Digital Camera Home > Digital Camera Reviews > Sony Digital Cameras > Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P150

Digital Cameras - Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P150 Test Images

 

I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for the test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISOsetting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all*that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested inthe information need wade through it!

 

"Sunlit" Portrait:

(This is my new "Outdoor" Portrait test - read more about it here.)

Good resolution and detail, with nearly accurate color, though contrast and saturation are slightly high.

Contrast and saturation were slightly high with the camera's default contrast setting, under the deliberately harsh lighting of this test. The DSC-P150's low contrast and saturation adjustments were minimal in effect, but helped some with the high-key lighting.
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why I set it up this way, and why I shoot it with no fill flash or reflector to open the shadows. (The color temperature and main/fill balance here closely match that of summer sunshine here in North Georgia.) The object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the DSC-150 performed fairly well, though with slightly high contrast and saturation.

The shots at right were taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which resulted in high contrast and dark midtones. I chose the Auto white balance as the most accurate overall, though the Daylight setting produced similar color (just a bit warmer).

Overall color is slightly warm, but Marti's skin tones look pretty much perfect. (My editorial cohort Shawn Barnett remarked to me the other day that he noticed that he consistently sees excellent skin tones whenever he shoots with a Sony camera. - The P150 seems to be no exception to this.) The blue flowers in the bouquet are just about perfect as well. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue, often producing slight purplish tints in them. The P150 did very well with them though.) The strong reds, greens, and yellows also look good, though a touch dark. Resolution is high, and a lot of fine detail is visible in the flower bouquet and in Marti's features. Shadow detail is also good, with moderately high image noise. All in all, an excellent performance.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV under the low contrast setting, see files P15OUTLCAP0.HTM through P15OUTLCAP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.




 

Closer Portrait:

High resolution and detail, though again high contrast.

Color balance and exposure are similar to the wider shot above, and contrast is high again with dark midtones. The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which still results in bright highlights on Marti's face despite my use of the low contrast option. The DSC-P150's 3x zoom lens helps prevent geometric distortion of Marti's features, underscoring the value of a zoom lens for close-in people shots like this. There's an extraordinary amount of detail in this close-up shot, though details are a bit soft overall. (It looks like a depth of field issue, due to the very short shooting distance.)

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV, see files P15FACLCAP0.HTM through P15FACLCAP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
High Intensity
Slow-Sync Flash
High Intensity

Slight underexposure with the flash.

The DSC-P150's built-in flash is slightly dim at the Normal intensity setting, with the brightest exposure obtained at the High intensity setting. (The shot taken at the Low intensity option was very dim, as you might expect.) Even with the high intensity setting, the image is somewhat underexposed. Light on Marti's face is a little blue from the flash, while the background incandescent lighting creates a strong orange cast on the back wall and on some of Marti's features. I also shot with the Slow-Sync flash setting, again shooting with the Low, Normal, and High intensity options. I again chose the High setting, as the other images were quite dim. The orange color cast is even stronger here, due to the longer exposure time.



 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance

Pretty good color with the Incandescent setting, but moderate image noise. Pretty good exposure.

This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting. The DSC-P150's Auto white balance option had a hard time with the lighting, but its Incandescent setting did a pretty good job. Though slightly reddish, color looks pretty good in the main shot, striking a good balance between a perfectly neutral image and one that preserves some of the "mood" of the original scene. Skin tones are a little pinkish, and the blue flowers are dark and purplish (a common occurrence with this shot), but overall color isn't bad at all. The main shot was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which comes close to overexposing the highlights, but displays good midtone values. Image noise is a little higher than I'm accustomed to seeing from digicams on this shot, at ISO 100 (the standard ISO setting I use for this test), but it isn't too apparently unless you're really looking for it.

ISO Series:
The DSC-P150 strikes a nice balance between preserving subject detail and limiting image noise. While noise levels here just on the high side of average at low ISO values, the shot at ISO 400 is actually pretty good. Even more surprising is how good the subtle detail is, the anti-noise processing having thrown away relatively little subject detail to produce the acceptable noise levels.

ISO Series
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Very high resolution and strong detail, with nearly accurate color.

I chose the P150's Auto white balance setting for this shot, as the white value of the house trim appears the most accurate (though the overall image is slightly cool). The Daylight setting resulted in a warmer color balance, though results were still good. Resolution is very high, and the tree limbs and front shrubbery show a lot of fine detail. However, details are just slightly soft, and the effect of the P150's anti-noise processing is visible in the form of some smudging of the brick patterns in the shadows on the right side of the house.

(It should be noted though, that the P150's 7.2-megapixel Super HAD CCD stretches the limits of this poster as a test target, however, even though it was made from a 500MB scan of a 4x5 negative shot with a tack-sharp lens.)



