Sony Cyber-shot WX1/B

Sony Cyber-shot WX1/B have “Exmor R” sensor, 24mm G lens with 5x optical zoom, Sweep Panorama Mode, 10fps at full 10.2MP, Anti-Motion Blur / Handheld Twilight, HD movie mode (720p), Optical SteadyShot™, 8 Scene Detection iAuto and many more…..

Point and shoot digital cameras have come a long way in the past decade – most are now capable of capturing high quality images outdoors in good light. But digital cameras generally don’t do as well in low-light situations, indoors, and after dark. Digital images shot in low light environments often show lots of noise and display flat, dull colors. Sony’s new Cyber-shot DSC-WX1 was designed to change that.

The WX1 utilizes an innovative new back-illuminated CMOS sensor that Sony claims will capture sharper, more detailed images in low/dim lighting – images with less noise and more vibrant colors than those shot with standard CMOS and CCD sensors.

The sleek DSC-WX1 incorporates the “Exmor R” CMOS sensor and boasts stunning low-light performance, reducing grain by more than 50%, even without a flash. High speed burst captures 10fps without distortion and expansive Sweep Panorama shots are easy to achieve with press and sweep motion. Control it all on its 2.7″ Clear Photo LCD Plus screen.

Standard front-illuminated CMOS sensors are constructed so that light (after passing through the lens) must then pass through a metal wiring grid before striking the light-sensitive pixel receptors. Consequently, some light is lost. Back-illuminated sensors position the wiring grid beneath the light sensitive pixel receptors – increasing light gathering capability by up to 200% over traditional CMOS sensors. This makes the diminutive WX1 a superb tool for capturing images in available light environments – an especially useful ability indoors, after dark, and in poor weather.

Design-wise the WX1’s main claim to fame is its innovative Exmor R CMOS sensor, which works hand-in-glove with Sony’s new faster Bionz processor and Super SteadyShot optical image stabilization system to produce high quality images in dimly-lit shooting venues. The metal-alloy bodied WX1 appears to be robustly built and seems tough enough to stand up to typical wear and tea

You don’t always want to use the flash. The back-illuminated “Exmor R” CMOS sensor delivers stunning low-light performance and increases sensitivity by 2x to reduce noise. Perfect for capturing the low-light mood of the moment.

Sweep Panorama Mode reaches beyond the traditional wide angle lenses to let you capture expansive, breathtaking shots of landscapes or skyscrapers. Just press the shutter and shoot the scene with a sweeping motion. The camera does the rest.

The svelte (0.75 inches thick) lozenge-shaped WX1 looks similar to just about every other ultra-compact “thin” digicam out there. It’s comfortable to use over long periods and it feels solid in the hand. The WX1 is a pocketable digital camera that can easily be taken along everywhere the user goes. Sony’s newest Cyber-shot is an auto exposure only digital camera with no manual exposure capability, however the WX1 does permit some user input into the image making process.

Even though the camera selects the aperture and shutter speed (in Program mode) users can manipulate sensitivity (ISO), white balance, and exposure compensation. The WX1’s flat body is smooth with no protrusions – meaning no handgrip or thumbrest – so keeping the wrist strap looped around your hand when using the camera is probably a good idea.

The WX1 is a small camera, but the control array/user interface does not seem busy or cluttered. Dedicated controls have been kept to the minimum. All controls are logically placed and come easily to hand for right-handed shooters. The WX1’s on/off switch is too small and often requires a second push to power up or power down the camera. The compass switch (4-way controller) is also a bit too small and gives off a fiddly tactile feel – which doesn’t inspire confidence (especially for users with large fingers) in its responsiveness. The mode dial is located in the exact spot where most right-handed shooters will rest their thumb when shooting (and the mode dial is easily turned) meaning users will have to suffer through occasional accidental mode changes.

Capture decisive moments—like the ball hitting the bat—with the ability to shoot 10 images in one second at up to 10.2 megapixel resolution through the mechanical shutter. It’s also fun for capturing a unique sequence of images.

The WX1’s menu system is logical, user-friendly, and fairly easy to navigate, but it isn’t as simple in use as most of the competition. The reasonably large 2.7 inch LCD and sensible font size make reading the various menus painless. The WX1’s playback menu provides a nifty Retouch mode allowing users to crop and sharpen captured images.

