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Sony have this to
say about the camera:
"Get it all from one
powerful point and shoot. The DSC-W130 Cyber-shot® digital camera
delivers Smile Shutter technology for automatically capturing smiles as
they happen and lets you share them beautifully in HD. You can expect
stunning detail, thanks to 8.1 megapixel resolution and a Carl Zeiss®
5x optical zoom lens. Plus, Sony's Face Detection technology controls
focus, exposure, and color on up to eight individual faces, resulting
in more accurate, natural skin tones. Whether displayed on the 2.5"
LCD screen or your HDTV, the DSC-W130 conveys your vision with precision
You can find more information on their website.
The Camera: a
visual tour: (Photos of the camera taken with the Canon
Powershot SX100 IS)
Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax PC-550 35mm film camera - a medium/compact sized 35mm film camera.
Average box contents - a large memory card would be nice, as would a case and is recommended purchases.
The menu system is initially a little confusing - with the menu button
providing access to a number of photo shooting settings in photo mode,
and a home button giving access to all menu options (for example playback,
slideshow, setup etc). From the menu button you can then go into another
menu to alter more advanced shooting options. After a short while it becomes
fairly easy to use the menus, and the playback menu has some interesting
and fun features - the retouch menu lets you do all the normal things
like correct for red-eye and trim the pictures, but it also lets you add
effects such as apply unsharp mask, soft focus, partial colour, fisheye
lens, cross filter, radial blur, and retro (lomo-esque effect with darkened
/ blurred corners).
Picture Size / Quality: The camera lets you choose the image size (8m, 5m, 3m, VGA), and aspect ratio (4:3, 3:2 at 7mp, 16:9+ at 6mp, 16:9 at 2mp), but doesn't let you choose how much compression is applied to the images. Higher quality images take a large amount of memory, so a high capacity memory card is definitely recommended, unless you're prepared to sacrifice image size to fit more pictures in memory. There is a very good choice of image sizes and aspect ratios.
Battery usage: Battery life is rated at 370 shots - however I was only able to take 235 shots before the battery went flat, this is disappointing considering the claims.
Memory cards: A large memory card is relatively cheap, and highly recommended. I would recommend, at a bare minimum, a 1gb memory card and preferably a 2gb memory card, or larger. The larger the memory card, the more photos you will be able to take. If you are likely to go on holiday then the largest memory card you can afford would definitely be worth investing in, as you don't always know when you will next be at a computer. You can use Sony Memory Stick Pro DUO cards. Listed below are links to memory cards that will work with the Sony Cybershot W130:
Find the latest
prices for Sony Memory Stick PRO Duo memory cards at Amazon.co.uk:
1gb (1000mb): £15,
2gb (2000mb): £15,
4gb (4000mb): £26
Speed: The camera is fairly quick to switch on and take photos, from off, to taking a photo in 2.0 seconds. Focusing seemed quick, except in very low light - this takes a little longer to focus depending on the subject. The playback mode is very quick. The camera shutter response seemed instant when pre-focused responding in 0.1 seconds or less - and shot to shot time was fairly quick, with a delay of around 1.5 seconds between shots without flash. The flash recharge time was slow allowing a shot to be taken every 3.2 - 3.4 seconds. Continuous shooting is quite good offering 2 fps for around 20 frames at the highest resolution until there is some slowdown. The cameras menus seemed quick.
Ease of use: The camera is easy to use, especially in the AUTO mode or Easy mode and has a number of scene modes that helps get good shots. The face detection and smile shutter can help capture some great photos of people smiling. The controls on the back of the camera are quite straightforward, and it's easy to switch modes using the clear mode dial. The menus are responsive and are also easy to use, and the options are big enough and easy enough to see clearly. The modes are fairly easy to access, mainly thanks to the large screen, and a lot of the options can be accessed using the buttons on the back. It's also easy to see when photos are in focus. The screen is easy to see in bright sunlight.
Ergonomics and Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The layout of the buttons and controls are good, with the most commonly used options reachable with your right hand. The zoom control and shutter release is good, although could be better, as the shutter release seems a little small sometimes. The mode dial is positioned well making it easy to switch modes with your thumb, and the menu button gives quick access to your favourite settings. I thought the camera felt good for a compact camera, although there is very little in the way of a hand grip at the front of the camera and I would recommend the use of the wrist strap. The camera feels well made, and quite robust. The camera is quite easy to hold despite the small size, fits very easily into pockets, and looks good, with a premium styled body available in a number of colours (black, silver, or pink). The buttons can sometimes seem a little bit small.
Image Quality: Here are some real world sample photos taken in various settings, such as Inside, Outside, Macro, to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Larger versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the Sony Cybershot W130 Sample Photo Gallery!
