291 of 303 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Sony DSC-WX300/B 18 MP Digital Camera with 20x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch LCD is a strong entry from Sony against other cameras in this market segment and price point. It meets and beats several features of competitors, but also fails to be quite as much as it seems to be at first glance. Nevertheless, anyone considering what to take along for photo making on holiday should seriously consider the Sony DSC-WX300.
First let me say that I am a long time fan of Sony digital cameras, and that I have owned many different CyberShot models in the past, and that I am an avid user of the Sony NEX cameras. Superficially, the Sony DSC-WX300 looks like a tiny NEX model. The controls are laid out using very much the same wheel and button system on the back to access the menus, and the styling is very similar. The all metal body conveys a feeling of quality and looks great.
Aside from the controls and family resemblance, they Sony DSC-WX300 is at heart a CyberShot, the Sony line aimed squarely at point and shooters, not at serious amateurs (whatever that is; a good photographer who is not paid any money for his pictures, instead of a mediocre photographer who is?). It is packed with features appealing to sophisticated but casual users. But it is a JPEG image only camera. It does not output RAW image files. It also lacks multi exposure bracketing. Although it would be easy to assume that the Sony DSC-WX300 is a possible competitor to the Canon PowerShot S110 or the Panasonic LUMIX LX-7, the Canon and LUMIX cameras are both more "serious" point and shoot, "pocketable" cameras, with RAW output and more comprehensive PSAM modes.
All that said, the Sony DSC-WX300 has some very interesting features that make it a serious camera for holiday, snapshot and webcentric photo making. The main selling point for the Sony DSC-WX300 are its very small size, it really is "pocketable", combined with its rather amazing 20X optical zoom range, a mind boggling 40X zoom range using optical + digital. The image quality from the lens appears to be quite good. But in the end the image quality is both driven by and limited by the size and sophistication of the tiny thumbnail sized sensor and the electronics. This is the Achilles heel of all digital cameras, and very much the weak point of all pocket cameras. At the end of the day, especially with micro sized sensors used in pocket cameras, no matter how sophisticated, as ISO speed increases there's just no way to not have image quality start to suffer as heavy noise corrections start to be applied to the image by the camera.
Sure enough the Sony DSC-WX300 produces rather amazingly good looking shots up to about ISO 800. But, as with all pocket cameras, the image starts to soften after that. As is the case with almost all digital cameras these days, it's hard to tell just what part the quality of the lens, the limitations of tiny sensors and the alchemy of digital lens and image correction in the camera play in making the final result.
The Sony DSC-WX300 features excellent movie capture specs. But, as with most still cameras that also double as video cameras, the length of any one recording is limited not by storage but by the ambient temperature and other factors that impact how quickly the sensor will heat up while recording continuously. If it gets too hot it will shut down. The Sony DSC-WX300 is rated for video recording up to twenty-nine minutes. I made a ten minute test video without any problems. But, on a hot day, or if your hands have warmed the body already, or the camera starts out hot for any reason then the maximum recording time may be reduced quite a bit. It's not a movie/video camera, it's a still camera that you can capture video clips with. Still, in such a tiny size, the quality and video feature are pretty amazing.
The menus are traditional Sony CyberShot: concise easy to navigate, and without too many options. The Wi-Fi connection worked well for transferring files to and from both a smartphone and a PC, although it requires installing the Sony PlayMemories app. Of course all the devices have to be networked together, a task that's easy if you have little to no router or device security but which becomes an escalating pain as your standards for device security and interoperability increase. Still, it works.
Battery life appeared to be as advertised: rather good. You plug the charger directly into the camera rather than removing the battery and charging it alone. As seems to be the norm for these kinds of cameras, there are a zillion "scene" modes. Why it's assumed by camera makers that someone will have the presence of mind to parse, understand and select the correct scene mode but is assumed to not be organized enough to use PSAM modes is a mystery. The only thing lacking is a "two people being hit on head by coconut while standing in front of blast furnace mode" or maybe a "Batman in white cape snow boarding" mode. But, if you have time to investigate all the modes, and the memory to remember which one does which, it's an asset.
The camera has three different auto modes, but no easy direct PSAM control. About the 18MP sensor: mega-pixels alone are not a good guide to picture quality. An image from a 10MP APS-C sensor with a mediocre lens can easily look better than a picture from an 18MP micro sized sensor with an excellent lens. And let's not forget that with digital images that a large part of what you see in the image has passed through numerous digital processing and correction stages in the camera. The skill of the programmers and the processing power of the camera play an important role.
All that said, the Sony DSC-WX300 delivers some serious value, with a few compromises, and has a number of outstanding and well implemented features. It will easily beat the image quality from even the best smartphone cameras, it is almost as pocketable as a smartphone, it will produce full HD 1080P movie clips, it will network with social media picture sharing via Wi-Fi to your smartphone or tablet, and it has an extraordinary optical zoom range that should cover just about any picture situation.
