I’ve been using the Sony Cyber-shot for over two months now, long enough to know what’s good and bad about it.
It is a 7.2 megapixel camera featuring 3 times optical zoom. It has a slightly higher spec than the Sony W55. The extras it has over the W55 are optical stabilisation technology and a microphone. It was about £30 more expensive than the W55 at £140 but I needed a camera with a microphone as I wanted to take some basic videos as well as taking photos.
The internal memory is so small that it is not even worth bothering with so you’ll need to budget for a memory stick pro duo card. I got a 4gb card for less that £15 from Amazon’s marketplace.
Before using the camera you’ll need to charge the battery. It charges from an external charger rather than internally which means that if you are travelling you will have to take an extra bit of kit with you. The battery life is very good. I’ve gone out on many a day, taken around 150 photos and some video and the battery still has plenty left in it. Sony say it can take over 300 photos on a single charge.
The quality of the photos are really good for a camera in this price range. You can see reduced sized photos that I’ve taken with this camera at http://www.londonphotoproject.co.uk/blog/. These are all taken with the ‘auto’ setting. There are a variety of different settings for taking photos at night, in snow, at the beach and more. You can also adjust many of the parameters such as ISO, EV and focusing. I haven’t experimented with these as ‘auto’ seems to get the settings right.
The various settings are adjusted with a wheel. I have a slight critisism here, it is very easy for the wheel to get turned without you knowing if you keep the camera in your pocket. It would be good if the wheel could be locked in place.
It performs well when taking photos at night or in low levels of light, the flash is powerful and adjusts to the light level correctly.
It is not just the quality of photos that matters, the speed at which the camera becomes ready to take photos after being switched on and after taking a photo has been taken is important. This camera is fast at turning on and the turnaround time between taking each photo (shutter lag) is very good too.
I mentioned that one of the reasons for me buying this camera was its video features. If you set the video to ‘fine’ then it will record video at 30fps. The microphone makes a difference as videos with sound are much more engaging than those without sound.
- High quality photos. See some of my day photos and night photos taken with this camera.
- Low shutter lag
- Video capabilities with microphone
- External battery charger
- Easy to move settings wheel without meaning to when camera is in your pocket.
This camera isn’t perfect but for its price I’m definitely glad I bought it. You can buy it from Amazon here. I’d give it 9/10.
Update January 2011: I wrote this review nearly three years ago, but the Sony W80 is still the camera I use every day. All the photos up to this date on reviewmylife were taken with the W80. I am thinking of getting a better camera at some point in the next year. I’ll again get a compact camera, but perhaps with higher end features. i.e. better zoom, better night photo support, better optical stabilisation. I’ll probably get a Sony again, and if/when I do I’ll review it here.