PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS:

SONY CYBER-SHOT DSC-WX5

We purchased this 12.2MP compact camera because it was the only product on the market that met all three of our requirements at the time:

24MM LENS WITH STEADYSHOT ™: 28mm is simply not wide enough for too many places we have visited.

1080 60I VIDEO: 1080 HD at 60 fields per second is noticeably smoother than 30p or 24p for fast-moving subjects.

UNDERWATER HOUSING: This camera will be used for scuba diving.



24MM LENS WITH STEADYSHOT ™



The WX5 has a very useful 24-120mm equivalent 5X zoom, which delivers considerably wider field of view than most compact cameras normally equipped with 28mm lenses. The Optical SteadyShot ™ does a good job, stabilizing videos.

The 4000 X 2248 PHOTO shown below can demonstrate that the lens is sharp at the wide end, producing very little chromatic aberration.



1080 60I VIDEO

The WX5 delivers smooth 1920 X 1080 60i AVCHD and 1440 X 1080 30p MP4 videos that are comparable to our SR11 camcorder. This camera features optical zooming and continuous autofocus in the Movie mode; however, a little zooming noise can be heard in the video and the zooming action is not camcorder smooth.



The video stills above were captured with Sony Picture Motion Browser. Click on the images to see the 1920 X 1080 frames.



60FPS VIDEO: Low-light Tests: Most of the clips were recorded under very dim lighting. (Length 1:05, 1080 60i AVCHD, FCPX)



FYI Mac users: To convert 1080 60i to 60p, simply import 60i clips into a 1080 60p Final Cut Pro X project, and the exported videos will be 1080 60p.

UNDERWATER HOUSING

Ikelite makes a compact and lightweight waterproof case for the WX5. The clear housing is very well built, and all of the camera functions are easily accessible. The rear buttons are very close together so it's a good idea to wear the thinnest dive gloves possible.



This image was taken inside the Shark-&-Ray pool, using the Ikelite waterproof case.

CUSTOM WHITE BALANCE

Since the camera does not have RAW, using Custom White Balance is the best way to obtain the most accurate colors under difficult lighting situations. Also, RAW is currently only available for photos; therefore, people who value videos as much as stills must learn to use Custom White Balance.



The three samples show the difference Custom White Balance can make under 40 feet (12 meters) of water. The first two are straight out of the camera, and the one in the middle has very accurate overall colors! Water hue was added to the third image to match the kelp colors I saw a little farther away.



Macro: The image on the right was taken at or near the closest focus distance.

SWEEP PANORAMA

This in-camera feature automatically takes and stitches multiple shots to form one ultra-wide image, it will be extremely useful, visiting places like the Grand Canyon or the Great Wall of China.



In order to position the Black Bird above the cluttered background, I had to get too close to the plane to photograph it with one shot, so Sweep Panorama was the only option. The stitching isn't perfect every time so it's a good idea to take a few shots and choose the best one. This feature will definitely be on our must-have list from now on since it is easy to use and does a great job!

ISO PERFORMANCE

The Exmor R sensor produces decent low-light performance up to ISO 800. Since people don't share photos, pixel-peeping at 100%, the 50% crops can better demonstrate what the noise levels will appear under normal viewing on a 1920 X 1200 monitor. Personally, I won't hesitate, using ISO 400, or even ISO 800 when absolutely necessary, but not ISO 1600 on up. Click on the images to see the 4000 X 2248 photos!



The bottom line is the Sony DSC-WX5 is a great little camera with class-leading performance and feature set; however, it is after all a compact point-&-shoot so don't expect dSLR performance from such a tiny lens and sensor. As always, to get the best results for nighttime and indoor shots from a compact camera - use the lowest ISO setting and a tripod. Freezing fast-moving subjects in low light - use a dSLR.
 
 

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