When hearing I was chosen to receive this digital camera for the purpose of posting a review on Epinions.com, I was thrilled. Not a real photography buff, my most recent camera purchase was a 2007 issue Olympus 7.2 mega pixel model that served our family’s purposes for the past five years. Viewing the multitude of televised and Internet ads and reading some most helpful reviews on current digital offerings did make me want something a bit more technologically advanced but cameras seem to always fall low on my list “must have” items. I find the mere 5 MP function on my smart phone to be not only convenient but more than adequate for those emergency photo moments that crop up every so often. The thought of shelling out one hundred to three hundred dollars for something with more bells and whistles for only occasional use seemed wasteful, if not silly.
This gift of a 16.1 mega pixel camera that boasts 5x optical zoom, 25 mm wide-angle lens and 2.7” LCD screen kicked off the old drool response in me. Imagining the improvement over the 7.2 MP device’s output, I thought I’d finally hit a little closer to current in my camera ownership status. The features listed in the manual and on web sites seemed to make this little jewel a real contender for the point-and-shoot aficionado.
Then, the doorbell rang, my package arrived and, hands on, I learned a thing or two about digital camera advances.
Sony quality is evident in the DSC-W570 Cyber-shot, with its solid build and compact design. As a fan of Sony cell phones, I was ready for some state of the art functions crammed into the tiny footprint of this camera. While the manual and online material promised more than expected from a novice inspired camera, the actual use proved less diversity could have been more as far as features are concerned.
To grab a glimpse of some of Sony’s featured specs, please check out the “View Details” above linked tab.
The Out of Box Experience
Sony included in this US/Canadian intended package:
- Sony Cyber-shot SDC-W570 Digital Camera
- Battery Charger (block style) BC-CSN/BC-CSNB
- Rechargeable battery pack NP-BNIUSB
- A/V cable
- Wrist Strap
- CD/ROM including Application Software and Use Guide
- Instruction Manual pamphlet
- One Year Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty
The included warranty also carries a 90-day repair and/or replacement option if the camera initially arrives in our hands with any defects. I had the opportunity to test that promise out when my first camera did not function. My first contact with Sony’s service representatives brought immediate results, I swapped out the lemon version for a beautiful new (not refurbished) camera.
As with most electronic toys, the manual suggests a full (four hour) battery pack charge before first use. The battery fits cleanly into the block charger that plugs directly into any conventional wall socket. After the primary charge, 185 minutes of charging for a fully depleted battery gives a good charge, add an additional hour for a full charge. A full charge supplies approximately 110 minutes or 220 still images (set to Normal); approximately 290 minutes while viewing 5800 images or 100 minutes while recording video images in 720 FINE mode.
The optional memory card and supplied battery pack slide in and lock securely into the compartment in the base of the camera. Memory Stick Duo, PRO Duo, PRO-HG Duo, SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards all fit the slot provided. All but the basic Memory Stick Duo (still images only) are intended for storage of both still images and movies.
With the camera set up to go, installing the included software on my computer was the last step before pointing and shooting at everything within striking distance. The process went smoothly with the exception of registering the camera via the installed link provided by Sony. I ended up visiting Sony’s web site, registering the camera and then updating the software. Finally I was ready to gently press the power button and run through the set-up process of time and date format, display color, resolution mode and viewing the In Camera Guide messages.
Control! Menu! Function!
This camera’s tiny footprint (weight: 0.22 lb.; 3.58”W x 2.02”H x 0.75”D) means portability is not an issue. Owning the perfect purse or pocket size digital camera with a more than a few options gives us minute buttons, toggles, controls and dials with which to access those functions. My small fingers fit just fine but my husband’s larger stubby fingers tend to push the wrong button, especially the power button located next to the shutter. He also had issues with the lack of intended gripping area, plus the short, six-inch wrist strap proved inadequate and less than comfortable for him. Again, for me, this Cyber-shot fits well and the placement of controls works just fine. This should make women and younger folks Sony’s target market for the DSC-W570 and similar models.
