Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 Review
Not content with ruffling the feathers of the bigwigs in the DSLR market, Sony are also marching on the sexy digital compact cameras with the W series. The new W570 features 16.1 megapixels on a CCD sensor collecting light through a Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar lens that sports a 5x optical zoom starting at 25mm and ending at 125mm in 35mm terms. On top of that, there's also a BIONZ processor, smile shutter, sweep panorama and D-range optimiser, all for a very reasonable price. Aimed at the happy snapper needing a small, slim compact to take on holiday to get the best possible results without a massive price, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 is available in black, silver, violet or pink and costs around £149.99 / $179.99.
Ease of Use
Sometimes it's possible to look at a camera and realise that the design is so astonishingly simple that rivals must have looked at it and slapped their foreheads. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 employs a simple, small rectangle with a large lens barrel on the front accompanied by a small flash. The shutter release button echoes the shape of the camera applying a running theme of rectangles. The power button is sunken into the body to prevent accidental switching off of the W570 while shooting. On the back, the zoom rocker sits at the top to be used by the thumb while just below on the edge of the camera is a switch for selecting shooting, panoramas or video. A small navigation pad is joined by playback, menu and help/delete buttons.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570's 2.7 inch screen is the biggest difference outwardly between the W570 and W580 as the more expensive (by roughly a tenner) W580 has a 3 inch screen. It makes us wonder whether releasing an entirely different camera simply with a smaller screen is really necessary but the reduced size in the monitor does mean that the dimensions of the camera are also reduced. There's not a lot in it, mere millimetres which again makes us wonder whether it's worth it.
The build quality of the W570 is very nice. Because of the diminutive size, the components are all packed inside the metal case and as we turned it over in our hands, we could feel that there's no space inside. The SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card and battery share the same compartment on the bottom of the camera. The door feels thin and flimsy but it doesn't move or bend. There's also a locking switch to make sure the door doesn't get opened by accident although the battery has a catch to hold it in.
Sony's menu system uses a simple formula of placing the options down the left side of the screen and expanding sub menus into the rest of the screen if necessary. In the main menu you can change the program mode, resolution, ISO, white balance, metering and focusing among other things. Interestingly, there's no macro mode on the W570. There's no dedicated button for it on the outside of the camera, there's no option in the menu system and there's no mention of it in the help system. We had to open up the manual to try to get to the root of our question but even that threw no clues up.
The final option in the menu is a toolbox icon which is for accessing the set-up area of the menu. This disables the monitor from showing what the lens can see so you can focus solely on the functions within the menu. There are four tabs for shooting, main, memory card and clock settings. The shooting menu simply houses features which aren't used as often such as red-eye reduction functions, digital zoom and auto orientation. Scrolling down will go through the different tabs as they come to an end but if you know which tab you need, pressing left will let you scroll quicker through the sections.
Playback on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 can be quite a slow process. From time to time, the camera will check the database to ensure that everything is ok. While this is a good thing, it can take a few moments. It depends on how impatient you are. If you've used the memory card in a different camera and there are pictures on it, the camera will ask you if you wish to import them to view them on the W570. This also takes a few moments if you want it doing. When you first switch the camera on, it will prepare the memory card for use in the camera which takes a minute or so.
In the box is a wrist strap, lithium ion battery and dedicated charger. The USB cable that splits into three analogue video cables is a good idea to reduce the amount of cables provided but kind of defeats the object of the Full HD video because the analogue cables lose all the high definition information. The driver CD comes with Sony's Picture Motion Browser software and the user guide on the same disc. Although the initial button asks you to install the user guide it is possible to simply view it without downloading anything.
Dynamic range is a term that's on everyone's lips at the moment and is a priority feature with manufacturers along with HD and intelligent auto. Every manufacturer has their own version of a dynamic range boost and with Sony it's called Dynamic Range Optimiser (DRO). On the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 it can be adjusted in the main menu towards the bottom and there are three settings called off, normal and high. Sony sensors have a nice dynamic range anyway but switching on DRO gives a visible change to the picture by bringing more detail out in shadow areas.
