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Sony Cyber-shot WX5 review




Our Score:


User Score:


  • Built quality
  • Sweep panorama mode works well
  • Good value


  • No in-camera 3D preview
  • Slow memory card access

Key Features

  • 3D capture
  • Panoramic mode
  • Full HD video recording
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £223.81

Available in smart-looking brushed silver or sophisticated matt black incarnations, the pocket-sized 12.2-effective megapixel Cyber-shot DSC-WX5 was much trumpeted on its release in late 2010 for being one of only two Cyber-shots to feature Sony's attention-grabbing 3D Sweep Panorama mode. This merges up to 100 separate images captured in a rapid fire 'sweep' of the camera into one elongated image.

But, in practice, though you can shoot with 3D in mind, for which the camera generates an MPO image file (as opposed to a JPEG in 2D mode), you can't get the stereoscopic effect on the actual camera screen like you can with the 'true 3D' Fujifilm Finepix W3. You'll need a 3D TV set proper to get the benefit; the alternative, if you don't, being to shoot a 2D version of the same scene, of course. Both options are presented on the halfpenny sized shooting mode wheel at the WX5's rear. The results are both fun and effective, although we wouldn't recommend you buy the camera for this software-enhanced feature alone.

This being a Sony camera you can expect to pay a slight premium. The cheapest online deals don't vary much from what it will cost you in your local Sony centre - £229 at the time of writing (£100 cheaper than the twin lens and sensor-incorporating Fuji W3). At that price it actually feels very fair value, resting solidly in the palm, despite being marginally shorter in width than a business card. It's pretty much direct competition for Casio's Exilim EX-ZR10, with which it shares a very similar design aesthetic and headline resolution, although overall the Sony is smaller by about half an inch in width. Official proportions are 91.7mm x 51.9mm x 21.5mm and the body-only weight is just 130g.

Among the WX5's other plus points are that solid-feel metal body, a 5x optical zoom - equivalent to 24-120mm in 35mm film terms - to pull distant subjects closer, a high 460,800-dot resolution 2.8-inch LCD, AF tracking, and 10 frames per second burst shooting (with dedicated drive mode button), plus a bright f/2.4 lens. It also features the increasingly ubiquitous camcorder-style one-touch video record button at the back for the near instantaneous capture of Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels clips, no matter which alternative stills mode might be selected on its separate shooting mode dial at the time.

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!


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.


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?


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.


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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