Pros: user friendly. great close up shots, panorama shots are fun to take
Cons: photos lack sharpness and lifelike colors.
I recently was given the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W570 camera, and was initially impressed by it's small size and reasonable price. Generally I would use a digital SLR camera but thought this would be nice if wanted something I could slip in my pocket. Overall it does an ok job for a point and shoot but frankly I get a little better quality of pictures and video on my iPhone 4s. The only plus with the Sony Cyber Shot over my iPhone camera is that this one does panorama shots and takes awesome close up photographs. The other benefit is that I can easily remove the memory card for printing.
What's in the Box
Connector Cord to connect to PC or TV
CD Picture Motion Browser and User Guide
*memory card not included
The Sony Cybershot DSC-W570 is a point and shoot camera that also shoots video, nice close ups(macro) and panorama shots. The camera is light weight at only 4.1 oz as measured on my kitchen scale and could easily fit into your pocket. When the lens is in the off position it completely collapses into the camera which measures 2" x 3 1/2" x 5/8" When turned on the lens extends from the front of the camera up to another inch. When turned off the lens is completely protected.
Charging the Battery: The battery that I got had some charge in it but it is suggested that you fully charge the battery before you start. The Charger is a black plastic charger that you flip the plug out of the back to plug it into your wall outlet. The battery fits into the charger. The instructions say to put the battery into the charger before plugging it in to the outlet. Charging will take from 185-245 minutes depending on whether the battery is completely depleted or not. There is a light that comes on to let you know it is charging and when it goes off you know the battery is fully charged. I liked that the charger had the fold in plug for easy storage. The Charger measures 2" x 3" and is less than 1" thick.
How long it holds a charge: The instruction book suggests that the battery lasts for about 1.5hrs for shooting video and stills and about 4 hrs for viewing still pictures. It does not say anything about how long the battery will last for viewing video. I have been using it mainly to test it and have used it on and off for a couple weeks. It still shows that it has 1/2- 3/4 of the battery charge. (it seems to say I have more battery when I first turn it on and then it goes to 1/2) If I was going on vacation I might want to get an extra battery just in case. Unless you are shooting non stop it would seem like the battery would be adequate for a day trip.
Installing the Battery: Once fully charged there is a door on the bottom of the camera with a slide switch to open and close. Slide the battery in as indicated and make sure it is held in place with the battery eject lever. When you want to remove the battery push the lever away from the battery and the battery will pop out slightly
Memory Card: The Sony Cybershot does not come with a memory card so you will need to buy one before you can use the camera. The instructions state that you can use an SD memory Card or a memory stick. I have never used a memory stick so I can not say much about that but I used a Sandisk class 4 SDHC with 4GB. To put the memory card in the camera just slide it in as indicated right next to the battery, and when you want to remove it you just push on it and it will release and pop out. Make sure that when you close the door on the camera that you switch it to lock it in the closed position. I prefer a latch that is self locking but this one works.
On / Off: to turn the camera on or off hold down the on off switch until it turns on or off. If you set the camera down it will turn itself off after a minute or two.
Initial Set up: There is an on screen set up where you go through and set up your preferences. You can follow along in the instruction book if needed. I did have one issue with the set up. When I reinstalled the battery after charging I had to redo the set up. Since that first time I have removed and reinstalled the battery and memory card and have not had to redo the set up so that might have just been a fluke, or maybe I missed a step at the end.
Most people are going to just buy this camera to use as a point and shoot and may not even visit the settings but if you want there are more settings that you can access by pressing the menu button.
Record Mode: Intelligent Auto(Exposure adjustments with automatic settings, Program Auto (Auto exposure with adjustable settings) or Scene Selection (Best for Environment and shot) Most people will just use the Auto Setting which is the default but it is worth going through some of the special settings to see if they are something you would want to use. The special settings include beautiful skin, soft background, landscape with distant focus, portraits in low light with flash, low light using a tripod, ISO for low light without a flash, food, pets, waterside scenes with rich blue color, white scene with high brightness (such as snow scenes), fireworks, underwater with natural colors(requires special housing for camera.
*my opinion of these specialized setting is that they are just a gimmick to say that they have all these features. If you really want to do the things that they are suggesting I would suggest buying an entry level DSLR. I seriously doubt that most users are going to be changing all these settings from shot to shot. I tried them out to see what they did but generally the Auto setting will attempt to pick from them to give you the best shot.
