The Sony Cybershot DSC-W150 with its 8.1 megapixel sensor and 30mm-150mm (equivalent) 5X zoom lens is an easy to operate camera that produces quality images, has features that one would expect only to find in more expensive cameras like optical image stabilization, an orientation sensor, 2.7” 230,000 dot LCD, and two 30 fps movie modes. All this and the low cost makes it my Best-in-Class pick.
My Best In Class Pick
Sony Cybershot DSC-W150
It is refreshing sometimes to come across a reasonably priced camera without a lot of extraneous bells and whistles that produces good pictures without a lot of muss and fuss. The Sony Cybershot DSC-W150 is just such a camera. Starting with a compact, lightweight metal body with well placed, easy to use controls and a huge 2.7” LCD, Sony added an 8.1 effective megapixel CCD and a excellent Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 5.0-25.0mm f3.3-5.2 (30mm-150mm, 35mm equivalent) 5X zoom lens with built-in image stabilization. With shutter speeds from 1 to 1/1600 second, ISOs from 80 to 3200, and a built-in flash, there are few normal shooting situations that the W150 can’t take on with ease.
Image quality is good overall, but as with all small, high density image sensors noise is a real problem even at the lower ISOs. However, Sony has controlled it well in the W150 with only a hint noticeable at 200. At 400, images are still good with noise apparent, but not objectionable, and only a slight loss of sharpness. At 800, noise is quite noticeable, but images are still moderately sharp and usable. 1600 and 3200 are very, very noisy with image smear and extreme loss of fine detail and sharpness and, thus, should only be considered for emergencies. One other thing worth noting: images, regardless of ISO, are undersharpened directly out of the camera, probably, assuming final adjustments will be done in post processing. If you intend to print direct out of camera, you’ll need to adjust the default sharpening to a higher value.
The W150 has two MPEG movie resolutions: 640x480 and 320x240, both up to 30 fps. Image quality is good and the camera’s built-in microphone works well, but the lens is not zoomable while recording. So, you’ll need to pick your focal length before starting.
The Sony Cybershot DSC-W150 is a great little camera for the money. It even has a decent Macro mode and Manual Focus. It has all the image parameter settings that the more expensive models do, but for the most part the defaults are fine. It is the perfect camera for those who only occasionally need an easy to operate, inexpensive camera.
Comparison with Sony Cybershot DSC-W170
The Sony Cybershot DSC-W170 with its 10.1 megapixel CCD is a slight feature improvement over the W150, but is essentially the same camera, otherwise, with the same image quality. It just costs a little more.
- +Optical Image Stabilization (in-the-lens)
- +Dynamic Range Optimization
- +Manual focus option
- +USB 2.0 Interface
- +Battery life
- -Objectionable noise above ISO 400
- -Menus too complex
- -No Live View
Where to buy
Sony Cybershot DSC-W150
Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices
|Product||Sony Cybershot DSC-W150||Sony Cybershot DSC-W170|
Close Sensor Type The image sensor converts the captured light into electrical signals. There are two main types of image sensors, CCD (charge-coupled device) and CMOS (complimentary metal-oxide semiconductor). Neither technology has a clear advantage in image quality. CMOS can potentially be implemented with fewer components, use less power and provide data faster than CCDs. CCD is a more mature technology and is in most respects the equal of CMOS.
|Super HAD CCD||Super HAD CCD|
Close Effective Sensor Resolution The Effective Sensor Resolution tells you the total number of pixels that are recorded when you take a picture. The units are MP, which stands for megapixels or millions of pixels. For outstanding fine compression prints, 3MP is required for 5x7's, 7.1MP for 8x10's, and 10.9MP for 11x14's. The effective sensor resolution is only one of many important factors that will determine the quality of the photograph when displayed or printed at different sizes.
|8.1 megapixels||10.1 megapixels|
|Shutter Lag Time (pre-focused)||0.04 sec||0.01 sec|
Close Shutter Lag Time (including auto-focus time) This is the time from fully pressing the shutter button until the image is captured. Longer shutter lag times make it more difficult to capture the desired moment.
|0.3 - 0.6 sec||0.4 sec|
|Power to First Shot Time||2.5 sec||2.8 sec|
Close Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent) The 35 mm equivalent focal length is a measure that indicates the angle of view of a particular combination of a camera lens and the sensor size. The term originates from the time when the vast majority of photography was done with 35 mm film. On any 35 mm film camera, a 30 mm or less lens is considered a wide-angle lens.
|30 mm||28 mm|
Close Max Focal Length (35 mm equivalent) The 35 mm equivalent focal length is a measure that indicates the angle of view of a particular combination of a camera lens and the sensor size. The term originates from the time when the vast majority of photography was done with 35 mm film. Larger max focal lengths make distant objects appear more magnified.
|150 mm||140 mm|
|Image Stabilization Type||Optical (lens shift)||Optical (lens shift)|
|Min ISO Setting||80||80|
|Max ISO Setting||3200||3200|
Close LCD Screen Size The LCD Screen Size is the length of the miniature LCD monitor measured diagonally.
|2.7 in.||2.7 in.|
|LCD Screen Resolution||230000 pixels||230000 pixels|
|Computer Interface||USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (480 Mbit/s)||USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (480 Mbit/s)|
|Size (W x H x D)||3.7 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.||3.7 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.|
|Weight (with batteries)||6.1 oz||6.0 oz|
Sony Cybershot DSC-W170
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W170 is essentially the same as the W150 with the same Carl Zeiss 5X zoom lens, 2.7” LCD, features and image quality, but with a slightly larger 10.1 megapixel image sensor and slightly higher price. The larger sensor gives the camera a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 28mm to 140mm.
Where to buy
Sony Cybershot DSC-W170
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