- The Washington Times - Monday, August 9, 2004

Sony Corp.’s $349 Cybershot DSC-P93 is the kind of camera you want to have when traveling around and taking a lot of photos. Two weeks ago, I did just that, and the camera discussed in this column just before that trip surpassed expectations.

First, it’s small enough to carry around easily, especially when coupled with a small carrying case that can hold the camera, an extra set of batteries and perhaps an extra MemoryStick card or two. The case I used, with the romantic name of LCM-PHA retails for $50; other cases cost as little as $20.

Second, and most importantly, it takes great pictures. I spent five days seeing important historical sites in Israel. Climbing through Jaffa, Megiddo, Capernaum, Tiberias and Qumran, let alone the Old City of Jerusalem, I discovered that the DSC-P93 lives up to its promise: The pictures taken were magnificent and the quality exceptional. And I didn’t have to lug a heavy camera to accomplish the task.

I did gain an appreciation for the rechargeable batteries — and voltage-converting transformer — that were supplied with the kit. Using an adapter plug from my hotel, I was able to reboost the camera batteries each evening, making a day’s worth of picture taking quite possible and easy. As noted before, one can use standard AA batteries for the same task, but it’s better to use the Ni-Cad rechargeables.

I also liked having a 256MB MemoryStick to use; it’s a good size for a day’s shooting. I did download the day’s pictures to my PowerBook each evening and erase the storage card. Both are essential moves to handle a lot of pictures and keep them around. Connecting the camera to the computer was easy with a supplied USB cable; however, photo transfers were done with the camera on, draining battery power. I wish there were an adapter for the MemoryStick to make it work with a PC Card slot supplied with the camera. Sony sells one for $70 as an option.

Sony supplies a disk of software to use with the camera, but, having a Mac along, I just used Apple’s IPhoto for basic tasks. Back home, Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 2 is a great tool for improving and editing photos without too much hassle.

Checking the camera company’s Web site (www.sonystyle.com) the other day, I found an extra $20 markdown on the DSC-P93. That brings the price down to $329, and oh, boy, is that tempting. You might be tempted, too.

The folks at the Walt Disney Co. last week rolled out a $900 personal computer for children that features a flat-panel display screen with a Mickey Mouse frame, and a CPU box that fits behind the display.

Yawn.

Disney wants consumers to traipse over to CompUSA and shell out quite a bit of money for a PC that has an Intel Celeron D Processor 330, 256MB RAM, 40GB hard drive, DVD/CD-RW combo drive, Windows XP Home Edition, and Microsoft Works productivity software. There is content-filtering software for e-mail and Internet use, and some nice Disney applications that children might enjoy.

But the overall pricing seems a bit high and the 256 MB of RAM is limited, especially if the children get going with the multimedia “Disney Dream Desk” software: Applications and Windows XP Home can eat up RAM in a hurry. If you’re looking for a good PC for children, keep searching.

E-mail MarkKel@aol.com or visit www.kellner.us.

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