Top critical review
2 people found this helpful
Cute, compact, great yet frustrating
on August 14, 2013
This expensive and fully featured camera is made for people who have no idea about photography and don't care. In some ways it is remarkably capable and in other ways it is so dumbed down that the needs of precision are removed and the result is unsatisfactory.
Some shots are breathtakingly beautiful. Colors seem to pop and the images seem to be larger than life and richer than the actual scene. At the same time I found focus to be very soft, some distortion on the sides and lots of time taken to store photos. But what I had the most difficult time was trying to get take indoor pictures without motion blur. Even the slightest motion caused images to appear out of focus. No matter what I did, even fast shutter settings, those objects not directly in front of the camera were badly out of focus due to motion blur.
The real problem is nothing can be adjusted with this expensive camera. Need a higher ISO than the automatic is giving you? Can't do it. Need a faster shutter speed? No can do. If the camera decides it's not appropriate, you're out of luck.
Other frustrations - no raw image results. Everything is a JPEG. And if that isn't frustrating enough, the choices of image sizes is limited both with pictures and movies. You can only shoot in 60p - you cannot shoot in 30p or 24p and make the most of your camera's small lens. If you want to shoot in other variations other than 60i, you can only shoot in non-full HD (14400 and less) and shoot MP4 movies. Why on earth did Sony limit the variations of what we can shoot?
Photos are equally frustrating. You either get 16MP (which is maybe too much for this tiny lens) and only 10MP or less. There is no choice for 12MP or 14MP, common on many other cameras. With 16:9 photos you only get 12MP and then you go down to 2MP. Nothing is in between and it's frustrating.
The full motion movies are very good for a camera this small. Still I don't think it captures scenes as crisply and clearly as a regular HD camera that has a larger lens and even just 30p. I think it does a much better job. Still, this camera's movies seem to be its strong suit - although you should know that the record/stop mode is stupidly on the touch screen -- not a hard button! There is noticeable time lag before the camera begins to record and after you press stop.
The 3D can only be taken under certain circumstances. It's mostly gimmicky although it can be quite cool when it works properly.
Bright sides are that the panorama mode does a very nice job. The movie mode (less than 60p recording) will also allow for lower but acceptable MP picture taking - which is very impressive.
Summary: This is a very expensive camera that I couldn't get to take many good photos, except of still, non-moving objects. If you know how to use a camera to a small degree, this point and shoot will frustrate you because it is only point and shoot. You may need to shoot a LOT of pictures to make sure you don't get home to find blurring or the spots that appear as compensating for indoor lightning/darkness. If you want an OK camera with excellent movies capabilities, this might suit the bill.
MESSAGE TO SONY: You desperately need to have a firmware update for this camera. Such a shame you've stupidly had the movie record button as a soft button (use the playback button) and stripped out all the meaningful controls even lower end cameras should have.