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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 review:

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570

For those who want a little more control, Program Auto lets you adjust ISO, white balance, autofocus points, light metering, and exposure values, as well as control the amount of Sony's Dynamic Range Optimization used for rescuing shadow detail.

The W570's Macro mode can focus as close as 2 inches from a subject and the photos can be very good. The camera switches to macro automatically regardless of what mode you're in so there's no need to fiddle with settings just to shoot close-ups. Plus, its f2.6 aperture is larger than on many competing cameras and does let you create a shallow depth of field when shooting in macro.

Shooting performance is mixed for the W570. Its shutter lag--how quickly a camera captures an image after the shutter-release button is pressed--is good for its class; 0.4 second in bright lighting and in low-light conditions the lag only goes up to 0.7 second. The camera is also pretty quick with continuous shooting for its class at 1.5 frames per second, though that's only for three shots. However, from off to first shot is long at 2.3 seconds and the wait between shots is very long: 4.6 seconds without the flash and 5.1 seconds with. I wouldn't recommend this camera for regularly shooting kids, pets, and sports because it's just too slow. That's not to say you won't get the occasional action shot, especially if you take advantage of the camera's three-shot burst, but you might not get the shot you want.

The W570 is available in silver, black, violet, and pink versions; its body is lightweight and compact enough to squeeze into pants pockets or handbags. It's one of those cameras you won't hesitate to take with you because it's so small and light. Controls are straightforward, too, making it possible to use right out of the box. And if you get lost, a full user manual is embedded in the camera for quick reference whenever you want.

On top are the power and shutter release buttons. They're flush with the body and, though they're easily pressed, most users will need to look to locate them. The remaining controls are on back to the right of the reasonably bright but not great LCD. A zoom rocker that some may find finicky sits above the thumb rest; on the right edge of the body sits a vertical slider for moving from shooting stills to panoramas to movies. Playback, Menu, Delete, and a circular directional pad handle all other tasks. In addition to navigating menus, the directional pad can change flash and timer functions, change display information, and activate smile detection.

For connecting to a computer or TV, the camera has a proprietary jack on the bottom of the camera. A USB/AV cable is included, but HD output requires the purchase of a component cable.

The memory card slot and battery compartment are protected by a lockable door, which you'll have to open regularly to remove the battery for charging. Battery life is average for its size, rated at just more than 200 shots. The W570's card slot can take an SD card or Memory Stick, and if you have an Eye-Fi wireless SD card, the W570 stays powered on until wireless media uploads are complete, has an onscreen icon, and offers the ability to enable/disable Eye-Fi Card Wi-Fi via the camera menu. Though internal memory is limited, it does host a small piece of software for quickly uploading photos and movies to sharing sites when the camera is connected to a Windows or Mac computer.

I never hesitated to recommend the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W350; it was my go-to sub-$200 ultracompact and just a great little camera for the money. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 is nearly as nice with just slower performance and a softer lens keeping me from giving it an equally strong recommendation. If you rarely if ever do any large prints or heavy cropping, the edge and corner softness probably won't be an issue, so if you want something this small and light for less than $180, I would go for it.

Shooting speed
(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)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W350
Canon PowerShot A3300 IS
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570
Nikon Coolpix S4000

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

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