|The pre-set scenes deliver a useful addition to the user's convenience. The Twilight function puts emphasis on slow shutter speeds, so a tripod on a firm underground is needed. The Twilight Portrait functions more or less the same only a fill-in flash makes sure to exposure the person properly and then puts emphasis on a slow shutter speed to also exposure the background correctly. This function also needs a tripod or a firm underground. The Candle function is used for making atmospheric images indoors, at services in churches, on parties, without the flash light damaging the atmosphere. This type of image is not easy to capture, certainly not when you are trying to capture people that haven't got the virtue to be able to sit or stand still. The above described functions work well, but the image stands or falls with holding the camera still. The Landscape function puts emphasis on a background as sharp as possible, the Beach function gives a better colour saturation to the blue sky and the sea and the Soft Snap gives a softer glow to the image, soft focus idea. These built-in scenes work fine, the difference between a picture made in Landscape mode or through the green zone on a sunny day is not that visible, but at those images that a standard image would put emphasis on the wrong item, the use of one of the programmes is a welcoming addition.
The test images show an outstanding colour rendering with high colour saturation. The different images have shown that the colours are very realistic and true-to-life, inclusive the green fields of grass or the different skin tones while making group photos or individual portraits. I must say that the indoor images, specifically the ones made with sitting-room lighting do tend to have too much of a warm glow over them. This can be corrected with a precise adjustment of the white balance or slightly editing them afterwards.
The 3x optical zoom is rather standard and the focal length of 38-114 makes me wish for a nice wide angle of 28mm. The optical zoom lens performs excellently. The sharpness is perfectly okay and the often found chromatic aberration is hardly (to not) present at all. There is some distortion visible at 38mm but it disappears like snow in summer when zooming in a little. Beside the optical zoom the W1 is equipped with two different digital zoom functions, the Smart Zoom and the Precision digital zoom. The Smart Zoom can only be used at lower resolutions than 5 Megapixels. When setting this function the image is enlarged almost without any distortion and the maximum enlargement factor is related to the selected resolution so the balance between image quality and digital zoom is maintained to the utmost.
|If you want part of the image enlarged to a maximum of 6x digitally you can use the Precision digital zoom through the SET-UP menu. This function lets you blow up a certain part of the image but the image quality is of lower importance. The difference between both types of digital zoom functions is considerably large. Default setting on this camera is the Smart Zoom.
Focussing, image processing and the related shutter response time are excellent. The W1 is a very rapid camera, one of the fastest in his class. Starting up takes just a little over one second and the release button respond like there is no interval of release at all. Focussing happens without hesitation and no missed image is experienced caused by a hesitating focus. The built-in AF assistant illuminator offers the necessary support when taking pictures in dark surroundings. This assistant illuminator works up to approximately 4 meters in wide angle and up to 3 meters in telephoto mode. Focus can be selected as desired; Multi-point auto focus or Center auto focus. In the first setting the camera will auto focus on five areas on the image. This way of focussing is useful and in general applicable in most cases. Only when the object is precisely in the centre of the image and the focus has to be determined on that object you can switch over to Center AF.
Beside the standard image the DSC-W1 can also take close-ups. Detail on these images is fine to excellent. The internal flash can't be used correctly with this type of images while the optical lens blocks part of the flash light and delivers an image at which the bottom part is not equally exposed. In wide angle it is possible to take an image from a distance of 6cm, using telephoto this distance becomes 30cm away from the object. When the monitor is de-activated and macro mode is activated a fast beeping sound warns you of the fact that close-up mode is only possible in combination with the monitor.
The settings the DSC-W1 delivers offer the user a fine versatile usable digital camera. Put to practice the W1 displays itself as a fully automatic camera. The manual settings seem useful to photograph in a creative way, and not so much to bring the quality on a higher level. The camera is extremely fast and fulfils its expectations.