Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1 Review

November 19, 2009 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 gide

image quality 4.5?????
I saw that many noise on iso test from 200-3200
not good enough like the tag line “exmor”
wew, I didnt like this review, come on photographyblog.. so many years I have been trusting u.. :)
plizzz, give your best point of view n be honest..

1:49 pm - Thursday, November 19, 2009

#2 kelsci

This camera does not shoot in stereo sound. It is equipped with a mono mic. only.

2:47 pm - Thursday, November 19, 2009

#3 Rudy Espinosa

The WX1 is an awesome camera and I disagree on the noise issue in the comments. I just bought the WX1 to replace my existing LX3. I love my LX3 but after taking better pictures every year, I want take even more pictures which is also great practice. However, my issue is that the LX3 is small but much too bulky for my pocket. The LX3 has great reviews that include very little noise. I am not a great photographer, but I like to practice by simply taking pictures and examining later what I could differently. Hence the reason I want to now take a camera everywhere. My LX3 takes great shots but I don’t pixel peep and I took also compensated by simply taking mostly black and white pictures. BTW, it sucks that the WX1 does not take B/W pictures. In fact, as far as manual controls, the LX3 blows away the WX1. Not just by shutter and aperature control but also the different type of pictures that it can take such as the various B/W effects and color effects. Anyway, back to why I do like the WX1 and will now sell my LX3. I can always convert my color pictures to B/W. However, I found that the color pictures indoors with flash in low light are awesome on the WX1 so I can now take all my pictures in color and convert to B/W later if I want that look. Indoor pictures with flash are also great. I have read lots of reviews from users that outdoors in great lighting pictures are washed out. Well, a few points here. If there is a perfect camera out there, then I will sell my WX1 and buy that one instead. The reality is that all cameras have pros/cons and we buy the one that best fits our needs/wants. I have not had the opportunity to test it outdoors, but I do believe I will encounter those issues as well because the indoor shots are so much brighter than any other camera and very little noise in terms of what you see on the computer and the printouts that I would expect. Again, I don’t pixel peep. So, that means that I will have to adjust some settings as documented by other users out there that encountered the outdoor shot issues but are willing to spend a little time to learn how to use a new camera and they now get great shots that they have posted. At this point, I am only referring to standard pictures. The WX1 also offers a twilight mode and motion blur mode that I have tested and simply blow the LX3 out of the water. A while ago, I found a great tip online for taking better handheld shots with long shutter speeds. Simply set the camera to burst mode and then pick the best one since we tend to shake the camera unintentionally after the shot. The WX1 not only uses this approach for the motion blur mode but for the twilight mode it combines the pictures to get smooth shot that looks noise free at hight ISOs, again I don’t pixel peep. I keep making this statement because once you resize and even decrease the quality of a picture to post online or print, noise is not an issue. It is only when you pixel peep or have to zoom/crop because you did not frame the shot correctly. I always keep that in mind when I take my pictures.  Furthermore, the camera has a burst mode that allows you to take full resolution pictures at lightning speed. These all blow away the LX3 easily. The reality is that outdoor shots are easy to take with just about any camera though you may have to make some adjustments. Indoor pictures are the difficult shots and the WX1 is simply superb. I also want to mention that my first cameras were all cannon. So, I did check out the S90 at the store and played with it. It is a bit bigger than the WX1. It does not offer HD video, which is a big turnoff for me because I no longer buy camcorders (again, I like to carry my camera with me). Another reason that the S90 was not a contender for me is due to the burst shots. Someone can correct me if I am wrong but it is not that fast and the low light mode is lower resolution. I took several pictures at the store with both the WX1 and the S90. The store is very well ligt but the S90 seemed to struggle focusing distant subjects NOT the WX1. Up close was not a problem but neither was the WX1. I will admit that I was already biased towards the WX1 due to the HD Video, burst mode, and low light capabilities. Just 2 more things… The panorama shots is a great feature. I liked to use that effect with my wife’s kodak that also stiches in the camera. I sometimes wished I had her camera for those occasions and now have that feature. The WX1 is just as good but you cannot zoom. It is fixed :(
On the other hand, the video allows you to zoom in and out. I was completely surprised by that type of feature in such a tiny camera. Since I don’t have a camcorder, this is a killer feature for me. The only minor issue is that you can hear the lens zoom in/out. You can’t hear it when you are recording only during playback. It is not very loud but if there is no background noise you will hear the lens zoom. Small price to pay for a zooming video camera so I will gladly take it. BTW, I once owned a small ricoh, I think it was the R9 or something like that. The lens made alot of noise when you zoomed during recording. That was annoying and I mention it because I want to be clear that the camera is silent when you record, you only hear the lens (slightly) when you zoom during video recording. Well, that is it. I hope someone benefits from my comments.

6:12 pm - Thursday, November 19, 2009

#4 Garry

Why do sony have their own card format?
It just puts me off buying any of their products that use it.

9:26 pm - Thursday, November 19, 2009

#5 Rudy Espinosa

I posted my comments regarding the camera above. I want to respond to your comment and have one move comment on the camera…

This is the first Sony digital camera that I have ever bought. So, I hated the idea that I had to buy a memory card when I already have an SD class 6 card. However, the speed of this card when downloading pictures to my laptop (via usb) puts my sd card to shame. I can’t believe how fast it is (I bought the new HG version). Also, I am skeptical of reviews because I have to think that some of fake reviews from the company. So, here is one huge negative about the WX1 that I forgot to mention and will also help to prove I was a loyal canon owner previously then switched to the LX3 because they listened to consumers and now sony because they put out a nice camera. The huge negative is that when you use the flash at the widest angle (f2.4) the bottom left corner is darker because the lens blocks the flash. You have to zoom in 1 notch to 1.2x (f2.5) and that eliminates the issue. It is a very small area but definitely a flaw. I saw small because I did not notice it until I read a user review somewhere else. However, it definitely ruins the picture. You will have to crop down the picture if you take it this way.

9:36 pm - Thursday, November 19, 2009

#6 Garry

Hi Rudy,I have varoius other devices that all use SD cards, and my laptop has an SD slot, and I have plenty of SD cards.
If I use a sony card, I’d either have to buy an adaptor, or plug a lead into the camera, which I don’t like doing as it means having the camera unprotected at the time.
Glad you like your camera.:)

11:13 pm - Thursday, November 19, 2009

#7 Garry

Rudy, that was supposed to be a smiley.

11:15 pm - Thursday, November 19, 2009

#8 Yianni

I have to agree with some of the comment above.

The image quality is far from impressive even at low ISO.

Images have a plastic look with too much noise for my liking at low ISO. The camera does perform well at higher ISO though but that’s useless if it cant take clean low ISO images.

Giving the WX1 a rating of 4.5 is extremely generous and I don’t feel it deserves it looking at the sample images and also comparing images over at with other compacts.

2:55 am - Friday, November 20, 2009

#9 Rudy Espinosa

I typically check out reviews including All expert reviews are helpful and so are the user reviews. I did check out the samples on that website before I ordered my camera. I am glad that I am very familiar with these types of tests because I am very technical and know that these tests are very technical in nature. If I had based my decision strictly on those test I would’ve never bought it. Instead I checked out the cameras at a local store. Then I ordered online where I got the best price in case I decide that I don’t like it after all and sell it on eBay. The pictures that I have taken look awesome and I don’t have to fiddle with the settings as much as my LX3. The indoor shots are awesome and I don’t regret my plans to sell my LX3 that I know will easily sell for almost as much as I bought it for because it is so popular. It is popular because it fits the needs of many users looking for the featurs that it has. The sony WX1, while not perfect, has all the features that I wanted (as listed in my original comments above) and that is ultimately what each person needs has to decide by trying the actual camera not base it on a bunch of technical experts that are looking at a camera from a different perspective than the average digital camera buyer.

I will also take advantage of this time to respond once more to Garry. My laptop is a couple years old so it does not support the sony memory card, but my understanding is that the newer laptops are compatible. In addition, the memory card comes with a USB adapter, so when I stated above tha I connect via USB, I meant with the adapter not with a cable. Furthermore, the cable that Sony provides has both the video cable and USB integrated into 1 single cable. However, I agree with you that their propiertary equipment is a turn off regardless and I would have definitely preferred SD. Maybe they can do like other companies and allow either propiertary or one of the standard formats (e.g. Fuji).

3:43 am - Friday, November 20, 2009

#10 Thomas

No SD card slot and only JPG images = CCC (crappy consumer cam).

9:06 am - Friday, November 20, 2009

#11 Steve

To all the misbelievers,

as coming from a Fuji F31 Iam really v e r y happy with that little cam. The Pro’s are already mentioned here (thanx to Rudy), I just want to respond to some people who still always try to point out the weaknesses. I still believe, that nobody really tried to play around with the settings a bit. If you do, it is easy to avoid bad pics.
Tip 1, if you are bothered with noise at daylight, use the Twilight Mode even outside. The results are noise free and just impressive. The Iso will be kept as low as 160 and just goes up with less light. All you have to do sometimes, is to raise the EV by about 0,3 to 0,7.
Tip 2, Colours are dull sometimes outside at days without sunshine, that is true. But with a bit PP which we will anyway do (push the colours up) this will be easy to solve.
Tip 3, use the bracketing feature outside. It will give you 3 pictures instantly with different exposures and at home with HDR software it is easy to become impressive results.
Tip 4, If you are bothered by the 15s buffer clearance time, I use the bracket mode with only 0,3 diff. EV and become 3 pics and the cam is ready after about3 seconds again.
Tip 5, If you use the smart zoom and the twilight mode, you can get pics with full (!) resolution at 240mm. All you have to do is to sharpen them in PP, pefectly usable for me and you get a 240mm lens!
Tip 6, after taking the pic it will be displayed for 2 seconds. This feature is not adjustable. If you like to reduce this time, just press the shutter button while the pic is displayed. The time will be reduced to 1 second.
Tip 7, the pano mode is nice but useless at nighttime (to noisy). Use the Twilight Mode to take the pics (easy thanx the 24mm lens) and put them together with free stitching software at home.
Some more thoughts, did somebody mentioned the live histogram already? The DSLR-guys always pointing out the importance to have it, here you get it. And coming from the F31 it is a joy to have an easy visible screen even in bright sunlight. So if you try it, it’s easy to get awsome pics with this tiny wonder (it’s really possible to put the cam in every pocket!.
So what do I not like? The settings in all modes except P are not stored and remembered after switching on. And I do not think that it is possible to take a pic while shooting a movie. But all together the Twilight Mode is just awsome impressive! Have fun!

12:04 pm - Friday, November 20, 2009

#12 Rudy Espinosa

Here are some sample photo of the Sony versus the new Fuji F200EXR:

There is also a review that makes many of the same positive points as my comments:

7:15 am - Saturday, November 21, 2009

#13 gide

before u posted your latest comment, I was compare many shoot from this sony shoot n another camera shoot (like LX-3, etc) @ iso 400, 800 n night scene, maybe PB should bring night photo test. :)
my conclusion: sony WX1 is the contender of poor light condition but I think the overall image quality 4.. tnx
*ps: thanks for the review PB anyway.. keep reviewing all the best that u can.. I know u can do much better than this// :)

2:08 pm - Saturday, November 21, 2009

#14 r4i software

This is a very very nice pocket camera. It’s far smaller than the photos suggest. This replaces my Samsung NV24HD. I bought this camera because of its 24mm super wide lens and the promise of Sony’s new Exmor R chip.

10:21 am - Wednesday, December 23, 2009

#15 Miha

I have just bought Sony DSC-WX1. I have to say that I’m a bit disapointed as well because of lack of manual options.

It makes very bright photos without flash under the room light (night outside) and with colours almost as they are. But there is quite a lot of noise even with ISO 160. Hand-held twinlight mode is a solution. It makes quite sharp and noise free photos at ISO400 or higher. The only thing is that photos are a bit to orange when using this mode, so you will need to do 3 second PS work, but that is it.

Photos are sharper when using flash.

Like Steve said Hand-held twinlight mode is actually the thing that makes photos excelent. It makes very good, completely noise free, photos even during the day, you just need to set EV to +0.7 - 1. If you apply some sharpening in PS you will get very sharp and still noise free photo.

Video quality is very good, I just love the ability to use optical zoom.

I’m a bit dissapointed in Sweep Panorama function. Idea is awsome, but realisation is not as good. Photo resolution is actually quite small, photo is not to sharp, quite a lot of noise, you CANNOT USE ZOOM?!?! But if you never have time to put several photos together to get panorama shoot (as I don’t have) it’s a good solution anyway.

Camera buttons truly are small, so you have to pay some attention to what you are pressing.

To conclude: I would be probably a bit dissapointed in photo quality if were no Hand-held twinlight mode. But thanks to this you can make great photos.

5:14 pm - Monday, March 29, 2010

#16 dollymilner

There is a lot of conflicting opinion about this camera. I read a lot of user reviews before I bought it, some people seemed so happy with everything and others so disappointed, it was very confusing!

