Sony DSC-WX200 review

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DSC-WX200 is a 2013 compact camera with big optical zoom from Sony. This Japanese manufacturer made literally hundreds of cameras similar to this one, so this model has nothing we haven’t seen allready in some other model. Its key selling points are 10x optical zoom in slim body, Full HD video and Sweep panorama.

SONY DSC-WX200 GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Announced: 2012.
  • Type: Compact ultrazoom
  • Dimensions: 92 x 52 x 21 mm
  • Weight: 120 g
  • Sensor: CMOS 18MP (4896 x 3672 pixels)
  • Lens: 4.45 – 44,5mm (25-250 in 35mm), F/3.3-5.9, optical image stabilization
  • ISO range: 100 – 12,800
  • Dust and moisture protection: No
  • Flash: Built in flash
  • Continuous shooting: 10 fps
  • LCD screen: 2.7″, 480,000 dots, fixed
  • Memory card: SDHC, MemoryStick
  • Battery: Li-Ion
  • Video: 1920×1080 (60i,50i), 1440 x 1080 (30p, 25p), 1280 x 720
  • Connectors: USB 2.0, mini HDMI

CONSTRUCTION AND HANDLING

Sony DSC-WX200 is a very slim and attractive camera. It is only 21mm in depth (under an inch) and can fit in almost any pocket (back jeans pocket included). Front panel is made of aluminum, and the rest of the camera is plastic but it left quite an impression on me (for the price-range).

Handling is extremely easy: mode switch has only three positions: AUTO, sweep panorama and movie. This is excellent for users not familiar with camera operation, but there is a range of limitations which might drive advanced users nuts. For example, there is no option to turn off image playback after capture which makes framing of the next shot impossible, and no option to manually select macro focus. I tried taking a photo of a small flower and the camera kept focusing at background all the time. Finally, I took the shoot by focusing on my palm held at the same distance and recomposing for the flower.

Handling is OK for such a small camera, mainly due to LCD not covering entire back of the camera, so I could grasp it with my thumb and hold like a normal camera.

LCD

LCD unit has a 2,7 inch diagonal and 480,000 dots. Viewing quality is average; both sharpness and colors are fine, but do not look better than LCD’s from competition in this price range. Viewing angles are quite good though and that’s important since this LCD doesn’t have tilt-option.

There is no viewfinder on this camera or an option to attach one.

MENU AND DISPLAYS

Both quick menu and main menu are the same as seen on any other Sony Cybershot in last 5-6 years. They are easy to understand and to navigate, but I could find several illogical details which are probably irrelevant considering photography knowledge of typical WX200 buyer.

WX200 generally works fast enough, but it has its quirks. When a new memory card is inserted, the camera “chews” on it for 5-6 second before it can shoot images (I suppose it has something to do with Sony folder system which is a bit more complicated than what competition has). Playback zoom could also be a bit more responsive.

SONY DSC-WX200 SENSOR

The sensor has 18 megapixels which makes WX200 having one of the highest pixel count on the class. God for cropping, but I’d rather have 10-12 MP with even better image quality and smaller file size. The sensor proudly carries Exmor R designation (Sony’s back illuminated sensor tech) which should deliver images with less noise in low light conditions.

Images are quite good in daylight: under 100% zoom details are visible but still not as good as on (more expensive) Canon SX280HS. Colors are generally OK, but images can appear a bit dull and non-contrasty at times. This is especially seen when using higher ISO values: colors become quite desaturated.

With a touch of post processing images can appear really attractive, what you can see in the gallery at the end of the review.

ISO samples are below, but as you can see, some of them are too dark (ISO 100 and 200). The reason s the fact that WX200 has limited slow shutter speeds in P mode – only 1 second. At iAuto it goes to 4 seconds, but then I could not manually select ISO. This proves once again that this is not a camera for more demanding users.

ISO 100 200 400 800 1600 3200 6400 12800

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