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Digital Cameras - Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-P72 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, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all* that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!

 

Outdoor Portrait:

Good resolution and detail, with nice overall color despite a slight color cast.

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 object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the DSC-P72 did a pretty good job.

The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which brightened the midtones just enough, without losing too much highlight detail. I chose the Daylight white balance as the most accurate overall, though the Auto setting produced similar, nearly accurate results.

Overall color is pretty good, though the white shirt has some bluish-purple tints around the edges of the highlights. Skin tones are a bit more pink than I'd like, but not too bad overall, and the blue flowers in the bouquet are a bit more purple than they are in real life. (This is a very difficult blue for many digicams to get right. For reference, the flowers are a light navy blue, with just a hint of purple in them.) The strong red flower of the bouquet is just a little hot, but the camera still picks up a lot of detail in its petals. Resolution is high, with good detail throughout the frame. Shadow detail is just slightly limited, and noise is moderately high.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files P72OUTDP0.HTM through P72OUTDP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Closer Portrait:

Increased resolution and detail, good color with the Auto white balance, but overly pink skin tones.

The DSC-P72's 3x zoom lens helps prevent distortion of Marti's features in this close-up shot. Resolution is much higher here, with more fine detail visible in Marti's face and hair, as well as in the house siding. The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which is just a little bright. (At the default exposure setting, the overall image was just a hint too dark.) Shadow detail is again moderate, with a moderately high level of noise. Though I chose the Daylight white balance setting for the wider Outdoor shot, I felt the Auto setting produced the most accurate color here.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
High Exposure
Twilight Mode Flash
+1.0 EV, High Exposure

Good intensity and coverage with the built-in flash at the High intensity setting, good color as well.

The DSC-P72's built-in flash is just a little dim at the normal intensity setting, requiring a boost in intensity to produce a good exposure. Overall color looks pretty good, although the background incandescent lighting results in an orange cast that spills onto Marti's features somewhat. The red flowers are oversaturated, but saturation elsewhere looks about right. The DSC-P72's Slow-Sync flash mode synchronizes the flash with a longer shutter time, which results in a brighter exposure. Again, the best results were obtained with the High intensity setting and a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment. The orange cast decreases slightly, and Marti's white shirt has a few hot highlights.

The shots below show the results of the three different flash exposure settings with each of the flash options I tried (normal, and Slow-Sync modes):

Normal Flash Mode
Low Normal High

Slow-Sync Mode
Low Normal High




 

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

Quite a bit of difficulty with this warm-hued light source. About 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. The DSC-P72's Auto and Incandescent white balance settings both resulted in strong yellowish casts, with the Auto setting producing the least objectionable of the two. Though warm, Marti's skin tone isn't too bad, although the blue flowers came out quite dark and purplish (probably to be expected, considering the light source.) The shots at right have a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment. (Here are sample images at the default exposure setting, in both Auto and Incandescent white balance settings.)

ISO Series:
Noise is moderately low at the ISO 100 setting, and not too noticeable throughout the frame. At ISO 400, however, noise levels are higher and more pronounced.

ISO Series
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Great resolution and detail, good color too.

The DSC-P72's Auto and Daylight white balances produced similar results, so I chose the Auto setting for the main image, more or less at the flip of a coin. (The Daylight shot was just the slightest hint warm.) Resolution is high, with a lot of fine detail in the tree limbs and shrubbery. Details are fairly sharp throughout the frame, with only a hint of corner softness in the top left corner. Exposure is just a little bright, resulting in slightly washed-out color.



 

Far-Field Test

Great resolution and detail, though a slightly 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 DSC-P72 does a nice job. The tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage in front of the house show a lot of detail, though details are just slightly soft in the leaves and shrubbery. The rectilinear details of the house are sharp and well defined, however. The camera picks up only the strongest details in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a trouble spot for many digicams. Detail is also only moderate in the shadow area above the front door, evidence of the DSC-P72's somewhat limited dynamic range. Overall color looks good, and exposure is about right. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO and color series.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
2,048 x 1,536
P72FARLF
P72FARLN
1,632 x 1,224
P72FARMF
 
1,280 x 960
P72FARSF
 
640 x 480
P72FARTF
 


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400

"Function" Series:

Function Series
Negative Art
Sepia
Solarize



 

Lens Zoom Range

A pretty typical 3x zoom range, slightly biased toward the telephoto end.

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-P72's lens is equivalent to a 39-117mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a moderate wide angle to an average telephoto, slightly shifted toward the telephoto end as compared to the 35-105mm range of most 3x-zoom digicams. Following are the results at each zoom setting.

Wide Angle
3x Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Slight color casts, but good detail and 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-P72's Auto white balance setting actually went the other direction a bit, producing quite a cool cast here, with bluish skin tones. The Daylight setting was just slightly too warm, but I greatly preferred the warmer cast to the cooler cast of the Auto setting, despite the reddish skin tones. The warm cast gives the blue background some purplish tints that aren't in the original image. The blue robe is slightly greenish in the highlights, though the shadow areas have some purple tints. Resolution is high, with great detail in the embroidery of the blue robe.



 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

An average-sized macro area, with good detail and color.

The DSC-P72 performed about average in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of 3.73 x 2.80 inches (95 x 71 millimeters). Resolution is high, with great detail in the dollar bill, coins, and brooch. Details are just a hint soft, but still well-defined. Corner softness is also present, but not terribly strong. The DSC-P72's flash had trouble throttling down for the macro area, and overexposed the shot. (Plan on using an external light source when snapping macro shots with the P72.)