Using the Sony Cyber-shot DSC W570 is very easy, it responds well to commands and the only real problem we encountered was that when we wanted to lock focus on an off-centre subject, the button is so sensitive that we found we took pictures accidentally. We got used to it but it took some time and plenty of wasted shots.
|Memory Card Slot||Battery Compartment|
The camera is small enough to fit in a pocket and not take up the entire amount of space that's in there. While small is good, if you're the kind of person that has large hands you may find that the controls are too small for you to operate. Filming is recorded in 1280x720 HD video as stored as an mp4 format. Annoyingly, opening the folder up on the computer doesn't show the video files, you have to locate these in the PMB software on the disc.
We love the inclusion of the Carl Zeiss lens for superior image quality and the BIONZ processor is designed to gets pictures onto the card as fast as possible. However there's more information from a 16 megapixel sensor than the previous 14 megapixel sensors. Processing feels a bit slow and the update of the image database seems like it takes forever.
If we were to be over critical, we think that including a metal tripod bush would've been a big benefit and the USB port is open on the bottom of the camera which will get dirt and dust in it over time. However, there are many other cameras like this that it's unfair to be negative towards the W570 about it.
All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 16 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5.5Mb.
We took pictures with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 on a lovely day and it recorded colours in nature perfectly. Greens were natural without the over saturation of an eager processor which shows the intelligence that goes into BIONZ. The sky comes out brilliantly as a rich blue with great contrast in white clouds. Closer inspection does show a substantial amount of noise considering the bright day and low ISO 100 sensitivity setting. However, we thought that the results were pleasing for the market that the camera is aimed at. Metering is good in everyday situations although in tough scenarios with complex light and hard contrast, the metering system struggled to cope even with DRO switched on to full. Portraits came out nice with good skin tones rendered and not even a hint of red-eye.
The part that we're most puzzled by is the lack of a macro function. That's not to say that the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 doesn't have a close focusing system, it appears to be fully automated. However in our lab test of the macro when taking a picture of the memory card, we found that the camera struggled to focus on the subject unless it was around 40 – 50cm away from the camera. Later as we took general pictures of flowers, the camera focused much closer so we retook the macro shot in the studio and it focused around 5cm away. So it looks like the focusing can be a bit hit and miss sometimes. We also figured that the macro function would be enabled in intelligent auto mode but it rarely was. But then again, if the camera focuses closely, does the camera need to be in “macro mode” or is it just our need to know that the camera is in a dedicated mode to be working properly?
File sizes range from around 5.5 to 6Mb at full resolution and there's no option to drop the quality setting.
With the impressive specification of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570's lens and processor we were expecting some spectacular results but unfortunately, we were cut short. While there's no distinct evidence of noise at ISO 80, the image is still not as smooth as we hoped for. Interestingly, at ISO 100 the picture is smoother which must mean that noise reduction is starting to work already.
There's a trace of salt and pepper noise at ISO 200 and looking at higher settings, the problems only get worse. Noise reduction does do a good job up to ISO 800 although at the latter setting coloured noise is starting to creep through in shadow areas. The noise is kept at bay for the remaining settings although detail breaks down in the picture so sharp lines are broken down.
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)
The Sony CyberShot DSC-W570's 5x zoom lens offers a fairly versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples.
Throughout the test we found that the BIONZ processor sharpened picture relatively well. When we tried boosting the sharpening in Adobe Photoshop CS4 edge detail was improved but only by a little, so much so that we would be perfectly happy without any boost in editing at all.
Original (100% Crop)
Sharpened (100% Crop)
Chromatic aberration is present on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC W570 and we found it more on hard edge contrasting areas such as objects silhouetted against the sky.
