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Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W320 Digital Camera Review

sony20100427.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Katrina Putker

 

If someone said you could be the owner of a 14.1megapixel ultra portable, lightweight, stylish compact camera for little more than a couple of hundred dollars, there’s every chance you wouldn’t believe them.

But alas, check out Sony’s Cyber-Shot DSC-W320 and you’ll see that it could in fact be a reality.

With a tiny 92.9 x 51.9 x 17.3mm body that weighs in at just 117g when fully equipped with its battery, memory card and wrist strap (that’s marginally heavier than a full deck of average-sized playing cards) and an equally small price tag of just $229.00 RRP, the W320 is an appealing little unit for the style and megapixel conscious point-and-shooter.

Available in either silver, black or pink (in Australia) the W320 hosts a 4x optical zoom Carl Zeiss lens with a 26-105mm equivalent focal length and what is a particularly generous-for-its-size 26mm wide angle view so that you can squeeze lots of bodies and faces into your shots and capture the full scope of landscape scenes.

The W320 is super easy to use as a result of its minimal interface and succinct internal menu layout that covers the basics (along with a few additional extras) but otherwise is no more complicated than it claims to be.

This unit is a point-and-shooter best suited to those who take their camera with them everywhere and enjoy the simplicity of turning it on and letting it do all the work.

A built-in anti blur feature automatically compensates for handshake and movement from the user and offers quick and multiple shutter speeds to help counteract the movement of given subjects as required and can be optimised when shooting in steady shot mode.

Noise reduction technology does appear to reduce the effects of noise overall but as a result can tend to smudge detail somewhat particularly when shooting without flash.

While images in this instance do appear clear upon initial viewing, closer inspection quickly reveals an almost airbrushed effect on some images, which while likely to suit some people’s tastes may equally bother others.

Intelligent auto mode automatically adjusts exposure, focus and white balance for a given scene in order to help achieve the best possible results. Similarly, face detection technology offers the same automatic adjustments when portraits are being taken and users can select priority between children and adults where desired as well.

Smile shutter is selectable so that the W320 will automatically fire the shutter when a person’s smile is detected and the threshold for recognising a smile can be easily adjusted in just a couple of clicks.

Some in-camera editing options are available that make for quick and hassle-free alteration of images. Users can elect to red-eye correct, trim/crop and rotate images while a basic slideshow function will scroll through images upon request although unfortunately without the option to select music or fade options etc.

The W320 houses a 2.7-inch LCD screen that offers only acceptable live preview viewing in terms of the level of detail offered but previews playback images very well and to the point where pictures are clear, sharp and bright.

This confirms that the somewhat pixelated live preview offered is not a true indication of the level of image that results and fortunately one would rather this be the case than perhaps the other way around.

Cleverly the W320 offers users an electable easy mode, which reduces the amount of selectable options available, increases the size of the text used and very obviously displays the current remaining battery life and available shots.

Particularly for those who are first-time digital camera users this option is a great, non-intimidating place to begin your shooting experience and a sense of achievement is likely to be gained upon advancing into normal mode.

A variety of 10 preset scene modes are available and include gourmet, pet, twilight, twilight portrait, soft snap, beach, snow, landscape, high sensitivity and underwater (assuming the appropriate housing is purchased as an optional accessory.)

Movie mode with sound is available in either VGA (640x480) mode for television viewing or QVGA (320x240) for online sending/viewing/posting etc. The quality is basic but more than sufficient for quick clips not worth switching to your camcorder for.

Unfortunately it’s not a great surprise the W320 loses some of its mini-might in low light given that almost all compact cameras across the market do.medal-gold-r.jpg

If you like your images to be super sharp and with well-defined detail, the W320 is probably not for you. If, on the other hand, you enjoy a slightly airbrushed and painterly effect you’re going to love this extremely portable and attractive little unit.

The W320 isn’t without its faults but in truth they are quite minor especially given the extremely affordable nature of this unit and its obvious user-friendliness.

This neat camera would make an excellent gift for a first-time digital compact user as well as a great little throw-around for day-to-day happy snappers for whom small, sexy and capable (on a basic level) cameras like this make an excellent companion.

 
Appearance rating 4 stars
Functionality rating 3.5 stars
Image quality
3.5 stars
Lens quality
3.5 stars
View finder / LCD screen 3.5 stars
Value for money 4.5 stars
RRP (AUD) $229
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 14.1 Million mega pixels
Image Sizes 6 Sizes
Lens - zoom wide [mm] 26mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens -zoom tele [mm] 105mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens - Optical Zoom Yes, 4x
Resolution Settings From 640 x 480 to 4,320 x 3,240
Shooting Modes 10 Scene options
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Focus Range [cm]  
Aperture Range iAuto W: Approx. 4cm to Infinity, T: Approx. 60cm to Infinity
Aperture Priority No
Macro No
Macro Range [cm]  
Shutter Speeds iAuto (1/8" - 1/1,600) / Program Auto (1" - 1/1,600)
Shutter Priority No
ISO Auto / 160 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 2.7" (230K pixels)
Viewfinder No
Flash Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, Slow Synchro
Hot Shoe No
White balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Fluorescent / Incandescent / Flash
Self Timer Yes (10sec / 2sec / off)
HD Movie Option No
Movie Sizes  
Video Out Yes
Audio Out Yes
Other Out  
Storage Type Memory Stick Duo / Memory Stick PRO Duo / Memory Stick PRO Duo (High Speed) / Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo / SD Memory Card / SDHC Memory Card
Storage Included [Mb] 28mb
Still Image Formats JPEG
Audio Formats No stand alone feature
Movie Formats  
Connectivity Auto / Mass Storage / PTP, MTP / PictBridge
Power Source BC-CSN  Battery charger
Battery Options Lithium ION Battery NP-BN1
Dimensions (W) 92.9 x (H) 51.9 x (D) 17.3 mm
Weight Approx. 101g (Body only)

 


 


 

 
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