Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1 Review

4.5
November 19, 2009 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4Mb.

The Sony CyberShot DSC-WX1 produced images of very good quality during the review period. This camera handled noise very well, not becoming obvious until the relatively slow speed of ISO 800 and then becoming progressively worse at the fastest settings of ISO 1600 and 3200 - still, not bad for such a small image sensor.

Chromatic aberrations were virtually non-existent, with just some limited purple fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. The 10 megapixel images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting and require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, as you can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Macro performance is quite good, allowing you to focus as close as 5cms away from the subject. Commendably barrel distortion is well controlled even at the 24mm wide-angle focal length. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate overall exposure.

Anti-shake works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. The only real fly in the ointment is the disappointing maximum shutter speed of 2 seconds, which doesn't allow the camera to capture enough light for most after-dark situations.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Sony CyberShot DSC-WX1. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 160 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Sony CyberShot DSC-WX1's 4x zoom lens offers a fairly versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:

24mm

120mm

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft and ideally benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Sony CyberShot DSC-WX1 handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review, with very limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Sony CyberShot DSC-WX1 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 5cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Sony CyberShot DSC-WX1 are Auto, Forced Flash, Slow Syncro, No Flash, with a Red-eye Reduction option in the Main menu. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Suppressed Flash - Wide Angle (24mm)

Forced Flash - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Suppressed Flash - Telephoto (120mm)

Forced Flash - Telephoto (120mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Forced Flash setting or the Red-Eye Correction option caused any red-eye.

Forced Flash

Forced Flash (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night Shot

The Sony CyberShot DSC-WX1's maximum shutter speed is 2 seconds, which is not good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/8th second at ISO 100. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Sony CyberShot DSC-WX1 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/10th / 35mm
1/6th / 140mm

Dynamic Range Optimizer

DRO is Sony's solution for improving shadow detail in photos taken in contrasty light. The selectable settings are Off, Standard [D-R] and Advanced [D-R+]. The examples show the effect of the different settings.

Off

Standard

Advanced

Hand-held Twilight Mode

Another standout feature is the Hand-held Twilight mode, in which the camera takes six high-ISO photos in rapid succession, and combines them into a single image. To test this, we took the same shot twice, once with the feature enabled, and once in Program mode. The Hand-held Twilight photo turned out to have somewhat less noise, but was noticeably softer too (the other new mode, Anti Motion Blur, works in a similar fashion).

Manual Mode Hand-held Twilight Mode
(100% Crop) (100% Crop)

Sweep Panorama Mode

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1 allows you to take panoramic images very easily, by 'sweeping' with the camera while keeping the shutter release depressed. The camera does all the processing and stitching. The catch is that the resulting image is of fairly low resolution, and moving subjects tend to be replicated. Check out some examples below.

 

Entry Tags

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

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