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Sony Cyber-shot WX5 - Performance and Results

By Gavin Stoker

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

We found that the differences between shots taken in Superior Auto Adjustment mode and regular auto adjustment mode on the Sony WX5 were quite subtle. If anything the Superior mode has the more digitally 'processed' look of the two. Also, because detail is maintained in both shadows and highlights in Superior mode and shoehorned into the same image, the overall result can appear a bit flat and lacking in contrast. For us then, regular 'intelligent auto adjustment' often produced more natural looking results that were, in fact, truer to the scene at the time.

As regards video capture, as well as being pleased to find HDMI output on such a diminutive camera, we were also pleased to find that the optical zoom can be adjusted mid recording, and that any mechanical noise as it makes its adjustments is so quiet as to be almost unnoticeable. Add to this the ability to record stereo sound at the touch of a button, and as long as you've got an up to date PC that can handle the AVCHD files the WX5 produces, it's an able tool for those who just want to grab the odd 'movie' clip occasionally.

Although images would preferably be slightly sharper, the naturalistic/slightly warm colour tones that the WX5 delivered can be adjusted in Photoshop to produce a result fairly close to what we desired - although depending on which mode we were using they were occasionally washed out and flat.

Praise goes to Sony for at least trying to push the envelope of the kind of quality that can be achieved with a humble point and shoot compact. Even if the familiar pitfalls of all digital cameras - such as pixel fringing and fall off of focus towards the corners at maximum wide angle setting - still make an appearance in our test shots here, and we'd recommend sticking to ISO400 or lower if you want clean images. Although even the top whack ISO3200 setting is clearer and more defined than most.

The WX5 is not perfect, but at this price at least it's perfectly acceptable. Though it didn't set our increasingly small world alight, we're happy to report that there's more to the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX5 than just a pretty fascia. It's class act, offering most of the latest must-haves (or at least from 2010's vantage point) in a package that's definitely pocket friendly.

As we've noted, if it's the 3D aspect that's drawing you in, the Fuji W3 has a lot more wow factor and delivers 'true' stereoscopic images rather than software enhanced versions that show you whether they're working before you press the shutter release. If instead it's the Exmor R sensor and promise of DSLR-style imagery, well, don't believe the hype. A high performance compact such as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 or Samsung EX1 would be a better bet for the photo enthusiast who values pocket-sized portability as much as quality.

Verdict

The WX5 delivers plenty of bang for a modest buck, so in that respect any potential purchaser will be sure to find some aspect of its performance to clasp to their bosom, if they can just ignore the slightly more gimmicky aspects. Manage that and the WX5 is one of those cameras with which you can't go far wrong.

Ian Syme

February 21, 2011, 10:54 pm

Difficult to say what's the worst aspect of this camera....... and it is most certainly far from fault free! The very poor and at times seemingly out of focus shots (surely not from a professional reviewer!). Very soft looking shot of the swan and views of the bridge. Please oh please change your set up for iso noise. It's the pits.

Ian Syme

February 21, 2011, 11:03 pm

I take back what I say about the sharpness of the shots, something has gone wrong in the downsizing for the web. The clickable shots are much better when viewed normally, they only appear so poor when viewed within the web site. Bit of a knee jerk reaction when I first looked at the site. Sorry!

Clovis

February 22, 2011, 7:40 am

Allright, the first thing I have to say right off the bat is that I find Mr Stokers' reviews detailed, well-thought and well put-together. His writing is clear and concise.


Hoewever:


The ISO test shots are very disapointing. I've said it before, Ian has said it above, and a whole crowd of viewers has commented on this already. They stick out like a very sore thumb from an otherwise very useful and helpful review. So why the sheer bloodymindedness of totally ignoring input (which intends to be helpful) from your readers? Should we assume you're Vogons and just give up on reading your reviews?

mistrip

February 22, 2011, 6:35 pm

In fairness to the reviewer I think the subject in the ISO shots has been changed to the coloured cars from the brown ones, which was one of the original complaints i think, so there is obviously some notice of feedback going on. It also probably takes a fair bit of time to find new subjects for test shots that will satisfy all.

Ed

February 22, 2011, 6:39 pm

Hi guys,





Hadn't seen your most recent comments. I will again ask Gavin to improve his choice of subject.

Terry 10

February 25, 2011, 10:34 pm

I have to agree. PLEASE CHANGE THE ISO SHOT TEST IMAGE. It really is rubbish. Who photographs or is familiar with plastic toys. Please do the ISO tests with an image with greater detail than plastic toys.

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