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Photos and image samples: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W200

Highlights of the design of the DSC-W200 with annotated photo samples.

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Lori Grunin
1 of 8 CNET Networks
The W200 supplies a variety of program exposure modes, including a high-ISO program shift (which chooses from among a low-light optimized group of ISO sensitivity settings compared to the standard Program mode), but Sony eschews aperture- and shutter-priority modes in favor of a full-manual option. Given the limited set of aperture choices, I can understand dropping the aperture-priority mode, but shutter-priority would have been a much better, more useful option here.
2 of 8 CNET Networks
Personally, I find Sony's new Menu/Home nomenclature a bit confusing. "Menu" makes sense if you think of it as "shooting menu," but what does "Home" have to do with general camera setup options?
3 of 8 CNET Networks
The W200's menu system is easy to read and to navigate. That's good, because you'll spend quite a bit of time in it if you want to use any of the more advanced shooting options.
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4 of 8 Lori Grunin
The W200's auto white balance is either oversensitive to small changes in lighting or simply indecisive. These two shots were taken within seconds of each other; they differed only by a small angle in framing. Yet the W200 assigned them completely different white-balance adjustments. (Exposure adjusted for visibility.)
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5 of 8 Lori Grunin
Though it's not terribly severe, the W200 does exhibit a noticeable amount of barrel distortion on the top and sides given its relatively narrow 35mm-equivalent wide-angle focal length.
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6 of 8 Lori Grunin
Starting at about ISO 400, depending upon the content of your shots, Sony's aggressive noise suppression turns image detail into a mushy mess. If you're planning to print or display photos at less than full size, you can probably get away with the middle ISO levels, though. (This photo was shot at ISO 800.)
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7 of 8 CNET Labs
The 12-megapixel sensor in the W200 requires far more light to produce the same exposure as, say, the 8-megapixel sensor in the T100. In this case, it's almost two full stops greater, and the W200's exposure is still a tad dark. In practice, and as was my experience shooting with the camera, this means you're forced to use the higher ISO sensitivity settings in order to produce any sort of decent exposure. As a result, most shots taken with the W200 have serious artifacts. (The different lenses used by the cameras contribute as well, but both of these shots were taken at the camera's maximum aperture value at their respective 35mm-equivalent focal lengths.)
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8 of 8 CNET Labs
Our in-house test photos, shot in a controlled environment using a tripod, show that the W200 is capable of sharp focus, at least in the center of the picture. In the field, and despite the Super SteadyShot optical image stabilizer, I found it extremely difficult to capture a satisfyingly sharp photo, even just concentrating around the area of focus.

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