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I bought the DSC-W220 model when my second nephew was born in December 2009, as my previous Sony Cybershot which was an earlier model had finally given up after four or five years of heavy use. I had been very happy with the earlier model, so when I went to Currys at Heathrow to replace it, getting the newer Sony Cybershot model was a no brainer for me.
The DSC-W220 has 12.1 megapixels resolution which means it can take very good quality pictures, though this means that the file sizes are extremely big and I usually have to reduce the size before emailing or uploading them. You can change the camera settings and use a smaller resolution (8M, 5M, 3M, or smaller as default if you don't need such high quality images at all times, but as I have put a separate 4 GB memory card in my camera I don't need to worry about space and I am happy to use the full 12.1 megapixels as you never know when you will take a great picture which you might want to print out in a big size. I have a few landscape pictures from my travels which I would like to display on the wall in my new flat.
The DSC-W220 has a 4 x Carl Zeiss optical zoom, which was an improvement on my older model. The zoom is very easy to use as there is a button on the back of the camera at the top right which you press on the right to zoom in or left to zoom out. If you zoom all the way out you can see smaller thumbnails of your pictures, enabling you to easily browse through them. Use of the zoom is clearly indicated by a small picture of a magnifying glass on the zoom in side, and on the zoom out side there is a picture which is supposed to show 9 thumbnails, to indicate being able to see many pictures at once. My older model had a dial zoom, which could sometimes accidentally be knocked. This button method is easier and more reliable to use.
The power button is on the top of the camera along with the shutter button which is quite wide and in an obvious, intuitive place for taking pictures.
Most controls are on the back, to the right of the display screen.
The camera has 10 modes which can be selected by turning the dial:
Easy shooting, automatic shooting with simplified display.
Auto adjustment for shooting with automatic setting. This is the mode I usually use.
Program auto for auto exposure with adjustable settings. As I am not really expert, I have only rarely used this as I feel the automatic settings are likely to be better than what I would achieve by tinkering around with the settings without knowing what I'm doing. However, for those with knowledge who want to achieve specific results, the ability to change settings here would be very useful.
Movie mode for shooting video clips. The quality here is fine, with sharp visuals and good quality audio. I don't often use it as I prefer to just take photos, but when I have used it I have been happy with the results.
Twilight (which is labelled on the dial as SCN) for shooting in low light with a tripod. This can produce good results when shooting night time city scenes. I took some really nice pictures around the Christmas markets with this, and also some good ones of city lights of Stockholm reflected in the water. However, I can definitely see why they recommend a tripod (which I don't have) as this is quite a slow mode and if your hand shakes it results in a blurry photo. I have got better results with this when resting the camera on something (e.g. a wall) and holding it steady. The pictures taken on this mode are not as sharp as normal day time pictures with a flash and can sometimes have a slightly grainy quality, but at least the pictures produced look true to life with the right colours and atmosphere, which is completely lost if you shoot with flash on the auto settings.
Twilight portrait for low light with flash. I haven't actually used this very much but I haven't noticed any problems with it.
Landscapes, for landscapes with distant focus. I have often used this when taking photos from viewing platforms, or up mountains etc. My boyfriend and I often liked to go walking in the countryside so I got a lot of use from this mode and think it is definitely a good one to have.
Soft snap, shoot subject with soft background. I actually never used this and never really paid any attention to it until now, when looking at the modes to write the review!
ISO High sensitivity without flash in low light reducing blur. This is also a good mode to use for night time pictures such as city lights, however I prefer the twilight mode as the colours look more realistic in twilight.
Smile shutter. This automatically detects smiles and shoots at the correct time, which can be useful for taking photos of small children who don't always want to cooperate, look and smile on demand for you! You can change the sensitivy of the smile detector in the menu settings.
There is also face detection, so sometimes you see a square showing around the faces when you go to take a picture. This produces clearer portraits. I think it must also include red eye reduction as I never get red eyes on my pictures with this camera.
Below the modes dial, there is a button to press to view the photos, easily labelled with a "play" symbol.
Below this, there is another dial which includes buttons for self-timer, macro mode, turning the flash on, off and onto auto where it will automatically be used when necessary. The menu and delete button is also at the bottom of the camera, easy to find. As everything is so simple, I don't often find myself needing to change anything on the menu settings.
The camera is small and lightweight (W x H x D: 92mm x 56.5x 21.8 weighing 117g), making it easy to carry around in your bag and not too bulky, but it still has a very good display which is 2.7 inches across.
