Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 Digital Camera review: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 Digital Camera

There are 11 scene-shooting options, including Beach, Snow, Night Portrait, Pet, and High Sensitivity for low-light shooting without a flash. The camera also has a version of Sony's Sweep Panorama feature that allows you to quickly and easily take panoramic shots horizontally or vertically. Though fun, the results are just on par with a screen capture from a video clip. Consider them for Web use, viewing on a TV from a proper distance, or very small prints.

Sony added a few of its Picture Effects for those who are addicted to playing with various photo apps or just want to experiment. Options include Toy camera with different hues to pick from, Pop Color, Partial Color (turns everything monochrome except for a selected color), and Soft High-key.

If you're considering the W650 for regularly shooting kids, pets, and sports, I wouldn't recommend it; it's just too slow. From off to first shot takes about 2 seconds with shot-to-shot times averaging 3.3 seconds. Using the flash extends that wait to 3.8 seconds. Its shutter lag -- how quickly a camera captures an image after the shutter-release button is pressed without prefocusing -- is OK for its class, but still long; 0.5 second in bright lighting, and in low-light conditions the lag goes up to 0.9 second. Its continuous shooting speed is pretty sluggish, too, shooting at only 0.7 frame per second. Now, that's not to say you won't get the occasional action shot, but you probably won't get the shot you want.

Sony W650's controls.
The W650's controls are easy to learn and use.

One of this camera's best attributes is its simple operation. Most people familiar with digital cameras should be able to use it out of the box, but there is a full user manual embedded in the camera for quick reference whenever you want.

A switch on the side lets you quickly slip from shooting stills to panoramas to HD movie clips and back again. The buttons are tiny but fairly easy to press, though their markings are difficult to see in anything but direct light. What's not good in direct light is the 3-inch LCD. It gets bright, but it's still difficult to see in full sun, and off-angle viewing is poor.

For connecting to a computer or TV, the camera has a Micro-USB port on the bottom of the camera. A USB cable is included, but connecting directly to a display requires the purchase of a USB/AV cable.

The memory card slot and battery compartment are protected by a lockable door, which you'll have to open regularly to remove the battery for charging. Battery life is average for its size, rated at just over 200 shots. The W650's card slot can take an SD card or Memory Stick. Though internal memory is limited, it does host a small piece of software for quickly uploading photos and movies to sharing sites when the camera is connected to a Windows computer.

Conclusion
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 is a good choice for casual snapshooters in need of a reasonably priced lightweight ultracompact that's simple to operate. Sony gives users a couple extras like optical image stabilization and its Sweep Panorama mode to increase the value. However, the DSC-W650's shooting performance can be frustratingly slow at times, so you probably won't want this for photos of active kids and pets.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 (with Soft Case and 8GB SD Memory Card, Black)

Part Number: DSC-W650/BFD
MSRP: $139.99 Low Price: $199.97 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Digital camera type Ultracompact
  • Optical Zoom 5 x
  • Optical Sensor Type Super HAD CCD
  • Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical (Steady Shot with Active Mode)
  • Optical Sensor Size 1/2.3"