review

Sony DSC-WX10

My parents got this camera a few weeks ago. Despite having access to this camera for a while, I've only just got round to taking some 'real' photos with it. I've already tested it in poor lighting conditions on full auto (green) mode here. On that page I show how this camera has a nice wide angle lens with good zoom capability and strong low light performance.

In summary, it takes good photos with no effort. One thing you notice straight away when using the WX10 is that the build quality is not as good as it's predecessors. My W7 had a 'metal-alloy' shell and the W300 a titanium one, the WX10 is plastic and the buttons feel cheap too. Do I think it'll fall apart? No, but it is a step backwards.

The WX10 is packed full of features I personally have no use for, like HD video recording and 3d panorama sweep. Both great features to have (so ideal for my parents) but I couldn't be bothered to test them out here. There was one feature I wanted to share and that is the built in HDR within the scene selection. It works well and will make a huge difference to holiday shots in cathedrals and other 'difficult' light environments.

Built in HDR demonstration

Testing built in HDR

Clear improvement with the HDR mode

The camera was positioned pointing predominantly at the sky for both shots (as seen) and metering set at default (multi position). The shot of the left was taken on full auto (green) mode and on the right on HDR mode (via SCN). 

I'm impressed at the results, the camera only took a second or two to save the picture. A lot less time than it takes to edit a RAW shot from a DSLR to get the same end photo. The detail on the under side of the trees is much more clearly visible.

Worth noting that these photos, other than being aligned and cropped, are untouched. 

 

Sony DSC-WX10Sony DSC-WX10Sony DSC-WX10

 

I rushed taking these photos and unfortunately due to the dim light, the photos are all a little fuzzy. Although tempting to blame the Canon 450D for sucking in low light, it was because I was meant to be catching a train so didn't get the flash out! Anyway, you get the idea...

Quick Stats

  • 16.2 Megapixels
  • 7x Optical Zoom
  • 24mm (35mm equivalent) wide angle
  • ISO 3200
  • Continuous Shooting for 10frames at 10Hz or 2Hz
  • Sweep Panorama
  • 1080(50i, Interlace) Video Recording (& 720p 30fps)
  • Carl Zeiss lens

Sample Images

Also on Flickr in original sizes.

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Canon 450D

The Canon 450D is my first and only DSLR camera. Despite this, I feel I know how to use it and do use it well enough to complain when I want more :-P . My only real complaint is the poor handheld low light performance.

In short, I love the camera due to it's easy controls, small size and all the extra bits I have for it (see equipment).

The 450D has been upgraded 3 times from Canon (500D, 550D and most recently the 600D) the main upgrades are the addition of video recording and the improvement of sensor's sensitivity up to ISO6400 (on the 600D). When compared to the mere ISO1600 of the 450D, this is a vast improvement. The 450D is only capable of ISO1600 when set manually, in the same way the 600D is actually capable of ISO12800! There is more to it than just the numbers such as noise levels at a given ISO level but these improve with technology updates. If I were to buy now I'd definitely get one of the 500's for the additional low light help, the 600D is usually priced higher than the 450D ever was. I found a nice comparison between the 600D and 450D over on snapsort.com.

Canon 450D

 

Quick Stats

  • 12.2 Megapixels
  • ISO 800 (ISO1600 when set manually)
  • 3.5fps
  • EF-S Canon lense system (also accepts EF)
  • Plastic
  • SD card (SDHC compatible)

Example photos

Sony DSC-W300

I bought this camera to replace my Sony DSC-W7 in 2008. The W7's biggest flaw was it's performance in low light. Any time you wanted to take a photo indoors and it wasn't mid-day with big windows, you would need flash. At least had settings to alter flash power! What I needed was something with image stabilisation and a larger ISO range.

I went for the W300 as it was capable of up to ISO3200 (ISO6400 at 3MP) and 3fps (5fps at 3MP). These met my requirements and the camera is also a pocketable size. The handheld W300, in my opinion, performs better in dark conditions than a handheld Canon 450D (see comparison examples). The highest ISO settings are reasonably noisy and produce strange looking textures over your image. However, it is possible to take 'cameraphone quality' images in situations that would normally require a tripod and SLR to capture properly. This might be handy on holiday when it's all you have and you need something to capture the moment. Continue reading

Technophobic camera comparison – compact Vs DSLR?

This is not your usual camera comparison, this is a camera comparison for technophobes! So if you know how to use the manual functions or even the program functions on your camera this probably won't be relevant. In addition, I'm not comparing four new cameras, I'm comparing the gradually evolving Sony W Series with a Canon 450D DSLR.

So, I should explain (as this is aimed at technophobes) the Canon 450D is a very popular inexpensive DSLR. A DSLR is a digital single-lens reflex camera which means you (usually) look through the eye piece to take your photos not look at the screen. It also provides almost unmatched flexibility with a wide selection of specialist lenses for every occasion and complete manual control. In short they are bigger, heavier and you usually carry them with a bag load of other bits.

The Sony W Series has always been a balance of powerful features and a small size. I have three on test: the W7 (from 2005), the W300 (from 2008) and my parent's shiny new WX10 (2011). Each one gets smaller as the numbers of features sky rocket. I've always liked the Sony compact cameras for their fast autofocus and good results.

Why compare compacts to a DSLR?

This is where the technophobe bit comes in. Many people I have met are like my parents, they forget how to use their camera on holiday. As a result they use the auto mode (green mode) all the time. My question is, using only auto mode which performs better?

Remember, although DSLR's traditionally produce the best quality photos they are usually in the hands of people who know what they're doing! Continue reading