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It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed any of Sony’s compact cameras, so I’ve got a bit of catching up to do. In fact make that a lot of catching up. Sony’s range of Cyber-shot compact and super-zoom cameras now consists of no less than eighteen models, with four new additions announced just this week, ranging from 6-megapixel ultra-slim entry-level models all the way up to the impressive semi-pro R1, with its 10-megapixel sensor and 24-120mm lens.
About half way up the field you’ll find the DSC-W70, a mid-priced, mid-spec pocket compact with a 3x zoom lens and a 7.2-megapixel CCD. It was launched last year and currently has a list price of £248.99, but unsurprisingly it is available for considerably less. The best current online price is £152.70. Comparable cameras include the Casio Exilim EX-Z70 (£136), Fuji FinePix F30 (£154), HP Photosmart M627 (£159), Olympus mju 700 (£132), Pentax Optio S7 (£130) and Samsung L70 (£165.50), so the W70 sits pretty much in the middle of its price band as well.
As befits its mid-range status, the W70 is a fairly unremarkable looking camera. It has a functional but not unattractive aluminium body with nice brushed finish and chrome trim, and the usual selection of external controls. Measuring 88.9 x 57.1 x 22.9mm it is slim and compact, and weighing in at 127g empty or 157g ready to shoot it is nice and light, but in neither case exceptionally so. Build quality is excellent, and although the aluminium body doesn’t feel as solid as the steel shell of a Canon IXUS or Casio Exilim, it is still sturdy enough to be carried around in a coat pocket.
Handling is good, with plenty of room on the back of the camera and a small raised feature on the front to give a nice secure grip. The zoom control around the shutter button is quick and responsive.