If you don't need features like RAW file output, exposure bracketing and PSAM type controls that are offered by cameras like the Canon PowerShot S110 and Panasonic LUMIX LX-7, and are after a super portable high quality point and shoot for holiday and family snapshots, then the Sony DSC-WX300 is a serious contender and well worth buying. RECOMMENDED.
282 of 300 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The quest to find the perfect compact digital camera which takes excellent Photos and 1080p videos at the same time is no easy matter. I have tried various models from various manufacturers (primarily Canon & Sony) each one seems to contradict each other. While one model impresses you with Photo quality but fails miserably in video. There is always one thing or the other that disappoints me. May be it's me or I am too picky when it comes to quality or my expectations are too much to ask for in this price range & form factor.
My search for sub-compact cameras is still on and I am yet to find the perfect sub compact camera. Make no mistake, this camera takes very good pictures for a Point & Shoot form factor camera which is easy to carry & Lasts all day without having to worry about recharging the battery. With an 18.2 megapixel packed into this tiny body and SONY's `Exmor R CMOS' sensor and 20x optical zoom lens (35mm equivalent of 25-500mm) The Zoom is impressive for this small size form factor and can be extended further to 40x with Clear Image Zoom (Digital Zoom). There is also `Optical SteadyShot' feature to reduce blur when shooting handheld and you can also shoot at 10 fps which tells me this camera has speed and potential.
In the real world tests using this camera I find some strange design quirkiness which I need to learn to overcome. Firstly you will notice the shutter button which is placed oddly from the side and the select dial there instead. 99% of the time my finger goes to that dial to realize that I was pressing in the wrong region.
The extended lens assembly and the placement of flash on the body of the camera do create shadows on the subject especially when you are taking close-ups or macro shots. This problem is prevalent in most cameras with extended zoom lens. There is no cure for this bug. The only workaround is to disable flash and manually illuminate the subject and adjust exposure settings to compensate for the need of flash.
Thankfully, this camera does have very good low light performance for compact P&S. I did find most of my photos come out clear and sharp even when I disable flash. But you will have to tweak the settings and adjust the exposure manually to achieve the desired results. Superior Auto will take multiple shots and superimpose them to achieve the desired exposure but for better control manual is best.
`Background de-focus' to make it look like a shot taken from`High end' DSLR is a cool feature indeed and I am pleased to see SONY has included a dedicated option on the dial for this. I love this feature and tend to use it a lot with impressive results.
The video results are very good. It has the capability to record in `AVCHD' as well as `MP4' file formats. `MP4' will be useful for sharing on YouTube or other social media sites without any additional need for software conversion. The zoom while you take video is smooth and very steady and results are impressive.
Wi-Fi implementation is something I wished was pretty straightforward but it is not. All I wanted was this camera to have the capability to transfer photos to my NAS directly without having to connect this to my PC to download photos. But the process is cumbersome. In the end I gave up on using Wi-Fi on this camera. It is good to know it is there but not very practical to use.
There is app to control the camera using Wi-Fi and also view pictures on your Smartphone or tablet but again for me that did not appeal me yet. When I am at home I prefer to watch it on my TV and this camera does output on HDMI with full glory. It also has the capability to push pictures to your HDTV wirelessly but I could not get that to work because my TV is not a SMART TV.
There are plethora of features on this camera that will keep one busy for a long time experimenting it one by one but the basic features presently attempted has convinced me that despite the above mentioned quirkiness it does take good photos and videos but my quest to find the perfect subcompact camera is still not over.
[+] Very small body with impressive features
[+] Takes very good pictures and video
[+] Super battery life
[+] Large easy to view LCD
[+] 20x optical zoom for a sub compact camera
[+] Fast auto focus system
[-] Oddly placed shutter button location
[-] Large Zoom Lens & Flash placement causes shadows on close-up shots
[-] Still images are noisy when taken simultaneously with video
[-] Odd location for HDMI output port
[-] Flimsy door for Multi function port (For charging battery)
[-] Looks rectangular box shaped wished it had some contour for better hold feeling.
For the price you pay it does give you good results. It does take good video so you can skip carrying a bulky camcorder. The photo quality is very good with good color balance & exposure. There is some quirkiness that one needs to learn to overcome especially the placement of the shutter button.
120 of 125 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2013
Color Name: Black
First the good news: as a camera, this is fantastic. It takes beautiful pictures, and the low light performance and image stabilization are incredible. I've taken pictures in dimly lit rooms at full 20x zoom without a tripod, and they come out crisp and flawless. The operation is simple and intuitive, and go from fully automatic, to automatic with "tweaks", to scene selection and finer control.