 

Far-Field Test

Outstanding resolution with clear, sharp details, but a limited dynamic range.

This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.

This is my ultimate "resolution shot," given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this, and the P150 performed extremely well. Resolution is excellent, and detail is strong throughout the frame, with very little of the softness in the corners I've come to expect from consumer digicam lenses. The tree limbs over the roof show a lot of fine detail, with distinct leaf patterns and shading, as does the fine foliage in front of the house. The brick pattern shows a lot of fine detail as well. The overall exposure is a little bright, and contrast is high, causing the camera to lose a lot of detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window. (This is a trouble spot for many digicams.) Detail is a little stronger in the shadow area above the front door, though. Overall, I'd say that the P150 has a slightly limited dynamic range, but not to the point of being a major flaw in the camera. The Auto white balance setting handles the subject well, with an accurate white value on the house trim and good overall color. All in all, a very good result. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, sharpness, saturation, contrast, and color series.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
3,072 x 2,304
P15FAR3072F
P15FAR3072N
2,592 x 1,944
P15FAR2592
-
2,048 x 1,536
P15FAR2048
-
1,280 x 960
P15FAR1280
-
640 x 480
P15FAR0640
-


ISO Series:
As we saw earlier, the P150 does a very good job of controlling high-ISO image noise, and trades away surprisingly little subject detail to do so.

ISO Series
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400


Sharpness Series:
A good range of in-camera sharpening. Normal strikes a good balance, while the Soft ("-") option takes sharpening in imaging software very well. (Try unsharp masking in Photoshop of 350% with an 0.3 pixel radius to see amazing detail.)

Sharpness Series
Soft
Normal
Sharp


Saturation Series:
A useful range of color control with the saturation adjustment.

Saturation Series
Low
Normal
High


Contrast Series:
A good range of control here too, although I'd really like to see it extend further in the low contrast direction.

Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High


Color Series:

Color Series
Normal
Black & White
Sepia



 

Lens Zoom Range

A typical 3x zoom range.

I routinely shoot this series of images to show the field of view for each camera, with the lens at full wide angle, at maximum telephoto (3x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The DSC-P150's lens is equivalent to a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a moderate telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.

Wide Angle
3x Telephoto
2x Digital Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Pretty good color with the Auto white balance setting, and excellent resolution.

This shot is often a tough test for digicams, as the abundance of blue in the composition frequently tricks white balance systems into producing a warm color balance. The DSC-P150's Auto white balance setting produced the best overall color and skin tones here, as the Daylight setting resulted in a warmer cast. Though just slightly warm overall, the blue robe looks about right, with only minor purplish tints in the deep shadows. Resolution is excellent, as the embroidery of the blue robe and on the red vest show strong detail, as do the other areas of fine detail in the frame such as the beaded necklaces and flower garland. (The original data file for this poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the DSC-P150 are definitely capable of showing more detail than the poster has in it.)



 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

Great macro performance, with excellent detail in the dollar bill. Flash is partially blocked by the lens, though.

The DSC-P150 performed very well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of only 2.41 x 1.81 inches (61 x 46 millimeters). Resolution is very high, and the dollar bill shows a lot of strong detail. However, the coins and brooch are soft due to the close shooting range and there's some softness in the corners. (The softness in the coins and brooch is caused by the shallow depth of field when shooting this close. An optical fact of life, it isn't the camera's fault.) The position of the DSC-P150's flash results in a shadow in the lower portion of the frame, and a hot spot on the brooch. (Plan on using external lighting for your closest macro shots with the P150.)



 

"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Nearly accurate color, though a slightly dim exposure.

The DSC-P150's Daylight white balance setting resulted in a strong warm cast here, so I chose the Auto setting as the most accurate. The image is slightly underexposed, but the DSC-P150 distinguishes the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target without any trouble. Color here is very good, a little more accurate than is typical among consumer digicams. Saturation is boosted a little in the reds and greens, but the overall level of oversaturation is lower than average. (And the yellow block is somewhat undersaturated.) Detail is very good in the shadow area of the charcoal briquettes, with fairly low image noise. Another great performance by the P150...



Now, for the REAL technoids, Imatest!

I've recently begun using Norman Koren's excellent "Imatest" analysis program for quantitative, thoroughly objective analysis of digicam test images. For those interested, I've prepared a page summarizing what Imatest showed me about the DSC-P150's images.


The results in the tests below mirror those seen above in other test shots. The test series are repeated here without further comment, for the benefit of our more quantitatively-oriented readers.


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400


Saturation Series:

Saturation Series
Low
Normal
High


Contrast Series:

Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High


Color Series:

Color Series
Normal
Black & White
Sepia



 

Low-Light Tests

Exceptional low-light performance, even at the lowest light levels. Good low-light autofocus performance too.

