Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sony Cybershot DSC-W1 Digital Camera Review

Design and Construction
The sony cybershot DSC-W1 is one stylish looking camera. A direct competitor to the Canon PowerShot S500, the DSC-W1 has been constructed to be a compact, travel ready camera that you can use to take quick snaps. Its dimensions are 3.5 inches by inches by 1.25 inches (weight-height-depth) and it weighs only 7.0 ounces.

One aspect of the camera I found especially impressive was the large 2.5 inch LCD screen. Most compact cameras have small LCDs so much so that you have to quick to look at the postage stamp sized images. Well, not in the Sony DSC-W1. The large screen makes it a joy to do on camera image editing or to show off your pictures to friends and family.

Optics and Resolution
The Sony Cybershot DSC-W1 comes with a 5.1 megapixel resolution, as well as 3x optical zoom and 2x digital zoom. There’s a built-in Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens to allow quick focusing in a wide variety of photo environments.

The optics in this camera are also superb. There are comprehensive focusing options available if you’re more adventurous and want to play around with advanced manual camera options.

If you want to customize the camera to take photos at night, for example, you can change the shutter speed or play with the size of the aperture quite easily. If you need to take a quick shot in the middle of a vacation, you can switch back to auto focus and exposure so that the camera does everything for you. In short, the Sony DSC-W1 has features which give you extreme flexibility in taking photos.

User Controls
The user controls in the Sony Cybershot DSC-W1 are found next to the LCD and on a mode dial at the top surface of the camera. I found the controls easy to use. Whether you want to zoom in on an image, or change to a different scene mode or focus setting, the controls are always within easy reach.

Movie Mode
I also like the availability of a movie mode in the DSC-W1. You know, sometimes when you’re out in the park or on a vacation, you get those moments when you know a video will be more appropriate instead of a photo. That’s where the movie mode is useful. You can capture video at 30 frames per second (fps) at VGA size 640 x 480 – that roughly translates to 90 seconds of video on the included 32 MB memory card.

Direct Printing
As with many new digital cameras, the Sony DSC-W1 supports PictBridge direct printing. This is tremendously useful if you want to quickly print out photos without having to import them to a computer first. Of course, you will need a printer that is PictBridge compatible as well – the Canon Pixma iP4000 is my personal choice.

Storage and Transfer
The Sony Cybershot DSC-W1 comes with a 32MB Sony memory stick– which is hardly enough for serious photo taking, since each image is potentially 5MB in size. I’d recommend getting at least a 128MB Memory Stick to complement the camera. In terms of image transfer, the camera supports USB 2.0 ports. This means that you’ll experience lightning transfer of data between the camera and your computer.

Battery Life
One thing I love about the Sony Cybershot DSC-W1 is the battery system. The camera supports standard AA batteries like those from Energizer. This is pretty rare in digital cameras – most cameras need to use a proprietary battery. The ability to support AA batteries is great because you need not worry about the batteries running out – AA batteries are easily found in any convenience store.

There are some quirks I noticed in the Sony DSC-W1. Though not serious problems, they did serve to mar my experience with this camera somewhat. What are these quirks? They include:

* Lack of a panorama-assist mode
* Lock of white-balance calibration options
* No way to adjust the camera's automatic power-down time.
* Lack of a good photo editor in the bundled software

I do hope this review of the Sony Cybershot DSC-W1 has been of help to you. If you’re looking for a good travel camera to take fun shots with, this Sony model is tough to beat. I personally own a Canon PowerShot S500Find Article, but I’d also recommend this Sony because many of my friends have been raving about it.

Author : Gary Hendricks runs a hobby site at Read his tips on digital photography and learn to shoot better photos with your digicam.

No comments: