Sony Cybershot DSC W350 Review
In the market of compact digital cameras from $150 - $200, the competition is fierce. As consumers, we luck out because big manufacturers like Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Sony, and etc are competing for our hard earned dollars. This means the cameras that are the best bang for the buck sell well and the bad ones get left on the store shelves. When spending over $100 on a digital camera, it is important to do some research. Going to the store and trying the store model is a must but sometimes you can get many good second, third, and fourth opinions online. This is especially important because sometimes these compact digitals have excellent LCD screens but this can give you a false sense of quality if the pictures are bad on the computer screen.
The DSC W350 is a "higher end" $200 compact digital. What
I mean by this is it can cost a little bit more than other cameras in
it's class but you are supposed to get a camera built to a higher quality
than it's competitors. The W350 is equipped with a 4x optical zoom,
14.1 mp sensor, and 720p HD video recording. What you get out of the
box is pretty standard. The camera itself, a data cable that also
as a tv input, a cdrom, a battery and it's proprietary charger.
Right away, it is clear that the Sony Cybershot DSC W350 is an excellent compact digital camera. It's indoor shooting abilities is great as it seems to do better indoors than outdoors. The image is clear but the colors have a tendency to appear "warm". The Cybershot has face detection and it can follow up to 6 faces at a time. The automatic mode is good for close range. Action shots are clear with little to no motion blur. The flash is good to about 10-15 feet. The 4x optical zoom is standard to most cameras in it's class with the exception of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH22 which has an 8x optical zoom. The W350 has a pretty good image stabilizer which keeps blur to a minimum. This is especially helpful when zooming into a subject.
What I don't like about the W350 is the battery life. The battery
life is below average. This battery will not last a full day taking
over 100 shots. This isn't such a hassle if you just carry an extra
battery but each battery costs about $50. Like most manufacturers, Sony
has a proprietary lithium-ion battery with a special charger. The
must be removed in order to charge it. This is a hassle if you find
your camera warning you of a low battery in the middle of transferring
pictures onto your computer. To be fair, my Lumix FH22 has this problem
also. How hard would it be to add a DC input which allows you to use
the camera while it's charging?
Another thing I don't like about the W350 is the lag time between photo snapping. When you shoot a picture, there is a lag of 2-3 seconds before you can take another picture. This can be frustrating when you have a moving subject that you mis-shot. Although the picture quality is good, you just have to make sure you get the shot right the first time. On occasion, the W350 will jump in and out of focus. This main happens with macro shots. The W350 is an ultra compact. It is a bit lighter than the Lumix FH22 and only slightly smaller. The margin is so close, it doesn't even feel worthy of mentioning.
One cool feature of the Cybershot W350 is the panoramic mode. Set
the camera into panoramic mode, press the shutter and move the camera
from left to right or vice versa. The W350 will stitch the pictures
together and create a cool panoramic image. This feature is done fairly
well provided you have a steady hand. You may have to edit the images
in your favorite image editing programs and sometimes subjects will
mess up the picture if there is lots of movement. The camera does a
good job of connecting the images into a panoramic shot but at times,
it feels a bit gimmicky.
The HD recording is good because you can record 55 mins with a 4gb card. The main problems with this camera is the lag between shooting photos, the battery, and on occasion, slight problems with focus. I would rate this camera a 7.5 out of 10 stars. It is a great point and shoot. The HD video recording is easier than the Lumix FH22 but the rate of shot is noticeably inferior. This is not a bad camera. In fact it is a very good camera. The shots are clear with little artifacts and the speed of focus is good. I just wish it would have better performance in between the shots and a bigger battery. As we all know, Sony is a brand name and they make excellent quality electronics. The Cybershot line is no exception. Despite some minor annoyances, I would recommend this camera. Thank you for reading!
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