Sony DSC-W1 Digital Camera
||Novice - Intermediate
||Home / Travel
||Point and Shoot w/expansion
||Very High, 5.0-megapixel CCD
||Email to 8x10-inch
(even with cropping)
Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-W1 is one of the latest in the long (and incredibly
broad) line of digicams that reflect Sony's commanding position in the
digicam marketplace. Sony's P-series digital cameras have been hugely
popular in the compact and subcompact markets for some time now, but
they've also recently introduced three cameras that divert significantly
from the P-series form factor: The rangefinder-style V1, the ultra-slim
T1, and now the mid-size W1.
The W1 could be described as a more rangefinder-styled DSC-P100 with
a few of the features of the V1 and T1 thrown in for good measure. Most
of the functions and the 3x zoom lens and small built-in flash are the
same as (or at least very similar to) those on the P100. However, the
W1 has the 2.5 inch LCD screen of the T1, as well as the more standard
rangefinder body style of the V1, which gives it the ability to accept
accessory lenses. The main thing it doesn't share with the other models
is its use of two high capacity NiMH AA rechargeable batteries; the
others use InfoLithium batteries.
The W1 has a 5.0-megapixel CCD, 3x optical zoom lens, and an expanded
range of seven preset Scene modes to choose from. The W1 also offers
a Manual mode for greater exposure control if desired, though no Shutter
or Aperture priority mode is included. The 3x zoom lens (with Macro
mode) is great for recording a wide range of subjects, from close-up
portraits to scenic vistas. Like the DSC-P100 and most other new Cybershots,
the W1 has greater speed than previous cameras thanks to the company's
new Real Image Processor. The identical Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar lens
that graces the P100 is on the W1.
Though Sony's P-series of digital cameras, with their unique long-and-slim
design, are quite popular, launching a camera like the W1 is probably
a smart move on Sony's part, because it has a more traditional shape,
better matching that of many of its competitiors. The P-series is so
small and slim that some consumers might not think of them as serious
digital cameras. Off course, they'd be wrong, a Sony's P-series models
offer excellent image quality, feature sets, and performance, but impressions
at retail count for a lot. The W1 has a more "serious" look, one that
more conservative buyers--those upgrading from a film camera--are likely
to be comfortable with. Sony leads in the digital camera market with
its current designs, but it seldom does harm to produce a form factor
that might attract more customers from your competition.
A little taller and thicker than the P100, the W1 is also not as wide,
taking up only a little more volume overall. Its major advantage over
the P100 is its 2.5 inch LCD that absolutely dominates the back of the
camera. To get this fine and useful display used to require purchase
of the $550 T1. Now it can be had for $150 less in an equally capable
camera, plus the addition of something the T1 lacks: an optical viewfinder.
Though the LCD is huge, Sony somehow managed to keep all the functions
necessary close at hand and easy to operate. Grab the camera in your
right hand and your middle and third finger naturally grab the agressively
raised and angled ridge on the front of the camera. Your thumb finds
its home over the nine raised bumps nestled between the monitor and
menu button on the left and the soft but large ridge on the right. Above
is the zoom control and below the Five-way navigator; all within easy
reach, but the buttons are firm enough that they're not easily activated
by accident. It is not impossible, though, so one should be careful,
especially when shooting vertically, because your thumb can move and
press a button unintentionally.
The mode dial's presence on top surrounding the shutter button is both
good and bad. It's less likely to be accidentally changed here, and
its firmer detents keep it from being spun while in a pocket, as I sometimes
experienced with the P100. It's just not as natural a position for the
shutter release. I prefer it a little further forward and perhaps at
an angle. Still, there's no question where the shutter is, and it's
still easy enough to get to with your index finger.
Pressing the nearby power button produces a fairly swift reaction.
The LCD comes on, the camera chimes, and the lens assembly bursts out
of its silo faster than those on most other cameras. The effect is futristic
enough that most new buyers will probably spend a few minutes turning
the camera on and off just to hear and watch the lens come out. When
you start to think about taking a picture, however, the experience quickly
becomes all about that wonderful 2.5 inch LCD display. More like a frame
in a gallery than an LCD viewfinder, you'll be able to acquire subjects
quickly and better frame your shots than with most other digital cameras.
The display appears to be one of the new generation of "transflective"
units, meaning that it's surprisingly usable in very bright lighting,
even direct sunlight. - This is often a severe limitation of rear-panel
LCD digicam displays, one that the DSC-W1 avoids entirely. Reviewing
images is also easier with the larger display, making the camera's 5x
Playback zoom that much more meaningful.
