see the icons during shooting. The Fast Shutter mode (about the only non-Auto mode I use when out) is selected on the top dial with no need to see the LCD. The short life/expensive InfoLithium battery issue is negated by the fact an extra one was included with the outfit.

Most important price. In the UK the P12 outfit has been discounted to below that of the P93 camera. If you take out the leather case and extra battery the camera itself is effectivelyaround £185.

I've now given up on worrying about features/specs and got back to taking nice images...at last!

Frankly I was puzzled by the A75. Reviews would have you believe it was the best camera for image quality in its price range, add in those varied shooting modes and it should be a winner. It obviously suits many folks and that's fine.

David
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Old Jun 2, 2004, 5:13 PM   #10
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Hi, I'm a newbie to digital cameras in general. After reading Steve's Digicam reviews I asked our purchasing dept to order me the Sony DSC-P92. We received the P93 instead. Before I ask for an exchange I've been trying to see what major differences there are between the 2 models. So far everything I wanted seems to be available, mainly large resolution size and excellent image quality. What I can't find listed in the manufacturers spec sheet on the P93 are macro mode and AF Illuminator, two features I wanted in the P92. Can you tell me if these exist in the P93?

Thank you!
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