In addition to the incredible zoom, another extremely nice feature that was once unavailable at this price is a 10 shot burst mode, which can go at 2 or 10 frames per second. Very handy. [Update: I recently used the burst burst to photograph some break dancing street performers, and got some truly *amazing* shots].
I could go on, but I honestly don't think you'll get better pictures from any point and click on the market in this price range.
Now for the thing that cost them a star. Built-in WiFi is the "new thing" in cameras, and it was one of the things that sealed the deal for me on this camera. I'd guess in a couple of years they will have worked out all the bugs. Unfortunately, however, they're not there yet. WiFi is so new in this camera that it's not discussed in the manual. They have a special little instructional insert about it with *extremely* limited information.
There are two ways to use WiFi. The first, and most useful, is to send pictures directly to a smart phone, to upload to FaceBook, email, etc. To do this, you go to playback mode, click "menu" and tell it to send pictures to the camera, then select the pictures to send. The camera then sets up its own hotspot, which you connect to with your phone and then use a special app to copy them.
Here's the problem, at least on an iPhone: because the hotspot is not a fully functioning WiFi server, the phone sees it as a limited function connection and will eventually switch over to another server if it's available, which will interrupt the transfer. That means that if you try to use this feature with a known server nearby, you have to *tell the iPhone to forget that server first*, or the transfer will fail after a picture or two. If the server has a password, it will be kind of a pain to reconnect. Once I solved this problem (by trial and error), it worked fine and the pictures copy directly to the camera roll, from which you treat them just like pictures taken with the phone. I think this problem is ultimately due to the stovepiped architecture in iOS, so it might work better with Android.
One additional warning: by default pictures are transferred at a lower resolution in this mode. You have to go into settings (on the phone, not the camera!) to enable full res. transfer.
There's a variation on this mode which allows you to control and view the camera with your phone. That might have a few niche uses (some of them rather unsavory!).
The second way to use Wifi to send your pictures directly to your home computer, much like a wireless scanner does, but it appears to be undocumented. You go into the settings menu and connect to your local WiFi server. Then, the first time you connect you camera to the computer with a cable, one of the virtual "disks" which appears will lead you to software to download to configure that computer to receive images wirelessly from the camera. After that, when you're on that wireless network, you can go to the menu and send all pictures to that computer. This works OK, but sometimes the app hangs at the end after the transfer is complete. Since I'll be at home already, I'll probably just use the cable. [Addendum: I've discovered that this mode is *very* unreliable. When transferring a large number of pictures, it will often fail part way through. I strictly use the cable connection now].
Bottom line: fantastic camera, but if the Wifi functionality is important, consider waiting a year or so until they iron out the bugs.
Ironically, if the camera hadn't had WiFi, I probably would have bought it anyway and given it 5 stars.
81 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2013
Color Name: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? ) I received this Sony DSC-WX300 camera as part of the Amazon Vine review program. I have been procrastinating on doing my review because I really, really wanted to like this camera and wanted to give it a fair chance. I have been using it frequently for a month now, but I am still not feeling the love. I am not a professional photographer, nor do I know a lot about the technical aspects of cameras. I am simply a "mom with a camera" who uses my point & shoot cameras mostly in Auto mode, as most people do. When I want to get more serious about photography and mess around with changing a lot of settings, that is when I lug around a heavy DSLR camera.
First I will say what I actually DO like about the camera:
*I really like the small size. It is easy to slip into a larger pocket, or in my purse. It took me a couple of days to get used to the small buttons and controls, but they are okay to use with my medium sized hands.
*The 3" LCD screen is very large, and has excellent detail in normal or dim lighting. There is also an option to change the LCD resolution to standard, in order to conserve the battery.
*The auto focus works quickly.
*I am amazed that Sony packed a 20x optical zoom into such a tiny camera. I have been able to capture some wonderful distant outdoor shots with the great zoom lens.
*The battery life is phenomenal. On my heaviest day of use, I took a little over 400 photos (mostly outside), and the battery indicator still showed 2 out of 4 bars left remaining.
*Outdoors shots of landscapes with normal lighting have amazing detail and vibrant color rendition.
*The In-Camera Guide is very helpful, especially since the printed instruction manual that is included is not very detailed. There is a more detailed instruction manual available online at: http://docs.esupport.sony.com/dvimag/DSCWX300_guide/en/index.html
*I briefly tested the video, and it seems good. There is the option to record in either AVCHD or MP4 formats. MP4 is good for sharing to Facebook or YouTube, since it does not need to be converted. The zooming function during video recording is smooth, and not overly noisy.
Now are the things that I do NOT like about the camera:
*The body of the camera is too slippery. I do not dare use this without the wrist strap. I am hesitant to hand it to other people to take a photo, since I am afraid they will drop it. This camera really needs some well-placed rubber grips.
