How does the latest CyberShot fit in to Sony's already burgeoning compact camera line-up?
Sony’s stylish compact series has won many a admirer in the consumer market thanks to a combination of both brand familiarity and sleek design. However, more recently Sony has begun to delivery some real innovation and quality imaging from these models, so does the W380 continue this trend, or is it a reversion to the older style-over-substance CyberShot models?
Sony CyberShot W380 review – Features
The W380 offers a full resolution of 14.1MP, which is more than enough for the casual shooter. An area where Sony has improved upon recently is the production of its own optics, and the W380 also benefits from this development. The model sports Sony’s G optics, offering a 5x optical zoom and a focal range of 24-120mm in equivalent terms, with a maximum aperture of f/2.4. Another feature which permeates the Sony compact camera series these days is HD video capture, and the W380 fits right into this category, offers HD movie capture. The W380 also features several of Sony’s innovative new image capture modes; for example, the much-advertised Sweep Panorama mode allows the seamless capture of a scene up to 170 degrees in a single movement of the camera.
Sony CyberShot W380 review – Design
While Sony have been improving the imaging side of their compact cameras, that doesn’t mean that they’ve forgotten the design element for which they were so popular. The W380 is available in a range of four different colours, with all sporting a range of stainless steel highlights. Button layout on the rear of the camera is intelligent, with a sturdy mode dial featuring and a circular d-pad controlling the basic imaging functionality just below. Considering the specification of the W380, and the history of Sony offering a completely high-specified imaging product, it is slightly disappointing that the LCD screen isn’t either larger of of a high resolution, though having said that the one on the rear of the camera is certainly large enough for the small body.
Sony CyberShot W380 review – Performance
As to be expected with Sony’s recent crop of compact cameras, the W380 performs well in generally use. Focusing is fairly prompt, while the intelligent auto scene mode is unerringly accurate at addressing the correct scene and setting the desired camera functions accordingly. As mentioned, the LCD on the camera isn’t of the highest specification, and as such in difficult lighting it can have issues with streaking. The design means that the W380 feels nice both in the pocket and in hand when shooting, with the intelligent button layout also contributing to this comfort of use.
Sony CyberShot W380 review – Image quality
Image quality is generally fairly impressive. An extensive dynamics range is present, with highlights only burning out at extreme levels. The level of sharpness is pleasing, while high-ISO performance is acceptable, even if the amount of noise reduction could be considered on the aggressive side.