Example 1 (100% Crop)
There's no particular macro setting on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 which we found unusual because it's been a staple requirement of digital compact cameras for as long as we can remember. Saying that, for a long time now we've been considering the need for a dedicated macro mode. Most macro facilities will focus to a close distance but then work all the way to infinity. If that's the case, then leaving the camera in macro mode will get the best of both worlds. It seems that Sony have had a similar thought and done away with the need for macro altogether. Time will tell if this is a possible future change of digital photography or blatant absent-mindedness.
Looking at our test shots, there's no obvious difference in light distribution between switching the flash on or leaving it off. This is actually quite brilliant because it means that you get natural light in any situation and any time of day or night.
Suppressed Flash - Wide Angle (25mm)
Forced Flash - Wide Angle (25mm)
Suppressed Flash - Telephoto (125mm)
Forced Flash - Telephoto (125mm)
Red-eye reduction has 3 settings; on, off and auto. The camera defaults to auto and to change it, you have to access it in the main menu. We found no red-eye in the shot even with the reduction function turned off.
|Forced Flash (100% Crop)|
Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 selects a long exposure in night scene mode blurring moving subjects and even at a low ISO setting, substantial noise shows through in the darker areas. Edge definition also breaks down. The camera does select an exposure that gives a decent result and the white-balance setting also produces realistic results.
Night Shot (100% Crop)
This is a selection of sample images from the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 camera, which were all taken using the 16 megapixel JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.
Sample Movie & Video
Front of the Camera
Front of the Camera / Lens Extended
Rear of the Camera
Rear of the Camera / Turned On
Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed
Rear of the Camera / Main Menu
Rear of the Camera / Scene Menu
Rear of the Camera / Sweep Panorama
Rear of the Camera / Movie Mode
Top of the Camera
Side of the Camera
Side of the Camera
Front of the Camera
Memory Card Slot
What we have in the Sony Cyber-shot DSC W570 is an attractive, slinky digital compact camera with a good quality lens, a nice build and the well-known Sony BIONZ processor. We love the ease of use of the menu system and as time went by throughout the test, we even started to get used to the lack of a macro mode simply because we found it shaved off a few seconds of preparation not having to enable it in the menu.
Interestingly, Sony have refrained from mentioning the macro mode (or lack thereof) on the W570 blurb. An idea as radical as this should be trumpeted and yes it is radical. It's a function that's automatically included on all cameras as much as the portrait mode and is as much of an institution as the zoom switch.
Considering the market that the W570 is aimed at, picture quality is good. Colours are recorded nicely and there's lots of detail, but if you go above ISO 200 you're going to get noise. It only really becomes a big issue at ISO 800 where the image quality dips substantially and edge detail almost disappears.
Along with the lack of a macro function there's no file size adjustment. Sure, you can drop the resolution but at 16 megapixels, it's massive file sizes or bust. Seeing more than one feature missing from a camera can make some people think that they're cutting corners and we hope that's not the case here.
After all this it seems like we don't like the Sony Cyber-shot DSC W570 but that's not entirely accurate. We're disappointed that the faults that the camera has are easily solved such as the overly sensitive shutter release and the addition of file size options in the menu. We've also wondered whether the addition of a 16 megapixel sensor is to really improve image quality or just panders to the consumer who thinks more resolution automatically means a better picture.
However, we love the design and and build quality, including the Carl Zeiss lens which makes it look more expensive, and the menu system is easy to use and clear to navigate. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC W570 is a good looking camera that will appeal to young people and newcomers to photography that only want the camera to handle the ins and outs of everything. If this is you, then take a look at the W570 but be careful with that problem with noise.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||4|
Reviews of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 from around the web.
Sony's W570 compact camera is a small and slender point-and-shoot model. The emphasis is on simplicity for those looking for an attractive and easy-to-use model that won't cost them the Earth.
