I bought this camera about three years ago to replace a now archaic Sony camera. My criteria was simple at the time: something with many megapixels and a good body shape that would fit into my pocket. I was sold on the camera because it came in pretty colors including pink and pale blue. In the years that have passed since buying this camera I have learned more about digital photography and realized there is more to a good camera than all this, of course. I now also have a "big kids camera" - a Nikon D40 DSLR, but I still use my "little camera" when I just want to carry something in my pocket for a quick snapshot here and there.
Recommend this product?
- 7.2 Megapixel - Despite being a three year old camera it really has more megapixels than you need if you're just taking snapshots of the family. Megapixels are great and if you're trying to make big posters of your photos then you do need many more than 7.2 mp. However, if you are just sharing your photos online or printing 4x6 copies this is plenty. In fact I just unpacked an 8x10 print I made a few years ago with this camera and the quality is just fine.
- 3x Optical Zoom Lens - A 3x optical zoom lens does not zoom very far. This zoom feature is great for taking a shot of your skittish cat on the other side of the room, but don't think you're going to climb the Empire State Building and take shots of the people getting in and out of taxis. If you're looking to shoot from a distance you need a camera that can take a lens strapped on.
- 2.5" LCD Viewing Screen - I think 2.5" is a pretty standard size screen these days. I have seen a few on the market with bigger screens but I would say this is average and adequate.
- 56 mb Internal Memory - This means you can store a few pictures on the camera itself even if you don't have a memory card. I think this is kind of pointless really, with 56 mb you can only store a handful of photos at a time. You really need to spend the extra money and buy a memory card.
- Uses Memory Stick Duo/Memory Stick Duo Pro cards - The Memory Stick Duo cards are Sony's proprietary memory cards. If you have a memory card from a different brand of camera it will not work in the Sony cameras.
- Takes VGA (640x480) mpeg video with a 30 frames/second frame rate. - When the camera was first released this was a really neat feature. At the time digital video at a consumer price point was in its early stages. These days you can buy a cheap Flip brand video camera that records in HD for the same price as this camera. If you tried to share the video taken with the DSC-W55 people on YouTube would mock you for the poor quality.
- Pre-programmed shooting modes for: Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Landscape, High Sensitivity, Soft Snap, Snow, and Beach environments. - These presets are accessed by turning a dial on the top of the camera. I find the presets to be quite useful. Even if you know how to use the camera on auto mode there are always times when it is more convenient to just spin one dial and get the settings you need. Most of the time I use the pre-programmed settings I have been pleased with the results.
- Small Size - The camera is quite slim even by today's standards. It is 3.5"x2.25"x7/8" and it weighs 4.2 ounces. While this is very convenient for carrying it does have a downside when shooting. Being so light in your hand it is easy to unintentionally shake the camera while shooting, resulting in a blurred photo. It seems many people are quick to blame the camera when they get bad quality shots, but a huge aspect of taking a good photo is having a steady hand (or using a tripod).
- No RAW Mode - This is the biggest feature I miss on this camera. RAW is a file format that gives you a lot of flexibility in photo editing after shooting. I suppose this is a more advanced feature not suited for the target market of this camera.
- More substantial buttons - Overall I find the buttons and lens shutter to be a bit flimsy. I particularly have a problem with the dial for the pre-programmed shooting modes. This is constantly getting turned in my pocket. I have ruined a number of pictures because the dial turned in my pocket without my knowledge and it was set to a totally inappropriate mode for the scene.
This may be an older camera but it is still relevant in today's market. While it does not have any bells and whistles it handles the basics nicely and can now be found on sale for a great price. I would recommend this camera for someone who is just looking to take quick and easy snapshots of their friends and family. This camera would not be suitable for someone who considers photography a hobby and requires more advanced features.
Thank you for reading my review.
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Amount Paid (US$): 199.99
This Camera is a Good Choice if You Want Something... Easy Enough for Anyone to Use