Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1 (Black) review: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1 (Black)

This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.
  •  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 9.0
  • Image quality: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Well-designed; several fun, useful features; good low-light and overall performance.

The Bad Mixed photo quality.

The Bottom Line The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1 is a great, fast-performing snapshot camera that falters on photo quality.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

Good low-light shooting without help from a flash is a rarely attained goal in the world of compact cameras. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1 does it with three of the company's own components: a new sensor design, a high-end lens, and a fast image processor. The combination pays off for low-light photos as well as several other features. However, though the WX1 is capable of delivering fast performance and some very good photos, those expecting extraordinary results equal to its features will likely be let down.

Key specs Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1
Price (MSRP) $349.99
Dimensions (WHD) 3.6 x 2 x 0.8 inches
Weight (with battery and media) 5.2 ounces
Megapixels, image sensor size, type 10 megapixels, 1/2.4-inch Exmor R CMOS
LCD size, resolution/viewfinder 2.7-inch LCD, 230K dots/None
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 5x, f2.4-5.9, 24-120mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (still/video) JPEG/MPEG-4 (.MP4)
Highest resolution size (still/video) 3,648x2,736 pixels/1,280x720 at 30fps
Image stabilization type Optical and digital
Battery type, rated life Li-ion rechargeable, 350 shots

One of the most remarkable things about the WX1 is the amount of technology Sony crammed into such a tiny, lightweight body. Due to its back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor and a fast Sony G f2.4 wide-angle lens, the camera has most of the same capabilities as the considerably larger HX1. Both the sensor and the G lens are of the quality found in Sony's dSLR and prosumer camcorder lines.

Sony managed to get almost all of the controls on to the back of the camera without making it feel cramped and confusing and while allowing for a secure one-handed grip that doesn't result in accidental button presses or mode dial changes. There are just three buttons on top: the usual power and shutter-release buttons, and one at the far right for turning on high-speed shooting. The power button is oddly far from the shutter release, just left of the camera's center. While this quickens turning the camera on with your left hand, it also makes it easy to accidentally turn the camera off.

A single Menu button gives you access to shooting controls as well as a selection for seeing all settings. What's also nice is the camera's capability to warn you about adjusting certain settings. For example, if you set the WX1 to spot meter light, you won't be able to turn on Face Detection. The WX1 tells you onscreen that Face Detection is not available because of Spot metering being selected. Cameras from other vendors generally make you guess what needs to be shut off in order to turn on a blacked-out option.

General shooting options Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 160, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
White balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent 1, 2, and 3, Flash, Underwater 1 and 2, Custom
Recording modes Program Auto, Scene Recognition Auto, Easy, Sweep Panorama, Anti Motion Blur, Handheld Twilight, SCN, Movie
Focus modes 9-point, Spot AF, Center-weighted AF, Macro AF
Metering Multipattern, Center-weighted average, Spot
Color effects None
Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) 10 photos

Outside of a few specialty shooting modes, Sony keeps shooting options reasonably basic on the WX1. Though you won't find full control over aperture or shutter speed, you do get something on the Mode dial for just about every point-and-shoot user. Going around the dial, you have a Movie mode capable of 720p HD-quality video with use of the optical zoom (you will hear the motor moving, however); Program Auto with access to ISO, exposure, white balance, focus, and metering; Sony's Intelligent Auto; Easy mode that takes away all but a couple basic shooting options; and SCN, which lets you select from 11 scene situations, but automatically handles all other settings.

Then, there are the more specialized modes. The Sweeping Panorama option lets you shoot horizontal or vertical panoramas with one press of the shutter release; this is unlike other cameras that require you to take several shots. The last two are the Anti Motion Blur and Handheld Twilight modes. Both use the camera's capability to quickly capture six images and combine them into one photo with less blur and better detail than you would otherwise get with just one shot. The results are impressive as long as you don't look too closely at the images at full size. They are quite usable at 8x10 inches or smaller, though.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1 (Black)

Part Number: DSC-WX1/B

MSRP: $349.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Digital camera type Ultracompact
  • Optical Zoom 5 x
  • Optical Sensor Type Exmor R CMOS
  • Sensor Resolution 10.2 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical (Steady Shot)
  • Optical Sensor Size 1/2.4"