Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1
Clever compact with painless panoramas
Review Sony is renowned for its stylish compacts, and the DSC-WX1 is no exception. It not only looks smart, but contains some interesting technology too. At around £300, the DSC-WX1 is aimed at the top-end of the compact market, but do its features and performance justify the price?
Broaden your horizons with Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-WX1
The DSC-WX1 is one of the first Sony cameras to feature a new Exmor R CMOS chip, which is back illuminated to improve low-light performance and reduce noise – or so it says on the tin. The 1/2.4in sensor offers 10.2Mp (effective) performance. Other features include a 5x optical zoom in the shape of an f/2.4-5.9, 4.25-21.25mm Sony G lens. This equates to a 24-120mm lens on a 35mm camera, so you can get a decent wide angle performance with this camera.
The DSC-WX1 also offers an ISO range of 160-3200, shutter speed range 2-1/1600sec. HD movie recording is has a 1280 x 720 resolution and is captured at 30fps in the MPEG-4/H.264 AVC format. And there’s more, including a continuous shooting speed of 10fps in full resolution. That kind of performance would be impressive on a DSLR; on a compact, it’s simply mind blowing.
Twilight Hand-Held and Anti Motion Blur are shooting modes which fire off six frames and combine them to improve picture quality when shooting in low light without flash, and last but not least, there’s Sony’s Sweep Panorama system. We first saw this on the DSC-HX1, and it’s a neat way of taking panoramic shots.
Instead of having to take a shot, align the next one, take another shot, and so on, you just press the shutter and pan, and the camera automatically stitches the frames together. The shooting angle for panoramas has been increased to 256 degrees when panning the horizontally, so you can really pack a lot of scenery into your shots. You also get Sony’s Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation system.
Multiple shooting modes, but no manual control
So far, so good, but the DSC-WX1 is lumbered with a couple of proprietary features. While world plus dog has opted for SD memory cards, Sony insists on sticking with its Memory Stick format. What’s more, you’ll need miniature Memory Stick Duo cards for this camera. And a full-size Memory Stick adaptor if you want to use the Duo cards in a card reader or adapter (no surprise that Sony provides neither card nor adaptor with the DSC-WX1). Oh, but you do get 11MB of internal memory – enough for two full resolution images.
you were one of those who didn't think the Amstrad PCW using wierdo 3.0" flippy disks was so much of a problem, when all the rest of the world was transitioning from 5.25 (let's say... smartmedia) to 3.5" (SD)? Ironically the latter being a Sony invention.
Apart from that, they've got previous, unfortunately. World + dog using cassette, CDR, DAT or DCC, before moving on to HDD/flash-based MP3? Sony thinks, hmm ... let's try Minidisc. Then MDLP. I even fell for that one for a while. Then the PSP discs... oh dear.
Interoperability is key, that's why it's been so hard and taken so long to ALMOST kill 3.5 floppies and tape - and VHS - yet, I still keep a small emergency stock of each, and appropriate kit, as they may turn up useful for communicating stuff to luddites, such is their ubiquity and endurance. I'll probably do the same for SD cards when the time comes that they become supposedly obsolete in the eyes of the Braying Hordes That Be.
(yet, no-one uses 8-track, or Beta, or 3-inch discs, or MD any more, and I won't be bothered about keeping any Memory Stick remnants when I've finally packed on my last old Sony phone)
Re: No SD Card, no Problem.
SD isn't proprietary - anyone can license the spec and use it. Ditto HD DVD while it was still worth doing so.
I have a Sony camera that uses Memory Stick - every other gadget I use has an SD card slot. MS only works if you buy Sony kit and no one else's.
Sony loving is so 1982...
Oh wait, it's made by Sony. Of course.
Yes, of course. Sony made the only MP3 player that didn't play MP3s too. Are you going to tell me I took mine back to the shop because I like bitching about Sony?
No, my friend, I bitch about Sony because they deserve it: they want to bully the world into doing things their way. Well they may have a few gimps who like it, but the rest of us who have a choice in cameras, music players, laptops, PDAs and phones will go with the solution that (and I repeat for emphasis) everyone else uses.
"what reader doesn't have a MS slot?"
That would be the small laptop I carry on trips. It only has a SD slot and it's nice not having to need the extra reader and cable.
Bloody Sony keep letting suits shoot them in the feet. Did they not learn anything by losing most of the walkman market share in the era of mp3 players?
Every time you force a special magic Sony format on people, it's a massive turnoff. Memory stick=instant fail. It matters less when there's no alternative (like with the PSP), but there are rather a lot of consumer-grade compact digitals out there, so it's harder to get away with.
Shame, really. It has some good points. I'd prefer manual control and shooting in raw (and before any dillhole chimes in that you don't get that on compacts, both my pocket-sized compacts have manual control and shoot raw). However, even without those, it would be an OK device for a lot of casual users.
However, dearest darling Sony, quit it with the bloody Memory Stick already. I was bored of that on my old Transmeta-based Vaio, years ago, it's getting old now.