Sony DSC W530 Review

Ultra Compact

Picture
Sony DSC W530 Ease of Use 9
Features 7
Movie Mode 7
Build Quality8
Colours 8
Photo Quality 8
Style 9
Lowlight 8
Macro 7
Value for Money 9
14 Megapixels
4x Zoom
2.7 inch LCD Screen
92.9 x 52.4 x 19.3
113g

Overview

The Sony Cybershot DSC W530 is a simple, snapshot digital camera. It is small enough to slip into most pockets and is available at a relatively low price. It doesn't have a lot of frills. In fact it has a fairly minimal set of features. The important point is it takes a decent snapshot.

The Cybershot DSC W530 is aimed at someone that is on a budget, but would still like a digital camera with a bit of style. It is available in black, silver, pink and blue.

Why Buy The Sony DSC W530

If you are looking for a camera that offers good value for money then the Cybershot DSC W530 does that. It is stylish and very compact and does the job it sets out to well.

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:

14
4x
2.7 inches
92.9 x 52.4 x 19.3
113g

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

4cm
No
No
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
SD/SDHC

Features

As was mentioned in the introduction the Cybershot DSC W530 is a fairly basic camera. The 14 megapixel sensor is plenty for snapshot sized prints and prints up to A4 size. It also gives you the ability to perform a small amount of cropping of your photos and still be able to make a print.

The 4x zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 26 - 104mm in 35mm format. This gives it wide angle capabilities. A wide angle lens helps you to squeeze wider scenes into your photographs. Therefore this is likely to be a plus point to you if you are planning to photograph subjects such as landscapes, groups of people, interiors and buildings. The flip side is that the Cybershot DSC W530 does not offer a great deal of power for zooming in on distant subjects.

One feature that you do not see on many digital cameras, especially with cameras available at a lower price is a Sweep Panorama mode. When you place the Cybershot DSC W530 in this mode it is very easy to produce panoramic photos. All you do is press down the shutter button and sweep the camera round in an arc. The shot is then created for you inside the camera.

There is a smile shutter. When you turn on this feature the camera will automatically take a photo if it detects someone is smiling.

The 2.7 inch LCD screen is roughly standard for this price range, but you can find cameras with larger screens for a similar price. There is no optical image stabilisation and the Cybershot DSC W530 shoots standard TV quality movie footage rather than High Definition movies. As with the LCD screen there are cameras in this price bracket that offer upgrades to these features, but not all digital cameras will have them.

If you like the idea of dipping into the menu and fine tuning your pictures Sony do offer a couple of extra options for light metering and focusing compared to some more basic digital cameras.

Handling

Although the Cybershot DSC W530 is very compact you should find it easy enough to get a good grip of it. Sony have made room on the back of the camera for you to place your thumb. This helps to make the camera easy to hold. In order to create the extra space the control buttons are small, but there are well spaced.

The Cybershot DSC W530 is not the quickest digital camera to turn on and be ready to take the first photo. There can also be a short delay between pressing the shutter button and a picture being taken.

The layout of the camera is as follows. On the top of the camera are the shutter button and on / off button. On the back of the camera at the top are the zoom controls. At the bottom are buttons for accessing the menu system and deleting images. There is also a rocker housing controls for changing the information displayed on the LCD screen, turning on the smile shutter, setting the self timer and selecting the flash mode. In the centre of the rocker is a button for confirming a setting. Towards the side there is a slider you use for selecting the shooting mode.

You should find the menu system relatively straightforward. There is some useful help text that appears on the screen to explain each option and how it can help you. There are 9 photo options and 15 set up options. That is about par for the course for this type of camera.

Image Quality - See Sample Images Below

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

The Cybershot DSC W530 manages to get most things right in this test shot. The picture is sharp and there is only a small loss of focus as you reach the edges of the shot. A lot of snapshot cameras struggle in the shady areas such as around the names of the boats. This camera performs better than expected in this area with noise being controlled well. Another plus point is the level of detail showing in the lightest areas of the boats.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

For a relatively inexpensive digital camera with a wide angle lens this picture is much sharper than I would expect to see. The main issue with the shot is that towards the edges of the photo vertical lines are not kept straight. If you take a look at the building on the left hand side of the photo you will see the magnitude of this problem. The far wall is at quite an angle.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

Zooming right in the Cybershot DSC W530 finds it harder to produce a really sharp shot. There is a slight haze to this photo. As long as your print sizes are kept reasonable this should not be a big problem to you.

Outdoor Building

Mid zoom is the optimum setting for the Cybershot DSC W530. This shot is much sharper with only a slight slippage as you move out towards the edges of the photo.

Outdoor Portrait

This is a fairly standard shot for a digital camera. I have boosted the warmth in the photo a little by using a white balance setting of cloudy. This gives a portrait taken in the shade a warmer look and makes the colours look more vivid.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

The flash unit on this camera is not particularly strong. This has led to some darker areas in the corners of the shot and there are some areas of the hair that could do with extra illumination. Therefore any pictures you take using flash will require you to be close into your subject to get enough brightness in your shots. Otherwise the photo works well. Sharpness again is very good and the skin tones have plenty of pink without being overdone.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

With the flash turned off the Cybershot DSC W530 is able to focus and to keep noise levels under control. This leads to there being an impressive level of definition showing in the shot. You will still need plenty of light in indoor situations to get away without using flash, but you should be able to take window lit portraits with the Cybershot DSC W530.

Macro

Macro shots are not a real strength of the Cybershot DSC W530. That's fair enough for a small, snapshot digital camera. You will be able to produce simple close in snaps as long as you are not expecting ultimate quality.

Colours

The colours are just about spot on to my eye. Greens, reds and blues all show up well. This should mean you can capture vivid looking scenes.

Noise

Noise is controlled well. Compared with other cameras I tested at the same time this camera managed to show low levels of noise in shady area. It also performed well in my indoor portrait test.

Picture Quality Summary

For a snapshot digital camera picture quality is good. There are not too many major flaws although I would like to have seen some extra quality when the zoom lens was fully extended.

Shutter Lag Times

Shutter Lag Rating Slow

Single Shot
Five Shots
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time

0.57 seconds
11.53 seconds
0.93 seconds
15.77 seconds
3.43 seconds


Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Easy With a limited set of features you should find the Cybershot DSC W530 pretty straightforward. I like the inclusion of help text within the menu system. You can also revert to Easy Mode if you would like the menu system to be simplified further.

Points I Like

Style - Value For Money - Ease of Use

Where it Could Improve

Shutter lag - turn on time - zoom fully extended

Verdict

The Sony Cybershot DSC W530 may not be weighed down with features, but it does what it sets out to do well. It is relatively inexpensive, takes a decent snapshot and is also easy to use. It is a good choice if you are looking for a straightforward digital camera at a reasonable price.

Test Shots

outdoors 1 outdoors 2 outdoors 3

building macro colours

portrait-outdoors portrait-indoors indoors

See sample images link arrow

Product Shots

Front View

Front View

Back View

Back View

Top View

Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4

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 W530 Review Sony DSC W530 Specification Sony DSC W530 Sample Images Sony Digital Cameras

Review Date

April 2011

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