Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX5 Review

January 10, 2011 | Gavin Stoker |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4Mb.

Sony's claims of DSLR-like features (background defocus mode, superior auto functionality et al) and quality from the WX5 come across as slightly over-playing its potential, detailed as some of the results might be. All is fine here if you treat the WX5 as the snapshot camera it is, and in doing so you'll be happy with the colourful snaps it delivers. Colours are warm and exposure is even, though we noticed some loss of focus towards the corners of the frame when shooting at maximum wideangle, to be particularly picky.

Still, plaudits to Sony for trying to push the envelope in terms of the picture quality achievable from an otherwise humble point and shoot, even if only partially successfully. Image quality is also noticeably better on the whole than that from the T99 we were testing alongside the WX5, so paying an extra £50 or so if pictures are a priority over size and diminutive proportions we feel is well worth it.

And, impressively, the WX5 actually lives up to some of the hype when shooting in low light. We were able to get usable results up to and including its top manually selectable ISO 3200 setting, which is no mean feat on a pocket camera around the £200 mark. There is some noise visible – inevitably perhaps – at this top setting and a slight smudging of detail. But as we say, this is relatively slight. Overall then a very good showing.


There are 6 ISO settings available on the Sony CyberShot DSC-WX5. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)


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-WX5 handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review, with limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)


The Sony CyberShot DSC-WX5 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


The flash settings on the Sony CyberShot DSC-WX5 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. 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-WX5'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 3200.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Sweep Panorama Mode

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX5 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 and now even successfully compensates for moving subjects. The main catch is that the resulting image is of fairly low resolution.