A half-press on the shutter begins the focus operation. In low light,
a bright orange LED illuminates the scene when necessary, reaching impressively
far. The fast Multi-point AF determines the closest object and focuses
quickly, showing brackets around the areas that will be in focus. Everything
about the camera feels quality and performs competently. The only possible
exception to this is the oddly-placed Memory Stick door, positioned
on the left of the camera body in the same location as the AC and A/V
jacks. It's not just the location, but the mechanism that holds the
door shut. It closes tight, to be sure, but there's no slide lock for
added security. Time will tell how well this arrangement wears. It's
not bad, just a questionable place to put your multi-hundred dollar
Memory Stick Pro.(I highly recommend purchasing a large memory card
along with the W1, so you'll have plenty of room to store its high-resolution
image files. Note too, that you'll want to use the newer Memory Stick
Pro cards, to take best advantage of the W1's high shooting speed and
high-resolution movie modes.)
The battery door releases with a push on a small plastic arrow, and
the batteries immediately fall free, so you'll need to have a hand ready
(it should be noted that dropping rechargeable batteries of any kind
is often fatal to the battery). Included with the camera are two Sony
NiMH AA Stamina batteries, delivering 2100 mAh at 1.2V. Not bad. They'll
last about 170 minutes of on-time, capturing up to 340 full-resolution
images. (Sony's official ratings, not mine.) With Alkaline batteries,
that number drops sharply to 35 minutes of battery life and around 70
images, but at least you can use them in a pinch. Sony includes a charger
and two batteries. I suggest you buy at least two more, even though
the battery life on this camera is pretty good.
The Sony Cybershot DSC-W1 is an impressive offering for under $400.
It is handsomely constructed, with a feel of quality. It also has reasonable
heft for better handholding of shots. Its big screen and quality lens
should give most users a great experience capturing fine pictures they'll
be proud to display. Sony's not the market leader for nothing, and their
smart interface and quality construction have won them many return customers.
Read on for more details.
- 5.0-megapixel CCD.
- 3x zoom lens (equivalent to a 38-114mm lens on a 35mm camera).
- 3.2x digital Smart Zoom.
- Real-image optical viewfinder.
- 2.5-inch color LCD monitor.
- Mostly automatic exposure control, now includes Manual mode.
- Built-in flash with five modes and an intensity adjustment.
- Sony Memory Stick storage (32MB card included), compatible with
original Memory Stick as well as the Memory Stick Pro format.
- USB 2.0 computer connection.
- 2 AA NiMH batteries included).
- Software for Mac and PC.
- Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Candle, Landscape, Beach, and Soft
- Movie recording mode (with sound).
- Multi-Burst slow motion mode.
- Email (VGA) modes.
- Shutter speeds from 1/1,000 to 1/8 sec in auto mode; 1/1000 to 2
seconds in twilight mode; and 1/1000 to 30 seconds in manual mode
(with automatic Noise Reduction below 1/6 second).
- Aperture range from f/2.8 to f/5.6 (the manual says f/5.2, but the
camera says f/5.6).
- Creative Picture Effects menu (black and white and sepia).
- Image Sharpness, Saturation, and Contrast adjustments.
- Self-timer for delayed shutter release.
- Macro (close-up) lens adjustment.
- Spot and Multi-Metering modes.
- Adjustable AF area and three AF modes.
- Auto ISO setting or 100, 200, and 400 ISO equivalents.
- White balance (color) adjustment with six options.
- DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) and PictBridge printing compatibility.
Beginning through intermediate users will be right at home with the
W1, and advanced users will enjoy its excellent portability and new
manual control option. Although the W1 is technically a high-end point-and-shoot
digicam, it has a lot of creative options and enough image adjustments
to handle a wide variety of shooting situations. So, while it's designed
to relieve you from complicated exposure decisions, advanced amateurs
and business users will appreciate it for its quality, portability,
and varied shooting options. It appears well-built and its lens mechanism
is impressively fast. Accessory lenses make it more versatile for wide
or telephoto use. Overall, an excellent "all around" camera, with impressive
speed and resolution.
The Sony DSC-W1 is compact, stylish, and ready
to go anywhere, with a boxy body style similar to other rangefiner digital
cameras on the market. Its silvery metal body is about as wide as a
typical business card, and about a quarter inch taller, top to bottom.