Here’s a breakdown of the WX1’s shooting modes:

  • Easy: Point-and-shoot mode – the camera selects all exposure parameters – coupled to Sony’s Intelligent Scene Recognition (Backlight, Backlight Portrait, Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Twilight with tripod, Portrait, Landscape, or Macro) technology to optimize camera settings for the specific scene (and conditions) in front of the camera and displays basic advice/useful information on the LCD.
  • Intelligent Auto: Auto exposure incorporating Intelligent Scene Recognition plus Burst mode, EV compensation, Smile Detection and Face Detection options, and Red Eye Reduction. Sony’s Intelligent Scene Recognition technology (available in Easy and iAuto modes) provides users with two options – Auto or Advanced. The Auto setting captures one exposure with optimized settings while the Advanced setting captures one exposure identical to the auto setting and a second exposure with an alternate set of optimized settings.
  • Program: The camera selects exposure parameters, but allows substantial creative input – users control sensitivity (ISO), white balance, metering, focus, image stabilization on/off, and exposure compensation.
  • Scene: High sensitivity, soft snap (blurs the background), landscape, twilight portrait, twilight, gourmet, pet, beach, snow, fireworks, underwater.
  • Hand-held Twilight: The camera captures up to six exposures and then combines them – via pixel matching – to create a composite image with minimal noise.
  • Anti-motion blur: Similar to Hand-held Twilight, except the camera captures up to six exposures at the highest practical shutter speed and the highest practical sensitivity (up to ISO 3200) and then combines them – via pixel matching – to create a composite image to freeze motion.
  • Sweep Panorama: This shooting mode doesn’t have a dedicated position on the mode dial – users must decide first whether the panorama they want to shoot is horizontal or vertical and whether it goes from left to right or from right to left – then just press the shutter button and sweep the camera in a half circle arc and the WX1 will combine all the captured exposures into a single seamless extra wide panorama.
  • Dynamic Range Optimizer: The DRO mode (menu enabled) is designed to improve shadow detail and contrast in images captured in difficult lighting. There are three options: Off, Standard (D-R), and Advanced [D-R+). I tried DRO a couple of times and didn’t notice any obvious differences – in my opinion judicious use of the Exposure Compensation function will accomplish more dependable (and predictable) results.
  • Movie: The WX1’s Movie mode captures HD (High Definition) and Standard Definition video clips – 1280×720 Fine (720p), 1280×720 Standard, and VGA (640 x 480) all at 30fps (with monaural audio). The 5x zoom can be used during video capture. Users also control White Balance, Sensitivity, Metering, DRO, and Image Stabilization settings in video capture mode.

Main Specifications of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1:
-2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD Plus screen.
-Sony G lens with 5x optical zoom and f/2.5 max aperture.
-Dimensions: 91 (W) x 52 (H) x 20 (D) Weight: 129g (without battery)-10.2-megapixel “Exmor R” CMOS sensor for stunning low-light performance.
-24mm wide-angle f/2.4 bright G lens for ultra sharp pictures; 5x optical zoom.
-Sweep Panorama Mode captures breathtaking panoramic images.
-Capture your videos in HD Movie mode (720p); PhotoTV HD Mode with compatible BRAVIA HDTVs.
-Included lithium-ion battery for long-lasting power.

Like most currently available point and shoots, the WX1 doesn’t provide an optical viewfinder – so the LCD must be used for all framing and composition, image review, and menu access. The WX1’s 2.7 inch wide-viewing angle LCD is relatively sharp (230k pixels), fairly bright, and fluid, but colors displayed on the LCD (in review mode) are not the colors you’ll see when reviewing the images on your monitor.

The differences are not major, but saved images (when seen on your computer monitor) will have more intense colors than those seen on the LCD. The WX1’s info display provides all the data most of the camera’s users are likely to need. The LCD gains up (automatically increases brightness) in dim lighting and can be adjusted to the individual shooters’ brightness preferences.

Most point and shoot cameras don’t have a lens like this. The combination of 24mm wide angle, 5x optical zoom, and wide f/2.4 aperture allows you to take photos that you couldn’t take with a point and shoot camera in the past.

Capture more of your memories with high definition video. Your movies will look stunning on large TV screens thanks to the 720p high-definition MPEG4 recording format. Record up to 29 min (or up to 2GB) per movie in 720p format.

Unlike traditional auto mode, iAuto mode thinks for you, recognizing scenes, lighting conditions, and faces, and adjusts settings resulting in clear images, faces with natural skin tone, and less blur. By incorporating advanced features such as Intelligent Scene Recognition and Face Detection technology, Sony makes it easy to get the best shot.

I have no complaints with the WX1’s performance. I shot pictures with the pocket-sized camera in a variety of low light environments including indoors, outdoors after dark, and in gloomy weather with heavily overcast skies. The WX1 consistently and dependably captures very good images in poor lighting. On the other side of the equation, the WX1 doesn’t manage bright outdoor lighting with the same level of efficacy – sometimes burning out highlights. There are also some minor (and infrequent) auto white balance anomalies that negatively affect color accuracy.

The WX1 provides two Image Stabilization options – first via Sony’s optical SteadyShot IS which functions by quickly and precisely shifting a lens element in the 5x zoom to compensate for camera movement during exposure. Digital Image Stabilization boosts sensitivity (up to ISO 3200) and increases shutter speed to help freeze subject movement during exposure.


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