Easy: If you select the easy mode it increases the font size and essentially gets rid of all the extra settings and only lets you increase the size of the photo. Perhaps if you are going to use it on auto this might be the best setting.
Image Size: 4:3 ratio 4 settings for prints sized for email sending size up to 13x19. Also you can choose from 2 settings in 16:9 ration for viewing on HD TVs or printing up to 11x17. The default was the 4:3 ration and I used the largest setting. The difference in the ratio will give you a different shape of picture. The 4:3 fills up the whole monitor where the 16:9 gives you a wider photo with space at the top and the bottom. When I am shooting in auto mode it seems to adjust the aspect ratio for movies. The 16:9 reminds me more of my iPhone pictures and the 4:3 are more standard looking. Either way you can always crop down your photos so just be aware of the setting.
Burst Settings: 2 settings. The default is that you will get one shot each time you press the shutter button. Alternately you can set it to shoot continuously when you keep the shutter button depressed. This might be good if you are trying to get a good shot and want a lot to choose from. I use the standard setting and only get one shot per press of the shutter button.
Image Brightness: manually adjusts the image brightness. Default is 0
Scene Recognition: Two settings. The first shoots the picture automatically with the best settings for the scene, the other will take one extra shot if it detects back light or low light. The default is the first setting.
Smile detection sensitivity: when using this setting it will automatically shoot the picture when the camera detects a slight, normal or big smile.
Face detection: With this setting there are four settings. Off, Focus on faces over other things. Focus on adult faces, or focus on children's faces. I leave this setting off .
In Camera Guide: The in camera guide offers information on your camera. There is an icon guide where you can go through all the icons and it will tell you what they are. Also there is a guide that tells you all about every setting and option in great detail. Also there is a troubleshooting and pretty much anything else you might need. This function is extremely user friendly so if you run into a problem or just have a question you should be able to find the answer in this guide.
Tools: The last selection in the menu is a tool box where you can adjust basic settings like the ones you made in the original set up.
Additional settings: when not using the Auto function: When not in Auto, you can adjust ISO, white balance, focus points, metering, and a few other things.
Using The Sony Cyber Shot DSC-W570
Ease of use: Generally this camera is extremely user friendly. From start to finish you could probably figure out how to use the camera without ever reading the directions and if you had questions they are all answered in the guide that is available right on the screen of the camera. Awhile back I had a different point and shoot and it was so complicated that I could not just turn it on and take a picture. I never knew which button I had to press to get it in camera mode and would invariably end up missing the shot so of course I quit using the camera. I thought maybe it was me since I am not a geek or techy but since then I have gotten other technical products and I can tell some are just easier to figure out without getting special training to use them. This camera is one that you can turn on and take a picture right away. There is no guessing or having to put it in a certain mode before you can take a picture.
You could be quite happy with this camera if you never read the manual or looked at or changed any of the settings. The functions are simple with indicators that are easy to identify so you can be taking pictures and video without having to understand every little aspect of the camera. It is a user friendly camera but it seems to me that it lacks a bit in the quality of some of the shots. One thing that I noticed was that to me the least quality seems to come in everday pictures.
Choosing Picture, Panorama, or Video: There is a slide switch on the back to pick each of these modes. It is very easy to see an identify what this switch is for.
Playback: There is a button with a triangle to play back your pictures. It is easy to identify and use
Wide Angle and Telephoto: There is a toggle switch to zoom in and out. It is easy to use and locate while shooting.
Menu: If you press the menu button you will get the options I mentioned in the previous section.
Delete: There is a delete button at that bottom but the camera always asks if you want to delete the picture or a group etc so that you do not accidentally delete pictures.
Other functions: The largest of all the controls on the back of the camera is a large circle with up, down, left and right and a center button. The button in the middle always confirms selections. The up and down and right and left are used to move between different settings. Independent of that if you turn the camera on press the up button which also says "disp" you will get display settings for the screen (brightness etc) If you press to the right there is a lightening bolt symbol and you can choose the turn the flash on or off or put it on auto. If you press down there is a timer with some choices for using that function. Finally to the left is a smiling face which is used for the smile detection.
Setting up your shot: There is no viewfinder with this camera so shots will have to be set up using the on screen display. I would prefer a viewfinder but I know a lot of the cameras are like this so perhaps it is not something you would even miss but I do find that the screen can be difficult to see in bright light.
