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I am going to approach this review as someone who does NOT understand jargon in the world of photography. And honestly, anyone looking at potentially buying one of these cameras will be of similar mind. The reason being that this is a good accessible camera for people who want to take good photographs without getting too bogged down on the technical aspects.
We'll start with the cosmetic appeal of this camera. Personally I find it an extremely good looking piece of kit. Sleek black design with fairly large silver lens and 'Sony' etched in silver along side it. Nothing too brash but stylish none the less as you would expect from Sony. Its a good size for your pocket too.. unlike many other compact cameras it has an internal battery so doesn't have the bulk of many that use replaceable batteries.
Performance wise it is perfectly reasonable for what you pay but as I got more into chasing better photographs, you start to notice cracks in the performance. Low light it struggles to take sharp pictures without the use of flash, which if your looking for a photograph focusing on anything past 10metres away could be a problem. So this is a camera best used in high light. From studying many pictures I have taken it is clear it focuses increasingly better at increasingly brighter light....ideal for holiday then!
Feature wise everything is worked from a small spin wheel on the back which lets you flick between video, simple photo and more advanced ones where you can change the focus from near focus portrait pictures to panoramic far focusing pictures. Other useful features that are simple to enable/disable include full screen photo, wide-screen 16:9 ratio pictures, flash types, picture quality if your running low on memory.
All photos and videos can be viewed on a fantastic clear and crisp display screen on the back of the camera. Battery life is not great, perhaps 4 hours of continued use but the battery is rechargeable so no major issue there.
I thoroughly recommend this camera to anyone who wants to take good pictures without the cost and hassle of carrying a larger specialist camera. It is possible to achieve near professional level photos with this camera....if its bright.
One last parting piece of information, this camera has been to many countries with me and lain on many sandy beaches, and been dropped countless times, it still works as well as day one. A very sound purchase.
The Sony cybershot W270 is in the same series at the W220 which I recently reviewed, however it is a better model in terms of function and as such is more expensive at about £180.
- Carl Zeiss lens with 5x optical zoom
- 2.5" LCD
Build quality and design:
Sony's range of Cybershot W camera's all have a similar appearance and are roughly 3 cm in depth (not the thinnest of compacts but this may be a positive to some). The camera isn't overly heavy, but you won't forget you've got it.
Quality wise it feels sturdy and robust and there are no sticking out bits (except of course the lens when the camera is on) so there is nothing to snap off by accident.
Button layout and function is good. On the top you have the power, shutter and smile shutter although these particular buttons are recessed into the camera so pressing them whilst wearing gloves etc may prove a task. All other buttons are on the back of the camera and to the right of the LCD - the shooting options are all placed on a dial, there's the zoom, menu, delete etc. Essentially most of the buttons you need to make adjustments quickly are all there, without having to go through menu's on the LCD screen. Of course there are other adjustments that can be made through the menu's and I'll discuss these later...
Using the camera:
As mentioned above, the camera's buttons are well laid out and intuitive to use. There are other adjustments that can be made through the menu and these are: scene selection, ISO (not available on the W220), exposure compensation, WB (although unusually there are only two options here - auto and flash, smile sensitity etc.
The smile shutter function has been improved over the W220 - to activate it you push the button with a smiling face on it and then point it at a smiling person. The camera will show up a little meter on the left of the LCD where it 'measures' the amount of smile it detects and then fires the shutter. The shutter firing is not instant, although it only takes a second or two.
In terms of macro photos this camera is capable of focusing from a distance of about 6cm's, which although not as close as some camera's can do, is still quite impressive and for most things you wouldn't want or be able to get much closer than that anyway.
There won't be many occassions when you need to make adjustments via the menu, however when you do these are quick and simple to do - most people should be able to work out the in's and out's of this camera pretty quickly without having to refer to the manual.
As there are only two white balance options (auto and flash) it is pretty important for the auto function to be accurate. When the camera is set to iauto (intelligent auto) then the automatic white balance was impressive, however oddly when the camera was set to program mode the white balance was very poor so I'd say stick with iauto (this was tested on indoor lighting conditions) and you'll be fine.
The ISO is manually adjustable up to 3200 and is actually quite impressive even up to the maximum. 3200, while noisy, still produces perfectly useable images that in my opinion would print fine in small sizes (I wouldn't be keen on making poster prints from the images though).
Other than this the photos this camera takes have accurate colours and good contrast.
Overall I would recommend this camera provided that you don't want the flexibility of lots of manual shooting options. The W270 is easy to use, robust and produces good quality results. For £180 I would say it was a good choice at up at the top of camera's in a similar price bracket.
As a keen photographer, I was unsure what to look for when buying a 'point and shoot' camera. But lugging around a DSLR, lens kit and tripod just didn't seem appropriate for nights on the town - ultimately, I decided on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W270.
This camera retails between £100 and £230. Oddly, the price on Amazon seems to be fairly high, so I'd recommend shopping around on a few price comparison websites before investing in this camera.
Being quite 'snobby' about cameras, I expected when I first bought this camera that it's only use would be in places that I didn't trust taking my DSLR. To an extent, this is true, however I was surprised by how well this camera does in fact take pictures. Little things such as the manual lens adjustment and shutter speed do a good job in taking photos with good exposure, and the 28mm wide angle lens with up to 5x optical zoom make this a very versatile camera.
The camera has 5 simple settings:
Program Auto - Auto exposure with adjustable settings. This feature is quite sophisticated for a camera of this caliber, with adjustable settings from colour adjustment to ISO setting to white balancing. You can even set your flash intensity to avoid those blown-out shots of your friends at night. Red eye reduction is another adjustable setting, but as with most point and shoot cameras, don't expect this to be the answer to red eye - it doesn't seem to make much of a difference.
