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Christmas Gift Guide

ISO comparison

Handheld Twilight

Macro at 50 percent (ISO 100)

Macro at 100 percent (ISO 100)

Color

Lens distortion

Zoom range

Clear Image Zoom

Picture Effects

Watercolor and Illustration

Dual Rec

Intelligent Panorama

Overall, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 produces very good photos both indoors and out. At lower ISOs, you can definitely get shots that look good printed up to 10x13 and they stand up to a little enlarging and cropping. That's probably more than most people need, but it also means that the occasional 8x10 isn't out of the question.

Subjects do get visibly softer above ISO 400, but shots are usable at small sizes up to ISO 1600. Sony's Handheld Twilight mode can help out here, though, as the results are not quite as soft and noisy when shooting in low light. I wouldn't bother using the two highest ISOs, though, as they look more like artist renderings than photos and have off colors.

Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
Sony's Handheld Twilight mode has generally been excellent for grabbing handheld low-light pictures with reduced noise and blur from hand shake. That's the case with the WX150, even with the lens extended some. The bottom is a 100 percent crop from the top picture.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
The WX150 can focus as close as 1.9 inches from a subject. Most of the macro shots I took with the WX150 looked very good up to about 50 to 75 percent of their full 18-megapixel resolution. Above that, subjects will look a little more painterly and you'll see more noise and artifacts.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
However, I did manage to get a couple shots that looked decent at 100 percent. (The spider got camera shy just as I shot this.)
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
The WX150 produces bright and vivid colors that most point-and-shoot users should find pleasing. However, they aren't always accurate, such as with the spiderwort flower in the lower left; it should be more violet than blue. Neutral, reds, and greens were truer, though.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
There is a little bit of barrel distortion present at the camera's wide end (top), but no pincushioning at the telephoto end. Center sharpness is very good, however, the lens does get softer out to the sides and in the corners. My test camera was particularly soft in the top left and right corners. Purple fringing is visible in high-contrast areas, but generally only when photos are viewed at larger sizes.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
The WX150's 10x optical zoom goes from an ultrawide-angle 25mm (top) out to 250mm (middle). Sony's added its Clear Image Zoom, too, which digitally extends the zoom to 20x (bottom).
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
Sony's Clear Image Zoom uses the camera's processor to compare patterns found in adjacent pixels and creates new pixels to match selected patterns, resulting in better digital zoom photos. It doubles the optical zoom range and the shots are usable at small sizes (bottom). However, viewed at 100 percent, it's basically a painting (top).
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
The WX150 has some creative shooting options you can explore, nine of them to be specific. This is Partial Color, which lets you pick a highlight color -- red, blue, yellow, or green -- and turns everything else monochrome.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
Also in the nine picture effects options are Watercolor (top) and Illustration (bottom). What's nice is Sony includes these two as post-processing options in the playback menu.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
The camera's Dual Rec feature lets you capture 13-megapixel stills while shooting full HD video. Just press the shutter release and you get a shot that's good enough for viewing on a TV or computer screen, or small prints.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
Sony has two versions of its Sweep Panorama mode, one regular and one Intelligent. The cameras with a Sony Exmor R sensor get the latter, which includes the WX150. The benefit is that it does a better job of handling moving subjects. If you want larger panoramas, the camera also has a high-resolution option creating photos that are 10,480x4,096 pixels.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
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