By Neil Bennett | on May 15, 2008
Pros: Excellent output. Great IS system. Some manual controls. Great looks.
Cons: Proprietary card format. Manual aperture can be changed by full f-stops only.
Two of the buttons are hard to get to with your right hand, but they’re largely superfluous to Digital Arts readers. The Home button offers a slimmed down menu system to help the kind of home user who’s baffled by Sky+, while the slideshow button – with soundtrack – isn’t going to be used that often,
The W300’s output was the second best of the pocket-sized cameras we’ve looked at recently, beaten only by Nikon’s Coolpix P5100, which produced slightly sharper and more accurate images – though the W300 isn’t sluggish or bulky like the P5100. The W300’s 13.6mp sensor produces very detailed images and the SuperSteadyShot image stabilization system – based on that used by Sony’s high-end camcorders – is excellent.
The ability to capture great images is helped by some manual controls – though the W300’s lack the scope of the P5100. There are no aperture- or shutter-priority modes. There’s a full manual mode with controls over both – though you can only change the aperture in full f-stops. Hopefully Sony will upgrade the firmware to allow you to increase the aperture by fractions of stops, as Nikon did with the P5100.
One small niggle is that Sony insists on using various versions of own proprietary media card format in its cameras – Memory Stick Pro Duo for the W300 – while most other manufacturers use SD Card media. This is not only inconvenient, but Memory Stick Pro Duo cards cost much more than SD.
However, this is a small price to pay to get your hands on a stylish snapper that’s efficient and effective at taking great shots.