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It was by chance that we came to possess this Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 as we weren't actually looking for a digital camera at the time it was simply the fact that we spotted this camera at what I considered to be the great price of £110 sometime towards the end of last summer. With both me and my partner being in agreement that our old camera was looking a bit worse for wear and a little behind the times we returned home with this Sony Cybershot.
I had heard good things about Sony's digital cameras which was another thing that drew me towards this camera amongst all of the others on display. My main purchasing decision was based on the fact that this would hopefully be a decent priced point and shoot camera, which would hopefully provide me with some excellent pictures and videos.
For those that wish to know the main spec of the camera before getting started or without having to read the whole review here they are:-
Dimensions:- Width - 95mm, Height - 56mm, Depth - 22mm
Rear LCD:- 7.5cms (3 inches)
Recording:- 720p HD + One touch record.
Battery Life:- Approx 2 hours - Around 200 photos
Lens:- 25mm wide angle, with panoramic mode.
Charge Time:- 3 Hours
Colours Available:- Black, Silver, Blue, Red
SD Card Included:- No
The Sony Cybershot was supplied neatly packed inside a shiny white and blue box with a glossy picture of the camera that I had just purchased on the front, and the usual small print on the back of the box. The packaging certainly looked the part, and was also sturdy and robust enough to be housing a moderately expensive piece of technology. Inside the box was a pull out section of folded card that held the camera in place with the battery and charger in a different section to avoid damage to the camera.
Once the camera had been removed from the box the only thing left to do was charge the battery before installing it into the camera. The battery simply slides into the charger which in turn plugs straight into the mains, the battery generally takes around 3 hours to charge however Sony state that the battery can be recharged from any level without any degradation of the battery with resulting loss of battery life which is a bonus.
The only other thing we had to consider when purchasing the camera was the fact that it didn't come with an SD card which is always a disappointment but never really a really a surprise with digital cameras, they are cheap enough to come by but this is a factor that will stop the user enjoying the camera straight out of the box.
Looks wise the Sony Cybershot W690 is in my opinion up there with the best of them, having managed to fit a lot of technology into a very small and sleek looking case Sony have done a great job of making this camera look the part. The dimensions as mentioned above have made the camera as minimal and light as possible, with the 3 inch rear display making the camera actually look bigger than it is.
All of the buttons are silver except for the power and mode buttons that are black, this looks good as we have the silver camera, however I imagine that the other colours look just as fetching. On the front of the camera it is advertised as being a Sony Cybershot and having the G Lens which is Sony's answer to Carl Zeiss medical grade lenses that are now making it into new products, both of which give outstanding picture quality. The telescopic lens looks pretty typical of most digital cameras despite the fact that it has what will probably be a superior lens when compared to the competition hidden deep inside.
Everything really does seem to fit together really well on this camera to make it both aesthetically and ergonomically pleasing, a pleasure to both take and view pictures with, and most importantly of all because of the overall dimensions and weight it is easy to slip into a pocket or bag and forget about until it is required.
Using the Camera:-
Basic use of this camera is really simple and I'm certain if someone who had not used a digital camera picked up one of these they would soon be shooting away. The power button is in a prominent position on the top of the camera and clearly marked, and the shutter button is placed obviously on top within easy reach of the forefinger even for those with the smallest hands. The mode button is on the right hand side and again clearly marked and easy to choose from picture, panoramic, or video mode. Any of the cameras other settings are found simply by pressing the menu key on the back of the camera, the menus are all set out well enough and are easy to understand but it still feels like there is a lot crammed in. Remembering where settings are within the menu can sometimes be a bit of an issue, but the main functions are easy and quick to switch between which to me is more important than the deepest darkest settings being easily available.
To take a picture is simply a case of turning on the camera selecting the right mode and clicking away, it takes around 3 seconds for the camera to be able to take a picture and needs around 1.5 seconds between shots if the flash isn't required, if it is this time does go up to more like 5 seconds. In picture mode the Sony Cybershot W690 gives excellent images in both dark and light conditions, there is a little bit of speckling that occurs when zooming into really dark images, this is not however noticeable when zoomed out, and the colours shown are a very accurate recreation of what was in front of the lens at the time.
