I'm Josh Goldman, senior editor for CNET Reviews, and this is a look at the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W350.
It's our top digital camera gift pick for the holidays.
Well, they are certainly a lot of cameras we could have gone with.
We think the W350 strikes an excellent balance of design, features, shooting performance, and photo quality for its price.
This 14-megapixel ultra-compact features a nice 26-mm equivalent wide-angle F27 lens, 4X zoom with optical image stabilization and a bright 2.7-inch LCD all packed into a body that's no bigger than a deck of cards; and it's available in 4 colors: silver, black, blue, and pink.
The W350's controls and shooting options are basic and uncomplicated.
On top is the power button and shutter release with the rest of the controls here on the back.
Everything is pretty straight forward so just about anyone can start shooting with it right out of the box.
A switch here on the right lets you choose your shooting modes.
For still photos, there's Sony's reliable intelligent auto, programmed auto for those that want a little more control, and several C modes including 1 tune for use underwater with an optional housing.
There's an easy mode too that locks down all but a couple of settings and enlarges on-screen text, making it perfect for newbies.
If you like to take panoramas, the W350 makes it easy with a sweep panorama.
Just press the shutter release and sweep the camera and the W350 will create a panorama shot in the camera.
Of course, there's a movie mode on the camera too that can record at 720p HD quality, and you have use of the optical zoom lens while recording.
There's even software embedded in the camera's memory that helps you share your photos and videos online when the camera's connected to a computer.
Photo quality overall is very good up to ISO 400, but photos were usable even at ISO 800 and to some degree ISO 1600, so this camera is able to take decent photos in less than ideal lighting; and while shooting performance can be a bit slow shot-to-shot, it has a low shutter lag, so you'll have a better chance of actually getting the shot you want.
Being so small, it's rechargeable battery is tiny and doesn't last long so you might wanna pick up an extra battery.
Plus, no memory cards are included, but it does take both Sony's memory stick PRO Duo cards as well as more standard SD cards.
All of these adds up to make the W350 a great pick for a pocket camera.
The W350 is very much a point and shoot though, so if you've got someone on your list that's looking for special features, or manual, or semi-manual controls,
check out the other digital camera holiday gift recommendations.
I'm Josh Goldman and that's a closer look at the Sony Cyber-shot W350.
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