Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W150

A competent compact

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W150
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W150
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W150
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W150
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Sharp pictures, 5x optical zoom with stabilisation, smile shutter is kind of nifty

Cons

  • Slow interface, sluggish shot-to-shot time, purple fringing and haloing issues

Bottom Line

Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-W150 is a fairly decent compact cameras with a few niggling issues. Aside from some purple fringing it captures good shots. The interface and shot taking can be extremely slow at times, which is frustrating.

Would you buy this?

Sporting an 8.1-megapixel (Mp) sensor and a 5x optical zoom, Sony's latest mid-range W series unit, the Cyber-Shot DSC-W150, is a competent compact digital camera. It takes fairly good quality snaps, and has standard compact camera features along with a few nifty extras. Our only real complaint is with the interface, which is sluggish and unwieldy.

Companies these days usually have at least one, if not several, top-tier camera models with resolutions of 10Mp or greater. However, 8.1Mp is still enough to take some fairly impressive snaps.

Our shots taken with the W150 were generally crisp and clear with good levels of detail and plenty of clarity. There was some minor oversharpening (which Imatest confirmed) but it wasn't particularly problematic. There were however some noticeable chromatic aberration issues. Our outdoors shots were laced with purple fringing and there was strong haloing indoors on high-contrast edges. There was almost no corner softening, but the fringing was bad enough to be visible even at small print sizes. Image noise performance was standard, with ISO 100, 200 and 400 producing relatively clean, smooth shots. At ISO 400 there was some minor chroma noise visible, but we didn't consider it problematic. It wasn't until ISO 800 that noise started to degrade sharpness and overall quality; we'd recommend sticking to lower sensitivities where possible.

Colours were quite strongly saturated, even on the standard colour setting — this was most noticeable in reds and blues. We were satisfied with the overall balance. There is no custom white balance option and the presets can be a little inaccurate at times, but mostly they performed well.

In our speed tests, the W150 was a mixed bag. While it exhibited a very quick shutter lag of just 0.05sec, start-up time was a slightly slower 2.5sec and shot-to-shot time was extremely sluggish at 3.5sec. Fortunately, the burst mode was quite impressive at three frames per second.

We also had some issues with the speed of the interface. Sony continues to use the same menu system as on its last generation of units and the camera is still not fast enough to handle it. Sometimes a simple task such as changing the exposure can take several seconds. This quickly becomes frustrating. Added to this is the fact that there are no quick ways to adjust settings: everything is done through the main menu.

The features are fairly typical of a Sony compact. Face detect focus mode is present and is backed up by Smile Shutter, which automatically takes a snap when it detects someone smiling. The 5x optical zoom is backed up by optical image stabilisation, meaning you can make the most out of the slightly larger lens. There is also an intelligent scene mode. This does a decent job of picking the appropriate scene option for your current shooting situation, but we'd still prefer to tweak things manually if possible.

Aesthetically, the W150 is a little on the plain side. It has a boxy silver design that is anything but eye catching. However, it is solidly built and has an entirely metal chassis. The camera's 2.7in LCD screen is backed up by a viewfinder, which is a nice touch.

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