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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300 Review

Mahananda Bohidar | Updated on March 10, 2018

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While more and more people are now investing in a beginner’s DSLR, even though they mostly end up using it on Auto, the market for compact cameras still seems to be thriving. How else do you explain every major manufacturer including at least one digicam in a new lineup of products? Among a recently released bunch of handsets from Sony, was the compact Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300 that we picked and tried out for over a week. The WX300 is built to be compact, like most other pocket digicams are, and feels especially light. We got a pretty, red one, so it was a refreshing departure from the usual monotones.

Construct

The first thing that strikes you is how many controls and knobs Sony has fit in the otherwise compact body. On the top bezel rests the zoom toggle button, the centre of which doubles up as the shutter. To its right is the toggle button for various modes – Program, Panorama, Movie, 3D and so on.

To help frame your pictures, you have a 3-inch display on the rear of the camera. The display is bright enough for us to use it in direct sunlight. Next to the screen, there’s another bunch of buttons that you need to get used to. Video recording gets it own independent control, despite being present on the toggle as well. There’s a dedicated playback button as is found on most digicams, same goes for a button to delete pictures.

Imaging

The Cyber-shot WX300 comes with an 18.2-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor. Highlighting the fact that it’s not always the megapixels but how receptive to light the sensor is that matters, Sony claims to have used a unique back-illuminated technology that doubles this sensitivity in order to take better low-light pictures. We tried the digicam out in a dim room, to see how well this claim holds and were pleasantly surprised by the results delivered. While the pictures turn out to be a bit grainy, they did capture the image well without there being a bright source of light.

As the digicam is targeted towards users who probably do not want complete control over the clicking process and settings, the toggle is where you’ll find yourself going to often. It’s a pity then that the toggle wheel takes more than just a push of a finger to move. Packing in too many controls in a rather small-ish body means the user has less space to manoeuvre, and it doesn’t help that the buttons feel a bit tight. Anyway, you can try out the different modes when you first start using it and then stick to the best one for most situations.

While reviewing the pictures on the camera itself, it doesn’t give you the kind of info that a lot of other budget digicams do. For example, usually after you snap a picture the playback mode will highlight areas that have been under- or over-exposed. This is missing in the Sony WX300.

We were pretty pleased with the overall image quality that the WX300 managed to deliver. The colour saturation was lovely and no matter what mode we were on, the camera always delivered well in this aspect. Under normal lighting conditions, the images were also reasonably sharp, even when we had zoomed in quite a bit. The zoom on the camera is actually one of its USPs. The digicam is capable of 20x zoom and the image quality even with on full zoom was pretty impressive. No blurs, no noise. The internal image stabilisation on the camera always seemed to be present by default. Kudos to Sony for having incorporated such an efficient zoom. This is a big plus for those who want to buy a camera to take along on their vacations or on short trips.

Those looking to get a bit adventurous on an otherwise-in-control digicam might find the lack of any Manual or Priority Mode disappointing. What it has instead is little mercies such as the background De-Focus mode, which is basically a fixed low-aperture mode. It works well enough to keep beginners happy.

With the video shooting mode on, the Sony Cyber-shot WX300 lets you shoot videos in Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). In the video mode, there’s a proprietary Optical SteadyShot feature that works to minimise shakes and this was evident in the couple of videos we captured on the camera. The results were good both indoors and outdoors.

In the age of connected tech, the Cyber-shot WX300 wins itself some good cred because of its built-in Wi-Fi capabilities. You can go to the settings, turn the Wi-Fi on, connect to your network and then remotely operate the digicam through your smartphone or tablet. You can also transfer pics to your phone through the same network and in case you cannot wait to share that new snap of yours on Facebook the moment you took it, this is when the Wi-Fi comes handy.

Verdict

With a market more than flooded with options when it comes to budget digicams, it takes a couple of extra features to differentiate yourself from the competition. And thankfully, the DSC WX300 seems to have that extra edge.

With a decent build quality, funky colours and a pretty satisfactory imaging experience, the WX 300 has a lot going for it. The small niggles such as the tight, cramped controls, and the lack of any manual settings is something that might not go down well with experienced users but should be okay for a casual user to overlook.

Rs 19,990

Love – Good picture quality, impressive zoom capability

Hate – Cramped buttons, no manual controls

mahananda. bohidar@thehindu. co. in

Published on June 26, 2013

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