Sony DSC WX5 Review

Ultra Compact

Picture
Sony DSC WX5 Ease of Use 8
Features 9
Movie Mode 9
Build Quality9
Colours 8
Photo Quality 8
Style 8
Lowlight 8
Macro 9
Value for Money 8
12 Megapixels
5x Zoom
2.8 inch LCD Screen
91.7 x 51.9 x 21.5mm
146g

Overview

The Sony Cybershot DSC WX5 is a high quality pocket digital camera. There are a number of features that help to make this camera stand out from the crowd. In addition to these features the Cybershot DSC WX5 also has a very solid feel to it. The build quality is a clear step up from a lot of cameras. This is noticeable as soon as you pick up the camera.

Why Buy The Sony DSC WX5

The Cybershot DSC WX5 offers extra quality and some innovative features. It is difficult to find other digital cameras offering the range of features this camera does.

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:

12
5x
2.8 inches
91.7 x 51.9 x 21.5mm
146g

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

5cm
Yes
No
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
SD/SDHC/SDXC/Memory Stick PRO Duo

Features

Starting off with the basics the lens has wide angle capabilities. This comes in handy when you are trying to squeeze wider scenes into your photos. You can also choose to decrease the number of megapixels you shoot at in return for greater zoom power. Extra zoom becomes available on a sliding scale with a maximum of 31x zoom available at the lowest resolution.

A further point worth mentioning about the lens is that it has a large maximum aperture (f/2.4). This helps the camera to draw more light on to the sensor. This is especially helpful in lowlight situations and can cut down the number of occasions when flash is required. The lens itself forms part of the Sony G range. This range is of a higher standard that lenses found on the majority of Sony digital cameras.

As technology advances manufacturers are looking for new ways to add different types of features to their cameras. In this case Sony have added an option allowing you to shoot 3D panoramas. This needs a 3D television for playback at the current time.

Sony have equipped the Cybershot DSC WX5 with a CMOS sensor. This may not mean a lot to you, but this type of sensor is normally linked with faster responses. For example this camera is able to fire off up to 10 frames per second. Very few rival cameras are able to match this speed.

Other advantages made available because of the sensor type include a superior auto mode. When you place the Cybershot DSC WX5 in this mode it can fire off 6 shots and then merge them together. This can lead to lower noise levels in a photo and a higher dynamic range in your shots. This means you should be able to see a touch more detail in the darker and lighter areas of a shot.
br>Another feature that you do not see often with other brands is the ability to take photos with an out of focus background. This technique is often used by professional photographers to make their subject stand out more. You often see this used in portrait and close up photography.

In addition this camera has a very advanced movie mode. The majority of digital cameras are able to shoot High Definition movie, but the majority of digital cameras offer a lower quality 720p resolution. The Cybershot DSC WX5 offers a step up in quality at 1080i. This is also one of the few models that are able to record sound in stereo.

Handling

When you turn on the Cybershot DSC WX5 one of the first things you are likely to notice is the quality of the LCD screen. Compared to the cameras I was testing at the same time the clarity of the screen was different class. This was true for composing photos, reviewing photos and accessing the menu system. The screen also performed well on a bright sunny day.

The camera body feels very small and lightweight, yet also manages to give the impression of a very high build quality.

Running through the controls, the majority sit on the back of the camera as you would expect. There are also a few on the top. These are the on / off button, the shutter button and a very small button to switch the camera into burst mode. With this camera zoom is controlled through a ring on the top of the camera. The ring runs around the outside of the shutter button.

In the top right hand corner on the back of the camera is a small button for shooting movies. Beneath this is a control dial. The control dial is used to select the shooting mode. There is not a great deal of space on the back of the camera so the natural position for resting your thumb when taking a picture is on top of the control dial. This works well enough as the dial is fairly flush to the camera body and it is difficult to change the position of the dial accidentally.