There is HD output for display on HD TV or you can put the photos onto your computer with the cable which comes supplied.
The camera uses a rechargeable Lithium battery which lasts a really long time. I can take hundreds of photos on this, using the camera heavily for a couple of days before the battery dies. Now that I have used the camera so much and recharged so many times, I do find the battery time is slightly starting to reduce but after 2.5 years I think this is normal, and it does still last well. I never need to have concerns about the battery dying half way through the day.
Overall I think this is a foolproof, easy to use camera which produces good results and I would recommend it to anyone who just wants a reliable and good camera for general use and does not need an expert grade piece of kit.
The only feature missing from this camera which I wish it had is an under water mode, but that is hardly something you need every day and when I bought this camera that feature was not yet very popular, so I would not be surprised if by the time I need to replace this, the new model does come with that feature.
I can't remember how much I paid for this camera but I think it was around £100.
Sony DSC-W220 is a Digital Compact Camera which is excellent value for money entry level point and shoot digital camera. This Sony camera comes in a range of colours which include Silver Blue and Black. The features that make this camera easy to use include, intelligent scene recognition; 12.1 megapixels, 2.7inch screen; 4x optical zoom; Optical Steady Shot Image Stabilisation. These are the features which make this camera stand out as well as making it easy to use.
Another excellent feature is the industry leading Car Zeiss Lens, which aide the quality of the picture. The build of the unit is sturdy, and feels a decent camera when you have it in your hands compared to the plastic coated outer bodies that some cameras have. It also, has the trademark quality look that Sony is renowned for.
The camera has a metal body and is pleasing on the eye. The other important thing is its ease of use. The location and the size of the dials and buttons on this camera are responsive and easy to use, although if you have bigger fingers you may find it difficult to operate the dial or the buttons on this model.
The Lithium battery for the camera is re-chargeable, and the length of time that it lasts is fantastic. Even when I have had it on the highest picture quality setting, 12 megapixels, the camera has lasted all day at music festivals, and this has included me taking some videos. For the more serious camera enthusiast, I would recommend getting another battery, so that when one fails you have a spare one.
The battery can be recharged in as little as 40mins and allows you to take a minimum of 300 photos depending on the type of setting that you have the camera set too.
The camera has a high ISO, which enables faster shutter speed which enables you to take shots indoors or with low lights without the need for a flash. This facility is more commonly associated with SLR cameras. The higher the ISO the more noise that will appear on the images (the image will look more grainy). Most digital cameras have ISO of around 800, but this Sony model has ISO from 100 up to 3200. I would recommend using the maximum ISO of around 1600 otherwise the image will take a lot of editing and become time consuming, and the overall quality of the image will be lost meaning that small prints will only be achieved i.e. 6x4.
Intelligent Scene recognition, allows excellent quality pictures to be produced in particularly in Fireworks and Portrait Mode.
Another mode which impressed me was the Twilight Mode. In this part I was able to take excellent Sun set pictures, but this has been achieved by using a tripod. Also, capturing snow scenes, this Camera stands out allowing moments to be captured of children as the image is crisp and clear.
Another reason that this camera punches above its weight is the ease of use of the editing software that is on this camera, although it does offer a limited range of features. The camera allows you in a few easy clicks to be editing your photos. This could be anything from cropping your picture, as you are able to frame the bit of the photo that you want to keep; other features include being able to get rid of red eye and adjusting the exposure. This experience is further enhanced by having a 2.7inch screen to be able to look at what you doing. On the flip side to this, the screen can be difficult to see if the sun is out, and the screen can drain the battery life quickly, although these are small points and can be put to one side if you do the editing and reviewing when you get back home. The camera also has the facility to view your images on the TV as well.
Transferring all the pictures from your camera is easily achieved, so that you can edit them either with the software that is provided or use another suite
Picture quality is superb for this kind of Camera, particularly with the landscape sun set pictures I took in Worcester and up the Malvern's. Other areas that the camera excelled in were taking of portrait.
Landscape photos are particular crisp and clear with clarity and this is in no small part to the extra wide angle lens that this unit carries. It has a 30mm wide angle lens that allows more of the detail of landscapes to be caught.
This is not the kind of camera that you are going to be taking close up of wildlife or sporting action shots as the camera does not have the correct shutter speed or the lens to be able to cope with this kind of work. But this camera does cater for the person who is buying their first digital camera or someone who has had experience, before they upgrade to a SLR or picture bridge camera, who would like a point and shoot digital camera or someone who wants to explore with the auto options.