Read the full review »
The compact 16.1 megapixel Sony Cybershot DSC-W570 digital camera serves as an update to the Sony DSC-W370 from 2009. The Sony DSC-W570 features the same sleek design although the key specs have been updated to include; a 16.1 megapixel image sensor, a longer 5x zoom (25mm-125mm coverage in 35mm terms) combined with Sony's optical Steadyshot image stabilizer, and in terms of video the camera provides for the ability to record 720p HD movies with sound (MP4 format).
Read the full review »
|Precision Digital Zoom||Approx.10x (Total)|
|Smart Zoom||up to 36x (with VGA)|
|Focal Length (f= mm)||4.5-22.5|
|Focal Length (f=35mm conversion)||25-125|
|Macro (cm)||iAuto(W:Approx.5cm(0.16') to Infinity, T:Approx.100cm(3.28') to Infinity)|
|Filter Diameter (mm)||NO|
|Conversion Lens compatibility||NO|
|Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar Lens||YES|
|CCD Type||Super HAD CCD|
|Size (Inches)||1/2.3 type(7.75mm)|
|Effective Pixels (Mega Pixels)||Approx. 16.1 Megapixels|
|Soft Skin Mode||YES|
|Intelligent Sweep Panorama||NO|
|Underwater Sweep Panorama||YES|
|3D Sweep Panorama||NO|
|Auto Focus Area (Multi Point)||9 points (Under Face Undetected)|
|Auto Focus Area (Centre weighted)||YES|
|Auto Focus Area (Spot)||YES|
|Auto Focus Area (Flexible Spot)||NO|
|Aperture Auto Mode||YES|
|Aperture Priority Mode||NO|
|Shutter Speed Auto Mode (sec)||iAuto(2" - 1/1,600) / Program Auto(1" - 1/1,600)|
|NR Slow Shutter||1/3sec or slower|
|Hand Shake Alert||YES|
|Exposure Control||± 2.0EV, 1/3EV step|
|White Balance||Auto (intelligent), Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent1, Fluorescent2, Fluorescent3, Incandescent, Flash, One Push, One Push Set|
|AutomaticWhite Balance||YES (Intelligent)|
|Light Metering (Multi Pattern)||YES|
|Light Metering (Centre weighted)||YES|
|Light Metering (Spot)||YES|
|ISO Sensitivity (REI)||YES (Auto / 80 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200)|
|Scene Selection||8 modes|
|AF Illuminator||Auto / Off|
|AF Illuminator||Auto / Off|
|Flash Mode||Auto / Flash On / Slow Syncro / Flash Off|
|Red-Eye Correction||Auto / On / Off|
|Auto Daylight Synchronized Flash||YES|
|Distance limitations using Flash (m)||ISO Auto: Approx.0.2-Approx.3.7m(Approx.0.66'-Approx.12.1')(W) / Approx.1.0-Approx.1.5m(Approx.3.28'-Approx.4.92')(T), ISO3200: up to Approx.7.3m(Approx24.0')(W) / Approx.3.1m(Approx10.2')(T)|
|LCD Screen Size (inches)||6.7cm (2.7 type)|
|LCD Total Dots Number||230.400|
|Auto Bright Monitoring||YES|
|Recording Media||Memory Stick™ Duo(only for still images). Memory Stick PRO Duo™(Mark2 only for movie). Memory Stick PRO Duo™ High Speed (Still only and NO Speed Advantage), Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™(NO Speed Advantage|
|Recording Media II||SD Memory Card(Class4 or Higher for movie), SDHC/SDXC Memory Card(Class4 or Higher for movie)|
|DCF (Design rule for Camera File System)||YES|
|DPOF (Digital Print Order Format)||YES|
|Burst Mode (shots)||Approx.1 fps|