Beneath the control dial comes a button to review images. Next is a circular control section. This gives you access to changing the information on the LCD screen, setting flash, activating the self timer and placing the Cybershot DSC WX5 in smile shutter mode. In the centre of the control section is a button to confirm a setting.

There are two buttons at the bottom. One gives access to the menu system. The other deletes unwanted photos and videos.

The menu system runs to 10 main items including white balance and ISO. There is also a setup sub menu where you can modify various settings including movie format, camera beep volume and date and time.

Image Quality - See Sample Images Below

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

85% of this shot is in extremely sharp focus. That part of the shot is much sharper than I am used to seeing and there is a crispness about the picture that is impressive. Then there is a strip down the left hand side of the shot that is no where near as sharp. I find it very hard to come up with any explanation for this.

Any glare from the sun is handled well and there is a high level of detail showing in the shot. There is no evidence of any pixilation in the sky. This helps to give the shot a smooth look.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

Taking into account the wide angle lens the camera does very well indeed. It is a cut above most of the competition when it comes to the sharpness of the shot. Very little sharpness is lost as you move away from the centre of the photo.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

Zooming in poses no problems. In fact this camera does very well when the lens is pushed to its extremes. Overall, sharpness is well above average. I like the colours in the shot too.

Outdoor Building

There are similarities in this shot with the first test shot. The vast majority of the shot is in pin sharp focus. Then there is a small strip on the left hand side where that sharpness is reduced. The rest of the shot is very good with plenty of colour showing in the brickwork. Sometimes cameras wash out the colour of the building, but the Cybershot DSC WX5 avoids that problem altogether.

Outdoor Portrait

Normally the portrait shots are much easier for a camera to cope with, but in this instance I was less impressed by my portrait test shots than with the scenic shots. In fairness to the Cybershot DSC WX5 my outdoor portrait shot was taken on a cold winter's day. This may help to explain why the photo looks a little flat. Even so I would like to have seen more pep to the colours in the shot.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

The light from the flash unit appears to be quite concentrated. This means that some colour is washed out of the face. It also means that there are areas away from the centre where the light fails to illuminate.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

This shot has a more natural look to it, but the Cybershot DSC WX5 fails to produce a totally sharp image in the available light. This is despite the larger aperture on offer.

Macro

The macro shot works better than the portraits. This is a decent effort and you should have no problem taking good quality close up shots with the camera. The shot is brighter than a lot of cameras manage. This may be a result of the larger lens aperture. There is also no evidence of any fringing even when the photo is blown up to full size.

Colours

I found the colours were muted in my portrait shots. Aside from those I was happy with the balance of the colours in my other tests.

Noise

Sony have done very well with this camera. There is virtually no evidence of noise in my test shots. Other common problems are missing too.

Picture Quality Summary

Looking on the Sony website they claim the Cybershot DSC WX5 produces Digital SLR quality pictures. Picture quality is very good and in places is very impressive, but my view is that this camera does not produce the quality I would expect to see from a Digital SLR.

Shutter Lag Times

Shutter Lag Rating Par

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

0.32 seconds
8.18 seconds
0.46 seconds
11.98 seconds
3.08 seconds


Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Par Considering the features the Cybershot DSC WX5 has I found the camera easy to use. The menu system is not overloaded with options and is also easy to read.

Points I Like

Build quality - LCD screen - handling - features - movie quality

Where it Could Improve

Some colours lack punch

Verdict

I found the Sony Cybershot DSC WX5 to be a good all round digital camera that offers something a little different to the rest of the pack. Based on the features and claims from Sony I had hoped that picture quality would be something extra special. Although picture quality is good there were one or two areas where the camera did not quite live up to my hopes.

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



UK Digital Cameras The camera used in this review of the Sony DSC WX5 was kindly provided by UK Digital Cameras

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Related Pages

Sony DSC WX5 Review Sony DSC WX5 Specification Sony DSC WX5 Sample Images Sony Digital Cameras

Review Date

January 2011

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