One of the problems with the camera is the zoom function on this camera. I have found this function of the camera, clunky to use, making it difficult to get just the right distance from the picture you want to take. You can sometimes get to close in and then have to zoom back out and you are too far away.
Overall though, the camera struggled with taking low light images which had poor lighting, even though the camera offered the use of a high ISO and super steady hand shot to prevent blurred or darkness in images. These did not compensate for this. In poorly lit areas, a flash can always be used, but this often throws up problems of red eye in people or animals as well as poor skin tones and flash spots, but these are systematic of point and shoot cameras, and take nothing away from how good this Sony Camera is.
Summary of Technical Specifications:
* 12.1 effective megapixels resolution for very high quality imaging and detail-packed enlargements
* 4x optical zoom Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens with 30mm wide angle for panoramic landscapes and large group shots
* Enhanced Smile Shutter automatically fires shutter when subject smiles: now easier to use with adjustable smile threshold
* Enhanced Face Detection with selectable adult/child priority, high-speed subject tracking for clearer portraits
* Intelligent Scene Recognition simplifies shooting by choosing best settings for difficult conditions such as twilight portraits and backlit scenes
* Optical Steady Shot, high sensitivity ISO 3200 and Clear RAW Noise Reduction for high-quality images with reduced blur during handheld shooting in low light
* Large 2.7-inch (230K dot) Clear Photo LCD with wide viewing angle
* HD output for display on HD TV (requires optional cable). PhotoTV HD enhances still image viewing on compatible BRAVIA TV
* BIONZ processor for enhanced image quality, reduced image noise and fast shooting response
* D-Range Optimizer with new Plus mode adjusts exposure and contrast in high-contrast and backlit scenes
* HD Slideshow with music offers fun image display with effects and music on LCD or connected HD TV
* Fun in-camera retouching functions including trim, red-eye correction and artistic filters
* Picture Motion Browser software simplifies image management, searches and viewing on PC
Dimensions of camera: W x H x D: 92mm x 56.5x 21.8
Weight of Camera: 117g
Software Supplied: Picture editing software
Lens: 4x Optical Zoom; Precision Zoom 8x; Lens Focal Length 30-120; Carl Zeiss Lens; Macro Mode; Face Detection.
Finally, this is a entry level camera allows the user to understand the basics of taking photographs and show them some different scenes to utilise as well under the guidance and reliability of a Sony model. This camera has the features that will allow you to get to a higher standard than most entry levels ones but if you are looking at using the pictures from this camera to sell that this is not the camera to use nor if you are looking at turning pro.
I bought the Sony W220 last year after a bad experience with a previous Kodak camera which had broken. I generally do most of my photography with digital SLRs, currently my Canon 500D, but I like to have a small point and shoot camera for when the SLR is just not practical, for example nights out and ski holidays etc.
I purchased the camera in black as I think it is the nicest colour that it comes in, the other colours like a little bit toy-town for my liking. It is a good looking camera - small, sleek and light. The LCD screen is large and the features on the camera are useful aswell - partiuarly the smile shutter and high sensitivity setting.
I have found the picture quality to be the best I have seen on a small digital camera with it's 12.1 megapixels. Though I have always chosen mid range model point and shoots so I'm sure there are better ones out there if you want to spend more money. But all in all, for the price and for a middle of the road everyday camera, I would recommend.
i had this camera in pink as a christmas present from my partner i love this camera it goes every where with me as its compact it fits in my handbag to catch them unexpected moments. an extra suprise was that it has a video function too as i was pregnant at the time this came to the hospital with me and and captured his first days now up to his frst birthday. the memory is very good and it has lots of different functions for ease of use. it is really simple to use and to uplaod the pictures onto my computer. this was my first ever digital camera and i love it i wouldn't want any other as this has all i want from a camera and the picture quality is excellent. Battery life is good too. overall an excellent camera i originaly wanted a different one but i'm so glad my partner got me this one.
Sony are a well known brand who manufacture a wide range of electrical goods, but are their camera's as good as the other things they make? One would think they must be half decent as they make several models of compacts and have even branched out into the world of SLR's. Here I am reviewing the W220 which is a compact model.
- 2.5" LCD
- 4x optical zoom
- litium ion battery
- SD compatability
- Carl Zeiss lens (a very well known and highly respected lens manufacturer)
- Small internal memory (can store 3 photos)
The camera does not have a wide range of fully adjustable settings (by this I mean there is no shutter/apeture priority or full manual) however, as you would expect there are a number of scene selection modes, auto, video etc.