|Burst Interval (approximately sec)||Approx. 1.0 sec.(3 shots)|
|Still Image size (16M 4608 x 3456)||YES|
|Still Image size (14M 4320 x 3240)||NO|
|Still Image size (13M 4224 x 3168)||NO|
|Still Image size (12M 4000 x 3000)||NO|
|Still Image size (10M 3648 x 2736)||YES|
|Still Image size (9.0M, 3456 x 2592)||NO|
|Still Image size (8.0M, 3264 x 2448)||NO|
|Still Image size (7.2M 3072 x 2304)||NO|
|Still Image size (5.0M, 2592 x 1944)||YES|
|Still Image size (3.1M, 2048 x 1536)||NO|
|Still Image size (VGA, 640 x 480)||YES|
|Still Image size (16:9 mode, 1920 x 1080)||YES|
|Still Image size (16:9 mode, 4,320 x 2,432)||YES|
|Still Image size (16:9 mode, 4000 x 2248)||NO|
|Still Image size (3:2 mode, 4000 x 2672)||NO|
|Still Image size (3:2 mode 3648 x 2432)||NO|
|Still Image size (3:2 mode 3456 x 2304)||NO|
|2D Panorama||7,152 x 1,080(235deg) / 4,912 x 1,080(161deg) / 4,912 x 1,920(161deg) / 3,424 x 1,920(112deg)|
|Moving Image Size (1280x720 30fps Fine Approx.9Mbps)||YES|
|Moving Image Size (1280x720 30fps Standard Approx.6Mbps)||YES|
|Moving Image Size (640x480 30fps Approx.3Mbps)||YES(Approx. 8.8Mbps)|
|Moving Image Size (320x240 30fps)||YES|
|Moving Image Size (AVCHD 1920 x 1080(50i, Interlace) Approx.24Mbps(Averagebit-rate))||NO|
|Moving Image Size (AVCHD 1920 x 1080(50i, Interlace) Approx.17Mbps(Averagebit-rate))||NO|
|Moving Image Size (AVCHD 1440 x 1080(50i, Interlace) Approx.9Mbps(Averagebit-rate))||NO|
|Moving Image Size (MP4/AVI 1440 x 1080 Approx.25fps Progressive) Approx.12Mbps(Averagebit-rate))||NO|
|Moving Image Size (MP4/AVI 1280 x 720 Approx.25fps Progressive) Approx.6Mbps(Averagebit-rate))||NO|
|Moving Image Size (MP4/AVI 640 x 480 Approx.25fps Progressive) Approx.3Mbps(Averagebit-rate))||NO|
|HD (High Definition) Playback||Under 16M(4,608 x 3456)|
|Slideshow with Music||YES|
|Playback Zoom||YES (8x)|
|Cue & Review (MPEG)||YES|
|Index Playback||16 / 25 images (Date / Folder-Still / Folder-Movie)|
|Auto Image Rotation||YES|
|Auto grouping and & Best Picture Recognition||NO|
|Battery Remaining Indicator||YES|
|Exposure Warning Indicator||YES|
|Disk / Memory Stick remaining indicator||YES|
|PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol)||NO|
|Print Image Matching||YES|
|Shop Front Mode||YES|
|Start up time (approximately sec)||Approx. 1.7sec.|
|Menu Language||English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian , Turkish, Greek, Bulgarian, Croatian, Romanian|
|Multi use Terminal with HD||Type3a (AV(SD/HD Component with optional Accy)|
|Multi use Terminal||YES|
|USB 2.0 Hi-Speed||YES|
|Battery System||Lithium N|
|Stamina (battery life) with the supplied battery(s) in normal shooting condition||220 shots, 110min (CIPA standard with LCD screen on)|
|Battery for Clock||Manganese-Lithium (MS614SE)|
|Weight (g)||Approx. 100g (3.5oz.)|
|Weight with Accessories (g)||Approx. 116g (4.1oz.)|
|SuppliedSoftware||Picture Motion Browser (Windows only)|
|Supplied Accessories||Rechargeable Battery Pack, Battery Charger, Multi Connector Cable, Power Cord, Wrist Strap, CD-ROM|