Advertisement
Advertisement

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX1 review

Ben Pitt
25 Jan 2010
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX1
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
210
inc VAT

Packed with smart innovations to boost image quality, but they could do with a better base to build upon.

Advertisement

Specifications

10.0-megapixel sensor, 5.0x zoom ( equivalent), 120g

The WX1 is one of the first cameras to use Sony’s new Exmor R sensor. It’s a smart ultra-portable model, but with its 2.7in screen and basic controls, there’s nothing on the outside to explain the relatively high price.

However, the unusual sensor design is just one of many features aimed at boosting low-light performance. The lens has an f/2.4 maximum aperture, which gathers a third more light than f/2.8 lenses. The relatively modest resolution helps too. Many compact cameras at this price have 12-megapixel sensors, but by limiting it to 10 there's more light captured per pixel.

The most impressive innovation is a mode called Anti Motion Blur. It takes six pictures in quick succession at ISO 3200, aligns them digitally to counteract camera movement and overlays them, giving an effective 533 ISO speed.

Even more impressively, it identifies areas where the subject is moving and uses just a single instance of the image for that area. The resulting photo effectively uses fast ISO and shutter speeds for moving subjects and slower speeds for static areas of the frame. It’s a fantastic idea that works brilliantly, but it’s a shame that it’s fixed at ISO 3200. We hope that the next implementation of this feature is more flexible, for example taking six ISO 800 shots for an effective ISO 133 exposure.

This mode demands fast performance from the sensor, so it’s good to see that this is also made available at other times too. The continuous mode captured 10 shots at 2, 5, or 10fps, although the camera then took 15 seconds to process and store these photos. Otherwise, performance is respectable but nothing special, taking 2.3 seconds to power up and take a shot, and two seconds between shots after that.

The controls are typical point-and-shoot fare, but there’s a good smattering of fun features. Smile detection makes an appearance, and is more responsive than previous implementations. Sweep Panorama lets the user capture panoramic photos simply by slowly turning the camera. The 24-120mm wide-angle lens is welcome and the 720p HD video mode works well, with smooth auto-exposure and a usable optical zoom.

With so much going for it, photo image quality was disappointing. For all its technical innovation, the sensor’s noise levels were only a little better than average for a given ISO speed. The slowest available ISO speed is unusually fast at 160, but at this setting, subtle details in shady areas were smeared by noise reduction. Focus was a little soft throughout the zoom range too, and colours sometimes looked artificially vivid.

Image quality can’t match that of Fujifilm’s F70EXR but it’s far from poor, and the smart scene presets and 720p video mode help to redress the balance. Ultimately, though, it’s impossible not to be frustrated by a camera that performs so well in low light but struggles with noise when outdoors.

Basic Specifications

CCD effective megapixels10.0 megapixels
LCD screen size2.7in
Optical zoom5.0x

Physical

Weight120g
Size52x91x20mm

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£210
Supplierhttp://www.simplyelectronics.net