A 12MP feature-packed compact
Every now and then a camera comes along that makes parting with a kidney seem a fair swap, and Sony’s W200 certainly looks on paper like being a worthy candidate.
Backed by a 12MP sensor, everything here seems to have its purpose, with seemingly little room left over for frivolities. Manual exposure, spot metering, face-detection and Double Anti-blur Technology are driven by a Bionz image processor, and, as is typical on W series models, a viewfinder has been included alongside a 2.5in LCD screen. And despite a sub-standard 115k pixel resolution, even in bright conditions it exposes a much more accurate preview than many other compacts can manage.
Face-detection works impressively well, aggressively adhering its white frame to whatever face the camera encounters, while the camera feels solid and has good weight. Start-up and focusing times are equally impressive but possibly the finest aspect of the W200 is its interface, which improves on the versions seen on previous models and makes the camera a joy to use.
Exposures are accurate and rich with detail, while the auto white balance reproduces accurate colour, even on higher ISO settings. ISO capabilities stretch to 3200, and while the ‘watercolour effect’ is evident at the highest setting, it’s much better than results from lower ISOs on comparable models. Purple fringing is occasionally present, though to no alarming degree, but edge- and corner-softness does make itself known on occasion.
A fantastic camera with a lot to recommend it but a low-quality LCD screen and fairly standard zoom range make its price tag seem somewhat inflated. At a cheaper price it would certainly be a winner.