Measuring just 3.62" x 2.37" x 1.43" (91 x 60 x 36.3mm) and weighing
8.8 ounces (248 grams) with the batteries and memory card installed,
the W1 fits easily into small pockets or purses. When not in use, the
telescoping zoom lens retracts neatly inside the body, and a small plastic
leaf shutter automatically closes over the lens to protect it. Outfitted
with the accompanying wrist strap, it's quick on the draw and easy to
hold. The shot above right shows the camera posed with a Memory Stick
Pro memory card, to give a better idea of its size.
Despite its small size, the W1 has just enough room for a good grip
up front and one small spot for your thumb on the back. The 3x, 7.9-23.7mm
zoom lens (equivalent to a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm camera) is just
left of center (when viewed from the back), with a small and very bright
orange lamp on the upper right of it, to help with focusing in low-light
conditions. (This lamp also blinks less brightly when the self-timer
is in use, flashing faster to let you know when the camera is about
to snap the picture.) Seven holes for the mic are above that, and the
flash is to the right. A slightly larger window for the optical viewfinder
is upper left of the lens.
The right side of the camera (as viewed from the rear) has a small
rubber door to cover the USB 2.0 jack. Above the door is a small eyelet
for attaching the wrist strap.
The left side has a large plastic door that springs open when swung
about 45 degrees wide. Here we find the Memory Stick slot, an AC power
jack and the A/V jack. Oddly, here also is the Memory Stick access light,
which is covered by the door. (Although you'll certainly be able to
see it if you open the memory compartment door to remove the Memory
Stick while the camera is still writing to it. - Just wait for the light
to go out before pulling the card.) A small rubber sub-door is embedded
in the big plastic door, giving easier access to the AC power plug.
The camera's top panel includes the Shutter button surrounded by the
Mode dial. To the left is the small Power button; between the two is
a green power LED.
The camera's rear panel holds the remaining camera controls and function
buttons, along with a big 2.5-inch color LCD monitor for previewing
and playing back images, and the optical viewfinder window. As noted
earlier, the W1's LCD is one of the newer "transflective" units, making
it amazingly readable in bright light, even direct sunlight. The LCD
display reports a variety of camera and exposure settings, including
the aperture and shutter speed settings (a nice bonus for those interested
in how the camera will expose the image) and a three-stage battery gauge.
The optical viewfinder is located above to the left of the LCD monitor,
and has three LED lamps along the left edge of the window, each of which
reports the current status of various camera functions. The optical
viewfinder has no dioptric adjustment, but eyeglass wearers will be
pleased with the high "eyepoint," allowing plenty of room for an eyeglass
lens between the camera body and your eye. The camera's Zoom control
is in the upper right corner, conveniently located right above nine
raised bumps for better thumb traction when holding the camera. Lower
right of the LCD is a Five-way Arrow pad, with small arrows pointing
in four directions (Up, Down, Left, and Right) and a set button in the
middle. Each serves multiple functions, navigating onscreen menus scrolling
between captured images in playback mode, or activating different camera
functions (Flash, Self-Timer, Quick Review, and Macro).
Upper left of the Arrow pad is the LCD Display On / Off button; beneath
that is the Menu button; and further down is the Image Resolution /
Finally, the W1's flat bottom holds the threaded (metal) tripod screw
mount, a reset button, and a speaker for audio playback. While most
users of the W1 probably won't care, it is impossible to change the
batteries while the camera is mounted on a tripod.
Operating the W1 in any of its automatic modes is very straightforward,
with only two additional controls when you enter Manual mode. The Mode
dial on top of the camera controls the main operating modes, with options
for Auto, Program, Manual, Twilight, Twilight portrait, Candle, Landscape,
Beach, Soft snap, Setup, Movie, and Playback modes. In all image capture
modes, the W1 provides an onscreen LCD menu (activated by the Menu button),
with a variety of options for adjusting image quality or adding special
effects. The four arrows of the Five-way arrow pad are used to scroll
through menu options, while the button in the center of the pad functions
as the OK button to confirm selections. In Manual mode, pressing the
OK (center) button on the Five-way arrow pad switches the arrows from
adjusting flash, macro, and self-timer, and quick review modes to adjusting
aperture (left and right) and shutter speeds (up and down). When in
Manual mode, information on the LCD to the right of these values tells
you by how many EV units it thinks your exposure is off, up to plus
or minus 2EV.
