|The large size LCD monitor on the back of the camera is a true joy. For years now there is a debate going on about the monitor's size, and time after time it turns out that the importance of the monitor's size is more important than was presumed before. The quality of the monitor is improved tremendously over the past few years and just like Sony's DSC-W1 the application of the monitor has become versatile. The monitor functions well in sunny conditions, maybe only needs a small adjustment of contrast, but other than that the 2.5 inch monitor is a great luxury. The small optical viewfinder with next to it the three small LED's doesn't add much more to the camera. The large monitor on the back is so attractive that I can't imagine anyone going through the trouble wanting to gaze through such a small viewfinder.
The buttons on the back have a logical spot and all of them have a clearly perceptible click. Small fingers, big fingers; it doesn't bother the W1 concerning its operation. The fingers find their perfect spot immediately to be able to operate the camera directly in the right way. Beside the logical spots for the buttons the operation of the camera is also straight forward. Using the arrows on the multi-functional button you can navigate through the menu. The Command Dial on top of the camera can be set as desired and through the MENU button the settings can be adjusted. The buttons respond directly and rapidly scrolling through the menu is not a problem. The button in the centre of the multi-control button (ok) is needed to confirm a change. When the camera is set to manual operation the same button is needed to change to an aperture or shutter speed priority or to change macro, self-timer and flash settings. The information is clearly shown on the monitor.
|The zoom button to operate the 3x optical zoom is found on the standard spot: top right. The optical zoom responds with an average speed and can be set precisely from wide angle to telephoto in about 9 steps. When the digital zoom is activated the camera lets you zoom directly from optical zoom until the end of the digital zoom. I'd rather see an interval in order to make the user aware of the fact that certain images are captured with digital zoom and therefore have a greater chance to image loss. The digital zoom can be de-activated in the SET-UP menu.
When the camera is set to record mode, the monitor will show every setting necessary to know on forehand about how the camera will expose an image. For instance the resolution, flash setting, ISO value, shutter speed and aperture value. Pushing the release button half-way down, the values necessary to capture this image properly are shown on the monitor. Pushing the monitor button once a small histogram appears on the bottom right, and pushing the button twice will de-activate the monitor itself. But once used to the monitor, one will not easily switch over to the small viewfinder again.
The DSC-W1 is a pleasantly operable digital compact camera with more functionality's than the standard digital camera from Sony's P-series digital cameras. Thanks to the compact size and the comprehensive, but easily settable, functions the DSC-W1 has become an ideal versatile camera.