May 23, 2012
- Speedy camera
- 10x optical zoom
- Very good image & video quality
- Compact size may be too compact for some
- Requires a steady hand when lens is fully extended
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 is a compact camera that packs a punch. It has a 10x optical zoom, an 18-megapixel resolution and excellent photo and video quality. The camera's small size makes it a little difficult to keep steady while shooting, so steady hands or a mini-tripod is a must for the clearest of images.
As an ultracompact camera, typically you'd expect to sacrifice some image and video quality to get the compact size. With the DSC-WX150, however, that just isn't the case. While not perfect, it might just be the camera to get if you want a compact megazoom camera.
The design of this Sony Cyber-shot ultracompact is quite sturdy and seems like it can withstand a day's worth of minor bumps while shooting. It measures 3.7 x 0.9 x 2.2-inches (wdh) and weighs 4-ounces, so it's quite small and definitely able to slip into a pocket between shooting. Some users with larger hands and fingers, however, may feel that the camera is actually too small. The controls on the camera's backside are quite small themselves and flush with the body, making them difficult to press. When the lens is fully or nearly fully extended, it can be difficult to keep the camera steady because it is so lightweight. This can lead to some blurriness and loss of overall quality, so a steady hand or a small tripod is definitely good to have.
On the backside, there is a mode dial and directional pad, a mode switch, menu and delete buttons and a dedicated movie record button. The three-inch display to the left of the camera's rear has overall good quality but viewing is sensitive to direct sunlight. On the top, you'll find the power button (also very flush with the body) and a zoom toggle with shutter release. The top also has a stereo microphone for recording videos.
As far as shooting modes go, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 offers three automatic modes: Easy, Intelligent and Superior. Easy mode controls everything except image size while Intelligent Auto chooses from ten different scene types and uses dynamic range optimization, face detection and image stabilization. Superior Auto adds three multishot modes to the previous mode, including Anti Motion Blur and Backlight Correction HDR shooting. This mode is also compatible with several other scene modes to choose from, including an Underwater option for use with the optional underwater housing.
For manual photographers who like to have more control, there is Program mode, but it won't give you much control. This is an automatic camera made from point-and-shoot photographers. The Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto modes will give you the best results without needing much user input. Photographers looking to control things like priority should look elsewhere.
Some of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150's important specifications include an 18.2-megapixel resolution, a 10x optical zoom with a f.3.3-5.9 focal length (25- 250mm 35mm equivalent) and ISO ranges from 3200 down to 100. Images have a maximum resolution of 4896 x 3672-pixels (JPEG only) while videos are shot in AVCHD and MPEG-4 formats with a 1080i HD maximum. Supported memory cards include SecureDigital (SD) and Memory Stick Pro Duo cards. There is also a mini-HDMI out port for showing images and videos on an HDTV.
In subjective image testing, the DSC-WX150 returned images that were rated as very good. Images were bright and vivid with only slight distortions near the edges. Sharpness was also quite good with only occasional softness when images were viewed at full resolution. Overall image quality is slightly above average from other point-and-shoot cameras. Shooting speeds were also speedy with this camera, especially the shot-to-shot time (without flash).
Video quality was also rated as very good. Videos mostly seemed smooth with only occasional ghosting of fast-moving objects which really became visible when viewing on an HDTV. The stereo microphone worked well and the optical zoom also works while shooting video, but you will probably hear the lens motor on video.
The battery is CIPA-rated for 240 shots and can be charged in-camera or with the included wall power adapter. The interface is micro-USB, so it's quite universal.