The four arrow buttons also serve as external controls when the
camera's menus are turned off, or they can be used to scroll through
captured images in Playback mode. Starting with the Up arrow and going
clockwise, the functions they control include Flash, Macro, Self-Timer,
and Quick Review modes. An Image Resolution button calls up the available
resolution settings, removing this item from the main menu system, thereby
making it much quicker to access when needed. The Zoom control in the
top right corner of the back panel adjusts both optical and digital
zoom (when the latter is activated through the Setup menu). Overall,
I was impressed by Sony's judicious use of space, especially with the
large number of external controls provided, the extremely large LCD,
and the relatively short learning curve the W1's user interface entails.
Along with Sony's other recent cameras, the W1 has one of the cleanest
user interfaces I've seen, and will present few challenges to even the
most novice user.
In record mode, the LCD monitor displays the
subject with a moderate amount of overlaid information, indicating approximate
battery life remaining (graphically), flash mode, focus mode (macro
or normal), autofocus mode setting, any currently-selected exposure
compensation setting, ISO setting, the current size/quality setting,
and number of images that can be stored on the remaining Memory Stick
space at the current size/quality. Half-pressing the shutter button
causes the camera to display the shutter speed and aperture setting
it has chosen for the current lighting conditions. (While you can't
change these directly, it's very nice to know what settings the camera
has selected.) Pressing the Display button beneath the LCD once adds
a small "live" histogram display to the information, pressing it again
removes the information overlay, and pressing it a third time turns
the LCD off entirely. Pressing it a fourth time restores the default
In playback mode, the default image display shows
the most recently captured image, with a modest information overlay
present. Pressing the display button once adds the exposure information
and a small histogram to the overlay, pressing it again removes the
information overlay entirely, and pressing it a third time turns the
LCD off altogether. Pressing the wide-angle side of the zoom lever takes
you to a display showing images on the Memory Stick in groups of nine
small thumbnails. (You can navigate a yellow outline cursor over these
thumbnails by using the four arrow keys. Pressing the telephoto side
of the zoom lever will bring the currently-selected image up full-screen.)
Pressing the telephoto side of the zoom lever when viewing an image
full-size on the LCD screen will zoom in on the image, in 17 variable-sized
increments up to a maximum magnification of 5x. - This is a useful level
of magnification, handy for checking focus and precise framing.
Power Button: Located just left of the Shutter button on
the camera's top panel, this button turns the camera on and
Shutter Button: Surrounded by the Mode dial, this button
sets focus and exposure when halfway pressed, and fires the
shutter when fully pressed.
Mode Dial: Surrounding the Shutter button, this ribbed
dial sets the camera's operating mode, offering Auto, Program,
Manual, Twilight, Twilight portrait, Candle, Landscape, Beach,
Soft snap, Setup, Movie, and Playback modes. (See menus and
Zoom Control: Positioned in the top right corner of the
rear panel, this two-way rocker button controls optical zoom
and, when enabled via the Setup menu, Sony's "Smart Zoom."
In Playback mode, this button controls the digital enlargement
of a captured image, which can go as high as 5x. (Very handy
for checking focus or the expressions on people's faces in group
shots.) Also in Playback mode, the wide-angle end of the button
activates the Index Display mode, which displays as many as
nine thumbnail images on the screen at one time.
Five-Way Arrow Pad: Located just to the right of center
on the rear panel, this rocker control features four arrows,
each pointing in a different direction (up, down, left, and
right), and a Set or OK button in the middle (Sony describes
it by its shape: a dot). In all settings menus, these arrow
keys navigate through menu options. Pressing the center of the
button confirms selections.
In any record mode, the Up button controls the Flash mode, cycling
through Auto, Forced, Suppressed, and Slow-Sync modes. The Right
arrow turns the Macro (close-up) mode on and off, and the Left
arrow accesses the Quick Review mode, which displays the most
recently captured image on the screen. The Down arrow accesses
the Self-Timer mode.
In Manual record mode, pressing the center button switches the
arrow keys back and forth between controlling their normal functions,
and controlling shutter speed (up/down) and aperture (left/right).
In Playback mode, the Right and Left arrows scroll through captured
images. When Playback zoom is enabled, all four arrows scroll
around within the enlarged view, while pressing the center button
returns to the normal, 1x display. In Manual mode, the four
arrows can control aperture and shutter speed after the middle
button is pressed.
Menu Button: Upper left of the Five-Way Arrow pad, this
button activates the settings menu in any camera mode (except
Setup, which displays the menu automatically). The Menu button
also turns off the menu display.
