Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 – Great photo and video quality
I was a bit surprised with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150. I got the Sony HX7V last year which was high end camera from Sony having a 10x zoom lens. It was quite pocketable but still chunky. Now, the manufacturer has come out with WX150 which has the same range of zoom (25 mm to 250 mm) but it is now lighter, smaller, and slimmer.
I was a bit sceptical though, as making cameras that are really small may give way to compromises and this one could be lagging in terms of functionality, photo quality, or performance. This was something that i found with the Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS. However, this wasn’t the case here and this is what surprised me. WX150 is an ultracompact camera that is worth looking out for.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 isn’t really perfect but looking at the size and price, this is a really good choice if you want a snapshooter that is pocket friendly and has extra zoom.
Quality of image :
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 produced good quality photos both outdoors and in. With the lower ISOs, you get shots that are good on prints up to 10×13 and they also can take some cropping and enlarging. This is what most of the people out there are looking for and also the traditional 8×10 sizes aren’t out of question either. The subjects get pretty softer when you go above ISO 400 but the shots are still usable in smaller sizes till ISO 1600. Handheld Twilight feature of Sony came to the rescue in here however; the shots are not noisy and soft when you are shooting in conditions of low lighting. I wasn’t really bothered to use 2 highest of ISOs but they looked like renderings of artists and not photos. The colours too look a bit off.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 gives you vivid and bright colours as compared to the other point and shoot cameras out there and you will be pleased about it. But they are not accurate always particularly for the blues. The greens, reds, and neutrals were looking true. For the quality of lens, there was some distortion of barrel that was seen in wide end of the camera but in telephoto end, I didn’t see any pin cushioning. Center sharpness is quite good however; the lens gets softer on the sides and for the corners. In my test model, things looked quite soft in top right and left corners. There was some purple fringing that was seen in the areas of high contrast but mostly when the photos were seen in larger sizes.
The movies that the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 captured were good and on par with video cameras in entry level range. Frame rate of 60i along with image stabilization showed smooth movement. There is some ghosting along with subjects that are fast moving particularly when you are viewing it on bigger HDTV. If you are looking for single device to shooting videos and photos, then I would certainly ask you to take a good look at this one. If you yearn for best results, then you should record in the AVCHD and if you are going to do Web sharing, then there is MP4 format option. Optical zoom works really well when you are recording (but you might see it moving in the quieter scenes) and on the top, there is stereo mic that is pretty good.
Shooting performance :
The manufacturer had promised fast speeds of autofocus on WX150 and you do get that. The shutter lag – which is time taken from pressing shutter release to capture without any prefocussing is 0.2 seconds in conditions of bright lighting and hence shooting feels as if it is done instantly. In dim light conditions, it goes down to 0.6 seconds which is still pretty good. Time taken from switched off mode to first shot is 1.3 seconds and in shot to shot, it further drops to 1.7 seconds. These numbers are a big but while testing, it didn’t feel like the camera needed so much time. However, things do get laggy while using flash. This had driven shot-to-shot time to 4.3 seconds on an average.
Burst shooting mode of this camera is about ten frames per second or FPS. However, in my demanding tests, it had averaged around 7.2 frames per second which is quite good. But the burst shooting sets the focus and the exposure in first shot and after you have fired, you will be stuck in waiting for camera for saving the pictures about 1-2 seconds per photo. This speed is really good considering it is point and shoot camera but this does not mean that you will get perfect results for shooting active pets and kids particularly because plenty of the multishot modes need still subjects.
Except for lens, design of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 isn’t too different from WX9 that we saw in the last year. WX9 had Carl Zeiss 5x, 25 mm – 125 mm, f2.6-6.3 lens which was pretty good. However, after moving to 10x optical zoom, WX150 does lose bright f2.6 max aperture of WX9 and WX150 starts with f3.3. This isn’t a deal breaker but you will need to use higher sensitivities in conditions of dull lighting.
One gripe that I had about the design of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 is that the camera is too light and small. A lot of controls are too small and some of the buttons feel flush with the body and flat. This includes the power button too. Also, the directional pad and mode dial is a bit frustrating to use and you might go out of your chosen shooting mode if you don’t place your thumb carefully. There isn’t plenty of weight to this camera and hence you will find it hard to keeps lens still when it is extended fully. This problem is seen in all the compacts that have long lens but there isn’t much on WX150 to grab on and this makes matters worse.
All the more expensive Cyber Shots of Sony use USB for charging and there is also wall adapter included. microUSB port included is quite handy. Battery life has a CIPA rating of around 240 shots. If you are using videos, cranking up the brightness of the display and using plenty of burst shooting or multishot modes will certainly eat up the battery life faster. People who are buying back up battery should purchase external charger too.
Just like other more expensive cameras from this manufacturer, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 gives you plenty of options of shooting which use the quick Exmor R sensors along with image processors of Bionz. For people who are happy with auto, you get 3 options – Superior Auto, Intelligent Auto, and Easy. The Easy mode blocks all the options except for size of image (small or large) and also enlarges text onscreen. The Intelligent Auto will let you pick from ten types of scenes and will also turn on the face detection, image stabilization, and dynamic range optimization. The Superior Auto mode will take Intelligent Auto and will add 3 shots of multishot – Backlight Correction HDR, Handheld Twilight, and Anti Motion Blur. The multishot modes can be selected as the distinct modes in the options of Scene with thirteen others like Gourmet, Soft Skin, and Pet along with the option of Underwater for using along with optional housing of marine.
There is Program mode for people who yearn for more control on results but there aren’t any manual or semi manual modes of shooting. The manufacturer has given extra options of auto shooting which includes 9 picture effects like tilt-shift/miniature, HDR, and black and white high contrast, and 3D stills and pan-and-shoot easy panoramas.
The camera gets its juice from a Li-Ion rechargeable battery that provides straight 240 shots in full charge.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 price is as low as Rs. 15,000/-
To sum up, I would say that Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 is good camera considering the price, capabilities, and the size. I had some issues but they were all quite minor – like absence of shooting option of regular continuous shooting and the tiny buttons. These problems aren’t deal breakers. The snapshooters will certainly be happy about the quality of movie and photo (unless you yearn for really accurate colours) and the autofocus is fast which makes it really easy to get fast 1-off shot.
Quick Specs :
- 18 megapixels, 1/2.3 inches of backside illuminated CMOS sensor
- 3.8 inches of weight, 1 inch of height and 0.9 inches of depth, weighs 4.7 ounces
- Sports 3 inch LCD display with 460K dots
- 10x optical zoom (35mm equivalent)
- Optical and digital image stabilization
- SD, SDHC, SDXC, memory stick pro duo
- Software – PlayMemories Home (Windows) and Music Transfer (Windows, Mac)
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