Review: Sony dsc-p30 Powershot

Time for another totally subjective and hopelessly under-informed instalment of the Chump’s n’ Cheapskate’s Computering Compendium.

First, thanks go to my brother ssschew, who owns this baby.

<%image(20050613-FUZZYPSHOT.JPG|243|152|fuzzy)%>a fuzzy of the powershot taken with the photosmart

Taking the sony dsc-p30 powershot for a bit of a test-toast was something of a revelation for me. It’s one thing to read that other cameras have better specs. than your own, but it’s another to see the difference of quality in practise.
The complaint I’d heard about this even before getting my paws on it was that it uses batteries voraciously, but it didn’t seem too bad to me. Get a battery charger and some ni-cad double As and bob’s yer uncle. Using non-rechargable batteries in any kind of digi-kamera is nuts full stop. So this I did, and the bonus for me was that I had 4 batteries at the ready (what the C-120 photosmart requires) but the Powershot only needs two, so there’s two extra for back up.

I’m going to make some completely unfair comparisons between these two kameras. The prices are very different. I think the HP photosmart would be had for around $150AUD now, and the price I saw for the powershot was 200american. I don’t know how accurate that is, you see the powershot appears to be a relatively old digital camera; noticable because it megapixelage is fairly small compared to current models — it’s 1.3meg-pixes.
The full specifications and some better pictures of it are here. You might notice on the second page the shot of its plug-holes where the USB connects. The little flap is made out of that floppy rubber, I don’t know about that. I don’t see why they couldn’t make it out of hard plastic with hinges.
I don’t know if it comes with a proper instruction manual. My brother might’ve lost it. All I could find was a couple of fold-out pages with animé style cartoons of people looking at fish. So it was a different angle to come in from; figuring the thing out just by playing with the controls. And on the whole it wasn’t too hard to figure out. It took a while for me to find where the picture resolution changing function was.
Also the accompanying software wasn’t as ‘jump out and get ya’ as HP’s. This can either be good or bad. Probably bad for Chumps.
It can take shots in sepia, or black n’ white and does short motion clips but I didn’t get around to checking any of those things. Hahaha.

The colour of pictures was much richer, softer and its auto-ability to adjust in different light conditions rocked. Here’s another really unfair comparrison. Both of these were taken at each camera’s maximum output. There was also a 26 hour gap between taking them. Click ’em for a chunky load up of the full size shots.

The Photosmart looks way grainy. Sure this kind of thing can be adjusted with desktop software, but you shouldn’t have to.
Also this was my first go of a camera that had optical zoom – 3x that and 3x digital zoom – combined to make possibilities of snaps that normally i just wouldn’t have bothered with. Like this one, where I was standing on the ground, looking at a small birdy :

<%image(20050613-DSC00013.JPG|640|480|birdy)%>

So alll up I was pretty taken with the dsc-p30. I wanna get a better camera. One like this maybe. Price-wise, this wouldn’t apppear to fit into the Cheapster’s category, but considering that it has been on the market for a while it may well be possible to get one second hand.
It didn’t come with a protective carry-pouch but it does have a lens cap, which I forgot to take off occasionally, providing some stunning images of blackness.

PS. It’s not explicitly stated at the gPhoto website that there’s a Linux driver for this camera, but it might work with one of the other Sony drivers built.

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