The DSC-P150 turned in just a spectacular low-light performance, capturing clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, with very good color at all three ISO settings. Color is slightly pinkish at some of the lower exposures, but that's a very minor quibble, particularly when compared to how other cameras do on this test.. The DSC-P150 also controlled its image noise very well. Though noise is high at ISO 400, the grain pattern is very tight and light, and the P150's shot at the darkest 1/16 foot-candle light level looks better than images from a lot of cameras shot at ISO 400 in broad daylight. The camera also focuses very well in dim lighting. With the AF illuminator turned off, the camera focused fine down to 1/8 foot-candle. With it on, it would focus in total darkness. Overall, one of the better low-light performances I've seen recently, let alone from a compact, high-megapixel digicam. The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.

(Note: If you'd like to use a light meter to check light levels for subjects you might be interested in shooting, a light level of one foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure of two seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 100.)

  1 fc
11 lux
1/2 fc
5.5 lux
1/4 fc
2.7 lux
1/8 fc
1.3 lux
1/16 fc
0.67 lux
ISO
100
Click to see P15LL1003.JPG
2.5 sec
f2.8
Click to see P15LL1004.JPG
5 sec
f2.8
Click to see P15LL1005.JPG
10 sec
f2.8
Click to see P15LL1006.JPG
25 sec
f2.8
Click to see P15LL1007.JPG
30 sec
f2.8
ISO
200
Click to see P15LL2003.JPG
1.3 sec
f2.8
Click to see P15LL2004.JPG
3 sec
f2.8
Click to see P15LL2005.JPG
7 sec
f2.8
Click to see P15LL2006.JPG
15 sec
f2.8
Click to see P15LL2007.JPG
25 sec
f2.8
ISO
400
Click to see P15LL4003.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.8
Click to see P15LL4004.JPG
1.6 sec
f2.8
Click to see P15LL4005.JPG
3 sec
f2.8
Click to see P15LL4006.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see P15LL4007.JPG
15 sec
f2.8



 

Flash Range Test

Flash range of ~9 feet.

In my testing, the flash did illuminate the test target all the way out to 14 feet, but underexposed it slightly even at 8 feet, and its brightness decreased steadily from 9 feet or so onward. This agrees well with Sony's rating of 11 feet with the lens at wide angle, 8 feet with it at telephoto. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.

8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see P15FL08.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 100
Click to see P15FL09.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 100
Click to see P15FL10.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 100
Click to see P15FL11.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 100
Click to see P15FL12.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 100
Click to see P15FL13.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 100
Click to see P15FL14.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 100



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Very high resolution, 1,550 lines of "strong detail." Average barrel distortion at wide angle.

The DSC-P150 performed very well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It didn't start showing artifacts in the test patterns until resolutions as low as 1,300 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to 1,550 lines vertically, 1,600 horizontally. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,800~1,900 lines.

Geometric distortion on the DSC-P150 is about average at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 0.8 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared better, as I measured only 0.03 percent barrel distortion (about one pixel). Chromatic aberration is lower than average, showing only about six pixels of fairly faint coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) Perhaps most impressive though, is how sharp these images are from corner to corner. - There's very little of the softness I'm accustomed to seeing in shots from consumer digicams. Clearly a very high quality lens...

Resolution Series, 50mm
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
3,072 x 2,304
P15RES3072F
P15RES3072N
2,592 x 1,944
P15RES2592
-
2,048 x 1,536
P15RES2048
-
1,280 x 960
P15RES1280
-
640 x 480
P15RES0640
-


 

Resolution Test, Zoom Series
3,072 x 2,304
(Fine, Wide)
P15RESW
3,072 x 2,304
(Fine, Tele)
P15REST


Sharpness Series

Sharpness Series
Soft
Normal
Sharp



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

A slightly tight optical viewfinder, but near accuracy with the LCD monitor.

The DSC-P150's optical viewfinder is quite tight, showing about 83 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 81 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor proved to be a little loose, showing just slightly more than 100 percent of the final image area. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the DSC-P150's LCD monitor is essentially perfect in that regard but I'd really like to see a more accurate optical viewfinder on it. Flash distribution is uneven at wide angle and slightly dim, with falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution appears more uniform, with some falloff in the corners.

P150 Review
P150 Test Images
P150 Imatest Results
P150 Specifications
P150 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

Reader Comments!
Questions, comments or controversy on this article? Click this link to see what other Imaging Resource readers have had to say about Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P150, or add comments of your own!


Follow Imaging Resource:

Purchase memory card for Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS3 digital camera
Top 3 photos this month win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate