Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300 Review

4.0
July 1, 2013 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality


All pictures were taken at full resolution because there's no way of reducing the compression rating on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300. Images record at around 5Mb but can range from as low as 3.5Mb to as high as 7Mb, depending on the conditions.

Noise

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300 has a sensitivity range of ISO 80 to ISO 12,800. That's a huge range and a really high setting for such a tiny sensor. The good news is that the it's a BSI sensor which will help with letting more light in. Sony are also pretty good at noise reduction, too so we may see something decent. With digital compact cameras, we never expect too much in terms of reducing noise, but with the WX300 going to such a high setting, it needs to be kept in mind just how small the sensor is when evaluating the results.

The lower settings are bound to be good and they are. ISO 80 has no sign of noise at all. Colours are precise and edge definition is sharp. ISO 100 is only around a third of a stop brighter, so doesn't make a difference to the performance of the noise, however, it will mean you can select ever so slightly higher shutter speeds.

The good news is that picture quality doesn't become undesirable until around ISO 3200 when viewed at a normal viewing distance. However, viewing at full magnification, we can see that image quality starts to drop at around ISO 400. That's where edge definition begins to get a bit hazy and colour noise can be seen in darker areas. ISO 800 sees a boost in image quality and if they all came out like this, we'd happily shoot at this setting. That's not always the case, though. ISO 3200 sees a severe drop in image quality with colour noise invading the mid tones, edges break down and artefacts litter the scene.

Primary colours get desaturated at ISO 6400 in a bid to reduce colour noise but image quality is far too low to retain a decent result. ISO 12,800 has succeeded in the way that it's produced an image and not a frame of noise. Writing is practically intelligible as edges break down and detail disintegrates. Still, for a small sensor, we expected a lot worse.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

 
 

Focal Range

The 20x optical zoom makes the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300 the World's smallest digital compact camera with that size zoom. In 35mm terms, it stretches from a wide 25mm to a dizzying 500mm.

25mm

500mm

Sharpening

We found that if the pictures have any noise in at all, you're going to increase the appearance of it by adding any sharpening in post production.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

Chroma seems to have been compensated for very well. The quality of lens will be a strong factor to it, but it's likely there's also some correction software at work too. We thought we found some on the side of a tree, but we're unsure as it's a direct reflection of the background colour and could be just colour bleed. That in itself isn't a good thing, though.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The 5cm macro mode on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300 is sufficient enough to get close in to subjects without getting barrel distortion. However, there's a distinct lack of image quality at the edges, especially noticeable at the bottom of the frame.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

There's no issue with vignetting with or without flash. The flash unit on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300 is intelligent in the way that it complements and stabilises the ambient light. Red-eye also isn't a problem for the Sony.

Suppressed Flash - Wide Angle (25mm)

Forced Flash - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Suppressed Flash - Telephoto (500mm)

Forced Flash - Telephoto (500mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots.

Forced Flash

Forced Flash (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

When shooting at night on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300, you can choose between hand-held or stabilised photography. Choosing hand-held will select a lower ISO to get a better picture quality and while it's smoother, the image is slightly under exposed. Using auto ISO, the Program mode selected ISO 800 as it has to assume you're holding the camera unaided.

Night Program

Night Program (100% Crop)

   

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, compact, review, beginner, wi-fi, full hd, wireless, 2.7 inch LCD, wifi, 1080i, 10fps, 18 megapixel, 20x zoom, 20x, 20x lens, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300, Sony DSC-WX300, wx300, Sony WX300, dsc-wx300

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