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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W380 review




  • Recommended by TR
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W380 front angle


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The new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W380 is the latest in a long line of advanced but easy-to-use ultra compact digital cameras that combine all the latest features and technology with a well-thought-out user interface, superior build quality and class-leading performance. It follows in the footsteps of models such as the W7, W15, W70 and W80, and more recently the W200, W290 and the superb WX1 which I reviewed earlier this year.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W380 front angle

The W380 has a good specification, typical of the latest generation of ultra-compacts. It has a 14/1-megapixel 7.76mm (1/2.3 inch) Super HAD CCD sensor, a high quality Sony G 5x zoom lens equivalent to 24-120mm, and a 6.7cm (2.7 inch) LCD monitor with a resolution of 230,400 dots. Features include 720p HD video recording, advanced nine-point autofocus, optical image stabilisation and Sony's new Sweep Panorama feature. The W380 is one of four very similar camera in the W-series. The W350, W360 and W390 share most of the same features, but with variations such as a 3.0-inch monitor or a 4x zoom lens.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W380 front

Like nearly all of Sony’s compacts the W380 is a good looking camera, and is the build quality is excellent. It has a strong all-aluminium body, and is available in the matt black seen here, as well as red, gold or silver. It is exceptionally small and light even by ultra-compact standards, measuring 91.7 x 51.9 x 19.7mm, and weighing in at just 124g including battery and memory card. Like a few other recent Sony compacts it has a dual-format card slot, capable of accepting either SD/SDHC cards or Sony's own proprietary Memory Stick Pro Duo cards.


July 23, 2010, 3:00 pm

Excellent review as ever Cliff. I've been looking for a compact around that price that performs really well in low-light conditions. Seems like this could be it.


July 23, 2010, 4:42 pm

This camera was also reviewed earlier this year by Mark Goldstein on another site. According to him IQ is disappointing and he posted sample pictures to prove his point.

These pictures were shot mostly under a grey sky. So that may be the difference; or is it sample variaton?

the near side

July 23, 2010, 5:54 pm

Thanks for yet another review. I'm thinking of buying a Sony Wx1 or W380. A modest price difference between these two cameras is not important to me. What are the relative strengths and weaknesses?

Thanks for all the info and entertainment!


July 23, 2010, 6:20 pm

@ruthless - my Fuju F31FD is remarkable is low light. Old now but is still a legend in photo circles for low light


July 23, 2010, 6:23 pm

The reviewer on Pocket-lint complained that the camera has a plastic case and poor build quality as well as poor video quality and excessive noise due to the 14.1 mega-pixel sensor. Was he even looking at the same camera? Picture noise is something that all reviewers seem to complain about as manufacturers cram more pixels into their sensors. Is the Sony better or worse than the competition as this camera might finally tempt me into replacing my ageing Fuji.

Steve 12

July 23, 2010, 8:37 pm


Their review is indeed very different, but their link to purchase the camera (for an amazing £119.99) is actually the W320. So maybe they are reviewing that one with the wrong photo set ? Looking at the sony website does not help in identifying whether the W320 is plastic or not though

snap happy 1

July 25, 2010, 2:01 am

The main difference between the WX1 and W380 is in the sensor. The WX1 has a backlit sensor (Exmor R CMOS) which should help the camera perform better in lowlight. Other features on the WX1 like Handheld Twilight and Anti Motion Blur are also meant to give lower noise and sharper images in low light conditions. Also, the WX1 has a brighter lens at F2.4, which also should help in low light photography.


July 25, 2010, 3:51 am

Great review Cliff, I am usually be the one that criticised Sony for producing inferior cameras, but this time, I think Sony is on the right track.

Especialy the G-Lens, it is an amazing quality glass that produces excellent images; however the sensor is still too small for a 14 megapixel camera, as result in some compression artifacts.

Nevertheless, it is a good effort from Sony.

If Sony decided to put a 1/1.6 sensor on a similar camera with metal body, and supports RAW file format - it would be an awsome combination, and it may even rivals Panasonic LX3.


July 27, 2010, 9:03 pm

I have the same question regarding the wx1 vs 380 - saw people saying wx1 got issues with flash at 24mm - do you guys confirm? also trusted reveiw seems to say picture quality of wx1 is inferior to 380 - however wx1 features looks better (cmos and other options) - any thoughts ?

snap happy 1

August 6, 2010, 5:22 pm

My preference is WX1 as I think the backlit sensor helps in low light photography. If you're not in a hurry to purchase, Sony is about to launch the WX5 in September, which is the newer version of WX1.


September 24, 2011, 12:18 am

If you get a good price on the W380 take it. A phenomenol camera the size of a bank card that in good daylight not only matches the LX5 and S95 in many areas but can go head to head with APS dSLRs for sheer detail capturing power. The f2.4 24mm wide angle lens is superb - with only a tad of softness at the corners. Super fast focussing in any light (or not light even) but with a slow shot-to-shot time which may be a limiting factor for some. I shoot with the 16:9 format which gives 11 megapixel resolution - files that make terrific 14" wide prints and even look pretty good at 19". The build quality is top drawer and the sleek design is smart. All in all something quite amazing in a form factor this small.

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