Sony CyberShot DSC-W170 digital camera review
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-170 is a handy and compactly built camera with a straightforward operation. The convenient automatic functions demonstrate the ongoing substantial automation. The camera is becoming more and more intelligent, and is able to recognize situations and act accordingly. One person will hate it, and will want to be in control, while another person will love it. If you really want to shoot in a creative way, you will have to look for the more advanced models of the Cyber-shot series. For snapshots, the Sony W170 is the designated model.
Intelligent software & High resolution
The more intelligent software offers user's ease, and you would probably conclude that this should improve the quality of the pictures as incorrect exposure is prevented this way. Still, it doesn't work like that, unfortunately. To be clear; this is not only the case with the W170 but does in fact apply to every high resolution compact camera. And it is in fact so obvious that it is rather weird a conclusion has not been drawn yet unanimously. At the cost of many innovative solutions, aimed at user’s ease and to improve the overall quality at the same time, an unscrupulous process is carried out. This process, increasing the amount of megapixels, increasing the ISO and pushing the specification list to unknown heights with it, is cause of many annoying side effects.
Signal / noise ratio of the Sony DSC-W170
One of the effects is the signal/noise ratio. From the technical tests, it becomes clear time and time again that an increase of resolution on a small image sensor equals a diminishing of performance and in particular at high ISO values. For the Sony W170 this applies clearly from ISO 400, however, below 400 ISO is not that rosy either. The performance at 200 ISO and lower is reasonable to good. Still, it is obvious that this should and can improve drastically. Furthermore, the lens suffers from chromatic aberration in a way we would call a Carl Zeiss lens unworthy.
Image quality of the Sony CyberShot W170
The image quality of the pictures is fine and colour reproduction shows beautiful and quite accurate colours. The ease of use with the various innovative image solutions make you enjoy shooting with the Sony W170 without having to worry about settings. The beautiful quality housing lies solidly in your hand and combined with the effective optical image stabilizer, you can use the 5x optical zoom lens without thinking twice about it.
Sony W170 offers an average performance
The Sony Cybershot W170 is a pleasant camera to work with. It's a pity that the image quality did not appear clearly from a technical point of view in a number of situations. This is not a camera for the evening or in difficult light circumstances; it is a good-weather model. It may sound patronizing; however, if you want to make optimal use of the possibilities and obtain the best result, you have to stay away from those aforementioned situations. We hope that the next generation Cyber shot cameras will be so strong-willed, that it will defy the strong demands of the marketing and profile in pure quality whilst leaving the Megapixel race to others. This is what forces us to conclude that the Sony Cybershot DSC-W170 performance is average. Sad, since it seems capable of more.
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Memory Stick Duo memory card
The Sony Cybershot W170 is standard equipped with an internal memory, although it is too limited to really benefit from it. The card slot supporting the Memory Stick Duo format brings the solution thus offering sufficient storage capacity. The MS Duo memory card is available in various speeds. It is not of high importance to the Sony W170 since the camera won't really benefit from a faster card. Considering 10 Megapixels of resolution and the highest quality of compression I'd advise you to use a minimum of 1 - 2 GB.
Considering 2GB of storage capacity:
10 Megapixels - 3648x2736 pixels - JPEG - 496 pictures
8 Megapixels - 3648x2432 pixels - JPEG - 3:2 - 500 pictures
7 Megapixels - 3648x2056 pixels - JPEG - 16:9 - 526 pictures
5 Megapixels - 2592x1944 pixels - JPEG - 156 pictures
3 Megapixels - 2048x1536 pixels - JPEG - 2497 pictures
2 Megapixels - 1920x1080 pixels - JPEG - 16:9 - 2,018 pictures
VGA Resolution - 640x480 pixels - JPEG - 12,102 pictures
Video 640x480 pixels - 30 bps - Fine - 25 min 10 sec
Video 640x480 pixels - 17 bps - Standard - 1 h 30 min 50 sec
Video 320x240 pixels - 30 bps - Standard - 6 h 3 min 10 sec