Sony DSC W120 Review

Ultra Compact

Picture
Sony DSC W120 Ease of Use 9
Features 8
Movie Mode 8
Build Quality8
Colours 8
Photo Quality 7
Style 8
Lowlight 8
Macro 8
Value for Money 8
7 Megapixels
4x Zoom
2.5 inch LCD Screen
88.2 x 57.2 x 22.9mm
123g

Overview

The Sony DSC W120 is a 7 megapixel digital camera with a 4x optical zoom lens. This camera is easy to use and is small enough to fit into a pocket.

Why Buy The Sony DSC W120

Pocket cameras tend to fall into two groups. The first is more stylish and more expensive. The second is a simpler designed cheap digital camera. Sony has set up the DSC W120 to fall into the second category. Therefore if you are looking for a digital camera from a reliable brand and don't want to break the bank then the DSC W120 is worth taking a closer look at. This is also one of the few smaller compacts to offer a viewfinder.

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:

7
4x
2.5 inches
88.2 x 57.2 x 22.9mm
123g

Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

4cm
No
No
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo

Image Quality - See Sample Images Below

Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light

Outdoor 1 (Medium Zoom): My first outdoor shot gets us off to a solid start. The sharpness of the photo is above average throughout the picture with only a small amount of focusing lost as you move towards the edges of the shot. The colours are true and I like the blues on the boats.

Brightness levels are about right as well.

Outdoor 2 (No Zoom): This is not a bad effort, but there is a loss of sharpness on the right hand side of the photo where the scene gets more distant. Although this is quite a tough shot when it comes to focusing other digital cameras have been able to cope with the set up better than the DSC W120 does.

Outdoor 3 (Maximum Zoom): With the lens fully extend the camera produces a sharper photo. There is still some softness towards the edges, but not enough to put me off this digital camera.

Outdoor 4 (Building): Other cameras I have tested have been able to really make the bricks on this building stand out. The DSC W120 Sony digital camera is unable to hit the same levels of sharpness.

Portraits

Outdoor Portrait: This is a typical outdoor portrait shot. Although I have used a cloudy white balance setting to match the conditions I would still like to have seen more depth to the colours in this shot.

Indoor Portrait with Flash: Without a doubt this is my favourite portrait shot taken with this digital camera. What really impresses me is the amount of colour retained in the photo, especially when you consider other digital cameras I have reviewed, can produce shots that look washed out when the flash is on.

Indoor Portrait without Flash: This is another good effort. There is plenty of detail in the photo considering there is less light available than for the outdoor portrait shot.

Macro, Colours and Noise

Colours: I am happy with the colours the camera produces. They have a natural feel to them and are a fair representation of the colours in each scene when the photos were taken.

Macro: When you look through my reasons for buying the DSC W120 Sony digital camera, being able to take great macro shots will not be on the list. This is because if anyone is serious about close up work they would have to be prepared to spend a fair bit more on a digital camera than they would need to with this one. Therefore it is a bonus to note that the DSC W120 is capable of taking a decent macro shot. There are good levels of detail and clarity showing in my test picture.

ISO 400: How the camera performs at higher ISO settings depends to a large degree on the amount of light available at the time. If conditions are bright then picture quality is good. A drop off in light means a loss of quality. Therefore if you are using higher ISO to freeze movement on a bright day you will achieve better results than if you are using ISO to overcome a lack of light in a scene.

ISO 1600: Not surprisingly similar, but more extreme results occur at ISO 1600. I have seen better results from other digital cameras.

Summary

I do have one or two concerns about the levels of sharpness when scene are distant. Putting those qualms aside the DSC W120Sony digital camera does a steady job and manages to get to grips with most situations.

See sample images link arrow

Style

This is a small, unfussy pocket digital camera. The DSC W120 has a fairly typical rectangular shape. It is available in silver, black, pink and blue.

Shutter Lag Times

Shutter Lag Rating Par

Single Shot
Five Shots
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash

0.35 seconds
7.64 seconds
0.39 seconds
12.38 seconds


Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Easy The DSC W120 is quite easy to use. Most of the key controls (flash, zoom, macro and playback) are controlled through buttons on the back of the camera. The inclusion of a control dial also cuts down on the number of times you need to dip into the menu system.

Points I Like

Ease of use - price tag - viewfinder

Where it Could Improve

Sharpness of distant subjects

Verdict

The Sony DSC W120 handles most snap shot situations well. It does struggle for sharpness in places once the subject gets distant. You can't have everything at the price though and if you are looking for a cheaper pocket camera the DSC W120 still does a decent job.

Product Shots

Front View

Sony DSC W120 Front View

Back View

Sony DSC W120 Back View

Top View

Sony DSC W120 Top View

Sample Menus

home easy mode

setup iso

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Sony DSC TX55 Rating 85/100

If the touch screen was perfect then the Sony Cybershot DSC TX55 would be a truly outstanding digital camera. As it is picture quality is hard to beat for such a small camera. Style and design is very impressive and the features on offer give you more or less everything you are likely to want in a point and shoot pocket camera and a bit more on top. It can be very hard to find the perfect touch screen so if touch control is important to you then this camera is well worth a place on your short list.

Read Review: Sony DSC TX55 Review

Panasonic DMC FX90 Rating 79/100

Panasonic offers some excellent digital cameras and can normally be replied upon to produce crystal clear photos. As with previous reviews of cameras in the FX part of the range the Panasonic Lumix DMC FX90 just does not match up to those usual high standards. Focusing is softer than it should be and you are likely to see the results of this even with relatively small sized prints.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX90 Review

Panasonic DMC FX70 Rating 79/100

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX70 does not quite match up to the picture quality I am used to seeing from Panasonic digital cameras. It does have a lot of other plus points, but if you are looking for true clarity in your photos there are better pocket cameras around.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX70 Review

Related Pages

Sony DSC W120 Review Sony DSC W120 Specification Sony DSC W120 Sample Images Sony DSC W120 Features Sony Digital Cameras

Review Date

April 2008

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