Inside: The camera has good colour - It took a good "Heather and Flower" photo - there is almost no red-eye in the photo. It has a fairly good flash, and copes fairly well with group photos, and there is little red-eye in group photos. On AUTO ISO, the ISO setting was quite high, however noise was acceptable, and better results may be possible by using the lowest ISO setting, especially if the subject is close to the camera. The camera did a good job at focusing most of the time in low-light, although struggled in very dark situations. There is an LED illuminator that helps focus in low light.
ISO Noise Test: Noise: Noise is generally a bad thing - it removes detail, and gives a grainy effect over the image. With digital cameras noise can be a real problem as digital camera noise is often made out of blue, red or green dots. As the ISO setting increases, pictures tend to have more noise. Noise is most noticeable in dark areas of photos. The camera has an Automatic mode for ISO levels (ranging from ISO 100 - ISO3200), and manual ISO settings (ISO: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, ISO3200).
Below you'll find the noise test image, plus actual pixel crops, viewable at 100%, from the image taken at different ISO settings, compared with the 8 megapixel Canon Powershot A590 IS, and 12 megapixel Fujifilm FinePix F100fd.
ISO Noise Test Photos - Flash is off. Sony Cybershot W130 on the left, Canon Powershot A590 IS in the middle, Fujifilm FinePix F100fd on the right. Any tonal difference is due to white balance or lighting / metering differences.
Noise results: The Sony features lower noise than the Canon, and has useable images upto ISO400 / ISO 800 - after this images lack colour and noise can dramatically reduce detail in the images. The Canon has the highest noise of the three, however images are useable upto ISO400 and tend to keep good detail - after this noise is excessive and detail is lost. The Fuji has some of the smoothest images and has useable images upto ISO800 - after this images lose colour and noise dramatically reduces detail in the images, especially at ISO3200. It's worth noting that the F100fd often had to use a higher ISO setting to match the other camera's shutter speed, for example, where the Canon would shoot at 1/8th shutter speed at ISO400, the F100fd would have to be set to ISO800 to match the shutter speed.
Image Stabilisation: These cameras all feature real image stabilisation, such as optical image stabilisation in the Sony W130, and Canon A590, and anti-shake sensor in the Fuji F100fd. This feature helps reduce image blur due to low light or long zoom photography. Examples showing this feature switched on and off can be seen below.
With image stabilisation switched on the images are much sharper and clearer, and is much more likely to come out blur free, especially in low light, when using the zoom or when using slow shutter speeds. All camera's systems appear to work well, and it's good to see that this feature is becoming the norm with digital cameras.
Outside: The camera has quite rich, saturated colours. There was good detail, and the camera took a number of very pleasing images outside, with good contrast, with very little or no chromatic aberations and purple fringing. In general 'normal' quality jpeg artefacts are not easily seen, however areas with strong contrasts benefit from use of the highest quality setting. Images are slightly soft, but nothing too worrying.
Zoom: This lens provides a 4x optical zoom starting at 32mm equivalent which is great for 'normal' everyday photography, zooming to 128mm allowing photos of distant objects. I've included examples below to show what the zoom is capable of. An example of digital zoom can be seen below, digital zoom basically takes a crop of the centre of the frame and enlarges the image, degrading image quality, and is therefore best avoided.
Exposure: The photos of the clock tower are exposed well with detail in the dark areas as well as the lighter areas - exposure in other photos was generally very good. Vignetting was not noticed in these photos. It can be useful to under expose images with bright backgrounds (eg; sky) with use of exposure compensation.
Lens noise and zoom: The lens makes very little noise, and gives you 8 steps between wide and telephoto - this gives good controls over how you frame your subject.
Other Image Quality issues: Purple fringing / Chromatic aberration was seen occassionally, although purple fringing was generally low.
Macro Lens Performance:
The camera can take maco photos where the subject is only 4cm away from the lens in macro mode! Colour and detail is very good, and there appears to be low noise at ISO125 and below. Unfortunately the camera does not have custom / manual white balance, so you will need to choose from one of the preset WB modes if AUTO WB doesn't do a very good job. More examples can be seen in the gallery.
Video mode: The camera features a good video mode - it records VGA videos at 30fps with sound as MPEG VX files and has good compression allowing you to record long videos. The video mode doesn't let you use the optical zoom whilst recording.
Summary: The Sony Cybershot W130 is very "point and shoot" friendly - the camera produces great results in almost every situation - and provides features designed specifically for taking photos of friends and family with face detection and smile shutter technology. The camera has some more advanced features such as exposure bracketing, but unfortunately lacks manual white balance which can be useful for artificial lighting. Image quality is generally very good and the camera has a good success rate - with low noise levels and great colour - which is only let down by slightly soft images. Overall the camera offers a good range of features that should suit anyone looking for a compact point and shoot camera, all at a price that offers good value for money. Recommended.
What I like:
What I don't like:
Additional Test Images are viewable in the Sony Cybershot W130 Sample Photo Gallery.