*It does not include a dedicated charger. For a camera of this price point, that is simply unacceptable. There is a dedicated charger available for purchase from Sony, but it is rather expensive. The battery charging port (micro USB) is behind a flimsy door that is hard to open. I have broken 2 fingernails already while struggling with it. The micro USB connector is very hard to push into the charging port. In contrast, the infrequently used HDMI micro jack is conveniently placed on the bottom of the camera. Do not get the micro HDMI port confused with the charging port like I did the first time.
*I am very disappointed in the low light performance when using the Auto modes. I know that this performance could be improved by changing the ISO settings, but there is not always time to do that depending on the situation. I am used to better Auto mode performance from the Canon and Panasonic point & shoot cameras that I also own. Worse yet, the flash does not always go off when needed. The inside photos that I take are nearly always a bit dark. It is usually an easy fix in Photoshop, but I have never had this bad of a problem with the previous point & shoot cameras I own. It is a real bother to have to edit so many photos.
*I tried for over an hour to set up the Wi-Fi function on my Windows 8 computer, before I finally gave up. The computer shows that it recognizes the camera, but it will not connect even after restarting both the computer and the camera. When I have the extra time, I plan on calling Sony customer service to try and get this feature up and running.
*The flash placement causes me to put my middle finger over it while pushing the shutter button with my index finger. I ruined quite a few indoor shots before I realized I was doing that.
*The camera shoots still images at an aspect ratio of 4:3, which would translate to a paper print size of 8"x6" or 4"x3", assuming that you don't crop the image. Of course, most average users print using 4"x6" photographic paper. Many point & shoot cameras shoot at 4:3, so that is not a true downfall of this Sony camera. However, the old Canon Elph camera I own has a very nice optional feature that allows me to "gray out" the area of the LCD screen that won't print using 4"x6" paper. That is greatly beneficial when framing a shot on the LCD screen. My 5 year old Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5K 9MP Digital Camera with 10x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black) camera has the option to shoot still photos in 3 different aspect ratios though (including 3:2 which is native for 4"x6" photographic paper), so this problem is never encountered.
*Speaking of the LCD screen, it is a really large 3" screen. However, it has terrible glare in the bright sunlight. I often find myself trying to shade the screen with my left hand, while holding the camera in my right hand. That is quite awkward, and it does not always help. I miss the days when most point & shoot cameras had an optical viewfinder, which is always usable even in bright sunlight.
*The tripod receptacle is made of plastic, instead of metal. Plastic tripod threads are very easy to strip out. For this price point of camera, it is a very cheap thing to omit.
*The camera doesn't have a P/A/S/M full manual control, which is disappointing at this price range. I do not typically use point & shoot cameras using manual settings, but more serious photographers do.
*The shutter lag seems worse for inside shots than the Panasonic and Canon point & shoot cameras that I own, while using the Auto modes. Those cameras are 5 and 6 years old, so I would have thought technology would have improved a bit.
*I saved the worst for last, and I honestly wonder if this is a defect of my particular camera. I read all of the reviews here on Amazon, and no one else complained about this. The write speeds are very slow when taking still photos. Sometimes it takes about 2 seconds, and that is with a fully charged battery. I initially started using this camera with an older memory card, so I naturally thought that was the problem. Then I switched to using a SanDisk Extreme 32 GB SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 Flash Memory Card 45MB/s (SDSDX-032G-X46) card. Sony recommends a minimum Class 4 memory card with this camera, so a Class 10 card should be more than sufficient. The write speed is just as slow with the better and faster card.
To sum it up, I am sadly disappointed in this camera. I fully expected to really like this camera, but I do not for the variety of reasons that I listed above. I also own a Sony Alpha DSLRA350K 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera with Super SteadyShot Image Stabilization DT 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens and a Sony NEX-F3K/B 16.1 MP Compact System Camera with 18-55mm Lens (Black), so it should be obvious that I am normally a fan of Sony cameras. With regret, I rate this camera as only 2 of 5 stars.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? ) If you're a major photo enthusiast and need more control, then you should be looking at more of the Sony DSC-HX50V model.
This camera is literally a point and shoot camera (there is no manual mode to control aperture or shutter speeds) -- but with some premium features. This camera will be more than enough for a beginner because of its ease of use - it's really dumb proof; if you don't know what aperture, white balance, or shutter speeds are, you'll be happy with this. You can just scroll up and down with the wheel dial to adjust the brightness, color (warm or cool), and vividness. There's also different picture effects like isolating color
I own some higher end cameras, but what I am still impressed about this camera:
- It's quite light and compact - easy to carry; large LCD screen
- Sony has the quietest zoom noise on the market; If you tried the Fuji, it is NOISY.