There are a couple of scene selection modes that I feel are worth mentioning - there is a 'smile shutter' (standard on many compacts now) however to activate it you have put the dial in the right position (indicated by a smiling face) and then press the shutter once - this seems a bit odd to me and I can't understand why you have to do this, however the smile shutter does work from this point onwards. There is also a soft focus option which may not be clear to many people what exactly it does - it sounds like it makes the whole image 'soft' however what it actually does is much better, it affects the depth of field which in layman's terms means if you are taking a portrait the person will be nice and sharp but the background will be soft. The macro setting can focus from a distance of roughly 4cm.
Other adjustments you can make are: exposure compensation and white balance. There is also a high ISO setting (resulting images are noisy but of a useable quality), although you cannot manually set the ISO yourself, which is unusual.
Image quality is very reasonable - colours are accurate with good contrast, and the automatic white balance is very effective. The video function also produces decent quality results with only a small amount of white noise on the audio.
Physically the camera is neither ugly or stylish - it's very simple and has a brushed metal finish (in a number of available colours) that does not attract finger prints. Although it is compact, it's not the smallest compact currently available and is roughly 1.5cm in depth. It also feels well made and durable which is good as you don't want to be constantly worrying that you'll break it with the slightest knock. Furthermore the buttons are straight forward to use and the menu's easy to navigate so this is an easy camera to get to grips with, without having to read the manual.
Price wise you can pick this camera up for under £140 which I would class as a lower middle range price for a modern compact - this fits quite well with the camera's capabilities (if you want more you pay more) so I would say it is a worthwhile purchase from this aspect.
Do buy if: you want a simple to use camera with decent quality results
Don't buy if: you want more versatility for choosing your own settings, you want to photograph wildlife etc (probably would require a greater zoom).
Having received the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 in September, after previously owning two Samsung cameras, I have to say that I much prefer the Sony.
The 12.1 Megapixel camera allows for some superb quality photographs when printed.
My favourite aspect of the Sony is that it is so easy to use. Although my friends tend to keep their cameras on the automatic setting, it is so easy to play around with the settings in order to achieve something different.
Even changing settings in the dark is easy, as if you turn the wheel, it tells you on the screen what setting you have chosen.
It is also quite quick to change setting, which helps the user to take photographs when they want, not when the camera is ready.
I have found the battery to be extremely reliable and have bought a spare, cheaper battery which works in the W220 although I do not need it much.
I have found the video mode to be a better quality than I expected, I was at a music gig and recorded video footage with my iPod Nano (5th generation) and with the W220, with the Sony miles ahead of the iPod, although I think this was to be expected.
Personal preference is not to zoom above 2x optical as I think this leads to a better quality photograph but it is useful having the 4x zoom when at concerts, etc.
Overall, for the price, I think the Sony W220 is a superb camera, for amateurs and for the more keen photographers who don't always want to carry a DSLR around.
Thank you for reading my first review!
Quite recently I happened to be one of the lucky winners in a competition on a well known review site with the prizes on offer ranging from amazon voucher, Nintendo DS's, experience vouchers, x-boxes and even a Vaio laptop... good prizes in all.
Anyway, I was informed that I had won a digital camera, which was nice, but I didn't know any more about the actual prize, it was just a matter of waiting to see exactly what the camera was.
So when the competition was over and the prizes were sent out I was soon unwrapping a nice sized brown package, which the very kind postman delivered to my door, and when I had the package opened I was pleasantly surprised at what it contained, and very happy with the fact that I had won it on a competition.
I was soon giving the camera a test run, checking out what it could do and how good it could do it.
Don't get me wrong, I am by no means a professional photographer, to me a camera should be able to take a picture with as much ease as possible. I like the 'idiot proof' system most compact digital camera's offer as it makes my life taking snaps a lot easier, so when I read the information booklet that comes with this Sony cyber-shot W220 I was happy to discover that this was one of those idiot proof camera's I so liked.
Firstly, let us get the specs out of the way...
* Size of the unit is approximately 95 x 56 x 22 mm
* 12.1 mega pixels
* Weighing in at around 5 oz (145g)
* Built in microphone and speaker
* 2.7 inch LCD viewing screen.
