Sony's W570 is a small, slender point-and-shoot compact. It may look the part, but can its 16MP sensor play the part too? The What Digital Camera Sony Cyber-shot W570 review investigates...
Sony Cyber-shot W570 review – Features
Sony’s W570 compact camera is a small and slender point-and-shoot model. The emphasis is on simplicity for those looking for an attractive and easy-to-use model that won’t cost them the Earth.
At the Sony Cyber-shot W570’s heart is a 16.1-megapixel sensor, supported by a 5x optical zoom that ranges from a 25mm wideangle through to a mid-zoom 125mm equivalent. It’s got all the range you’ll need for group shots, portraits and zooming in that little further for subjects a little farther away.
A 2.7in LCD screen on the rear shows compositions in real time, including focus area information, and can be used to playback and review still shots and videos captured with the camera. Video files are high definition 720p and captured at 30fps.
iAuto is the W570’s main operating mode which is designed to take control of everything including exposure, focus and all other settings. There is little in the way of intervening with taking a shot except for some flash control – the W570’s ethos is very much point, compose and shoot.
As with the majority of current Sony cameras there’s also a Sweep Panorama mode that can be used to capture panoramas by moving the camera in real time – the camera then stitches together all the shots into one seamless, elongated panoramic image. It’s an effective feature that works well.
Sony Cyber-shot W570 review – Design
The Sony Cyber-shot W570 is a slim, attractive compact. At just under 2cms deep it’s easy to slip in a pocket or bag and take with you anywhere. When switched off the lens sits in the camera’s body to maintain the elegant design.
Controls are set up with simplicity in mind: on the back there’s a three-point switch that can select between Auto, Sweep Panorama and Movie shooting. It’s as simple as that – click it into place and fire away. There is also a d-pad to control flash, display, self-timer and face detection and a main menu for more ‘behind the scenes’ set up and formatting.
Often compact cameras have their zoom switch or toggle on the top of the camera as it sits well against the hand. This isn’t so with the Sony W570 – instead the camera opts for a rear-mounted wide-to-tele zoom switch that’s not always ideal in use. It’s not hard to use but could have been better placed. Keeping the majority of controls on the back does maintain the W570’s clean design, a crucial feature for such a camera to appeal.
Performance & Image Quality
Sony Cyber-shot W570 review – Performance
With only a few shooting options any performance issues would feel amplified, but the Sony W570 is swift and smooth in use. Powering up takes no time at all and you’re up and ready to shoot in a flash.
Autofocus is a multi-area (nine zones) system that automates where focus is selected. This is fed-back to the user on the screen by showing green focus boxes to confirm the subject focus. It’s quick and reliable, and Face Detection works well too, though the camera’s decision is final – there’s no fine tuning, AF point adjustment or manual focusing.
For close-up subjects the W570 can get as near as 5cms from subject when at its widest-angle 25mm setting. This bodes well for macro shots.
Should you want to take a little more control, such as setting the ISO sensitivity, then the W570’s main menu does offer a Programme mode. Switch into this and the likes of ISO and White Balance control open up to you. The more novice user will be happy with the iAuto mode’s auto-selection of settings, though there are also 10 specific Scene modes to choose from. Scene options such as Twilight shoot a series of images in quick succession and combine them in camera for a sharper, better exposed shoot when shooting in low-light or nighttime conditions.
The W570’s rear 2.7in LCD does a fine job of playing images back when viewed straight on, but steeper angles can cause viewing issues. Furthermore there can be the occasional ‘flickering’ in fine detail areas due to the low 230k-dot resolution. It’s not the end of the world but can mess with your eyes from time to time.
Sony Cyber-shot W570 review – Image Quality
Cramming 16.1-megapixels onto a small compact sensor doesn’t help image quality compared to a lower resolution equivalent, indeed it’s likely to hinder the camera’s ability to resolve sharp images and increases the presence of image noise. Indeed a 16MP image is far larger than you’re likely to need, plus it increases file sizes.
Fortunately the W570’s final image quality qualifies well for its target audience. At full size there are issues with sharpness and finer detail lacks, but for day-to-day shots of friends and family printed on a smaller scale or viewed on screen this isn’t a particular issue.
Auto ISO selection produced results that were reasonable up as far as ISO 800 – certainly not bad for a compact camera. Above this and the higher settings break down available detail yet more, rendering them of lesser use.
Exposure is generally good, though a blue shadow-like effect (known as chromatic aberration) can often be seen around back-lit subject edges, particularly towards the edges of the frame. This is a common lens-related issue for many cameras, though it’s subtle in the W570’s instance.
Value & Verdict
Sony Cyber-shot W570 review – Value
With an RRP of £159 the Sony W570 is an affordable camera that can be picked up a little cheaper at some online stores. Although there are other point-and-shoot compact cameras that can be picked up for a little less money, the Sony’s overall slender design and finish give it that attractive edge. And style, for many, is worth paying for.
Sony Cyber-shot W570 review – Verdict
The Sony Cyber-shot W570 is a good-looking, small and slim compact camera. It’s ideal for simple point-and-shoot work, is responsive in use and takes reasonable pictures (although the 16MP sensor has more pixels than are needed). The 25-125mm equivalent zoom is rangey enough for a whole variety of shots and the autofocus swift to focus on subjects. The W570’s a great compact for the style-conscious, though don’t overestimate what it’s capable of doing – it’s kept simple with few options, but we like it like that.