Video: Reviewing the 3MP Sony Cyber-shot P1, 22 years after its launch: Digital Photography Review

In 2000, Sony launched the Cyber-shot DSC-P1. At that time, it was Sony’s smallest digital camera ever. As part of his popular Retro Review series, Gordon Laing, the founder of CameraLabs, went hands-on with the Sony Cyber-shot P1. As Laing writes, the P1 was an exciting camera when it launched 22 years ago, but how about now?

The Cyber-shot P1 sports a 3MP CCD image sensor with a surprisingly compact 3x optical zoom lens. ‘The P1 sported a unique shape and style, like a chunky candy bar with a distinctive curved edge around the lens housing that became the signature of the series going forward,’ writes Laing. The P1 set off a string of successors before Sony ended the series in 2005. As noted in our P1 review, the P1 borrowed a lot from the Sony DSC-S70, including its image sensor and general aesthetic. However, the P1 was more compact and weighed only 250g, compared to the 420g S70.

Even by 2000 standards, the P1’s 1.5″ display was somewhat small, especially compared to the 2″ screen on the S70. However, the displays offered the same 123k dot resolution. The camera wrote its 3MP images to a Memory Stick, a proprietary Sony storage solution. The P1 was bundled with an 8MB stick, which was small even for 3MP images. You could only fit around five best-quality JPEG files on the bundled memory card. The included NP-FS11 battery charged in-camera via a proprietary AC adapter. While Sony maintains its reputation for using proprietary storage and accessories, the situation was worse more than two decades ago.

Coming to the lens, which is a major differentiator between the P1 and the S70, despite both including 3x optical zooms. The P1 has a 39-117mm equivalent lens with a max aperture of F2.8-5.6. The S70 instead included a 34-102mm lens with a brighter F2-2.5 aperture range. Laing notes that the S70 also included closer focusing and full aperture and shutter priority, features notably lacking from the smaller, cheaper P1. The P1 also lacked the S70’s Carl Zeiss branding. That said, the P1 has an automatic lens cover, and the lens is much smaller when the camera is powered off.

Below is a sample gallery of images captured by Gordan Laing and used with permission:

When it’s all said and done, how does the Sony Cyber-shot P1 fare in 2022? Despite some shortcomings, Laing would have opted for the P1 back when he purchased a Sony S70, had the P1 been available then. To read Laing’s full thoughts on the Sony Cyber-shot P1, head over to CameraLabs. You can also check out the video review above. To see more of Laing’s excellent Retro Review videos, visit his YouTube channel.

You can read our original Sony Cyber-shot P1 review below:

Sony Cyber-shot P1 review

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