* Face recognition with priority
* Scene recognition
* Optical zoom
* 4 times digital zoom
* Self timer
* Dynamic Range optimizer
* Steady shot stabiliser
* Smile detection technology
* Red eye reduction
* Built in microphone and speaker
* Video capture mode
Well, that's the main specifications for this Sony camera, but what else does it offer..?
It comes in a range of colours, offering the choice of silver, blue, red and black and it has a built in simple to use editing software so you can play with your pictures without having to transfer them to a PC.
The package comes with a rechargeable battery which will save you messing around with those AA batteries most cameras use.
The manual that comes with the package is easy to understand and explains in plain English exactly what the camera can do and how to do it.
Connecting it to your PC to transfer your photo/videos is easily achieved by using the lead that come with the package or by purchasing a card reader which will work with a Memory Stick PRO Duo & Memory Stick Duo Card.
So, that is what this small Sony offers... Now, what do I think? (and remember, I am by no means a professional when it comes to using a cameras setting).
IN MY OPINION....
It's simple to use, even for me, with the on off button sitting happily on the top of the unit next to the capture button.
The main controls are situated at the back next to the good sized 2.7 inch screen and are pretty straight forward to use, with the little control wheel being turned easily to allow you different selections for taking your photograph, as you turn the little wheel an image appears on the screen plus a short description of the mode you're in.
It starts with an 'Easy shooting' for all those that just want to point and shoot, then onto auto adjustment for those that like to take a little control over the camera.
Then it all gets a little more hard work, (although nothing to begin crying about), with such setting as twilight, twilight portrait, landscape, soft snap, sensitivity setting and more. But these will all become more clearer the more you use the camera and its setting.
You can take shots in several sizes, from VGA to 12 megapixals, including options for 16:9 for HDTVs, but this higher you Mps the fewer shots you can take.
I tend to stick with the 3MPs as I find that size quite adequate, although I have used the 12 MPs a few times when I know I will have to have a larger print of the picture.
The zoom is faster than most compact cameras I have used, making getting that good shot a lot easier before it disappears for ever.
The face detection option can be turned on or off, although when turned on it is rather a handy little option especially as priority can be given to children's or adult faces.
The battery life is great, although this depends on personal usage, but one fully charged battery can handle at least a hundred shots with ease, more if the setting are right, but the re-charge time for a battery is around an hour.
As for the internal memory, well, I found it to be a little short, being 11MB in total, allowing only a couple of pictures in good quality, so it is quite important to purchase a memory stick, (but do note that it is not a 'normal' memory stick you will need but a Memory stick pro duo which is slightly smaller... maybe this is Sony's way of forcing you to buy from them, but there are other dealers who sell the stick pro duo for a smaller price).
I really do like the quality of the 2.7 inch viewing screen as I could clearly see what the lens was pointing at and the picture I had taken before transferring to PC.
The editing software on the camera can be fun to play about with, allowing you to 'play' about with the pictures you have taken with such things as taking a sad face and turning the frown into a smile, (although the results can look rather weird, if not scary at times).
In all, a cracking little camera which is simple to use and fits easily into your pocket with out those nasty bulges.
As I said, I won mine in a competition but after a quick search around I have found that they retail around £150, but for this you get the camera itself, together with a rechargeable battery and battery case, a charger, USB/AV cables to connect to your PC/TV and a wrist strap...
I do recommend buying a memory stick pro duo card of at least 1GB (£7.00) and maybe a spare battery (£8.00).
** ONE QUESTION...
Would I have bought this Sony product if I had not won it in a competition?
This is a little tricky to answer...
Before using this camera I'd have to say I would not have paid more than a £100 for a compact camera which I would use for simple picture taking.
But after using it for a while I would have to say that YES, I would gladly pay the £150 price as I find the results are probably as good as some professional cameras with a much higher price tag.
If you choose to buy this Sony Cyber-shot W220 12.1MP digital camera then I can assure you you won't be disappointed one bit.
I have been using this camera as my main camera now for several months. I would recommend it to anybody who does not want anything too "flashy", but wants a really good camera that can fit in to their pocket.
The screen is a good size and has remained scratch resistant for all the time that I have owned the camera. The picture quality has always been good, although when the flash is not used, it can sometimes be quite shakey - which I had really hoped would not be the case. Also, when you are making a film, the lighting can get very dim the closer you try to zoom in. Also, you can not adjust the zoom whilst you are filming - only before you record. This was quite disappointing as you have to anticipate how close you get before you film.
