Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P72
At a Glance
Powered by two rechargeable nickel metal hydride AA batteries (included in the box along with a charger), the camera took an impressive 462 shots on one charge in our tests. Should you forget to charge up its standard batteries, the Cyber-shot can also run on two standard AAs.
Our test flash shot of our mannequin model had a somewhat unflattering skin tone and an odd brown shadow--almost like a dirty halo--along her left side. That's something we have not seen with most other digital cameras. We took a few casual flash shots around the office of our coworkers (in areas with more ambient daylight than florescent lighting) and the halo effect did not appear.
Main exposure controls include white balance, ASA speed, exposure value, and five scene settings: twilight, twilight portrait, landscape, snow, and beach. The last one is designed to accurately capture sea blue, but we did not test it.
This may not be the best camera for sports fans: It has no sports or action setting among the various scene modes, and in burst mode, the Cyber-shot can take only two photos before it has to save the images to its Memory Stick media. It has a MultiBurst setting, in which the camera takes 16 pictures in quick succession, but the result looks like a low-resolution video clip. The camera records video and audio; you can record an audio note to accompany a photo when you snap a photo, but you can't record one later.
Other functions in this camera could have been better thought out. You can view nine pictures at once on the 1.5-inch LCD screen--it's a fast way to pick several photos and delete them all at once. But deleting a single photo in this mode requires seven button presses--even though the camera has a dedicated delete button (it's far easier just to display one picture on the screen and use the button). The camera lets you create folders in its Memory Stick media to organize your photos, but you can't delete folders within the camera.
Sony offers a remarkable lineup of extras for its point-and-shoot, including wide-angle and telephoto conversion lenses, polarizing and neutral-density filter kits, and an external flash. Adding conversion lenses to the Cyber-shot is, however, somewhat awkward, because you must attach a relatively bulky adapter.
Sony ships Pixela ImageMixer with the DSC-P72--it's a basic program for editing photos and movies, and for organizing albums. It's convenient for downloading images; for other tasks, however, we found its interface to be difficult to figure out (though it has a deceptively simple appearance).