The DSC-W730 contains a 16.1 megapixel sensor in the 1/2.3" format (about 28 square millimeters, smaller than a fingernail). The obvious drawback here is noise. The more pixels you cram into a small area, the more digital noise that will be evident in the resulting file. On its own, that's a reduction in quality that negates the need for such a dense sensor; who cares about the extra megapixels if you're not getting any more actual information, just noise? All it's doing is filling up your hard drive faster. In the case of the DSC-W730, you're talking about around 6.5MB per image. You'll even hit the limits of the optics well before 16.1 megapixels, so there's absolutely no reason (other than marketing) for Sony to put such a sensor in this camera.
Unfortunately, they did it anyway. And probably because of the increased sensor noise, they decided to really crank up that in-camera noise reduction. It looks awful, and it's evident at all ISO settings. This NR cannot be reduced or defeated. It's there for good, and it's even noticeable when viewing an image on my computer at 50% of its original size. Of course, the higher the ISO, the more destructive they get with the noise reduction, which just makes matters worse. The issues are somewhat less noticeable when shooting low ISO outdoors with the lens at its widest setting. In fact, in that specific scenario I'd say the image quality is pretty good. Once you change any of those parameters though, you start to see more problems.
The lens is an 8x optical (25-224mm in 35mm terms) lens, f/3.3 at the wide end and f/6.3 at the tele end. In other words, slow and dark. You will almost always need to use the flash indoors, especially if you're zooming in at all. Autofocus indoors with zoom is spotty at best and generally takes a couple of seconds to lock on to something (if it can lock onto anything at all). Sony attempted to combat this by adding a retina-frying orange LED as an AF-assist lamp, but while it might occasionally increase the odds of getting good focus on a subject indoors, it doesn't really seem to speed the process up at all. Outdoors (and sometimes indoors with the lens zoomed out all the way), the camera locks focus much quicker (around half a second).
In the majority of cases, indoor flash photos are exposed pretty accurately. Outdoors without flash, I noticed in many cases the camera underexposed by 1/2 to 1 stop, and sometimes even more underexposed that that when trying to shoot indoors without flash (especially when zoomed in at all). Combined with the existing noise from the ISO setting and the very heavy handed application of NR, trying to bring up the exposure of those ambient light indoor shots to normal levels is going to increase the shadow noise quite a bit. It's not pretty.
The build quality is about what I'd expect from a low-end compact in this price range, entirely plastic. It may not be particularly confidence inspiring, but for the most part it seems pretty solid. It's small and light enough to carry easily in a pocket. I'm not a huge fan of the shutter button though, which has no distinct half-press. It's there, but you can't really tell when you've gotten there like you can with most cameras. You just sort of rest your finger on it with some light pressure.
There are a couple of interesting features, such as a panorama mode that operates similar to that of a phone camera -- rather than taking several shots and stitching them, it does a panning style capture. There's a "smile detection" mode, which I admit was fun for a couple of minutes. When engaged (there's a shortcut button on the camera for it so you don't need to dig into the menus to turn it on) it actively searches out a smiling face. When it sees one, it automatically takes a picture. I'm not sure how it works with groups (do they all need to be smiling, or just one?) but regardless I think the novelty won't last long with that feature.
My suggestion? Honestly, if you're determined to find a camera in this price range and you can't save your pennies for something better, I'd recommend looking at the used/refurb market. For example, top-of-the-line Canon Powershot SD cameras from late 2009 were about the same size and weight as this DSC-W730, around 12 megapixels (still more than enough for any camera this size), built like small tanks, with better optics and overall better image quality. These days even those high-end models can be bought for less than this camera. A quick search shows that an excellent condition Canon Powershot SD980 IS can be had for around $60-$80 (or refurbished by Canon for $129 which I think includes a warranty) and that was the best, most expensive Powershot SD model of its time. It even has a big touchscreen display.
Sony DSC-W730 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Silver)
Impressive right out of the box which contains one Sony DSC-W730 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD, an AC Adaptor, Rechargeable Battery Pack, Dedicated USB Cable, Wrist Strap. note: there are no memory sticks or cards included.
Some of the Many features the Sony DSC-W730 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD has, that stood out for Me:
I might suggest, the first thing one does, before anything else -- attach the, longer than normal, wrist strap (included). Wouldn't want to, accidently, drop (*shudders at the thought*) your new Sony 16.1 MP Digital Camera before having the chance to fully explore all the bells-and-whistles.
I chose the Silver Cyber-Shot, which has a sort of brushed satin, finger print resistant finish. Sleek and classy, goes with most any outfit! The screen is large and (for Me) easy to view without using a magnifying glass. The slightly recessed buttons are easy to press, respond well. The camera navigates from mode to mode, function to function et al with ease and is pretty fast. When powered on, the navigation icons, are good sized, colorful and invoke a sense of fun -- and, have readable balloon pop ups that explain what each selection does.
Using a dedicated side slide type button, switching between Still Images, Panorama 360° (that's a full circle) and 720p HD Movie mode is an absolute breeze. Pressing the zoom toggle switch, camera responded quickly -- zoom in, zoom out -- without any lag, or stiffness.
The built in flash is very bright, and does an excellent job of lighting the subject, or adding a bit of fill flash to a dark area (like shade).
On the bottom of the Sony DSC-W730 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD, is a dedicated tripod socket hole. I was able to screw (mount) the camera onto a monopod and 3 different tripods, that I use regularly, with ease -- resulting in a secure fit with no wobbling.
The Instruction Manual is very concise and informative. The graphics are clear and understandable. There is also an in-camera guide. With a couple of clicks of a button, one can have their own personal guided through instructional of most anything this camera can do -- plus, it will always be in the camera, in case it is needed on-the-fly, so to speak. Nice! :)
Charging the battery: Insert (supplied) battery in camera, connect the camera to the AC adaptor (supplied) using the dedicated USB cable (supplied). Connect the AC adaptor to the wall outlet. Orange light comes on (camera) when charging. About an hour later, light is off, camera battery is fully charged. Easy! Insert Memory card (not included). I used a Standard SD HC 16 gig Flash card, class 10 -- and it worked just fine for all functions.
Right off the bat, there are 2 modes one can choose from: Easy Mode (for those who just wish to pick up the camera and Photograph) and the Standard Mode -- for Creative shooting with Picture and Beauty effects etc.
* 16.1 megapixel plus 8x optical zoom captures detailed subjects -- that 16.1 megapixels means about a print size of 13x19. One can easily chose from a variety of qualities/sizes.
* Optical SteadyShot Image stabilization with 2-way active mode. After taking 50 photographs, I had no blurry photos.
* Continuous shooting mode. Fantastic for capturing multiple still images at action packed events without pausing: soccer, baseball, basketball, ballet recitals, parades, birds in flight etc.
Whew! Lots more to explore with the Sony DSC-W730 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD. This camera will keep one busy for a very long time. *sips espresso* :)
Does the Sony DSC-W730 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD, sound like what you may be looking for? :) Highly Recommended! --Katharena Eiermann, 2013
I do not own a DSLR, and I have never purchased a fancy camera. My cameras have always been in the same price range as the Sony DSC-W730, but that is not so bad any more. Some companies are making startlingly good cameras for the budget point-and-shoot crowd. Is Sony's new contender worthy of the competition?
The DSC-W730 is compact, though not as small as some cameras in this category. Still, it's easily pocketable or pursable. The housing is made of plastic with chrome plastic accents, and there is no attempt to make it particularly sleek. Exposed screws and large seams may make it look cheaper than its price tag, but it all feels durable and ready to take a few drops.
The SD card slot is a bit flimsy, but careful use should prevent it from breaking. Storage space should not be an issue given the compatibility with SDXC cards.
This is my first Sony camera, so the interface was a bit confusing. The lack of a scroll wheel for options made me think that the screen would allow touch, but it does not. Navigating through the options is a bit slow and unintuitive. Switching between picture, panorama, and movie modes is accomplished with a handy slider, and the screen is bright enough to see on a moderately sunny day.
