Customer Review

172 of 190 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good camera. Not perfect, but still very good., April 10, 2011
This review is from: Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX9 16.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Still Camera with Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 5x Wide-Angle Optical Zoom Lens and Full HD 1080/60i Video (Black) (Camera)
**Updated June 30, 2011**

After our trip to Disneyland and California Adventures I have a few issues with this camera. When using it in a setting like this; IE turning it on and off, focusing and zooming, quick shots in an array of settings... she didn't do so well. The biggest issues was focusing. I was wondering why this camera wouldn't focus at times when the settings didn't change. Turns out that I had to turn the camera off and back on, almost like I had to reset it. NOT COOL! At a theme park like this where you need to get the shot on the fly, I was getting very frustrated. I still like this camera, but things like this reinforce that my next camera will be a DSLR. I know it's still a point and shoot camera but something like this is unforgiveable. I'll be heading to San Diego next and I'll keep an eye out for this. Oh... get another battery for this puppy as well. I took about 245 shots and two short videos before my camera went out. THAT was my fault. :-)

**I've had this camera for about three weeks now. Did not know my review would be this long. Sorry.** :-)

After months of looking, researching, web surfing, asking friends, bugging friends, waiting, and Google picture searching, I have FINALLY chosen the Sony Cybershot DX9 as my next point and shoot camera. A tiny bit of history: My first digital camera was a Sony Cybershot DSCN1 8.1 MP and was an absolutely magnificent camera. I had it for 5 years before I fatally dropped and killed it. My second digital camera was the Sony DSC-T99 and the absolute WORST camera I have ever owned! I had no problem being loyal to Sony because of the DSCN1 but they almost ruined it with the T99! So I made it a point to do so much research for my next camera, Dan Brown would be jealous. I used so many websites to do my research I felt like that geek who started FaceBook.

Here are the cameras that were in the running: Canon Power Shot SX230HS, Sony Cybershot DSC-WX9, Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10, Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3, and the Nikon Coolpix S9100.

Given everything that today's P&S cameras possess, I was just looking for one thing: it had to take very good pictures. Period. I know, I know, I know... get a DSLR. Maybe one day, but for today I just want a P&S that could fit in my pocket grab that perfect shot. I KNOW for a fact that P&S cameras can take great photos because I had one, the DSCN1. So I know it could happen; I just wanted it to happen again. Having panorama shots, 3-D, Hi-Def video, GPS, and other bells and whistles are all well and good but (again) I just wanted a camera that would echo or exceed the pictures my DSCN1 took. I'll try and post links to the picture albums that I took with my various cameras so you can see the difference in picture quality.
This first initial posting of this review will be a condensed journal or sorts with me adding stuff willy-nilly as I learn more and experience more with this camera.

Here goes...

Control Wheel: After a few days of use (and taking pictures of every useless thing I could think of) I have grown weary of the control wheel. This is easily the albatross around the neck of this camera. I have started teaching myself to use the "menu" button because it is much easier to navigate than the wheel. My problem with the wheel is that it's extremely sensitive and you need to have fingers the size of Tom Thumb to work it with no problems. Now, I WAS able to get the hang of it after practice... but why bother when I can get to the EXACT same functions with the "menu" button? However, don't get me wrong here, the control wheel is a very important functioning part of this camera, and Sony has worked it so that you have to use it to get to a lot of the different scenes. All I'm saying is that the less you use it the smoother your working of this camera will be. (PLEASE bring back the touch screen Sony).

The menu: While nice, takes some getting used to but once you do, you'll fly through it. There was a little scratching of my head when I was trying to figure out the difference between "intelligent auto" and "superior auto". I imagine there were some chuckles in the board room on that one. There is also a small delay when passing the 3-D icon. I imagine this is because the camera has to set itself for a whole different set of parameters when doing that. Nothing big, but worth a mention.

Focus: Focusing is good on regular shots, but not great when you use the full aspect of the 5x zoom. It could be better and the pictures do lose some of that "bite" when you get in a little too far, but I think that is just par for the course with a P&S. (right?)

