So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W570 camera
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W570 review: A tiny camera that's adequate, but nothing special
- Small, simple menu system, f/2.6 lens
- Poor shutter button, somewhat muddy and noisy image quality
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 is small and inconspicuous. But with such a small size comes compromise: It's uncomfortable to use and its image quality is merely adequate.
Price$ 249.00 (AUD)
Sony's Cyber-Shot DSC-W570 isn't the company's slimmest camera (for example, the older TX9 is slimmer), but it sure is small. It's approximately the size of a flip-phone (anyone remember those?), yet it packs a 16-megapixel CCD sensor and a 5x optical zoom lens with a range of 25-125mm. However, to keep the camera this small compromises in usability have been made and the W570 can be uncomfortable to use.
The metal body of the W570 is only 91mm wide, 52mm tall, and 19mm thick. It weighs about 115g and it can be carried with you just about anywhere — it's very discreet. Its controls are basic and it doesn't have much in the way of manual features. You can select Program mode or a specific scene mode from the main menu, but for the most part it's easier to just put it in 'easy' or 'intelligent auto' mode and let the camera decide on what scene is required for your shot.
The quality of the shots taken by the W570 is adequate. Images in our tests had a somewhat muddy look to them when we scrutinised them and noise was also noticeable in dark areas. Some chromatic aberration was present in high-contrast areas, too. The imperfections probably won't be noticeable if you view the photos on a small size on your computer, but they will show up if you zoom in or crop them. Furthermore, because the camera decides on the exposure settings automatically, shots taken in bright sunlight can come out looking blown out.
The lens has a wide f/2.6 aperture and motion stabilisation, which means that the W570 should be suitable for taking shots in low-light situations, but it won't work wonders. Shots taken at 1/10sec shutter speed (as decided by the camera) showed noticeable blurring, and when the ISO speed was boosted to 400 or more, noise and blemishes became more noticeable. You'll still either need to use the flash or a tripod when taking photos in dark environments.
You get plenty of modern conveniences to help you take photos that are in focus all the time, including face recognition, face priority and motion tracking. Face detection also works in timer mode, and you can set it so that it takes a picture when it detects one face or two faces. A smile shutter is present and it has three levels of sensitivity. To play with most of these features, you have to venture in to the main menu, but it's not a hard one to navigate — there aren't that many options in it. We're not fans of the camera's controls. The zoom buttons are where your thumb should be to hold the camera steady, and they can be awkward the first few times you use them; the shutter button is almost flush with the body and very shallow. You can barely feel the mid-step, which means it's very easy to take a shot without it being in focus (despite all the focus aids that we mentioned above). Ultimately, this shutter button is very annoying and it contributes greatly to our opinion of this camera being uncomfortable to use — you really need a very soft touch in order to use it properly. We'd prefer a nice round shutter button with a zoom ring around it, similar to the Cyber-shot DSC-WX7.
Pictures can be framed using the 2.7in screen, which like most compact camera LCD screens can be a nightmare to view in bright outdoor conditions, but even indoors its quality isn't great. If you're not framing shots at eye level, then the screen will look washed out and lack contrast.
Other features of the Cyber-Shot W570 include HD movie mode, sweeping panorama and built-in guides. But overall, it's not an impressive camera, even for its $250 price tag. We think it's hard to use and its picture quality isn't as good as what we've seen from other Cyber-shots, such as the more expensive WX7.
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