Overall, this is a good camera for nights out, kids days out etc, but is not the most premium quality
I have owned this camera for over a few months and to be honest I wasn't overly impressed by it. Starting on design the camera looks very slick and sweet in the silver colour although all other colours apart from black should be avoided at all costs as it starts looking more like a toy camera than a £150 real one. Next onto picture quality, the camera does produce decent shots that can be easily blown up pretty big which is always good for posters although don't expect it to be impressive. Although it is 12 mega pixels the fact that the processor cannot handle the picture properly pretty much devalues the amount of pixels, this bundled with the fact that the lenses aren't that good either resulted in some decent and bad pictures. Moving onto the LCD screen which is simply amazing, even in direct sunlight it can be read with no problem and the size is just right. The features included should be mainly avoided such as smile shutter although the camera can detect faces. Overall for the brand reputation and the price the prodcut simply doesn't deliver and since then I have purchased a Panasonic FS3 which I have also reviewed.
One word - Superb!
I bought my last camera 7 years ago, it was a casio with 7.1 megapixels, at that
time it was great but recently bought myself a new one.
Bought my new camera sony w210 on Wednesday. I love the fact that it can be plugged into your tv so that you can watch your pictures and movies on your television. The quality of pictures is absoloutley fantastic, 12.1 megapixel. The screen is large enough so that you can see your pictures clearly.
The smile shutter is the best feature on it, it takes a few times to get used to but you hold the shutter down and it remembers your face so that when you look at the person again it takes the picture by itself.
It is a small camera and also very light-weight therefore easy to carry around.
I would reccommend this camera to anyone looking for a good quality picture and that wants to look cool.
The W220 camera has a 2.7-inch LCD screen (measured diagonally) and Carl Zeiss® Vario-Tessar 4X optical zoom lens with 30 millimeter (equivalent) wide angle view. It includes Optical SteadyShotTM image stabilization to minimize blur without affecting picture quality. Sony's Smile ShutterTM technology automatically captures a smile the moment it happens. You can use the adult or child priority setting when shooting scenes containing both adults and children, and the camera will distinguish one face from another. I like it.
I recently received the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 as a birthday present. I have the pink version and it is a very stylish compact design and the brushed aluminium finish does not seem to scratch easily. The zoom is fast and does not seem to have as much of a drain on the battery life as I have found with precious cameras and at 4x optical zoom is more than adequate for general use. The lithuim battery may provide a disadvantage for some as it has to be mains charged, however it is possible to purchase extra batteries and this is recommended for those who use the advanced features over long peroids of time between charges, though the battery life is longer than with other lithium battery cameras I have used.
The camera has many high quality features which are rare in this price bracket including Optical Steady Shot image stabilisation, Smile Shutter technology, Intelligent Scene Recognition and HD output. The 12MP camera makes for a very high image quality and the 2.7 inch screen allows good previews of all images taken and is clear even in sunny conditions. The face detection allows recognition of up to 8 faces and is very effective in preventing the very annoying result from other cameras in this price range of focusing in on only some of the faces of group photos.
Set up in the automatic mode the camera allows even beginners to take quality images and the camera can be switched to manual mode for the more experienced user. Overall a great camera for anyone from the beginner to the more advanced photographer.
Yes yes yes! I was given one of these for my birthday and to be honest i was initially disappointed. I already had a digital camera (a Nikon 7.2 mega pixel compact) and I thought "What do I want a new camera for?".
ANd then I took it out of the box! This Sony is a thing of beauty. It is vibrantly coloured (I have the blue one) and the body is finished with stunning brushed aluminium. THe edges are rounded nicely, so that the whole camera feels great in your hands.
And it doesn't feel flimsy - it has a quality feel to it (although I wouldn't want to drop it hehe!).
The zoom is fast and powerful (not like my old camera which took AGES to zoom in and out). the auto focus is similarly rapid in response time.
all in all I now capture so many more great shots that I would have missed with my old camera.
The last camera review I wrote was on the fantastic Sony A700 DSLR and at the time I mentioned that Sony are still very new in the DSLR market, they are however very well established in the point and shoot market and the camera I am reviewing today (the Cyber-shot DSC-W220) is the latest in their fabulous Cyber-shot W range.
It comes in the usual range of colours (silver, black, blue and red, with a pink version no doubt on the way soon). It was only released in March so it is still relatively new on the market but the price has come down fairly quickly, having been released at over £200 you can now pick one up for around the £140 mark. This is the first budget range Cyber-shot camera to feature many of the settings that were previously only found in Sony`s premium range.