Movies: Admittedly I've only taken a few token videos only because I wanted to see if I could. I don't see myself using this feature a lot, but if I come across something good I'll let you know. The test videos I have taken have turned out very nice and VERY clear. Sony also gives you three video settings to choose from; highest image quality (1920x1080/24M), high image quality (1920x1080/17M), and standard image quality (1440x1080/9M). I also like the fact that you can zoom while filming and that you can snap pictures while filming video.

Picture quality in regular light: this is a paradox for me so I'll try to be as clear as I can. The pictures this camera takes are very good. But I was honestly looking for something a lot better since they have had five years of work since the DSCN1. At best the picture quality equals the picture quality of the DSCN1. Again, this would be OK if this camera was only one year out from the previous model... but not five. I'm happy with the pictures, I just expected more. There is also (sometimes) the issue of when you don't use the provided software to extract the pictures; there is sometimes a small black "void" near the bottom of the video and pictures. Action shots are a breeze with this camera as well.

Picture quality in medium light: These are pretty good as well. In the WX9 picture album I put in a picture of a gorgeous nighttime sky. That was taken without a tripod and a preset (I'm sorry I can't remember which one) scene setting. The indoor picture I took were OK too... as long as I didn't zoom in too much. That zoom really is not this camera's friend. You will see more grain with the indoor pictures if you blow them up. If you don't blow the pictures up the size of posters you'll be OK.

Picture quality in low light: In this case my low light was 1 candle. We had a power outage about two days ago and I was able to play with this feature while smarter people than myself tried to figure out why I didn't have power but the house directly behind me did. Taking pictures in low light is not for the novice. You don't have to be a pro, but knowing where to place the camera and using the tripod is a must. The pictures turned out pretty well but still not as well as my former DSCN1. The handheld shots were a little grainy, but that is to be expected. Again, my only disappointment was that these pictures were only as good as my previous Sony. The tripod pictures, of course, turned out much better. Grain only showed up when I blew the picture up on my laptop. What turned out to be a nice surprise was that the "background de-focus" mode worked in the low light. BONUS! I tried every low light setting this camera offered and was pretty pleased... as long as I was using my tripod. Without it the pictures were not good, but that's my fault not Sony's. Sony is touting its new Exmor R CMOS sensor pretty hard. They advertise that it will deliver "stunning" low light pictures. It delivers very good low light pictures but "stunning" is pushing it.

Battery: So far so good. When it is fully charged I have no worries that it won't last out what I'm trying to do. I can't tell you how it runs at ½ charge and below because I'm the type of guy that recharges all of my gadgets at night so that I'll be ready to go. And since you can charge this camera using your laptop with the supplied tiny USB cord, you should be in good shape on the days of heavy shooting. Just for giggles I did run the power down using the slideshow feature and `Planet Rock' music I downloaded. It took a little over two hours at ¾ battery power.

3-D: I haven't been able to see pictures on a 3-D TV but when you take a 3-D picture with this camera, you CAN see it 3-D. It's slight but it is there. You can also see the 3-D picture without the use of those Amish-ugly 3-D glasses. It's actually pretty cool.

Summation: Taken everything into consideration I am happy with this camera so far. I take it everywhere with me and its small enough to fit in my pants pocket without that embarrassing bulge. I think this camera will easily fit your needs for a very good P&S camera and then some. Yeah, I'll always wish back to the days of the DSCN1, but until someone invents a *working* time machine I'll happily use my new WX9.

Pros:
* The LCD screen is stunningly gorgeous. So much so that the pictures look better on my camera than they do on my laptop. (#crappylaptopfail).
* Beautiful camera design.
* The video is beautiful.
* Image quality***. (see above)
* Plenty of shooting modes to choose from.
* Very light and a great size to throw in your pocket or purse.
* I love how you can switch the corporate elevator music with music of your choice for the slideshow playback. The only drawback is that you have to use Sony's supplied software on the CD they give you. Unfortunately it's typical gimmicky photo software that you can EASILY do without. I installed it just to give it a test run and I'm going to keep it ONLY because I want to use it to switch the music. Seriously, how cool is it that now I can play `Planet Rock' while showing my pictures? BONUS!!