Given my positive results with other cameras in this price range (and perhaps low standards compared to DSLR owners), I figured that the complaints about this product were from picky users expecting too much. I was wrong. Compared to others I've used (Canon, Olympus, Kodak), the pictures are very grainy and sometimes blurry. This is a shame, since I was excited about the 16 MP resolution. The pictures look like they were snapped from a low end phone rather than a dedicated camera. However, every once in a while, with bright outdoor light, everything works just right and the picture is not bad at all. What is the issue?
One problem is perhaps a small sensor, which means that the subject of the image and my hand need to be very still to avoid motion blur. The advertising on the Amazon page talks about image stabilization, but I do not see it working. A tripod would help with this, so this camera might work for product shots for ebay.
Another issue is the slow and unpredictable auto-focus. With a point-and-shoot, auto-focus must work well, since we aren't focusing manually. Most camera manufacturers have this down to a science at this point, and surely Sony does as well with their higher end cameras. In general, the software seems completely confused, and the auto scene selection (nighttime, macro, etc.) is random. I am not sure what happened during development, but taking a photo with this camera is like playing the lottery. Do you feel lucky?
Panorama mode is a major bullet point in the advertising and has its own button, so I played with it in different environments. Overall, it works, though the focus and contrast issues of the still images can be exacerbated. It is a fun effect, but for a photo that you want to keep of family or a cool nature spot, I suggest taking a series of pictures and using software to do the panorama. The difference for me was night and day, and you can even do it in free software like the photo editor that comes with Windows. One caveat: do not use burst mode to take the pictures. The focus is far too sluggish for that and the software is not smart enough to keep up. Even with the super slow burst rate, the pictures look like a mess.
My old low end Canon point-and-shoot (and my phone) don't have HD video, so I was looking forward to trying out the video on the DSC-W730. It is nice to have video in widescreen and with smooth zooming during video. When zooming, the motor noise is not obnoxious. This was my favorite aspect of the camera, and I've included a video with this review. The downside, which is not so evident in this video, is that the picture can be soft and not "HD" looking because it isn't sharply in focus. If you are taking a video of people or moving around, the camera is easily confused and can make everything blurry for a long time. This can happen with any camera that doesn't have a big depth-of-field, but it happens a lot more with this camera than others.
EDIT: Amazon would not allow my video to be posted because they said it violated their guidelines. It was of some trees and a pond, so I don't know why. Sorry about that.
For all of my critiques, I don't hate the DSC-W730. While the image quality and speed is more reminiscent of my cheapo phone than a point-and-shoot in this price range from a company like Canon, some pictures come out very nicely. It is not just a hardware problem, but perhaps even more critically a software problem. The video fares better, though again it doesn't compete well with Canon. In this very competitive low end compact camera category, it is hard to recommend the DSC-W730. It could be a worthwhile purchase if it goes on a deep sale.
on June 11, 2013
INTRODUCTION & OVERVIEW:
For a pocket camera, there's a lot to love about the Cybershot DSC-W730. This is a great pocket camera that I can take anywhere because of its small size. I'm not a photo professional, so I think it takes decent photos and movies. However, there are some trade-offs. The camera has an entirely plastic body. This makes it lightweight but it also gives it a cheap feel. The LCD screen is smaller than my other cameras because of the overall small size (only 3" diagonal) but it's adequate.
The battery charges directly in the camera, so I don't think having a spare battery is a viable option. The battery charges one of two ways: via the mini-USB cable plugged into the power adapter and into the wall, or via the mini-USB cable plugged into a computer USB slot.
I like that there's a built-in instruction guide in the camera, so if I'm away from home I can still check how to use a feature if I forget.
While this camera is intuitive to use, transferring images to my PC was not. I expected to connect it to my PC and find it as a drive (like with every other camera I've used) but the DSC-W730 will not show up under File Explore by default. It required me to download and install the SONY "Play Memories" software for transfer of my photos and videos.
I love the Panorama mode! Set the camera to this and it automatically takes five shots in a sweep, all adjusted exposure etc, and stitches them right on the camera for remarkably cool panorama shot.