 

"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Good overall color, though white value is cool with the Auto white balance. High saturation in the red and blue additive primary color blocks.

The DSC-P72's Auto white balance produced the best color here, though slightly cool, with the most accurate white value in the mini-resolution target and large, white color block. The Daylight setting resulted in a warmer image. Exposure looks good, and the camera has no trouble distinguishing the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target. Colors are bright and vibrant in the large color blocks, though the large red and blue additive primary color blocks are a little oversaturated. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows good detail, with moderate noise, and the last steps of both gray scales are just barely distinguishable.



 

Low-Light Tests

Slightly limited low-light capabilities, just barely sensitive enough for average city street lighting at night.

Like many of Sony's digicams, the DSC-P72's Twilight shooting mode doesn't access the camera's ISO adjustment. Thus, I shot a series at each ISO setting, and one in the camera's Twilight mode. With a maximum shutter time of two seconds, however, the camera's low-light capabilities are limited. In Twilight mode, images were bright only as low as one foot-candle (11 lux), which is about equivalent to average city street lighting at night. Still, the overall image is just a hint dim. Images shot at ISO 100 and 200 produced similar results, though the ISO 200 image was brighter. At ISO 400, images were bright as low as 1/2 foot-candle (5.5 lux). Color looked pretty good, albeit with the slightest red cast in the darker shots. Noise is low at ISO 100, but increases to a moderately high level at ISO 400. 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.

 

  1fc
11lux
1/2fc
5.5lux
1/4fc
2.7lux
1/8fc
1.3lux
1/16fc
0.67lx
ISO
100
Click to see P72LL103.jpg

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100

Click to see P72LL104.jpg

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100

Click to see P72LL105.jpg

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100

Click to see P72LL106.jpg

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100

Click to see P72LL107.jpg

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100

ISO
200
Click to see P72LL203.jpg

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 200

Click to see P72LL204.jpg

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 200

Click to see P72LL205.jpg

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 200

Click to see P72LL206.jpg

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 200

Click to see P72LL207.jpg

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 200

ISO
400
Click to see P72LL403.jpg

1/ 2 secs
F2.8
ISO: 400

Click to see P72LL404.jpg

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 400

Click to see P72LL405.jpg

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 400

Click to see P72LL406.jpg

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 400

Click to see P72LL407.jpg

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 400

Twilight
Mode
Click to see P72LLN03.jpg

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100

Click to see P72LLN04.jpg

2 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100

Click to see P72LLN05.jpg

2 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100

Click to see P72LLN06.jpg

2 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100

Click to see P72LLN07.jpg

2 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100




 

Flash Range Test

A slightly dim flash, even at the closest shooting distance.

In my testing, the DSC-P72's flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet, but the images were somewhat underexposed, even at the 8 foot level. 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 P72FL08.jpg

1/ 40 secs
F5.6
ISO: 250

Click to see P72FL09.jpg

1/ 40 secs
F5.6
ISO: 250

Click to see P72FL10.jpg

1/ 40 secs
F5.6
ISO: 250

Click to see P72FL11.jpg

1/ 40 secs
F5.6
ISO: 250

Click to see P72FL12.jpg

1/ 40 secs
F5.6
ISO: 250

Click to see P72FL13.jpg

1/ 40 secs
F5.6
ISO: 250

Click to see P72FL14.jpg

1/ 40 secs
F5.6
ISO: 250




 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

High resolution, 1,200 lines of "strong detail." Higher than average barrel distortion.

The DSC-P72 performed well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 800 lines per picture height in the vertical direction, and around 600 lines horizontally. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,200 lines. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,400 lines.

Optical distortion on the DSC-P72 is a bit higher than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately1.0 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared better, as I measured a 0.4 percent barrel distortion there. (Most cameras I test seem to show about 0.8 percent barrel distortion at wide angle (still too much, IMHO), and generally switch over to a very slight pincushion distortion at the telephoto end of their zoom range.) There's a fair bit of coma or flare (I'm not sure which) on the left side of the frame, but chromatic aberration is fairly, showing relatively faint coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) Some corner softness was present in wide angle shots, but the effect wasn't too strong overall.

Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
2,048 x 1,536
P72RESWLF
P72RESWLN
1,632 x 1,224
P72RESWMF
 
1,280 x 960
P72RESWSF
 
640 x 480
P72RESWTF
 

 

Resolution Test, Telephoto
2,048 x 1,536
(Fine, Tele)
P72RESTLF



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

Excellent accuracy from the LCD monitor, though the optical viewfinder is quite tight.

The DSC-P72's optical viewfinder is a little tight, showing approximately 80 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and approximately 84 percent at telephoto. (Most digicams I test have optical viewfinders falling into this accuracy range, but I'd really like to see the standard raised to 90% or higher.) Images framed with the optical viewfinder are shifted slightly toward the lower left corner of the frame as well. The LCD monitor is much more accurate, showing approximately 99 percent of the frame at wide angle, and 99+ (99.8) percent at telephoto. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the DSC-P72's LCD monitor is essentially perfect in this regard. Flash exposure is dark and rather uneven at wide angle, with significant falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more even, and brighter.


Wide Angle, Optical

Telephoto, Optical

Wide Angle, LCD

Telephoto, LCD



P72 Review
P72 Test Images
P72 Specifications
P72 "Picky Details"
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