Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot
  • 18.2-Megapixel Exmor R CMOS Imaging Sensor
  • 3.0-Inch LCD Screen
  • 20x Optical "G" zoom lens: 25-500mm (35mm equivalent)
  • SteadyShot optical image stabilization
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • iAuto and Superior shooting modes
  • 1080p HD video recording
  • iSweep Panorama
  • 3D still image shooting
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
  • SD/SDHC and MS Duo card compatible
  • All shooting modes are very easy to use and perform very well
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button is always ready to record
  • 20x optical zoom lens is always at the correct distance
  • Great image quality
  • SteadyShot and Superior Auto always produce sharp handheld images
  • Easy to see 3.0-inch LCD
  • Good shooting performance
  • Amazing Battery Life
  • AVCHD and MP4 video recording
  • HDMI output
  • Small/Weak flash
  • Some noise in all images / Normal for a small, high res. sensor
  • Any setting over ISO 1600 is unacceptable
  • No Audio input
  • Terrible audio from built-in mic
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 2.2 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 2/10 to 5/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 1.48 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 3.06 seconds
  • High Speed Burst = 7.69fps for 10 images
  • All tests were taken using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1, 8GB SDHC memory card, Program Mode, ISO auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Sony Cyber-Shot WX300 is a versatile and easy-to-use ultra-compact digicam that the entire family will enjoy. Its 20x optical zoom lens and image quality make it worth looking at.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for a camera that is extremely versatile and very easy to use. This is perfect for anyone needing to be ready for any situation without carrying a camera bag.
The Sony Cyber-Shot WX300 is an ultra-compact digicam featuring far more versatility and ease of use than you can imagine. Sporting a 20x optical "G" lens and an 18.2-Megapixel Backside Illuminated Exmor R CMOS imaging sensor, you can get far closer and record higher quality images than with any other camera this size. A slew of auto shooting modes, including Superior Auto and iSweep Panorama, allow anyone in the family to pick up this camera and use all of its functions and creative shooting modes. The powerful sensor and processor work together to combine images using burst shooting modes to remove noise and increase performance and quality. Not only is the camera powerful and convenient to carry, it is also available in three stylish colors: Red, Black and White.

The WX300 features built-in WiFi capabilities, which allow you to share and send your images to a computer, wireless printer or smartphone/tablet with ease anywhere. Using Sony's PlayMemories App, the camera and your phone can connect to let you copy your images back and forth between the two devices. Once on your phone, you can upload and email them at any point. You can also copy images to a computer in the same type of way. Connecting to HDTV's with a WiFi connection is also possible and an easy way to view your captured images on a big screen.

Handling the WX300 is surprisingly easy for its size. Using two hands and the pinch technique seems to work the best, but shooting with one hand is possible as well. When shooting with one hand though, we did end up with a lot of fingerprints on the LCD screen. The controls on the camera are simple, small and well placed; allowing even someone with large hands to use them with ease. Framing and viewing your images with the 3.0-inch, 460,000 dot LCD is a pleasure in any lighting conditions thanks to its 5 levels of brightness. With the body of the camera being so small and the screen taking up so much room on the back, it tends to collect a lot of fingerprints very quickly.

Our outdoor image samples show the camera's ability to capture an overall excellent image with great exposure and colors. Our sample images were all taken in Superior Auto shooting mode, allowing the camera to produce its best possible images. When looking closely at these images, we did see some noticeable noise in the blue skies and in all of the shadow areas. Superior Auto can use multiple images and higher ISO settings to assist with low-light (no flash) and telephoto situations which help to reduce noise and avoid motion blur with faster shutter speeds. This actually adds a little more noise, but gives you a sharp image every time. While this is a little disappointing, it is common and expected with cameras featuring small, high megapixel sensors.

Shooting with the full telephoto zoom outdoors is excellent, as we were easily able to capture sharp, handheld images at the full 20x optical telephoto zoom thanks to Sony's SteadyShot image stabilization. This 20x optical zoom gives you a fantastic range of 25-500mm (35mm equivalent), that allows you to shoot any type of image in any situation. The wide end allows for vast landscape and group images, while the telephoto end will get you right up close to distant objects.

Our indoor sample images were taken in Program mode, allowing the camera to capture its one best image, no combining images. Our samples show excellent exposures, colors and fantastic detail at the lower ISO settings. Event at the lowest settings though, we did see small amounts of noise in some of the darker areas and colors. At ISO 400 the amount of noise in the image takes a big jump, and every setting after that gets noticeably worse. Anything after ISO 1600 is unacceptable. Assisting with the low-light images, the very small built-in flash unit can be a little bit of a help. At ISO 80, it didn't even come close to providing enough light from just a few feet away, but did much better at ISO 400. This unit can be helpful in some situations, but the Superior Auto has been programmed to shoot without the flash often for a reason.

Sony's face detection software is excellent, detecting and following faces extremely fast and accurately. This makes portrait photography fun and easy, as the camera will always give you the best possible image based on the faces within the frame. While taking our portrait shots, we noticed that the camera took most of these images with multiple exposures when shooting in Superior Auto. All of our images came out sharp and well exposed, but this is the point that we noticed the noise the most where it was not expected. Shooting outdoors, even with the mid-telephoto to full telephoto end of the zoom, we did not expect to see this much noise in these well-lit images. In our sample, the multiple exposure also helped with the brighter background, keeping it from being blown out, while still giving us the proper exposure for our faces.

iSweep Panorama is most exciting of the special shooting modes on the WX300. This mode, which has become very popular on Sony cameras, allows you to just point and pan the camera while it does all of the work for you. This guarantees that the separate images always line up and instead of spending time after shooting combining your images, the camera takes care of it for you as you shoot. Our sample, while the resolution is the highest, appears to be one seamless image. If you are looking for higher quality panorama images, this could also be used as a fast and easy scouting/preview tool.

Recording home movies is possible in any of the camera's shooting modes thanks to the dedicated video recording button on the back of the camera. One press of this button starts the camera recording HD video. The movie mode allows more features and control over the settings, but the movie quality is the same. While recording a movie, the camera is still ready to capture still images. Without interruption, the camera can capture 16:9 format still images at either 3M or 13M. Also available while recording is the full 20x optical zoom lens. As you can see in our sample movie, the camera does an excellent job keeping your subject in focus, even while zooming. Playback is also very smooth, making them a pleasure to watch. Audio is a different story, as the small built-in stereo mic is way too sensitive and overwhelmed us with background noise. The best way to cut down this noise is to stay away from anything that makes constant or loud noise and out of the wind when possible.

Powering the WX300 is a 3.6V, 1240mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery, providing enough juice to capture up to 500 images on a single charge. While we did not come anywhere close to this number while completing our tests, we were able to capture over 150 images and several videos with plenty of power to spare. This excellent battery life will keep the camera going, but a spare battery is always a good idea. With the included USB adapter, it is easy to keep the camera charged in most places, but a little more difficult when you want to keep more than one battery charged at a time.

Bottom Line - Sony's Cyber-Shot WX300 is an extremely versatile and powerful ultra-compact digicam. Featuring s powerful processor and image sensor, 20x optical zoom lens, Optical Steady Shot, 3.0-inch screen and a slew of easy to use shooting modes; this is the perfect camera for anyone and everyone in the family. It has excellent image quality at the lower ISO settings and its performance is up to par as well. With a MSRP of US $329.99, this is a great ultra-compact camera for any situation.

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