The Sony DSC-W1 is a very successful digital camera, it can't be commented on in a negative way. Alright, for me personally I would like to see the camera equipped with a 28-100mm lens in stead of starting with a 38mm one, however technically seen and after using the camera in practice there is hardly any reason to complain. The compact beautifully designed housing lies comfortably in ones hand and is solidly finished.
The new W1 offers a lot more convenience because of the large monitor, a 2.5 inch size and digs in the heels of the competing models of manufacturers like Canon, Nikon and Olympus. The combination of convenience and enhanced settings packed into a nice and handy body seems to be the most successful formula. The camera models handling this formula are guaranteed to selling successfully in practice.
The recording quality of the W1 and the related print quality leave nothing more to wish for. The images look fresh, with vivid colours and rich detail. In fact an end result that might be expected from every digital camera. The Sony is operated with great ease. Navigating through the menu is handy and well-organised, thanks to the application of the large sized monitor.
The optical zoom is, as said before, standard, being a 3x optical zoom. In fact not very special, and maybe the competitors will make Sony put in a 4x optical range into the new generation or a wide angle. The resolution of 5 Megapixels offers every freedom for making enlargements. Beside that image editing is possible and enlargements of a crop to a 10x15 size print out belong to the possibilities. The different resolutions offer a great choice, the compression is rather limited with two choices, but sufficient. Sony didn't dare to pay attention to the RAW format beside the JPEG compression. It wouldn't look bad on the W1!
The speed at which the camera starts up, and the speed of realising the first image is impressive. The times of slow start-up times and having to wait a while before being able to capture the first image are over as far as Sony is concerned. The features of the W1 in short: speed, rapid image process, excellent focus even under difficult circumstances, large display of 2.5 inch and a very successful energy management.
As far as we are concerned the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W1 is a direct hit. From the beginning of the test until the end there has not been a dissonance and we can only ascertain that the W1 is an excellent digital camera, highly recommendable!
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After opening the memory compartment on the side of the camera, the Memory Stick can be inserted in the slot. Closing the cover gets the camera ready to use. A small detail that has to be taken into account is the fact that it is possible to remove the Memory Stick when it is still in the middle of processing data. A warning is given by means of a small LED. One who ignores the warning takes the risk of loosing the data.
The DSC-W1 has different resolution settings, from 2592x1944 to the VGA format (640x480). It is useful to choose the image ratio of 3:2 in the highest resolution. This ratio is the equivalent of the standard size of 10x15cm. This prevents the loss of information when printing because the other resolution settings have an image ratio of 3:4. The high resolution of 5 Megapixels is excellent to print an A4 sized print and the lower resolutions are suitable to print up to a 10x15 standard size for example. Beside the resolution settings, the image quality (compression) can be adjusted. At Fine a minimal compression is used, at Standard maximal. When choosing Fine the image quality is enlarged, however the data storage is also enlarged which means less images can be stored on the Memory Stick.
Concerning a 256MB Memory Stick storage capacity:
5 Megapixel - Fine - 92 images – app. 2.7MB
5 Megapixel - Standard - 174 images – app. 1.4MB
5 MP 3:2 - Fine - 92 images – app. 2.7MB
5 MP 3:2 - Standard - 174 images – app. 1.4MB
3 Megapixel - Fine - 148 images – app. 1.7MB
3 Megapixel - Standard - 264 images – app. 960KB
1 Megapixel - Fine - 357 images – app. 700 KB
1 Megapixel - Standard - 649 images – app. 394KB
VGA (640x480) - Fine - 1428 images – app. 180KB
VGA (640x480) - Standard - 3571 images – app. 70KB