There are some photo effects, like those you might normally apply via additional software on your PC, that you can apply directly on the camera as you take the shot. I particularly like the Partial Color effect. It takes a b&w shot with the color of my choice highlighted. EG: a red rose, only the rose would be red and the background would be b&w. This makes for some truly striking imagery. Can be applied to stills, movies, or panoramas.
IN THE BOX:
* Sony DCS-W730 camera
* Wrist strap
* Sony NP-BN lithium ion battery
* Proprietary Mini-USB cable
* Power charging adapter
* User's Guide
NOTE: The camera does not come with any sort of flash card included, not even a tiny one. You'll need to supply your own
STILL IMAGE MODES:
* Intelligent Auto - Exposure adjustment with automatic settings
* Program - Auto exposure with adjustable settings
* Picture Effect - shoot images with different effects applied. Toy (toy camera look, you can change the color hue: normal, cool, warm, green, magenta), Pop (pop and colorful scenes), Partial Color (b&w shots with one extracted color: red, green, blue, yellow), Soft High-Key (warm fresh shots emphasizing bright areas)
* Scene Selection - select best scene mode for environment and shoot (Soft Skin, Soft Snap, Landscape, Night Portrait, Night Scene, High Sensitivity, Gourmet, Pet, Beach, Snow, Fireworks)
* Smile Detection (three sensitivities)
* Face detection
* Continuous shooting mode
* Red Eye reduction
* 4:3 (16Mb) for prints up to13"x19"
* 4:3 (10Mb) for prints up to 11"x17"
* 4:3 (5Mb) for prints up to 8"x10"
* 4:3 (VGA) smaller size for email
* 16:9 (12Mb) 11"x17" for viewing on HDTVs
* 16:9 (2Mb) for viewing on HDTVs
SWEEP PANORAMA MODES:
* Sweep mode
* Picture effects: Pop (pop and colorful scenes), Partial Color (b&w shot with one extracted color: red, green, blue, yellow), Soft High-Key (warm fresh shots emphasizing bright areas)
PANORAMA IMAGE SIZE:
* 360 degrees
* Movie steady mode (two modes: Standard or Active)
* Auto white balance (or selectable to Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2, Fluorescent 3, Incandescent, One Push, or set it yourself)
* Picture effects: Toy (toy camera look, you can change the color hue: normal, cool, warm, green, magenta), Pop (pop and colorful scenes), Partial Color (b&w movies with one extracted color: red, green, blue, yellow), Soft High-Key (warm fresh shots emphasizing bright areas)
MOVIE IMAGE SIZES:
* 720 Fine 1280x720
* 720 Standard 1280x720
* VGA for web uploads
For a small pocket camera, I think the DSC-W730 does a terrific job with point and click photos. There are enough features to keep me amused, but my basic use will be for stills, movies, and the occasional panorama and I will probably be shooting in "Intelligent Auto" mode for all of these because I think the camera does a great job with the automatic settings. I would recommend this camera to my friends and family, although I would first point out that the transfer of photos to a PC requires the download of the SONY software. Otherwise 4-better-than-average stars from me.
This camera works fine for me.
When I tried to use a Canon SD card I kept getting error messages: either "no card" or "not enough memory on the card."
It definitely had trouble reading the Canon SD card, but when I tried others (Transcend 16Gb, for example) they worked fine. The camera does not come with a card, so keep that in mind if you order one. It also does not come with a USB connector cord.
Some reviewers concluded that the image quality is poor. I found just the opposite. Now this is not a technical review, like some others on this page, but I tested this camera against my phone camera (Samsung Brightside SCH-U380, 4 MP), a Canon Elph (Sd8009is, 7.1MP), and my Canon SX30is (14.1MP). Frankly, the Sony's photos came out clearer than all the other cameras. I was a bit surprised (after those negative reviews), so tried the the test a second time. Same result. Also the colors were right on when compared to the scene (using my eyes to view it).
Reviewers also mentioned that the battery door seems thin and weak. It does seem a little thin, but here's what to watch out for: make sure the SD card is pushed all the way in until it "clicks" in place, then shut the door and move its button to closed. Once I did this, the door seemed solid enough. And I had no problems with the camera reading the card or using its battery.