The premium features that can be found in this camera include things like Intelligent Scene Recognition, Dynamic Range Optimizer, Optical Steady Shot image stabilisation, Smile Shutter technology and HD output, making it a fantastically developed camera at a very affordable price. It also has a 12 megapixel sensor, a 2.7 inch screen and a 4X optical zoom.
For a budget range Cyber-shot camera this unit offers the user a very wide range of manual settings and can in fact almost be set up completely manually if the user has the know how or of course it can be used in Auto mode (cheekily known by some as idiot mode), so whether you are a first time user, a basic user, an intermediate user or a well advanced user this camera will offer the right choice for you.
I found the built in settings such as portrait, landscape, beach and fireworks, to name a few, worked very well and set up the camera almost as I would expect for the type of shots in question. When shooting portraits which I do professionally, I set up my DSLR with very similar settings to what this clever Cyber-shot camera chose and I was very impressed with the outcome of the shots I took using this particular setting, obviously not professional standard but to the naked untrained eye they could probably fool a few.
The premium features also work very well (well most of them anyway), the Dynamic Range Optimizer was particularly impressive, I have only experienced this once before in my Sony DSLR so I was not sure what to expect of this in a point and shoot but the results were very similar to those in the much more advanced and much more expensive DSLR. The Dynamic Range Optimizer uses a sophisticated algorithm to determine the best exposure and contrast settings for almost any shooting environment. The result is more natural images with clearer details that more closely match what your naked eye sees.
A good example of how the Dynamic Range Optimizer works is if you imagine looking at a piece of pure white card in sunlight, it will look pure white but in the shade it might look grey through the lens whilst the human eye adapts to see it white because the brain knows it should be white. Well the Dynamic Range Optimizer works as the cameras brain and tells the lens and sensor that this card should be pictured pure white and adjusts settings to make this so.
The only setting on the camera that I was not very impressed with was the somewhat gimmicky Smile Shutter technology, this to a professional photographer like myself is pointless and I would suggest as it does not work that well that it is pointless to most others too. Sony tell us that this setting will capture a smile the moment it happens but it basically detects any facial movement or change and if you are trying to photograph more than one person at a time you will soon get very frustrated with the results and turn this off.
The face detection setting on the other hand is a great setting that works brilliantly in DSLR cameras but in most point and shoots is a bit disappointing but not in this unit. Face Detection technology detects up to eight individual faces and controls flash, focus, exposure, and white balance to deliver accurate, natural skin tones with reduced red-eye, so if you are shooting people and want to get the very best results then this setting will give you just that.
This camera also has a high sensitivity ISO, most commonly found in DSLR`s, it allows you to adjust your ISO (film speed in film cameras), a high ISO allows for faster shutter speed, so you can take photos indoors or in low light without the need for a flash. The higher the ISO the more noise will appear in the image but where most point and shoots will only really be useable up to about 800 ISO this Cyber-shot still produces useable images at 1600, it can be raised to 3200 but I would suggest you want to avoid this as the pictures will be very grainy and even after noise removal in Photo Shop or the likes the image will not be able to be printed any larger than a tiny 6X4.
One of the most impressive thing about this tiny camera is the fact that the lens is a Carl Zeiss lens and it not only zooms 4X optically it starts at 30mm rather than 35mm allowing you to get a bit of a wide angle experience in your landscape shots which is a good thing to have even in a small point and shoot camera, it can really bring your landscape shots to life.
As well as all the shooting modes this unit also has an editing suite built in so you can edit your images right here in the camera before printing or moving them to your PC or laptop.
The imaging suite is limited of course but what it does, it does well and if you like to print direct from your memory card then it can be very useful for removing red-eye and fixing exposures that you have not got quite right and the fact that you have a 2.7 inch screen to do this on is great and gives you a decent image size to work with.
The looks, build and handling of the unit are also very good although the using of it might not be suite to someone with particularly big hands and fingers as the buttons and dials are all fairly compact. Build wise it feels very strong and durable for such a small unit and looks wise it is a very attractive unit as you would expect from Sony as they are a company renowned for good looking products, for me this unit looks best in silver but everyone will have their own opinion on that.
As with any camera, the most important thing should be the final image quality and not how shiny or nice it looks so what did I make of the image quality? Well I was very impressed with the majority of the 500 images I took over three days of use and the indoor portrait shots I took using it with professional studio lighting were fantastic. As well as those images I went on to take some outdoor shots at the safari park (which you can see if you are reading this on Ciao), these too were very impressive and look almost as good as anything I could have achieved with my DSLR.