- Sony has the best video capability on digital camera hands down; it can shoot 1080p at 60i. I was impressed with the video it produced considering the size of this thing - it can really fool people to think it was shot on a regular video camera. What's also great is that when you're zooming while shooting video, because of it's low noise zoom mechanics, it won't pick up and ruin the video (I've monitored the playback of the video with headphones and I could not hear the zoom noise compared to other digital cameras shooting video and zoom).
- It also has a very nice stabilizer for video; you can see/feel the gliding motion
- Dedicated Movie button for quick video shooting
- Great Macro
- It has built-in WIFI to transfer pictures wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet. (You just need to get Sony's PlayMemories app)
- It has Sony's impressive Panorama mode
- 20x zoom (silent, which is nice! Don't take it the wrong way, it's not DEAD silent but if you tried other digital cameras, it is SILENT)
The dial is very plasticky and cheap feeling; you can tell where they saved costs on the material.
The WIFI function to remotely control the camera with your smartphone, while the concept is very cool, it is a major hit or miss; personally, it would disconnect on me or the "live" video feed doesn't keep up at all when I move the camera around.
I wish in Program Mode, the wheel dial could just automatically adjust exposure compensation; the photo creativity dial is not available in this mode. To me, it feels like wasted buttons.
Photos came out nice and sharp (it's more than enough for photo blog/etc); of course there is expected noise, especially when there isn't much light, at this price range and sensor size.
I would say this camera is still geared more towards a beginner class; the Sony HX30V and Canon S100 are still above this camera's class. I own both of those cameras and this camera definitely won't replace them. However, because of its compact size and weight, I'll use it as a backup camera.
If you're looking for a light/compact easy to use camera with excellent video for its size, this is an option. If you want more power features and control, you'll have to step up to Sony's higher end HX model. For the average consumer and beginner, this camera is more than enough and simple to use.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2013
Color Name: Black
I picked up my copy of the Sony Cybershot DSC-WX300 at a local BB store which very compliantly matched Amazon's price - great deal! In unboxing I was amazed and impressed by the small size and detailed controls. I didn't really expect this camera to be an RX100 or an SLR and I didn't buy it for that purpose. It's strange these days in our "get what you want when you want it" consumer culture that we want all equipment to be all things. I began a professional photography career in 1969 when I enrolled at a prestigious west coast photography and fine arts college. Our first camera was a 4x5" sheet film view camera on a 20 pound tripod! The results you got were entirely dependent upon your ability to know and use the basic controls of this equipment. No auto-focus, auto-exposure, certainly no pocketability, no immediately viewable results, etc., etc. That's not so say that we shouldn't advance technologically, but when the complaints I read about this truly tiny viable camera with a 20x optical zoom lens, panorama, 3D, ridiculously close range macro focus, roll in I'm astounded how we must have all features at the highest levels, and all in one package! Well, that hasn't happened yet. Engineers (I am one) can't solve for all requirements in one solution. We still live in a world where it might take more than one camera, or other tool, to do it all.
Having gone into this buy with the aforementioned mindset, I've found that the pixels really aren't the most desirable at 100% magnification and the Wi-Fi communication isn't perfect and capturing sports may not be the forte of this little gem. However, the balance of good features just shouldn't be ignored. I own two other Sony cameras, of the NEX series persuasion, and they sport APS-C sized CMOS sensors of 16 and 24 megapixels. The basic formula in engineering digital cameras from the pixel viewpoint is that more pixels on a small (in this case, 1/2.3") sensor doesn't necessarily create a better image. All digital camera images originate as "RAW" data which is then processed and converted into an output file. In the case of the Sony WX300 that file is a JPEG file. Since the physical size of a digital camera can limit the size of the sensor you aren't going to see a 1/1.3" or a full 1" sensor in this body (at least not this year...). So, we have to rely on the magic of the BIONZ image processing engine, which is basically software (firmware) which has been carefully created to do its best processing the raw sensor data into a decent end result which is small enough to store on your SD card.
When the user of this camera selects one of the two auto settings the raw image can be processed in a number of different ways. The high ISO settings on this size sensor are going to generate noise - rule of thumb, the larger the sensor, the less noise, in general. The BIONZ imaging engine (software) does its best to reduce or mask this noise. Since you don't have the option to process the RAW files yourself, you have to live with the end product of the process, so for some the pixels are too soft or fuzzy, smooshed looking or blurry, due to the processing engine (BIONZ in this case) trying to make it less noticeable. However, although the pixels don't look too happy at 100%, when the full frame is viewed at normal width and height, especially on an electronic screen, then you generally don't notice. You'll also have to limit the size you print, but again, there are variables there since larger prints aren't really meant to be viewed at a distance of inches - rather feet.
