The latest in the Sony DigiDads project centered around a Fall class field trip. My two kids are one and two years old, so documenting a field trip was out of the question. Instead, I photographed three Halloween events: the Pelham Newcomers Halloween Party, the Clickable Kids Halloween Party and trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Grandmom (my mother-in-law) got the kids their costumes this year — a monkey costume for Julian and a bee costume for Celeste. Celested loved her costume, and hated taking it off. Julian liked his at first, but I think it was too bulky and caused him to quickly overheat. Incidentally, our friend gave him a firefighter costume, which made him very happy. He’s obsessed with fire engines and firefighters, and he’s even having a firefighter-themed birthday party next weekend.
Like our recent 100 Faces Of Fall project, I used the DSLR-A330 camera on loan from Sony. I include my original review below. During this project I also received a Sony VAIO P Series PC to review, one of the world’s smallest laptops, and I include some notes on that below.
But first, the slide show. Let me know what you think!
The Gear: Sony DSLR-A330L
The Sony DSLR-A330L has a reputation as a descent entry-level SLR camera, and it proved itself in a crowded market. It does a good job at single-shot photos, and comes with key features like auto-focus, image stabilization and slots for both standard SD memory cards as well as Sonyâ€™s proprietary memory stick. My best comparison is my Pentax K200D, a direct competitor. I like the photo image quality on my Pentax better, yet the Sony stood with a few unique benefits: First, the Sony is definitely lighter, arrives with a rechargeable battery and charger, includes an adjustable LCD display (for easily getting those unique camera angles), and has slots for both USB and HDMI connections. The controls are similar to other SLR competitors, making adoption relatively easy. Ultimately, the A330 is comparable to many other strong entry-level SLR models, but if you can find a good deal on one, you canâ€™t go wrong.
Sony VAIO P
As I mentioned above, I received a Sony VAIO P Series Lifestyle PC to review. I didn’t find use for it in this project, but I thought I’d share some quick notes on it. First of all, it’s the smallest laptop PC I’ve ever held. All the Sony dads participated in a call with a rep from the Sony P Series product team, and he went out of his way to differentiate it from the poorly defined category of budget Netbooks. He insisted this was a powerful PC experience, miniaturized to create a new category of its own. He was right. Key specs and features include:
- Seriously portable at 1.4 lbs. and 9.65″ (W) x 0.78″ (H) x 4.72″ (D)
- Up to a 2.0GHz Intel processor
- Up to 256GB Solid State Drive available
- 2GB DDR2 SDRAM
- Ultra-bright 8-inch LED-backlit screen
- Built-in webcam and microphone
- One-button quick-boot option
- Built-in GPS System
- Built-in Verizon wireless mobile broadband
Indeed, the Sony VAIO P is an impressive engineering feat. It is the quintessential high-end Japanese gadget, an awesome gizmo for an upscale niche. Though it’s not for me, for a few reasons. First, I couldn’t adjust the screen resolution enough to make it readable for my bad eyes. Second, I couldn’t get used to the small keyboard and trackball. Finally, at a price tag starting at $849, it’s an expensive ultra-portable device. With few exceptions, I prefer portable devices to be priced so low as to make them nearly disposable. Why? Portable devices tend to get banged around and lost easily. Importantly, I tested the P running Windows Vista operating system, which was clunky as can be. The product rep insisted the new Windows 7 transforms the P, and I believe him.
A few weeks ago I visited the Sony Style retail store at the Westchester Mall. I checked out the ultra-thin, durable (carbon-fiber casing) and not-yet-on-sale VAIO X, as well as the more reasonably priced and practical VAIO W. If I were to invest today in a Sony lightweight PC, I’d definitely consider those.
This post is part of series called the â€œSony DigiDads Projectâ€ by Sony Electronics where a group of dads, including C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, have been given the opportunity to test and review Sony gear. If you want to know more about this project, visit the Sony Electronics Community.