Image Resolution / Erase Button: Lower left of
the Five-way Arrow pad, this button displays the available resolutions
in any record mode. Choices are 5.0M (2,592 x 1,944), 4.5M (3:2
ratio: 2592 x 1728), 3.1M (2,048 x 1,536), 1.2M (1,280 x 960),
and VGA (640 x 480). Movie resolutions are 640 x 480, and 160
In Playback mode, this button lets you erase the currently
Display / LCD On/OFF Button: Off the upper right corner
of the LCD, this button controls the LCD display, cycling through
the image with information display, the image with information
and live histogram display, the image with limited information
display, and no image display at all (in all Record modes).
In Playback mode, it cycles through the same series.
Camera Modes and Menus
Scene Modes: Marked on the Mode dial with a black
line these modes are for capturing images in specific situations.
Six "scenes" are available, including Twilight, Twilight portrait,
Candle, Landscape, Beach, and Soft snap. While a nice collection,
these are fewer than those offered on the P100. Both Twilight
modes capture images in low light, although the Twilight Portrait
mode automatically enables the Red-Eye Reduction flash mode,
combining it with a slower shutter speed to let ambient lighting
brighten the background as well. Because the camera employs
a slower shutter speed in both Twilight modes, a tripod is highly
recommended to prevent blurring from camera movement. Candle
mode is just for candlelit scenes, great for birthdays or services.
A tripod is once again recommended. Landscape mode sets the
focus at infinity and uses a smaller lens aperture to capture
sharp details both near and far away. Beach mode optimizes the
camera for bright situations and prevents color loss from overexposure.
Soft snap mode enhances skin colors while keeping a soft focus
for a pleasing glow.
Manual Mode: This mode provides total control over
the exposure, as you're able to select both aperture and shutter
speed independently of each other. Although aperture control
is confined to only two available apertures of 2.8 and 5.6,
the camera is capable of speeds from 30 seconds to 1/1000.
Program Mode: This mode is marked on the Mode dial
with a black camera icon and a "P." In this mode, the camera
selects shutter speed and aperture, while you control all other
Automatic Mode: Indicated on the Mode dial
with a green camera icon, this mode puts the camera in control
over the exposure and everything except Macro, Image Size and
Quality, Zoom, Flash, and the Self-Timer.
Playback Mode: Playback mode is noted on the Mode
dial with the traditional Playback symbol (a triangle enclosed
within a black rectangle outline). In this mode, you can scroll
through captured images, delete them, write-protect them, and
set them up for printing on PictBridge-compatible printers.
You can also copy, resize, and rotate images.
A filmstrip icon marks this mode on the Mode dial. In Movie
mode, you can record moving images and sound, for as long as
the Memory Stick has space. Resolution and quality choices are
640 x 480-, or 160 x 112-pixels. While recording, a timer appears
in the LCD monitor to let you know how many minutes and / or
seconds are remaining on the Memory Stick, and how long you've
been recording, so you'll have some idea of how much time you
have left. Recording in 640 x 480 mode is only available with
a Memory Stick Pro card.
The W1 offers a Multi Burst mode separate from the movie mode
and selected in the menu in Auto, Program, Manual, and Scene
modes, which captures an extremely rapid 16-frame burst of images,
at a selectable rate of 7.5, 15, or 30 frames per second. Multi
Burst shots are played back as a slow-motion animation on the
camera, but appear as a single large file with 16 sub-images
in it when viewed on a computer. (This would be a fun way to
catch someone crossing a finish line during a race, or to analyze
golf and tennis swings.)
Record Menu: Available in all three Record modes by pressing
the Menu button, the Record menu offers the following options
(some options are not available in all modes):
- EV (Exposure Compensation): Increases or decreases
the overall exposure from -2 to +2 exposure values (EV) in
- Focus: Sets focus control to Multi AF or Center AF,
or one of five preset focus distances (0.5, 1.0, 3.0, and
7.0 meters, and Infinity).
- Metering Mode: Chooses between Multi-Metering and
Spot modes. Spot metering reads the exposure from the very
center of the frame (identified by a cross hair target on
the monitor). Spot metering is handy for backlit subjects,
or any time the subject and background exhibit very high contrast.
Multi-Metering mode reads the entire frame to determine exposure.
- White Balance: Adjusts the overall color balance
of the image, to suit the light source. Options are Auto,
Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, and Flash.
- ISO: (Not available in Scene mode.) Adjusts the camera's
light sensitivity. Options are Auto, or 100, 200, and 400
- P.Quality: Sets compression between Standard and
- Mode: Sets capture mode, Normal (single), Burst, and
- Interval: When in Multi-burst mode, sets the capture
interval between 1/7.5, 1/15, and 1/30.
- Flash level: Sets flash power to +1, Normal, or -1.