Intelligent Auto - Exposure adjustment with automatic settings. This mode is what most people will shoot in all the time. It does a good job of identifying what settings are right for the photo, for instance it will change the scene setting to twilight portrait if you are taking pictures of people in low light, but it is easy to assume that it will always detect the right settings when in fact you can almost always get a better shot by changing the settings in Program Auto mode. Nevertheless, its a handy feature for quick snaps of friends and family.
Easy Shooting - Easy shooting with simplified display. This feature seems pointless to me. If Intelligent Auto isn't lazy enough, Easy Shooting mode gives you even less control and the only adjustable settings are self timer and flash. (The self timer I will note, however, is a useful feature, although it is pretty much a given with even the cheapest of stills cameras).
SCN - This mode is basically the manual way of selecting the scenes which the camera theoretically should automatically detect in Intelligent Auto mode. So basically its use is for situations whereby the camera is unable to accurately detect the scene. Useful, but, again, the chances are that if the camera isn't doing a good job of automatically detecting the right settings then Program Auto will produce better results. This setting is kind of 'in the middle' - medium accuracy and a lot less time consuming than Program Auto.
Movie Mode - Shoot 720p HD movies with audio. This is a great feature for quickly getting a few videos of family and friends, and is better than most point and shoot camera video functions but is extremely basic, and the audio leaves a lot to be desired.
Overall, I would recommend this camera. As a bit of a photo nerd, I wouldn't personally publish pictures I have taken with it without a bit of grading in Photoshop, but it takes great pictures with its 12.1 megapixel resolution and its varying degrees of settings mean it is easy to use for beginners as well as sophisticated enough for more serious photographers on the go.
The main downfall is that the Intelligent Auto setting doesn't take into account if you are taking pictures of something moving. Granted, it is a lot to ask, however this means that if you are taking the pictures of things that are moving in medium to low light conditions then you are almost guaranteed to get blur. The only way around this (with the obvious exception of flash, and no one likes to see that!) is to program the camera manually in Program Auto mode - so be aware that it takes more than a good camera to get good pictures, so you need to be willing to have a play around in some instances.
I have the W290 blue version of this camera, but it is similar to the one listed, the only real main difference is that the screen is bigger.
What can I say about this camera? Well for a start it is bang for the pound on features.
It is a really good point and shoot camera and has a few manual settings on it but for those who want to do everything your self think on.
The pictures that come from this device are pleasing, if only a little off colour but not much. But I am sure there would be a setting for your liking to alter that and I do like the 28 wide angle lens.
I love this camera, it's features almost everything to be honest and so glad I decided to part with my cash and try the fire work mode while your at it.
The HD filming is good although while in video mode does drain the battery quicker (seems to last much longer for normal use), the sound quality could be a little better but overall ok, but hey it's not a camcorder although it tries to be. You can not use optical zoom in video mode which is a downer and I don't think you can charge by connecting the usb to the computer either. With it's 5x optical zoom sometimes I wish it was bigger but it's not bad and better than other cameras in the price range.
I have always found Sony a reliable brand and this featured in my decision to buy this camera when I wanted an upgrade. It was about £150 at the time in the sale, so mid range priced but seemed to have more features than others in the same price bracket. It's been very easy to use and overall the pictures are great quality, though as some other reviewers have mentioned the lower light conditions are probably where it struggles most. However now 1 month into buying it I have now had a problem with the lens cover jamming and not shutting properly. Luckily it's still under guarantee but I do think the mechanism is more delicate than my Olympus was and though the Zeus designed lens is great quality and very asthetically pleasing, I wish it was a bit more robust. I may decide to go back to an Olympus next time.
I bought this camera just before several Summer holidays this year, to Cuba and Canada, so understandably there was a bit of wear and tear and lots of travelling. Although it has acquired a few scratches these don't detract toooo much from the fairly impressive clarity of the screen. The user interface of the camera is very intuitive and its easy to navigate your way through menus, access playback and select different options for exposure/flash/white balance etc - or just leave it to the intelligent iso mode like I tend to do, which produces excellent (and very stable) pictures. There are some fantastic extra features - smile detection (and whether you want to detect a small, normal, or big smile!) , smile adjustment (to add smiles after the photo) as well as the usual cropping/blurs/rotates/sepia edits of course. One more minor thing would be that from an impressive start time of about 2-4 seconds it has seemed to slow down to the point where it now takes more like 10. Otherwise, a versatile all-round digital camera at a good price with good picture quality!
The Sony W270 is the latest addition to the cybershot range of compact cameras. It's packed full of features, taking images at a resolution up to 12 megapixels, featuring a 5x optical zoom & also giving you the ability to take wide angle shots.
But the big question is beyond these specifications, how does this device actually perform? Well the image quality is good producing sharp & detailed photos when taken at the maximum resolution. This is down to the superior Carl Ziess lens which is featured. However I did notice that the camera seems to struggle under low light situations. The 5x optical zoom is very useful indeed and more than the usual zoom found on cameras of this range, it seems to perform well allowing you to get closer to your subjects without any loss in clarity.
Although a wide angel facillty is provided, it should be noted that this is by a 28mm lens so is not truly wide angel.
This camera also shoots videos in High Definition with stereo sound. I was particulaly impressed with the sound as this is where alot of competitors fall over, but in this case the superb video quality was matched by great sound.
Being a Sony, this takes memory stick duos rather than the conventional SD cards so unfortunately these tend to be slightly more expensive.
I would say this is a solid compact camera containing a wide range of features & in general performs well when compared to the competition. It's available in black or silver. If you shop around you can get a great deal on this camera, making it exceptional value for what you get.