Once more, the gender issue or maybe the age issue comes into play when considering the 2.7” LCD display. I found the smaller screen clear and bright (almost overly bright in most preset modes) while my husband had problems focusing on his subjects. His arm-length adjustments used to view the display seemed to frustrate more than provide enjoyment when using one of the simplest cameras on the market. As with so many of the basic models offered by most manufacturers, a supplemental one-eyed viewfinder is not an option. Bright sunlight is not this digital display’s friend.
Viewing the camera’s controls from top to bottom:
- Top: Power and Shutter buttons
- Rear left: LCD display
- Rear right: Zoom Toggle; Mode Switch; Playback Button; Control Button; Menu Button; In Camera Guide/Delete Button
- Bottom: Access Lamp; Battery Eject Lever; Battery Insertion Slot; Tripod Slot; Speaker; Memory Card Cover; Multi-connector (Type 3a); Memory Card Slot
- Front: Flash; Self-timer/Smile Shutter lamp; AF Illuminator; Microphone; Lens (Carl Zeiss lens, a standard for sharp images and better than average contrast)
Point! Shoot! Get Fussy!
It will never be all that easy to shoot the ideal photo with a basic digital camera. While Auto, Easy, Portrait, Smile Detection Sensitivity, Face Detection, Panorama Image, Pet, Anti-Blink, Underwater, Movie and other modes seem like they could simplify the road to portrait perfection, that may not be the case.
I wanted to test a few of the more interesting modes offered as options and found the Pet and Panorama choices the most promising. The fine fur on our dog Dali’s pitch-black face and ears showed up well. Her eyes appeared as the true deep brown they are instead of vampire red or wolfish yellow that often happens with an indoor flash or too much sun. We gave the Dali Pet mode test an “A” for adorable photos of our pup.
Panorama requires no more knowledge of the camera’s workings than knowing how to choose that option. Once in the mode, simply moving the camera from left to right or top to bottom results in a slightly arched but beautifully blended multi-shot of the subject. Whether taking wall-to-wall photos of our living room or a sweeping view of the Ohio River, the photos came out better than expected or a very high B-plus.
Smile Detection Sensitivity failed in every one of our attempts to utilize the easily accessible feature. There are three sensitivity options available through the menu and the actual easy choice of option is located on the left side of the control wheel. A quick press of that button when in photo mode brings up an on-screen search for the smile. No matter what sensitivity level we set, the camera did not find a smile, even with my husband’s more than adequate impersonation of Jack Nicholson’s Joker from Batman. I grinned, smirked, grimaced, smiled and showed all thirty-two teeth to no avail. Rating the SDS feature a low D-minus to be kind, is simply that, a kindness.
We had fun with Movie mode even though our subject, Dali, grew tired of being the star of the day. The microphone’s very limited abilities could have been enhanced with a wider volume range but in general, it worked. The action shots were clear and steadier than most base level video cameras. The only negative we found was when ending the video, the final frame blurred. Not a deal breaker, editing out the last moment ends up with a decent live action memory, giving Movie mode a B-minus.
Fun with Face Detection seemed a no-brainer for both Auto Mode and Easy Mode. When playing in Menu Options I found I could choose whether I wanted to focus on the Adult or Child in the shooting range and whether I wanted to soften the background a bit or simply take a conventional photo of the subject. Face Detection worked every time without fail and so, it earned an A from this less than creative novice photographer.
So, what worked and worked well? Aside from the too-bright default settings, easily changed in the menu options, Auto seemed to be the best setting for our limited needs. The camera hunts for the best mode on its own and nine times out of ten finds the subject, sets the mode, correctly focuses and decides for the user which features apply.
In general, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 comes with the basics any occasional user might consider good enough to record events in our lives. Adding to the experience, I also am considering at least a couple of the optional accessories available from Sony. A soft or hard case, a larger SD card, the tripod, party stand or waterproof/shockproof case might make owning this camera more fun and possible more useful. While I feel that digital pixel overkill has been reached with 16.1 mega-pixels available on this and so many other cameras which may not have the hardware to back that up, it should not deter any non-expert from grabbing this older model camera up at current price levels. All things considered, I give this inexpensive, feature-laden and simple to use entry-level, digital camera a solid B for better than expected.
Thank you for reading and thank you Epinions for the opportunity to enjoy and review this camera.
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This Camera is a Good Choice if You Want Something... Easy Enough for Anyone to Use