- Picture Effects: Offers two creative shooting modes:
- Black and White: Takes photos in monochrome.
- Sepia: Records an image in monochrome sepia tone.
- Saturation: Adjusts the overall color saturation
with plus, normal and minus settings.
- Contrast: Alters the level of contrast
in images with plus, normal and minus settings.
- Sharpness: Controls the overall image sharpness and
softness with plus, normal and minus settings.
- Folder: Selects the folder
for playing back images. (secondary screen)
- Protect: Write-protects the current image (or removes
protection), preventing it from being deleted or manipulated
in any way except with card formatting. (secondary screen)
- DPOF: Marks the current image for printing on a DPOF
device. Also removes the print mark. (secondary screen)
- Print: Prints the current image. (secondary screen)
- Slide: Plays back images in an automatic slide show.
You can set the time interval and whether or not the sequence
of images repeats. (secondary screen)
- Resize: Resizes the image to 2,592 x 1,944; 2,048
x 1,536; 1,280 x 960; or 640 x 480 pixels. (When an image
is resized, the original image is left in place, and a new
copy is made at the selected size.) (secondary screen)
- Rotate: Rotates the image 90 degrees clockwise or
counterclockwise. (secondary screen)
- Divide: Allows you to trim material from the beginning
or end of a recorded movie, or to extract an interesting bit
of action from the middle of a longer clip. (Very handy.)
Setup Mode: This mode allows you to change a variety
of camera settings. The Setup menu is automatically displayed
upon entering the mode.
- AF Mode: Sets the focus mode to Single,
- Digital Zoom: Switches between the 3.2x Smart
Zoom and Precision zoom.
- Date / Time: Determines whether the date and
/ or time is overlaid on captured images.
- Red Eye Reduction: Enables or disables the Red
Eye Reduction flash mode, affecting both Auto and Forced
- AF Illuminator: Turns the AF Assist light on
or off. If on, the light automatically illuminates in
dark shooting conditions.
- Auto Review: Immediately plays captured image
onscreen for two seconds.
- Memory Stick Tool:
- Format: Formats the Memory Stick, erasing all
files (even protected ones).
- Create REC Folder: Creates a new folder
for recording images.
- Change REC Folder: Changes the folder
that images are recorded t
- Setup 1:
- LCD Backlight: Controls the level of
the LCD's backlight, with options of Bright, Normal, and
- Beep: Controls the camera's beep sounds, turning
them on or off. A Shutter option enables only the shutter
- Language: Selects among Italian, French, Spanish,
Chinese, Japanese, or English for the menu language.
- Setup 2:
- File Number: Chooses between Series (continuing
the shot number infinitely) or Reset, which resets the
frame number by folder.
- USB Connect: Sets the USB connection type to
PictBridge, PTP, or Normal.
- Video Out: Sets the timing of the video output
signal to either NTSC or PAL.
- Clock Set: Sets the camera's internal clock and
In the Box
Included with the Sony DSC-W1 digital camera are the following
- Wrist strap..
- 32MB Memory Stick..
- 2 NiMH AA batteries and charger..
- USB cable.
- AV cable.
- Software CD containing Pixela ImageMixer
v1.0 and USB drivers.
- Extra NiMH batteries.
- (at least 256MB)
- Carrying case
Recommended Software: Rescue your images!
Just as important as an extra memory card is a tool to rescue
your images when one of your cards fails at some point in the
future. I get a lot of email from readers who've lost photos
due to a corrupted memory card. Memory card corruption can happen
with any card type and any camera manufacturer, nobody's immune.
A surprising number of "lost" images can be recovered with an
inexpensive, easy to use piece of software though. Given the
amount of email I've gotten on the topic, I now include this
paragraph in all my digicam reviews. The program you need is
called PhotoRescue, by DataRescue SA. Read our review of it if you'd like, but download the program
now, so you'll have it. It doesn't cost a penny until
you need it, and even then it's only $29, with a money back
guarantee. So download PhotoRescue
for Windows or PhotoRescue
for Mac while you're thinking of it. (While you're at
it, download the PDF manual and quickstart guide as well.) Stash
the file in a safe place and it'll be there when you need it.
Trust me, needing this is not a matter of if, but when...
PhotoRescue is about the best and easiest tool for recovering
digital photos I've seen. (Disclosure: IR gets a small commission
from sales of the product, but I'd highly recommend the program
even if we didn't.) OK, now back to our regularly scheduled
See the specifications sheet here.
Cycle times, shutter lag, battery life, etc. can be found here.