The final distinction comes from knowing what you want this camera for. What kind of camera user are you?

If I wanted super high quality images, I’d get myself an slr.  But with this camera, i am a cc (crappy consumer): I wanted a camera to take good everyday pictures, something i could carry around in my pocket and whip out on the spur of the moment, for all different light conditions, landscapes, buildings, portraits, poor lighting, and if that’s what you’re looking for I’d really recommend this one.  The different settings are great there’s anti-blur mode, which is actually very effective, a moving subject in front of the camera comes out quite clear, and my favorite mode is the one for low light conditions that doesn’t use a flash… how annoying is it when there’s only a choice between blurry, under-lit pictures, or flashy-washed-out pictures? this mode is doesn’t use the flash but the images are clear. If one were being professional about things there’d be shutter speed to think of and maybe even a tripod, but that’s not what I wanted this camera for, it’s more for spur-of-the-moment shots. 

The main disappointment is the proprietorial sd cards.  It’s poor show that sony can force us to buy their (more expensive) cards. Apparently some of the newer models now offer a choice, but still I’m unimpressed.

On the up side, the wide-angle is great, I had a panasonic before which didn’t fit half as much into the frame.  It’s also very small and light, even for a lightweight camera, so it fits in a small pocket, you don’t even need a jacket just stick it in your jeans pocket and go out in your tshirt.  The panoramic feature is a nice extra, though the images are fairly grainy, it feels a bit of a gimmick. There’s plenty to recommend this camera without the panoramic mode even coming into it. Maybe if you’re after professional quality images or A2+ prints you could be disappointed with image quality, so don’t go for this camera, but I’m not a total philistine, and the image quality seems great for an everyday camera.

I was weighing up between this camera and buying a panasonic again. What won me over to this camera (and what I now think made that a good decision) was:
-anti-blur mode: photos of dancing, whoo!
-low light conditions without a flash mode: photos of dancing (whoo again!)
-is tiny: fits in my pocket while i’m dancing (whoo thrice!)
-24mm wide angle: when i’m not dancing, i’d quite like to fit that whole view into one photo, thanks.

main problem
-only sony sd card compatible. boo.

So this may be a ccc (crappy consumer camera, lest we forget), but if you’re after an everyday camera, which will help you take good everyday pictures, it’s not bad.

1:18 am - Saturday, May 1, 2010

#17 phil nelson

Thanks dollymilner, i think so far your review has been the most informative in my choice of camera, Guys please remember that we’re not all david bailey, i do not understand the words like ISO etc, I am a simpleton that likes to take photos on my holiday that look ok, i am a keen diver so an underwater mode is good.

All i want is a review thats not too technical, I previously had a cannon Ixus 70, my biggest problem with it was the low light shots, i missed several oportunities due to overexposure or blurred shots.  Please can you help me with the following points:

1. is it good in low light?
2. is it good underwater?
3. is it easy to use?
4. what other cameras should i be looking at instead?

Thank you for taking the time to read this and i hope someone may help me in my quest for answers, as you can probably guess this is a minefield for someone like me.



8:59 am - Friday, May 7, 2010

#18 Julia

Hey guys,

I just got this camera and your hints about the Twilight mode have been very helpful.

I’ve also discovered where I can adjust the settings for the Bracketing mode, but how on earth do I actually use it? I set the bracketing to 0.3 and then took a photo of something, but when I go into the preview mode, I only see one image. What am I doing wrong?


2:09 pm - Saturday, May 15, 2010

#19 Pandelis

in greece cost 179 €

12:59 pm - Thursday, August 12, 2010

#20 Al

great camera until 3 months after warranty ran out. That is when the lens stuck in. It is now a throw away.

10:48 pm - Tuesday, September 20, 2011

#21 Simone Bercu

I had the same problem as Al.
Bought it to use for taking real estate pictures (wide lense).  The aperture got stuck 6 months after the warranty expired, but it has not been closing properly a few months after I bought it.

This is my first Sony camera. I am disappointed. Will have to find another camera. This time, I will research it better.

10:44 pm - Monday, October 31, 2011

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 720p, sony, 5x zoom, 2.7 inch LCD, 10fps, 10 megapixel, cybershot, cyber-shot, cyber shot, dsc wx1, dsc-wx1, exmor r, wx1, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1 Review

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