Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W55
- Good image quality, small design
- Slow burst mode
A solid all around compact camera, Sony's Cyber-Shot DSC-W55 will appeal to users looking for a no-fuss entry into the digital photography market.
Price$ 449.00 (AUD)
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Sony's latest entry into the compact camera space, the Cyber-Shot DSC-W55, is a solid all around camera. Unlike it's compatriot, the Cyber-Shot DSC-G1S, it doesn't have any stand out features, but the reasonably robust feature set combined with the petite design and good quality prints make it a good choice for novice users after an all purpose digital camera.
We used our standard array of test shots and our Imatest software to put the W55 through its paces, and it did quite well. In our sharpness test, its 7.2 megapixel sensor scored 1402, which is a tiny bit below expectation, but not drastically so. Our shots reflected this, with clean edges and only minor traces of fringing along some edges. The pictures are clear enough to print and small and medium magnifications, which is fine considering the target market of this unit.
Its chromatic aberration performance was quite strong, with Imatest giving it a score of 0.081%. This is a better result than much of the competition, most of which score over 0.1%. We saw some small signs of blue and red haloing along points of high contrast, however it was minimal and shouldn't be an issue of concern.
As usual, Sony has ensured the W55 handles colour reproduction excellently. Its Imatest score of 6.63 is a brilliant result which puts it towards the top of this category. Reds tended to be a little oversaturated and all the primary colours were vividly represented, but this is the standard with entry level consumer cameras, and overall we were very pleased with this model's colour balance.
In our last test for image noise, the W55 also impressed, with a score of 0.58% at ISO 100. Anything below 0.7% is a great result, so this model did well here. The noise gradually ramped up as we increased the sensitivity, but even up to ISO 400 the shots were more than fine for small, 4in x 6in prints.
We also ran our usual speed tests, and here the W55 achieved about average results. Its 0.07 second shutter lag is around average, as is the 1.9 second start up time. Meanwhile the 1.3 second shot-to-shot time is a little on the speedy side.
The feature set is fairly impressive. There are the usual collection of white balance presets (no custom mode), ISO sensitivities up to 1000, and focus and metering options. However, you can also play around with the image contrast and sharpness, or pick a colour mode such as black and white or sepia. The burst mode was a little disappointing, only operating at two frames per second. There is a 'multi burst' mode, which captures a ton of pictures extremely fast, but it tiles them together into a single shot which isn't particularly useful for making prints.
Aesthetically, the W55 is a little plain, with a brushed silver chassis that hardly stands out from the crowd. Regardless, the simple design should please some people and it certainly doesn't look bad. Also note, other colours are available, including pink and black, which adds a touch a flare. It has a sturdy metal construction that feels like it can take a few knocks. As usual with Sony's W series of cameras, this model is quite small, measuring 88.9mm x 56.1mm x 22.9mm and weighing 116g. This makes it great to throw in a pocket or bag and forget about.
The controls are simple but effective, with a function wheel and directional pad handling most of the work. Novice users should have little trouble with the interface as everything is laid out in a clear, logical fashion.
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