See my test
images and detailed analysis here. The thumbnails
below show a subset of my test images. Click on a thumbnail
to see the full-size photo.
For those readers interested in a set of less "standardized"
photos from the W1, we've put together a "photo
gallery" of more pictorial shots captured with the W1.
Following are my usual condensed notes about the W1's performance:
See the W1's
sample pictures page for a full analysis. (NOTE: For
those of you who've read my review of the Sony DSC-P100, the
comments below are virtually identical, as the two cameras apparently
share the same lens, sensor, and internal electronics. As a
result, there are only very minor differences in image quality
As with all Imaging Resource product tests, I encourage you
to let your own eyes be the judge of how well the camera performed.
Explore the images on the pictures
page, to see how W1's images compare to other cameras you
may be considering.
- Color: Good color, accurate hue, appropriate
saturation. Some white balance difficulty indoors though.
Overall, the W1 produced good color, with only slight
color casts with each white balance setting. Outdoors, it
did particularly well, with natural-looking skin tones, and
a flawless handling of the always-difficult blue flowers in
the Outdoor Portrait test. (While they appear to be virtually
the same camera internally, I felt that the W1 actually did
a slightly better job with color rendition outdoors than did
the P100, although the differences were very slight.) Indoors
though, it had a little trouble with household incandescent
lighting, leaving more of the warmth of the lighting in its
final images than I personally prefer.
- Exposure: Very good exposure accuracy.
As was the case with the P100 that I reviewed immediately
before it, the W1 seemed more accurate than most cameras I
test, as it required less exposure compensation adjustment
under difficult lighting conditions than I've generally found
to be the case. Like most consumer digicams, its default tone
curve is somewhat contrasty, causing it to lose detail in
strong highlights under harsh lighting, but I found its low-contrast
adjustment to be much more effective than that on most cameras,
doing a very good job of taming the extreme contrast of the
Outdoor Portrait shot. Overall, a much better than average
performance in the exposure/tonality department.
- Resolution/Sharpness: Very high resolution,
1,250-1,300 lines of "strong detail," but some loss of subtle
detail due to anti-noise processing. As you'd expect from
its 5-megapixel sensor and sharp lens, the W1 performed well
on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing
artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 1,000
lines per picture height vertically, and around 800~900 lines
horizontally. I found "strong detail" out to about 1,250 lines
vertically and 1,300 lines horizontally. (Some reviewers might
rate the resolution as high as 1,400 lines, but I tend to
be more conservative in my resolution ratings.) "Extinction"
of the target patterns didn't occur until 1,600-1,700 lines.
This is all very good, but I found that the W1 lost subject
detail in areas of subtle contrast, due to somewhat over-aggressive
- Image Noise: Very low noise, but somewhat heavy-handed
noise-suppression. Overall, I was surprised and impressed
by how "clean" the W1's images were, as its noise levels were
lower than I'd generally expect from a five-megapixel camera,
let alone a compact model. BUT, the low noise came at the
cost of flattened subject detail in areas of subtle contrast.
(Very visible in Marti's hair and features, on the Outdoor
Portrait test.) There was also some odd behavior in areas
where a bright, highly-saturated color abutted a dark area,
almost a "glow" fuzzing out from the colored region. (And
no, it wasn't lens flare, nor was it a focusing issue.) I
give the W1 high marks for low noise levels, but wince at
how much subject detail is swallowed up by its noise-suppression
- Closeups: A small macro area with good
detail. Flash is blocked by the lens. The W1 performed
quite well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area
of 2.31 x 1.74 inches (59 x 44 millimeters). Resolution was
high, showing a lot of fine detail in the dollar bill, coins,
and brooch (though the coins and brooch are soft due to the
close range and limited depth of field). As is often the case
with digicams I test, all four corners of the frame are somewhat
soft, an unfortunate limitation of digicam lenses in macro
mode. The W1's flash almost throttled down enough for the
macro area, but was still a little bright, and was blocked
by the lens in the lower portion of the frame. (Plan on using
external lighting for your closest macro shots.)
- Night Shots: Excellent low-light performance
with great color, exposure, and focusing at the darkest light
levels. The W1 produced clear, bright, usable images down
to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, with
good color at all three ISO settings. The W1 does an excellent
job controlling image noise here, as even at ISO 400, noise
is only moderate. A great job overall. The bright autofocus-assist
lamp lets the camera focus on nearby objects even in complete
darkness, and even without the AF assist, the P100 can focus
(albeit slowly) at light levels as dark as about 1/8 foot-candle.