An excellent quality is the size and weight of the camera. It is light and small. It will fit easily into most pockets. I recommend using the small strap that comes with it: since it is so small, it would be easy to drop.
My daughter is using this camera to photograph items to display on her website because she, too, found that its photos were sharper than those taken with our other cameras. I will use it on sketching outings to capture scenes where there is not enough time to stay and paint.
on June 20, 2013
I have owned several digital cameras, most of which were made by Sony. This camera is on the more simple side to use, but still takes some quality photos for a "point and shoot" style of camera.
The Sony DSC-W730 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD is similar to the last digital camera I bought (Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera with 10x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD). While this one doesn't have quite as many MP, the price is also considerably lower than what I paid for the fancier model. The Sony Cyber-shot is honestly a lot more complicated to use as it has so many settings and it is easy to take blurry looking photos with that if you have it in the wrong setting. Oddly enough, the photos always look fine on the screen of the camera, but not when on the computer if you have it set incorrectly.
So while the Sony DSC-W730 might not have all the bells and whistles of the Cyber-shot, it probably has all the best features and is much easier to use. I found it very simple and intuitive to use. This camera is going to be best for those who want a low cost camera that can take nice looking simple photos.
As with pretty much all cameras, you will have to get a memory card (which for $10 to $35 you will be able to get a real decent one). Again, like most cameras, this one doesn't have a case. It does have a strap and a recharge cord for the battery (which is nice as it is such an improvement from the days of having to buy batteries that last for about an hour in a digital camera).
on July 25, 2013
I had a nikon coolpix and it took terrible blurry pictures in low light, I bought this camera based on various reviews and I am so happy, it takes great pictures in all different lighting conditions and that is on the auto mode, very easy point and shoot!
on May 11, 2013
I am a regular traveler, who uses the camera on these travels only, and for me that camera worked perfectly. It's light, easy to deal with and lots of mpixels for you to have fun. The quality of the pics is something that has amazed me compare to my old digital camera. Overall, Im very satisfied with this product.
on January 16, 2014
I was interested in upgrading my existing Canon point and shoot camera. I am very pleased with the features on the Sony and the ease of use. I like the higher zoom which is set according to the size of the prints you wish to produce. Menu is easy to follow without any reference to a manual. I can use flash in bright light with a simple push button on the camera without having to go into the menu as I had to do with the Canon. I use camera for 3 trips we take a year plus all the birthday parties and any other event I like to capture on camera. I then enter the memory card in my laptop, develop pictures by an on line provider and organize my pictures chronologically. Amazon purchasing options such as "open-like new" is fantastic.
on July 20, 2013
The Sony DSC-W730 is all I could expect from a point and shoot camera. We travel extensively, and my wife enjoys scrapbooking, So this light, flexible use camera is perfect for taking all types of photos. The mode of picture/pano/movie is easy to change. The 8x zoom is as much as anyone with normal photographing needs. And with the lithium battery and a 16gb SD card, you are good to go for the entire day. After years of carrying bulky Nikons and Cannons with various lens, this Sony, and others that I've had previously owned, is a joy to own.
I really enjoy the panoramic mode, especially when traveling and taking photos of wide vistas of various types. I've taken great photos of PNC Park in Pittsburgh, The Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas,the rainforest of the Eastern Caribbean just to mention a few. And there are online sites that will print them, or you can crop them to suit your needs.
My only downside is the 16 megapixel images. The files are large, and to upload them to an online photo service takes more time than my previous Sony. A 6.5 meg picture is a lot of megapixels. Clear, sharp, absolutely, but my previous camera with 14meg was just as clear. The good thing is you don't need to shoot in the 16meg mode. You can reduce it to 10, and even further down. I would have wished the gap from 16 to 10 wouldn't have been so distant from each other. A 12meg setting would have been a better choice.
In closing, if you're not some special effects buff, and the Sony does do some of that, like a fireworks mode, etc, but take photos of vacations, birthdays, sporting events, and all around general use, you can't find better than this Sony for quality and weight.