Sony Cyber-shot W290 review:

Sony Cyber-shot W290

With such a good package for less than $250, expectations for photo quality were low going into testing, but the W290 far surpassed those expectations. Color and exposure were particularly pleasing and accurate. The camera goes from ISO 80 up to ISO 3,200, but usability drops off significantly above ISO 400 (typical of cameras in its class). However, even at ISO 80 photos viewed at full size have a grain to them that only gets more pronounced as sensitivities get higher. It had little to no impact on large prints (13x19 and below) made from test shots taken up to IS0 400. If you're planning to make prints that large, just keep the ISO as low as possible. (Click to see a photo comparison of ISO sensitivities.) More of an issue was overall softness of photos, especially subjects off to the left in shots.

Video quality was good, too, but again you don't get use of the 5x zoom while you're recording. Also, if you want to view it on an HDTV, you'll need to pony up for a proprietary component cable that connects to the multi-use terminal on the camera's bottom.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 is a compelling package. Unless you're extraordinarily picky about your photo quality, it's a great pocket camera at a reasonable price with a solid combination of features, usability, and design.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Typical shot-to-shot time (flash)  
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Canon PowerShot SD970 IS
1.6 
3.5 
2.1 
0.6 
0.4 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290
1.3 
2.7 
2.3 
0.7 
0.4 
Canon PowerShot SD880 IS
1.2 
3.2 
1.9 
0.8 
0.4 
Nikon Coolpix S630
3.9 
3.4 
3.1 
0.8 
0.5 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5
2.4 
2.5 
2.1 
1 
0.7 

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test digital cameras.

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