Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX5 3D digital camera

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX5 review: A compact Sony camera with a great image sensor and the ability to shoot 3D photos

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Sony DSC-WX5
  • Sony DSC-WX5
  • Sony DSC-WX5
  • Sony DSC-WX5

Pros

  • Excellent image clarity, f/2.4 aperture, very good high ISO performance, stacks of novelty features (some of which are useful)

Cons

  • Controls could be better, photo playback is unintuitive, sometimes struggles in very bright conditions

Bottom Line

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX5 is one of the first 3D digital cameras on the market, and it can work in conjunction with a Sony BRAVIA 3D TV. However, it brings so much more to the table, including excellent image clarity, a wide aperture, very good low-light performance and plenty of novelty features. We're not fans of its buttons and levers, which we think could be much better, but the overall performance and the built-in capabilities out-weigh the negatives.

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Image quality

Overall, images shot with the Cyber-Shot DSC-WX5 are very clear; this is one of the camera's strong suits. We used the intelligent auto setting for our test shots and found that if you get the lighting right, your photos will have crisp details and you'll be able to crop photos closely without losing that detail. Colours are rendered nicely by the camera, without being too vivid, and there is only slight chromatic aberration in high contrast areas. The camera can sometimes struggle in bright environments, causing highlights to be blown out and haloing to occur around the edges of bright areas.

A typical image taken indoors (top) and cropped at 100 per cent (bottom).

Shooting in dim light is aided by very decent performance at high ISO values. In particular, ISO 1600 can give you usable results. Even if you crop images closely, they will still retain plenty of clarity and won't look too feathered or discoloured.

Shooting at ISO 1600. Even when we zoom in at 100 per cent (bottom), the clarity is still high.

Another nice feature of the WX5 is its ability to capture high-definition video (though you'll have to set the camera to Full HD manually in the menu). It's a feature that will come in handy when you want to capture spur-of-the-moment footage; there is a dedicated video recording button above the mode dial to facilitate this. While you're in video mode you can zoom, albeit slowly, and the camera will focus automatically. It does a good job capturing video indoors and in low-light situations (although if you zoom in while indoors then the camera will be forced to use a small aperture and your video will look dark).

Video mode

Usability

Physically, the DSC-WX5 feels a little too delicate. Its shutter button doesn't have a distinct two-step feel, the four-way control pad on the rear is not tactile and the centre OK button is very hard to press. The mode dial also feels too mushy when it moves, the power button can be hard to press, and the zoom lever is too loose. The 3in LCD screen can be very hard to see if you're taking pictures in the sun, and you'll have to turn up its brightness all the way.

The camera's menu system is laid out in a logical manner and is easy to use. However, photo playback can be confusing as the photos are displayed according to date and by folder. If the date on the camera is wrong, then it will show you a folder of photos from the past first and you'll have to go through all your photos before coming to the latest ones you've taken.

On the underside of the camera is where the battery compartment and memory card slots sit. The WX5 can take either an SD card or a MemoryStick Pro Duo card. A proprietary USB and video output is also present on the bottom of the camera; we think this is a very awkward position for this port and would prefer it to be on the side near the HDMI port.

Conclusion

Overall, the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX5 is a small and stylish looking camera that's capable of capturing crystal clear images. It's great for a wide variety of photography, including landscapes and portraits, and it's decent for macro photography too. You'll also be able to use it to capture 3D images for your Sony 3D TV. We think its high ISO performance is very good for a compact camera and we also like its ability to capture HD video. However, we don't like its controls and we hope these can be made a little more tactile and sturdier in upcoming models.

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Read more on these topics: Sony Cyber-shot, 3D camera, sony, photography, digital cameras

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