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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310 Ken McMahon, June 2010
   
 

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310 verdict

Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-W310 is a stylish compact with a 12 Megapixel sensor, 4x optical zoom, and 2.7in screen. Aimed squarely at the point-and-shoot photographer it has an Intelligent Auto exposure mode with scene recognition, face detection and a smile shutter, along with some control over ISO sensitivity, white balance, metering modes and the like in Program mode. It can shoot 640 x 480 pixel (VGA) video at 30 frames per second and has a button for quickly switching to video recording from still capture modes.

Its 4x zoom lens has a very usable range starting from a 28mm (equivalent) wide angle - good for landscapes and indoor shots extending to a 112mm telephoto which, though not long enough for sports or wildlife photography, is excellent for portraits and getting that little bit closer to the action.

   
   

 

Compared to Nikon COOLPIX S3000

 
 
     

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310 and Nikon COOLPIX S3000 have a great deal in common. With almost identical zoom ranges, 2.7in screens and 12 Megapixel sensors there's little to chose between them in terms of baseline specification. They look very similar, sharing close physical dimensions, though the COOLPIX S3000 is a little lighter and has a battery that can be charged in the camera by connecting it to a computer with a USB cable.

Both cameras have the same video capabilities but - and this could be a crucial difference if you like to shoot video as much as stills - the Cyber-shot W310 has a dedicated button for switching directly to video capture more. The similarities even extend into the handling and performance of these two models. Both have so-so screens, which are difficult to view at an angle and in bright sunlight. Perhaps more importantly, they both lack optical image stabilisation, opting instead for digital post-processing of images to remove blur caused by camera shake.

Though they share very similar features and are closely matched in terms of price, there's one thing that does separate these two compacts - image quality. In both our real world resolution and high ISO noise tests, the COOLPIX S300 came out on top.

See our Nikon COOLPIX S3000 review for more details.

 

 

Compared to Canon IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS

 
 
     

As with the COOLPIX S3000, the Canon IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS also shares a lot in common with the Cyber-shot W310, namely the same sensor resolution, zoom range, screen size and video resolution.

But there are significant differences too. The IXUS screen is much better than the Cyber-shot W310's providing a better view at all angles. The IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS has very effective optical image stabilization, making it a more capable low-light performer. On top of that, the IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS out-performed the Cyber-shot W310 in our real-life resolution and high ISO noise tests.

It's not that the Cyber-shot produces poor quality images so much that IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS sets the bar very high for cameras in this price bracket. On that last point though, let's not forget that the Cyber-shot W310 is significantly cheaper than the IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS. But if your budget will stretch, the superior image quality, better screen and optical stabilisation make the Canon a compelling option.

See our Canon IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS review for more details.

 

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310 verdict

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310 is a 12 Megapixel point-and-shoot compact with a 4x zoom lens and 2.7in screen. It has an Intelligent Auto exposure mode with scene recognition, face detect auto focusing and Sony's smile shutter system - one of the best for automatically activating the shutter as soon as someone smiles. It also provides some control over settings like white balance, ISO sensitivity and metering mode in Program exposure mode.

The W310 has a dedicated switch on the camera body for selecting between movie and still image capture modes, making it a good choice if you like to shoot video as often or more frequently than stills. While its image quality isn't as good as that of the Nikon COOLPIX S3000 or Canon IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS, it nonetheless takes good quality pictures that all but the most demanding photographers will be more than happy with.

While it's an all-round good performer, however, the W310 lacks any outstanding features or qualities.The selection of scene modes on offer is limited and it lacks anything to compete with Nikon's Panorama Assist scene mode or Canon's Face self-timer. Had Sony included Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation, or its Sweep panorama feature, we can't help feeling it would have made the W310 a better (albeit probably more expensive) camera. Those reservations aside, at this price point the Cyber-shot DSC-W310 represents good value for money and, in terms of the baseline features, a stylish and capable compact that's unlikely to disappoint its target audience.

 



Good points
4x zoom with good wide angle coverage.
Quick, responsive smile shutter.
Dedicated movie/stills switch.

Bad points
No optical image stabilisation.
Poor quality at high ISO settings.
LCD screen narrow view angle.
Limited number of scene modes.



Scores

(relative to 2010 compacts)

Build quality:
Image quality:
Handling:
Specification:
Value:

Overall:

18 / 20
15 / 20
16 / 20
15 / 20
17 / 20

81%


All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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