Only the 3.8 seconds it takes from power on to first shot ruins the DSC-G1's performance track record, and that time doesn't include sliding open the camera, which takes another couple of seconds. The LCD also stands up pretty well. Thanks to its relatively wide viewing angle, it's usable in direct sunlight.
The battery life is fairly short. Its CIPA-standard capacity is only 280 shots, probably thanks to that mammoth LCD -- recharging is the truly annoying aspect of the DSC-G1's performance. It doesn't trickle charge. So when you get back to your home or hotel room with the depleted camera, you can stick it in the dock and play back or download your images but you've got to leave it alone and turned off for a couple of hours to charge.
Thanks to its SteadyShot optical image stabiliser and relatively low resolution sensor, the DSC-G1 produces some surprisingly sharp photos with decent high-ISO performance. Nonflash exposures look very good, despite some blown-out highlights that are typical of this camera class.
The flash doesn't throw quite as much as we'd like. It left sections of our test scene underexposed with colour blooming on object edges. Finally, the DSC-G1 tends to push colour saturation toward the overly vivid.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-G1 seems like an awkward convergence device from two years ago, or from a time when putting MP3 players in cameras was all the rage. We wish Sony had opted instead to create the more market-worthy Wi-Fi contender we've been waiting for.
Given the high price for what it offers -- huge LCD notwithstanding -- there's really nothing else worth paying a premium for. We have to suggest that you give this one a miss. Get yourself a really nice MP3 player and a top-notch ultracompact instead.
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday