Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W300 review:

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W300

Typical Price: £200.00
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Size and finish; manual controls; fast auto-focus.

The Bad Average lens; gimmicky features.

The Bottom Line The W300's real qualities are its design, build, finish and responsiveness. The features are fun, but don't expect them to change your photography. And don't expect too much from that sensor, either, despite its stratospheric 13.6 million pixels and ISO 6,400. The 3x zoom is neither versatile nor particularly good

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7.5 Overall

Sony's W series sits alongside the superslim T series and the superzoom H series. It's the one to choose if you just want a top-quality everyday camera. For around £190, the top-of-the-range DSC-W300 gives you an amazing 13.6-megapixel sensor, a titanium-coated body, advanced face and smile detection, ISO 6,400 and 5fps shooting.

Sony says the W300's titanium body is scratch-resistant, but this camera's so pretty you'll want to keep it well away from any sharp objects. It's easy to use too, and while the startup and zoom speeds aren't the quickest, Sony's autofocus system is much faster than its rivals. You notice it most when you need to quickly grab a shot -- the Sony will lock on and fire in a fraction of a second.

Beginners can leave the camera on full-auto mode, where its Intelligent Scene Recognition aims to automatically spot the difference between a landscape and a portrait, for example, and set the camera accordingly. Portrait shots get an added twist with Sony's latest face-detection system, which can be set to automatically prioritise adults or children. The Smile Shutter mode, meanwhile, will only trip the shutter when your subject smiles.

More experienced photographers will like the fact that there's a fully manual mode on this camera where you can set the shutter speed and aperture yourself, and an optional histogram display on the LCD helps you get the exposure just right. The D-Range Optimiser mode, meanwhile, will effectively lighten up dense shadows in contrast-heavy lighting.

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