For my use - and that's really the end determiner since this is a tool, not toy (?) - it's a perfect complement to much larger cameras which don't drop in my shirt pocket or reach out to 500mm. It's great to have that $1000+ SLR sitting at home with the potential to take far better shots than your P&S, but let's face it; it's the camera you have with you that will take the shot that doesn't get missed, not that beast that you left behind. My first digital camera was a Logitech Fotoman which would create black & white images of about 150x250 pixels. I could still print them at around 4x5 inches, or so and still have them. The shame is (if there really is any...) that I could have taken many of the images with a film camera at the time and had better printable results today. The same will be true as we move into the next several generations of cameras where we'll see focus correction after the shot, 3D, holograms, and whatever which aren't available today. I'm confident that the images I take with the WX300 will live on and have value. I won't leave home without it and with some practice I'll also understand how to obtain the best images from it. I love the Wi-Fi connectivity and plan on capturing unassuming candids of the grandkids using this feature, as well as times when I really would rather not be that close to the action. Certainly, it won't be the last camera I use, nor the only one I possess at any given time - right tool for the job - and if you like true pocketability, panoramas right out of the camera, remote control from your phone, extreme reach at distance, then I feel you'll love this camera. It has the same imager as its bigger brother, the HX50, with less zoom reach, but $140 less damage to your wallet or purse, and significantly smaller size. But again, it may not be for those "Pixel Peepers..."
UPDATE - 7/16/2013: After shooting a good number of event shots this past weekend with the Sony WX300 I have further refined my understanding and use of it. Long shots at extreme distance and high ISO using a variety of settings, including Programmed mode, Auto and Auto+ yielded a wide range of results. Sony definitely turns up the noise reduction full blast, beginning at 800 ISO, and particularly at 1600 and 3200. I was seeing the "Painted Effect" which other users commented on here and at other review sites, where the image viewed at 100% begins to look like a watercolor filter was used, yet these same images at full width on a screen actually looked quite good. Additionally, when using either of the auto modes, but particularly the "Superior Auto" (camera with plus icon) mode, the shot-to-shot time was a matter of several seconds while the imaging engine compiled several shots to get the best image. I also experimented with forcing the ISO down by setting to programmed mode and then selecting either 80 or 100 ISO. Of course this didn't fair too well under low light with the subjects moving. However, I was able to get some pretty good, low grain and low noise reduction images when using the "Handheld Twilight," and "Anti-motion Blur" scene settings wherein several images at differing exposures are layered to get sharp and mostly noiseless images. Again, the post processing occurring in the camera can take some time, so you won't be able to shoot another image until it released the camera to you again to snap another. I do wish that Sony would allow the user to turn off the auto image review which seems set to about 2 seconds. Personally, I like to review the images (play them back) when I want and not immediately after each shot. In every other P&S and SLR or mirrorless camera I have (including many Sonys) I can turn off auto image review. Having it on prevents me from taking another shot until the LCD clears. However, one way around this is to use continuous shooting mode (either low or high) which bypasses the playback until the end of the series you are shooting. Well, as I said earlier in this review, you can't have everything in one package!
Still love this camera, though. Just a few notes to Sony, however. 1) Allow auto image review to be turned off. 2) Allow auto noise reduction at high ISO to be lowered or turned off. 3) Offer a RAW file image capture option, if possible... ;-)
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2013
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
This was my first upgrade as far as cameras are concerned. I am not a photographer by any means, but I was interested in getting a camera that is a step above a simple point and shoot. While I originally looked at digital SLR cameras, I was put off by the price and since I do not have the knowledge base in this area I decided to stay away from them. A staff member at my local electronics retailer showed me this camera and I was very impressed. I purchased it here as the price was better than in the store.
This camera takes incredible pictures, at least in my opinion as a typical user and not a professional. I took it to the arboretum to photograph wildlife and flowers the first weekend after I received it. The zoom allows for great pictures from a distance. In fact, I caught a great shot of a hummingbird on approach to a flower from about 15 feet away. The image came out like something from a National Geographic magazine.
The camera's operation is simple and intuitive. I found the features that allow for color enhancement to be not only a fun addition but also very easily accessed. The camera's start up time is fast so you can quickly start taking pictures after turning it on, which is a huge difference from my last camera. There is one criticism, but this may be more due to my lack of experience using a Mac than anything else. For some reason I cannot figure out how to watch the high-definition videos on my computer. The camera records them in a format with which I (and apparently my MacBook) are not familiar. I imagine this is a simple fix, so I plan to check the forums online to get some direction. As I said, this is probably due more to my limited knowledge rather than a true problem with the camera itself. I am still experimenting with the other features, so I imagine I may be updating this review as I get more acquainted with the camera. That said, I only expect more positive attributes at this point.
Lastly, battery life is worth mentioning. I was skeptical at first but the battery actually lasted longer than anticipated. I have only charged the camera twice since I bought it and I got about four days of heavy use out of it before I had to charge each time. While I expect this to go down with age as most batteries lose their ability to hold a charge over time, I was favorably impressed with the life of the battery. This is particularly impressive since the camera does not have a viewfinder and you must use the screen.