(Quite impressive.) For reference, a light level of one foot-candle
corresponds to typical city street lighting at night.
- Viewfinder Accuracy: A tight optical
viewfinder, but nearly accurate LCD monitor. The W1's
optical viewfinder was a little tight, showing about 82 percent
frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 86 percent at telephoto.
The LCD monitor proved to be a little loose, showing just
slightly more than what made it into the final frame. Still,
frame accuracy was near 100 percent. Given that I like LCD
monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible,
the W1's LCD monitor is pretty good in this regard, but I'd
like to see a more accurate optical viewfinder.
- Optical Distortion: Average barrel distortion,
but very low pincushion, low chromatic aberration. Optical
distortion on the W1 was about average at the wide-angle end,
where I found about 0.9 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto
end did much better, showing only 0.04 percent pincushion
distortion (about one pixel). The Zeiss lens quality showed
in the P100's images, which were sharper from corner to corner
than those of most cameras. There was also relatively little
chromatic aberration, as the color fringes around the res
target elements, while a little broad, were pretty faint.
(This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe
around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the
- Shutter Lag and Cycle Time: Very (!)
fast, particularly for a subcompact model. The DSC-W1
is a very fast little camera, with really excellent shutter
response (0.30-0.60 seconds) and cycle times (a blazing 1.24
seconds/frame), as well as very quick startup and shutdown
times. On the down side, the DSC-W1 is a camera that "penalizes"
you for pressing the shutter button too quickly after a previous
shot. If you mash down the shutter button immediately after
capturing an image, the camera will just sit there until you
let up on the shutter button and press it again. A number
of cameras do this, but I consider it to be a pretty significant
design flaw. Overall though, the DSC-W1 is one of the fastest
cameras on the market, regardless of size or price range,
with its cycle time performance being one significant area
in which it pulls ahead of its sibling, the P100.
- Battery Life: Couldn't measure the power
drain, but battery life should be quite good, based on the
P100's performance, and Sony's own battery-life numbers.
Because it uses a custom power connector, I couldn't perform
my usual exacting measurements of the W1's power drain. Its
sister camera, the DSC-P100 had excellent battery life though,
and Sony's battery-life numbers call for a run time of 170
minutes in capture mode with the LCD on, 290 minutes with
it off, and 340 minutes in playback mode, all with the supplied
set of NiMH AA cells. These are excellent run times, particularly
for a camera powered by two AA cells, but I still highly recommend
purchasing another set or two of high-capacity NiMH batteries.
See my battery
shootout page for rankings of various batteries, based
on actual performance measurements.
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Functionally, the Sony DSC-W1 is nearly a dead ringer for the
slightly more compact DSC-P100, offering nearly the same functions
in a differently-shaped and slightly larger body, with a larger
2.5 inch LCD. It competes with models like Canon's PowerShot
S500 in the "subcompact" digicam category, and should be a strong
player there, with its excellent mix of features, functions,
small size, and image quality. It provides more manual exposure
control than most compact models permit, yet is easy to use
in full-auto mode, and its six preprogrammed scene modes help
with tricky subjects. Its photos show excellent color and sharpness,
although it shares with its P100 sibling some white-balance
weakness under household incandescent lighting, and likewise
achieves its surprisingly low image noise levels at the expense
of image detail in areas of subtle contrast. (It seems to have
a very aggressive anti-noise system, which does indeed deliver
low noise in flat-tinted areas, but which also tends to flatten-out
fine subject detail in areas with low contrast, such as hair,
grass, etc.) In my testing, the W1 did a very good job with
dynamic range and highlight detail when I employed its optional
low-contrast setting, a feature that I really like to see, given
how common it is for digicams to lose the highlights when trying
for "snappy" photos under harsh lighting. The DSC-W1 also has
very good macro capability, and is unusually capable when shooting
under low light conditions. Finally, while I couldn't test its
power consumption directly, Sony's specs and my own anecdotal
experience both speak of very good battery life. Add in a surprisingly
fast shutter response, very fast shot to shot cycle times, and
a (relatively) huge and very readable 2.5" LCD display, and
you've got a real winner of a compact digicam, one with fewer
tradeoffs than you'd expect to find in a camera packed into
such a small case size. If you're looking for a great "take
anywhere" camera with great versatility and excellent color
and tonality, the Sony DSC-W1 should be an easy choice. A "Dave's Pick
although I have to say that I'd be happier with it if its noise-suppression
processing were a bit less aggressive.
บทความ Review พิเศษ อ้างอิงจาก http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/W1/W1A.HTM