This Camera is easy to use. Very small. No need for a zoom. Dummy proof. Offering a very high-resolution 7.2 megapixel CCD, a 3x optical zoom lens, and an expanded range of nine preset Scene modes to choose from, the P200 is a capable, yet very very very compact. The P200 is an excellent option for rank beginners and more experienced users alike, a nearly ideal "pocket" camera to pack along when there just isn't room or time to accommodate a larger or more complex model on a tech climb.
The camera's AF illuminator helps the camera focus in dark conditions (even in total darkness), and works well with the Twilight scene modes. The camera focuses quite well in dim lighting, even with the AF illuminator turned off though. This plus exposure times to 30 seconds gives the Sony DSC-P200 very impressive low-light capabilities. In addition to the 3x optical zoom, the P200 also features up to 4.6x Smart Zoom, Sony's current implementation of "digital zoom." Unlike most other digital zoom functions, Sony's Smart Zoom does not resample the image, so no image deterioration occurs as a result: Pixels are simply cropped from the central portion of the sensor's image, and packaged as a separate file. When the optical zoom reaches 3x, Smart Zoom takes over, if enabled in the Setup menu. The maximum total magnification available for 5M images is 3.6x, 3M is 4.5x, 1.M is 7.2x and VGA is 14x. (Note though, that as a result, "Smart Zoomed" images will always be restricted to sizes smaller than the camera's full resolution.) There's also a Precision Digital Zoom option, which digitally enlarges the image to a maximum of 6x (that is, a 2x digital magnification in addition to the 3x optical zoom) regardless of the camera's resolution setting, with slightly deteriorated quality due to the digital "stretching" of the image.
The Sony P200 has a real-image optical viewfinder and a large, 2.0-inch color LCD monitor for framing shots. In our testing, we found the LCD monitor to be very accurate, but the optical viewfinder was very "tight," showing only 80-84% of the final image area depending on the lens zoom setting. An information display on the LCD monitor reports a handful of camera settings (including aperture and shutter speed) and features an optional live histogram display as well. The histogram graphs the tonal distribution of the image, giving you a quick idea of any over or underexposure.
This is an all around climbing camera that you can actuall use.