Overall, this is a great camera to get your feet wet if you are moving in the direction of taking more artistic photos or just want a solid camera that captures fantastic images. Though the price was on the higher end for me, I have found it to be worth all of what I paid.
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? ) I don't ordinarily start a review with my summary and conclusions. But I am going to here since there are a number of lengthy reviews and if you want my bottom-line here it is. Sony created a remarkable high performing point and shoot in a very small and relatively light weight body with fantastic battery life. The most outstanding features to me are the very fast shutter and autofocus (rivaling DSLRs), vibrant and accurate color reproduction, good Wifi and smart phone control, and astounding low-light performance. Where the camera falls a little short is with background defocus (explained more below) and very good but not great video performance. Overall though this is a great take everywhere, in the house, everyday companion and is recommended.
I have had the pleasure to try this camera and last year the Sony DSC-HX30V. Both are great cameras and highly recommended. The HX30V set the bar very high for me because it provided not only great pictures but GREAT video. The video was better than camcorders costing more money. The WX300 surpasses the 30V in many ways, except video. Even though the lenses are the same and the sensor seems to be the same.
But what Sony has accomplished is quite remarkable. And overall this is the point and shoot camera I will be carrying with me from now going forward and here is why. Size. I want my point and shoot (my `high end' camera is a Lumix G3 with a variety of lenses) to be easy to use and just slip in a pocket and have with me everywhere. As I am writing this review I have both cameras with me. The HX30V does feel very good in the hand, but it is a lot heavier and bulkier. The WX300 is just remarkably small and I can put it in a pocket and always have it at my beck and call. And speaking of that, when you do want to take a shot you want power. Fantastic battery Sony included. Perhaps the best battery I have ever had in a portable device. I have taken hundreds of shots the past few days and the battery is still going. You don't need to buy an extra battery here. I did buy one for the 30V.
* Low-light performance.
Wow. The 30V was the closest point and shoot I ever used in coming close to a DSLR or mirrorless in terms of shutter performance. The WX300 is fast. Really, really fast. I am not missing any shots. And the rapid fire works great. As fast as advertised. The autofocus is quick and accurate and a very good performer even in low-light.
The low-light performance for pictures is extraordinary. One thing I use a point and shoot for is around the house everyday stuff and to document parties and get togethers. A lot of the action is inside. The WX300 can be used in most indoor lighting without flash. I love this because colors are more accurate even if you are getting some more noise. Overall the indoor results without flash and with flash have been great, better than the 30V which was pretty darn good.
The Wifi features work fine. No problem with iPhone 4, and iPhone5, and an iPad. I was used to how to do it though. You have to go into settings and select the Wifi hot spot the camera creates, then open the Playmemories Mobile app. It becomes second nature. I also `paired' the camera with one of my home computers. You then want to select access point (ie your wireless network). You are then good to go. Wireless transfer will transfer videos and pictures. You don't get a choice of what to transfer when sending to a computer but it does only transfer new items. Sending to a phone or tablet you can choose which items to transfer.
The WX300 does have a new feature compared to the 30V, smart device control. You choose this and then what the camera is pointing at shows up on your phone. You can zoom in and out, although this is slightly clunky and set a timer. This is a great way to get your vacation photos. It is also kind of cool.
Other things I like. Easy to use panorama produces consistently good results. Options easily accessible in almost every shooting mode include brighter and darker (EV control) and warmer and cooler. Warmer will bring out yellows and reds, cooler green and blues. If you never used this it can be fun to play around with. There are fewer options and fewer modes than the 30V. This was obviously deliberate and I am ok with it. In the P mode you can control metering, ISO, and white balance. It is enough that someone with more photographic experience I think will be more than ok with.
Where it falls short.
Video. Even though as I mentioned the sensor and the lens seem to be the same as the 30V and Sony improved autofocus and shutter speed, the WX300 seems to take a little backward step in video. Now let me say it is the second best video I have ever seen in a point and shoot. Just not...quite...as good as the 30V. It is still very good video indoor and out. And you can in the menu change it to MP4 if you want which also produces good video quality. There is more noise during zoom compared to the 30V. This might be because of the small body. Not bad, but more.
Background defocus. I have tried hundreds of shots. In all 3 settings of background defocus, low, medium, and high. I have tried it with people and flowers and pets. It has defocused once. Once. And it wasn't a good picture, the subject was blurry as well. I have to say this feature just does not work. The camera is trying to produce `bokeh', or the defocused background. It just hasn't worked. And I did try hundreds of shots to get it to work.