The Cybershot W690 has auto-focus and is able to give the option of a centre heavy focus for example portrait shots or more general wider focus for the likes of scenery shots. There is also an in-built easy shooting mode which allows the user to let the camera automatically adjust the settings for each individual picture being taken, this is how I most frequently use the camera and I haven't been disappointed yet. Another thing that I feel is worth a mention here is the fact that there is a self portrait timer delay which lets the user of the camera designate a set time before the picture is taken to allow them to get in frame.
Wide View Lens
The wide view lens feature of this camera is something that I really didn't think that I would use when considering the purchase of this camera, but having now actually used it, it is something that I would actively seek out when buying a new camera. The wide view comes into its own when taking pictures of groups of people at parties or whilst out in the countryside, it stops the need to step backwards to get everything or everyone in which is most handy when that wall is stopping you backing up to take what could be a great photo. I feel that Sony have done well to include this with this camera as I feel it definitely gives it a foothold amongst the competition providing cheaper cameras with similar features.
Panoramic view as you may expect gives the ability to take a 360 degree photo, and after using a similar feature on a few different mobile phones recently I was very dubious as to what to expect. I was glad to find that this is considerably easier to use than on a mobile phone however I find that keeping the camera level enough and at a consistent angle and height in order to get a completely good shot is still a bit of an art in itself. I am finding this easier to use as I get use to it, and when I do manage to use the camera well enough to get a great 360 shot it doesn't let me down and stitches the images together seamlessly giving a great quality final 360 degree picture.
Despite the fact that I didn't buy this as a digital camcorder I was still quite surprised to find that this particular Sony hasn't got the ability to record in full 1080p HD as this technology has been available built into phones for a while now and I thought Sony may well have been trying to get into their cameras. I consider the fact that it records at all as a bonus though as I do not really use the record function all that often. On the few times that I have recorded using this camera the 720p HD quality image has given more than satisfactory results on my laptop or small TV but on bigger screens I feel that the quality of the video recording may begin to let it down just a little.
Optical Steady Shot
This isn't something that I would actually consider as one of the main functions of this camera but I feel that it is definitely worth a little mention in its own section rather than muddled in with everything else. The idea of Optical Steady Shot as the name may suggest is to give good images even whilst the camera is being moved around, this not only makes it possible to take a good quality photo whilst walking, but also improves the quality of my photography when I am drunk and unable to hold the camera steady. A good addition to this camera albeit only a small one, I believe its the smaller things like this that help to make a product.
Overall I really do rate the Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 highly given the fact that it does everything that I would expect of a digital camera, and then Sony go ahead and throw in the panoramic abilities, and the image stabilisation technology to really put the icing on the cake. I would recommend this product to anybody who wants to take decent photographs with a point and shoot camera, and wishes to avoid the more expensive digital cameras that are on the market. The video quality is excellent despite not being full HD and I wouldn't say that this is a downside to this camera; just something I feel should have been easy for Sony to upgrade and include at little extra cost.
So in case you haven't guessed by the way that I have been singing this camera's praises this is definitely a product that I would recommend and it is getting a very positive 5/5 stars for me as it has exceeded my expectations even after hearing all of the good reports that the Cybershot range has so far managed to accrue.
Thanks for reading and I hope this has been of some help and/or interest.
Get close to the action with this Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W690 digital camera with 10x optical zoom. Packing 16.1 megapixels, capture high quality photos of all your adventures - plus HD video (720p) in an MP4 format that uploads easily to sites like Facebook and YouTube (records in 29-minute segments). Capture the best of any landscape when you shoot in Sweep Panorama 360 mode - just press the shutter and pan the scene in a sweeping motion to capture expansive 360° photos. And with a generous 3.0" LCD screen, you can comfortably view your photos and videos right away for instant gratification.
|Product Description:||Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W690 - digital camera|
|Product Type:||Digital camera - compact|
|Memory Card Slot:||Memory Stick Duo card, SD card|
|Sensor Resolution:||16.1 Megapixel|
|Max Video Resolution:||1280 x 720|
|Lens System:||10 x zoom lens - 4.45 - 44.5 mm - f/3.3-5.9 G|
|Min Focus Range:||5 cm|
|Digital Zoom:||40 x|
|Image Stabiliser:||Optical (Steady Shot with Active Mode)|
|Camera Flash:||Built-in flash|
|Display:||LCD display - 3"|
|Supported Battery:||1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery - 630 mAh ( included )|
|AV Interfaces:||Composite video/audio|
|Dimensions (WxDxH):||9.4 cm x 2.2 cm x 5.6 cm|