Display Screen: The display is better than some I have used and it will allow you to see something in bright light where some might be completely worthless. There are some settings to adjust which can help you as well. The settings are easily to find and use. The screen measures 1 5/8" x 2 1/8" If shooting is 4:3 ratio you will use the whole screen. Using the 16:9 ratio will cut off the top and the bottom. much like an HD movie.
In high light: To me most point and shoots do best in high light but this one seems to wash out the shots with too much light. I guess I could monkey with the settings to get them to look better but then I might as well use my better camera if I am going to have to be making adjustments with settings. Who buys a point and shoot to be changing settings with each picture? Not me!
Close up Shots: I would give this Camera top marks for the close up shots it gets. You can get right up to something to take the picture and it will flash macro on the screen letting you know you have entered into the close up range. The close up shots I took with the camera are by far the best quality with the best color and hands down the best detail. These are the ones that I might actually want to print and save.
Pets: I was not impressed with the quality of the pictures I took of my dog and cat. I thought the photos lacked detail and were not lifelike images. I was disappointed at the quality.
Pictures of Scenery: I took a bunch of photos in my back yard of my gardens and flowers and besides the close up shots I thought they were so so. I know I have gotten better shots with my iPhone 4s
Pictures of People: The pictures that I took of people were better the closer in I got. I liked them better than the ones of my pets but they were still about as good as I could do with my iPhone.
Panorama: The Panorama feature is sort of a neat feature and I enjoyed learning to use it. It works surprisingly well. It seems that it will give you about 180 degrees in one long photo. You start on one side and the on screen instructions tell you to move to the other side. If you go too slow or move up and down too much it will stop you. Generally it is pretty easy to get the hang of and the camera must make some adjustments because it all looks smooth and I can not believe I am able to move that smoothly. The results are a fun photo but again the clarity is not the greatest. Maybe I am expecting too much but when I enlarge it a bit it seems to lack the detail and appears flat and lifeless. So for me the panorama shot is a novelty setting and while fun, I am not sure how much I would actually use it.
Video: When shooting video there is a microphone located at the top of the camera. Once you put it in movie mode you press the shutter button to start recording and press again to stop. Quality of the video to me is not comparable to my flip video camera which is excellent. I also think that my iPhone 4s does better video than the sony cybershot. The microphone on the cybershot might be a little better than what I have on my iPhone, but while the videos are ok they just lack the vibrancy that I can get with other cameras.
Indoor Shots: I took a bunch of photos inside of my dog and just items around my family room and felt that the pictures lacked much vibrancy. Again I can get better results with my iPhone 4s
Flash photography: I am not generally a fan of flash photography and when I used it, while it lit up the scenery, it also washed out the subject with too much light
Back Light is a huge problem: If there is light coming from behind your subject you will notice something flash on the screen that says back light. Frankly I did not need that flash because bars of green distorted light appeared to let me know that there was a problem. I thought maybe they would just be on the screen but indeed they transferred to the photo. This camera clearly can not handle back lighting.
Final thoughts and Rating
If you want to read complete specs they were too numerous to list here but you can go to www.store.sony.com and search for the camera to see a complete list.
I think I am being a little hard on this camera being that I am used to using a digital SLR. I started with a Nikon D3000 and recently upgraded to a Nikon D5100. These are generally entry level digital SLRs but they get pictures that will blow the Sony Cyber shot away. Granted you will have to spend at least $300 more so perhaps I am not being fair by making the comparison.
On the other hand I am getting as good as or better shots from my iPhone 4S than I am with the Sony Cybershot. I would expect better quailty. Again to be fair, the iPhone 4s does have one of the best phone cameras out there but still I would expect the Cyber Shot to outshine any phone camera.
As far as my rating and recommendation. While I would not recommend this for someone like me who already is using a digital SLR or has an iPhone 4s I would say that there are some people who would be perfectly fine using this camera. It is extremely user friendly and might be a good camera for a young person or someone who just wants to get some basic photos and be able to print them or send them in email.
If I could give half stars I would give the camera 2 1/2 stars but since I have to go with a whole number I am going with 3 since I know that my experience makes me more critical than most consumers. I also will give it the benefit of the extra half star for the great close up photos that it takes.
It is my opinion that they tried to put too many cool features on this camera and should have just concentrated on giving people a good basic point and shoot. A lot of the extra features to me will go unused with a camera of this caliber and money would be better spent on getting the basics right.
It is important to note that I was given this camera by Epinions so that I could try it out and review it.
Thanks for reading my review
If you have questions or comments I would be happy to answer them. If you want to see examples of photos I can upload them if requested.