Cons:
* I'm not a big fan of the control wheel. If you have big fingers I feel bad for you. Too many times I kept inadvertently kept hitting the button in the middle as I was trying to switch modes. DSCN1 had a touch screen and why they got rid of that I will NEVER know.
* Image quality (I know, I know... how can it be a pro and a con?). While the image quality is good, I still find myself wishing back to the picture quality of the DSCN1. The picture aren't *bad* but I expected a lot more after five years of technology between cameras.
* While using the video feature you can hear the camera if you use the zoom.
* If you have the money, there are better point and shoot cameras that can handle low light photography better.
Side Notes:
* The battery can be charged via a battery pack plugged into camera and plugged into wall, or USB cord plugged into camera plugged into computer.
* I use a Transcend 4GB Class 10 SDHC memory card as my main baby and a Lexar 8GB Class 2 memory card for backup and extra storage.

* If you have any other questions please feel free to ask me here or e-mail me at [...] and I'll do my best.

* Because someone ALWAYS asks, this camera was not on a strict lay down date and I was able to order it through a camera store in another state (I live in CA). That's how I got it "early".

Sony DSCN1 Picture Album -[...]
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 30 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 11, 2011 6:22:33 PM PDT
Jason Frost says:
Here are the picture albums that Amazon took away from the initial review. Not sure how long they will stay up. This is just to show you the difference between the picture quality of the three cameras.

DSCN1 - http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=30517&id=100001786039602&l=ec92480519

T99 - http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=30516&id=100001786039602&l=1ef8cd78db

Sony WX9 - http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=30520&id=100001786039602&l=b296109ebf

Posted on Apr 12, 2011 4:42:45 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 12, 2011 5:08:28 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2011 7:42:56 PM PDT
DAMN! Great and seriously thoughtful review! I initially ordered this a week b4 Amazon claimed it would be out, then they haven't been able to obtain it (out of stock), so I cancelled my order and purchased it from B&H in NYC for the same price. It will be here tomorrow, while Amazon says they're still waiting. WTF? You have me so fired up to dig this camera!!!

Can't wait.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2011 7:01:59 AM PDT
Jason Frost says:
Biggie Man - Thank you. Yeah I'm not sure what is going on with Amazon and the access to this product. Funny, I got my camera from a store in NY as well. Please let me know what you think about the camera.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2011 10:01:18 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 14, 2011 10:35:54 AM PDT
Jason, excellent review. I too, hate the wheel! The touch screen on my Sony TX1 is about as good as it gets...too bad the pictures are crap (will be selling it on eBay).

I bought the WX9 at Best Buy in NC for $200. It was their last one.

I think that the camera will be in short supply when the pipeline is depleted. Sony, in Japan, got hit hard by the earthquake.

Wish that Sony had a decent online manual as there are some features that I do not understand what they are and how they used.

BTW I have compared the pics from the WX9 to shots from my new Panasonic ZS7. The Sony wins on all counts except the super macro function. If anyone would like to see the comparative shots, let me know. I will be selling the ZS7 on eBay for a big loss.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2011 10:09:27 AM PDT
Jason Frost says:
I agree with the macro comments. I'd also be interested in what other have to say about the zoom. I'd like to see the pictures Janet. On the awful CD they sent with this camera they have a link where you can download the online manual. It's actually pretty informative.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2011 5:54:44 PM PDT
Anyone know the answer to this?

What gives? The official Sony site says the WX9 has an optical zoom and in an other place says it is digital.

Is the zoom optical? If so, when does the digital kick in?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2011 5:27:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 15, 2011 5:52:42 AM PDT
Jason, you are to be complemented on an outstanding review...well written and well researched! I think that when the pros, such as Imaging Resource do their evaluations they will have little to add to your review. I would give the camera a 5 for features and a 4 for picture quality compared to other P&S cameras. Hellava lot of function for $200. Do you agree?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2011 8:56:37 AM PDT
Jason Frost says:
Thank you Janet. I believe this camera has a digital zoom. I wouldn't give this camera 5 on the features because the features have to compliment picture quality. If either is lacking then it takes away from the whole experience. After 5 years the picture quality should be better than my old camera.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 16, 2011 6:22:52 PM PDT
This reviewer has nothing but praise...makes me feel that I have made the right choice.

http://www.wayfaringwanderer.com/2011/04/10-reasons-why-you-want-to-win-sony-wx9.html
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