The WX300 puts a 20x zoom lens in a truly pocketable camera. But how do its photos measure up?
These are 100 percent crops of our test scene. Photo quality from the WX300 is good to very good; as with many point-and-shoots, it comes down to expectations.
Though photos appear soft even at its base sensitivity of ISO 80, detail is good up to ISO 800 all things considered. Still, with the lens' slow f3.5 aperture at the wide end and f6.5 aperture when zoomed in, this camera is best used outdoors with good lighting. Noise and softness only get worse above ISO 800, but they're good enough for sharing online at small sizes (well, maybe not ISO 3200) and certainly better than what you'll get from a smartphone.
The camera's ISO range includes 6400 and 12800 settings, but they're reached by taking multiple shots and combining them. Unfortunately, the results are not good and I would avoid using these settings unless you need it for an emergency.
One of the benefits to having such a long lens is that you can use it to get a blurry background. The WX300 can focus on subjects at about 6.5 feet with the lens fully zoomed in. Unfortunately, you'll need a lot of light or you'll have to use a high ISO.
Sony for the most part controls barrel distortion at the wide end (top) and pincushioning in telephoto (bottom). Fringing in high-contrast areas was minimal in photos, only really visible when looking at photos at full size. It was more noticeable in video, but still not bad.
While you won't find any aperture or shutter speed controls for the WX300, there are a variety of point-and-shoot options. This includes Sony's Background Defocus option that takes two shots and uses them to isolate your subject and blur the background. The top photo is a shot taken in Program mode, while the bottom uses Background Defocus.
If you like to shoot panoramas, I highly recommend getting a Cyber-shot. Sony's iSweep Panorama continues to produce the best results, especially when it comes to scenes with moving subjects. The WX300 shoots standard (pictured; top), wide, 360, and high-resolution panoramas. You can also shoot them with vivid (middle) or selective colors (bottom). With the latter, you can chose a color (in this example it's green) and it will turn the rest of the scene black and white.
The camera has a variety of creative effects, too, available in both Program auto and Superior and Intelligent Auto. Again, I used the selective color option, this time set to red, to highlight the flower and turn the rest of the picture black and white. Here are some other examples of the creative effects taken with the HX50V.