May 31, 2011
- Compact, stylish design
- Very good image quality
- 1080p HD video recording
- 3D & Sweep Panorama modes
- Small controls
- Decreased image quality at high ISO settings
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX9 is a great 16-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS digital camera that doesn't cost much for what you get. It also is quite portable and offers 1080p HD video recording, but the controls are a little too small for some users.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX9 measures 3.7 x 2.2 x 0.8-inches (wdh) and weighs about 5 ounces, which makes it extremely portable and easy to slip into a shirt or pants pocket. The body has a nice matte finish and is made from very sturdy material. The WX9 does come in three different colors: black, silver and red. Each finish has a brushed metal finish that looks really nice.
On the backside, the LCD display measures 3-inches and has a resolution of 921,000 dots. It looks very good in outdoor shooting conditions, but it can sometimes be washed out in direct sunlight. In addition to the screen, there's also a set of somewhat small controls on the back of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX9. There's a navigation scroll wheel, a dedicated movie record button, a playback button and a mode switch. The top of the camera is where the power button and zoom toggle is located. Some of these controls are quite flat against the body of the camera, which can be troublesome of people with large fingers. The navigation scroll wheel is also quite sensitive, so it's rather easy to inadvertently scroll it.
Some of the specifications of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX9 include a 16.2-megapixel resolution "Exmor R" backside-illuminated CMOS sensor and a 5x optical zoom with an aperture range of f2.6-6.3 and a focal length of 28-140mm. Maximum image resolution is 4608 x 3456-pixels and images are saved in JPEG format. Videos are saved in MPEG-4/H.264 format and have a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080-pixels at 60 frames per second, which is full 1080p high-definition. The camera has both optical and digital image stabilization. Supported storage media include SD/SDHC/SDXC, Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo and Eye-Fi Wi-Fi SD cards. There's also HDMI output for connecting to an HDTV.
The shooting options are definitely designed for point-and-shoot shooting as there are three different automatic modes. Easy Auto takes away all options except for image size, Intelligent Auto lets you choose from ten different scene types, face detection and image stabilization and Superior Auto adds blur correction and HDR mode to take three different images and combine them for best quality. The best mode for taking shots of moving subjects is definitely Intelligent Auto, as the Superior Auto mode didn't work well because taking multiple shots of a moving subject results in misaligned images.
There's also our favorite Sony Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode, which lets you take horizontal and vertical panoramas with ease. Just press the shutter button once and slowly sweep the camera and the camera will automatically stitch the images together. Surprisingly it does a very good job as it has done in previous Sony cameras.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX9 is a speedy little camera as we were able to get a 1.4 second shot-to-shot time and a 1 second time for power on to first shot. Using the flash does slow down the shot-to-shot time to about 3.4 seconds. Shutter lag is also very good at about 0.5 seconds for bright lighting, which is very good.
There's also a few 3D shooting modes and one of them is a 3D variant of the Sweep Panorama mode that we described above. All it does is takes two different images for the left and right eye and combines the images. You can then view these 3D images on a 3D HDTV and it looks decent. One thing worth noting is that these modes are not meant for moving subjects.
Image quality in subjective images tests earned a rating of very good for both indoor and outdoor shots. Some of the shots were slightly noisy and a little washed out at the highest ISO settings. At the mid-range ISO settings, images didn't exhibit these issues and looked very good. Movies were also very good in subjective testing, but they aren't as good as a dedicated HD camcorder. We noticed some ghosting on fast-moving objects and the zoom motor was also quite loud on the audio track of the videos.
The CIPA battery life rating for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX9 is 210 shots, but the camera's battery can also be charged via USB. It can also be charged by connecting it to a wall power source via the included proprietary cable. We dislike Sony's use of a proprietary cable for charging, so make sure not to lose it.