Digital Cameras - Sony Cyber-shot P200 Test Images
|I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumbnail index page for the test shots. The data on this page includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with all that detail, we're posting the thumbnail index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!|
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digital cameras, 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 object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the Cyber-shot P200 performed fairly well.
The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which results in hot highlights in the white shirt and flowers. Contrast is a little high, but midtone detail is good. The P200's Auto and Daylight white balance settings resulted in warm color balances, while the Manual setting resulted in a stronger red tint. In the end, I chose the Daylight setting, as it had the lesser warm cast and overall color looked more natural than the slightly red color balance of the Manual setting.
Marti's skin tones are well saturated and slightly orange, and the blue flowers in the bouquet are slightly dark and purplish. (Many digital cameras have trouble with this blue, but the P200 isn't terribly far off the mark.) The strong reds and greens in the bouquet look good, with good saturation as well. Resolution is very high, and a lot of fine detail is visible throughout the frame. Shadow detail is good, and image noise is low.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files P200OUTDP0.HTM
through P200OUTDP3.HTM on the thumbnail
Excellent resolution and detail, but again, high contrast.
Though contrast is again high from the high-key lighting, midtone detail is good. The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which results in fairly bright midtones, but results in bright highlights and dark shadows. Nonetheless, detail is good at both ends of the tonal scale. The P200's 3x zoom lens helps prevent distortion in Marti's features, and captures sharp details. Resolution and detail are much stronger in this close-up shot, with strong definition in Marti's face and hair.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files P200OUTFACMP0.HTM
through P200OUTFACMP3.HTM on the thumbnail
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Underexposure with the flash in the normal setting, though brighter results with the Slow-Sync mode. Strong warm color cast, though.
The P200's built-in flash illuminated the subject fairly well at the normal intensity setting, but provided greater coverage and brighter exposure with the high intensity setting. With the normal flash mode, however, the background is dark, and overall color is a bit cool. The camera's Slow-Sync flash mode produced brighter, more balanced results, in terms of exposure, though with a strong orange cast from the longer exposure and background incandescent lighting. I again found the best results in this mode with the high intensity setting, though the normal setting was only slightly dim.
Normal Flash Mode:
Slow-Sync Flash Mode:
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Good color with the Manual white balance setting, average exposure compensation required.
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, but the P200's Manual option handled it very well. The camera's Auto setting resulted in a strong orange cast, and the Incandescent setting resulted in a slight reddish tint (though results weren't too far off with the latter). Marti's skin tone looks very good, if just a little cool, and the flower bouquet looks about right as well. The blue flowers look very good, especially considering the difficult light source here. The main shot was taken with a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which is about average.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files P200INMP0.HTM through P200INMP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Accurate color and high resolution with strong detail.
Both the P200's Auto
white balance settings produced accurate color and white values here,
so I chose the Auto setting for the main shot. (The Daylight
setting resulted in a warmer, slightly yellow cast, but results were still
good.) Resolution is very high, and detail is strong in the tree limbs,
front shrubbery, and house front. Details soften slightly in the corners
from some lens distortion, but the effect isn't very strong. Good results
High resolution and strong detail, with a moderate, but good, 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 P200's 7.2-megapixel CCD captures a lot of fine detail throughout the frame. The bark patterns in the tree limbs above the roof show great detail, as do the leaf patterns in both the tree limbs and front shrubbery. Details on the house front are also well defined. Details are also sharp throughout the frame, with only a hint of softness in the corners. The bright sunlight causes the camera to lose some detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, though the stronger shadows on the trim are visible. The shadow area above the front door shows modest detail as well. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, sharpness, contrast, saturation, and color effects series.
Color Effects Series:
Lens Zoom Range
A good 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 P200's lens is equivalent to a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a slightly conservative wide angle to a good telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
Slightly warm overall color, but still good results. Very high resolution and strong detail throughout the frame.
This shot is often a tough test for digital cameras, as the abundance
of blue in the composition frequently tricks white balance systems into
producing a warm color balance. Though slightly warm, I preferred the
more natural skin tones of the P200's Daylight
setting. The Auto
settings produced more accurate blues, but overall, both images appeared
too cool and magenta. Though the warm cast creates purplish tints in the
blue background and robe, overall color still looks good. Resolution is
excellent, and detail is strong throughout the frame. Embroidery details
in the blue robe are very strong and well-defined, as are the fine details
in the other models' clothing and accessories. (The original data file
for this poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the P200 are definitely
capable of showing more detail than the poster has in it.)
An average-sized macro area, though good detail and resolution. Flash has a little trouble though.
The P200 performed well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area
of 2.39 x 1.80 inches (61 x 46 millimeters). Resolution is very high,
and detail is strong in the dollar bill. Detail is also good in the coins
and brooch, though both are soft due to the close shooting range. Details
also soften toward the corners of the frame. (Most digital cameras produce
images with soft corners when shooting in their Macro modes.) The P200's
had trouble at such close range, and overexposed the top of the frame,
with a reflection on the brooch. (Definitely plan on using external lighting
for your closest macro shots with the P200.)
"Davebox" Test Target
Good overall color, though slightly low exposure.
The P200's Auto
white balance settings both produced good results here, though the Daylight
setting resulted in a warm image. I chose the Auto setting for the main
shot. Overall exposure looks good, though a hint dim, and the P200 distinguishes
the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target well. The large color blocks
are all pretty good, if slightly dark, with pretty good saturation. Detail
is moderate in the shadow area of the charcoal briquettes, with low noise.
Color Effects Series:
Excellent low-light performance. Good color and exposure, with low image noise, at the darkest light levels of this test.
The P200 produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, with good color at the 100, 200, and 400 ISO settings. Color balance turned pink in some shots, likely due to a shorter exposure time. Noise is low in most shots, and even at ISO 400, image noise is lower than I expected. Since city street-lighting at night generally corresponds to a light level of about one foot-candle, the P200 should do very well for after-dark photography in typical outdoor settings. 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.)
Flash Range Test
Flash range of ~9 feet
In my testing, the P200's flash underexposed the target slightly even at 8 feet, and showed significant decreases in intensity from the nine-foot distance on. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
High resolution, 1,600 lines of "strong detail." About average barrel distortion at wide angle.
The P200 performed well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart for its 7.2-megapixel class. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 1,200 lines per picture height, in both directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,600 lines. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until right at 2,000 lines.
Geometric distortion on the P200 is about average at the wide-angle end,
where I measured approximately 0.8 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto
end fared quite a bit better, as I measured only one pixel of barrel distortion
(about 0.03 percent). Chromatic aberration is moderately high, as I measured
about six or seven pixels of coloration. (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.)
Resolution Series, medium focal length
Resolution Test, Zoom Series
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
A tight optical viewfinder, but nearly accurate LCD monitor.
The P200's optical viewfinder is very tight, showing only 84 percent of the final image area at wide angle, and about 80 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor actually proved very slightly loose, showing just a bit more than what made it into the final frame, though results were near 100 percent accuracy. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the P200's LCD monitor performed pretty well here, but its optical viewfinder could use some help. Flash distribution is a little uneven at wide angle, with some falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is just a hint uneven, but still more uniform.
P200 Test Images
P200 "Picky Details"
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