Overall the only images that were a bit of a letdown were the ones taken in poor lighting, although this camera does offer the use of a high ISO and a super steady shot to prevent both blur and darkness in images, I found that neither worked as well as you might expect and therefore the images taken in poor light looked like exactly that. When I say poor light though I am not talking about just in the shade or the likes, I mean as darkness falls or in a poorly lit room and you can of course use the flash to combat this but beware the flash like any point and shoot flash will throw up its own problems such as red-eye when shooting people or animals and also things like hot spots and poor skin colouring, these however are symptoms point and shoot users just have to put up with and they take nothing away from how good this camera is.
The one last thing that makes this camera a winner is the fact that as with most Sony cameras, it uses a rechargeable battery unit rather than the dreaded AA`s, so there is no need to worry about spending a fortune every couple of weeks on batteries. A fully charged battery will allow you to take about 300 photos and can be recharged in under 40 minutes so you can spend more time snapping.
WEIGHTS AND MEASUREMENTS
Dimensions (Approx.) : W x H x D: 3 3/4" x 2 1/4" x 7/8" (95.2mm x 56.5mm x 21.8mm)
Weight (Approx.) : Body: Approx 4.2 oz (118g) / With battery and MSDuo: Approx 5.2 oz (147g)
LCD : 2.7"1 Clear Photo LCD (230K Pixels)
Lens Construction : 6 elements in 5 groups (including 3 aspheric elements)
Lens Type : Carl Zeiss® Vario-Tessar®
Microphone/Speaker : Yes/ Yes
Viewfinder : No
OPTICS / LENS
35mm Equivalent : 30-120mm
Aperture Range : Auto(F2.8/F7.1(W), 2 steps with ND Filter) / Program Auto(F2.8/F7.1(W), 2 steps with ND Filter)
Digital Zoom : Smart Zoom / Precision Digital Zoom / Off
Exposure Compensation : Plus / Minus 2.0EV, 1 / 3EV step
Face Detection : Yes - 8 faces with priority
Filter Diameter : 46mm(with Lens Adapter)
Focal Length : 5.35-21.4mm
Focus : 9-Area Multi-Point AF, Center AF, Spot AF, Semi Manual Focus (0.5m / 1.0m / 3.0m / 7.0m / Unlimited distance)
Macro Mode : Yes
Optical Zoom : 4x
Shutter Speed : Auto(1/4 - 1/1,600) / Program Auto(1" - 1/1,600)
Smart Zoom® Technology : 8M:Approx.4.9x(Total), 5M:Approx.6.2x(Total), 3M:Approx.7.8x(Total), VGA:Approx.25x(Total), 16:9(2M):Approx.8.3x(Total)
Total Zoom : 8x
Operating System Compatibility : Microsoft® 2000 Professional, XP Home and Professional; Macintosh® OS 9.1/9.2/OS X (10.1-10.5)
Supplied Software : Windows: Picture Motion Browser Vers 4.2 (Mac not supported)
TO SUM UP
Overall I found this a great little unit to work with and I would be happy to recommend it to anyone in the market for a point and shoot, it does have limitations like any point and shoot does but in its price range it is highly impressive and produces high quality images in 80% of its settings. Battery life is good also and as I mentioned earlier it is a rechargeable so no need for further expense.
The manual that accompanies the camera is very clear and as the camera settings are very easy to follow anyway, you should have no problems in learning quickly how to get the best from your Sony Cyber-shot. Connecting it to your PC or laptop is also a very simple process that should take little longer than 5 minutes.
As with most point and shoots this one is capable of taking video clips but as I am forever saying in these type of reviews, cameras should be for taking still images and still images alone and the video quality in this otherwise very good camera further shows why this should be the case. This camera can be connected straight to your TV so you can view any video images you may have taken and also your photos should you wish.
The camera basically has everything you could expect from a point and shoot camera and then some, and as long as you are not intending to sell your images or turn pro any time soon then it will be a very handy little unit that will allow you to get the feel for a higher standard of photography than most point and shoots are capable of.
LOOKS - 10/10
BUILD QUALITY - 9/10
EASE OF USE - 9/10
IMAGE QUALITY - 8/10 (falls to a 6/10 in poor light)
FUNCTIONS AND FEATURES - 8/10
VALUE FOR MONEY - 10/10
OVERALL - 9/10
Thanks for reading.