Friday, August 15, 2008

One camera - so many different opinions (Sony DSC-W300)

It seems that the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W300 may be one of the under-appreciated miracles in point-and-shoot cameras. Or then there is something wrong with those who test cameras.

Browsing through the list of camera reviews at Digital Camera Tracker, it seems that every reviewer has reviewed a completely different camera.

Of course, a camera which has a 13.6 megapixel sensor may sound like a sure recipe for bad image quality, but in this case we may have an exception. The camera has a 1/1.7 inch sensor, which explains somewhat the good image quality, but still this is a suprise.

Some reviewers complain about the average or below average picture quality, while others say that this is the best compact camera in terms of low-light (high ISO) capabilities, up to ISO 400-800 and even ISO 1600.

My theory is that this camera separated those reviewers who actually know about photography from those who just point and shoot. For example, Luminous Landscape, dpexpert and Imaging Resource note the excellent picture quality. I find hard not to trust these reviewers.

On the other hand, when a reviewer complains of "darker that average" pictures and gives a grade of 7/10, I very much think that the problem may be in the reviewer, not in the camera.

Even though the W300 has only a standard 35-105 mm equivalent 3x zoom and slow startup and shutdown, these are minor blemishes. Focusing, shutter lag and shot-to-shot speed seem to be excellent. In fact, I must say that this camera got me really interested. The camera seems to be also extremely durable, so it could be a good replacement to my Canon Ixus 400.

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