Overall though this is a great everyday camera that can help document your life with great results. I like Sony lenses, sensors, and software. I think they produce vibrant but accurate pictures with a lot of detail. The WX300 certainly does that. It does it in a remarkably small and lightweight body with extraordinary battery life. It has upper notch autofocus and shutter speed for a point and shoot and the best picture low-light performance I have ever seen in a point and shoot. Highly recommended.
A great case for this camera is the Lowepro Santiago 20 Camera Case (Black)
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2013
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
THIS HAS IT ALL IN A VERY SMALL PACKAGE!
Very impressive results!
Long optical zoom in a pocket camera withe a very usable digital image.
Digital Zoom is amazing. Very sharp considering.
In camera special effects are addicting.
Lens sharpness rivals many DSLRs.
I think this is my go-to camera for quick in-field work.
Sony is getting very close to having the absolute best creative feature set.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? ) I'm a techy guy, and as my nickname suggests, I'm into gadgets. However, I am no professional photographer. I won't be able to tell you about all the different ISO settings, or other manual settings. I'll leave the reviews of certain aspects of the camera to those that know better. However, as a basic P&S user, here are my thoughts:
## Many shooting modes!
3D Still image
Movie Mode (AVCHD)
iSweep Panorama - for panaromic shots
Program Auto - Auto exposure with adjustable settings
Superior Auto - Shoot sharp images while reducing blur and noise automatically
Intelligent Auto - Exposure adjustment with automatic settings
Background defocus - Shoot with background defocus
Scene selection - select from 14 different scene modes (soft skin, soft snap, anti motion blur, landscape, night portrait, hand held twilight, high sensitivity, gourmet, pet, beach, snow, fireworks)
Whether you're a beginner or a professional, theres a mode for you.
If you have it in timer mode, it can even be set to take a photo 2 seconds after 1 or 2 people are detected.
Video can be shot in 3 quality settings:
AVC HD 9M (HQ) - standard image quality 1440x1080 (60i)
AVC HD 17M (FM) - high image quality 1920x1080 (60i)
AVC HD 24M (FX) - highest image quality 1920x1080 (60i)
I only shot video in standard image quality. Videos in low light seem rather grainy but still watchable. Didn't expect too much. However, videos in adequate lighting did provide some crisp videos. You also have the ability to take photos while actively recording the video! Video files are saved with the .MTS file extension -- I was able to view it with VLC player.
## 3D Photos: Though I've taken some photos, have not had the opportunity to view it on a 3D screen. As the camera's screen itself is not 3D, there is no way to tell the results until you hook it up to a 3D screen. 3D here is simulated. It takes two quick shots and attempts to combine it to achieve the 3d effect. AFAIK, normal 3D cameras will capture images from lens in two locations. Unless you use a special 3D screen, the photos will look like any other photo.
## Wifi: With wifi, you can either control this camera with a smartphone, or connect to a computer to save images directly to it. This is achieved by creating an ad-hoc network (direct peer-to-peer connection).
I tested the wifi by controlling it with my android smartphone -- Motorola Droid 4. I downloaded Sony's PlayMemories app from Google's PlayStore.
Setup is simple -- On the camera, go to the menu and select "ctrl with Smartphone". From your smartphone, turn on wifi, find the SSID #, connect, then open up the app. You should then be paired. Your smartphone will display whatever your Sony camera is displaying. You'll be able to control it remotely -- zoom in/out, take photos, video, and adjust some basic settings. While the photos will be stored on your camera's SD card, you have the option to save a small version on your phone and share it (email, social networks, etc.).
Though this is a bit of a novelty feature, I find this can be very useful when attempting to take a group or couple photo. Instead of having to lining everything up perfectly, setting the timer, and getting into place, you simply need to view it from your smartphone whether the shot looks right -- then snap the photo!
## In-camera Guide
For a basic user like myself, I do on occasion try to learn more about how to take the perfect shot. The guide is a easy-to-read step-by-step tutorial on accomplish the shot you want -- night shots, blurred backgrounds, landscape, food, pets, snow, beach, etc.
## Room for improvement
* Smartphone app -- needs a bit more work. The app does not give you as much control over the features as you would have if you were holding the camera itself. They seem to be actively updating this software, so more features may be on the horizon.
* Charger -- There is *NO* separate battery charger included. What was standard before is now an add-on option! Without it, you're forced to use the supplied USB cable that doubles as a charger (they do provide you a wall outlet to plug the usb into). You can purchase the standard charger separately or get the accessory kit Sony ACCTRBX Battery Charger, Battery and USB Cable (Black).
It takes a while for me to learn how to use cameras. The above features just scratch the surface of what this camera has to offer. While the camera does deliver lots of features, Sony takes lots of the guesswork out of it. If you don't want to or have the time to wade through the plethora of settings, Sony makes it as simple as possible.
I cannot speak for the professionals, but this would make a great camera for beginners. Its simple, lightweight, and delivers great quality images.