Top critical review
39 people found this helpful
Cheap and cheerful
on 8 May 2014
This may be a brilliant compact camera or a terrible one, depending on what you want from it.
This is the first camera I have used that does not have an optical viewfinder so it took some getting used to. I am a bit old-school in that I like to hold the camera to my eye because it just feels right and also because that helps to brace the camera and hold it steady. It felt a bit srange taking pictures at arms length, but I didn't get the blurring I was expecting so it looks like the image stabilisation does enough to compensate for a bit of arm wobbling.
For casual use this seems to be fine. It looks good, has a decent lens, and is small enough to slip into even a shirt pocket easily. I have taken to keeping it with me when I am out with the dogs, which my old compact camera was a bit bulky for.
The battery life seems good. I have taken about 150 photos, many with flash, and done a lot of playing around with it and the indicator still shows at least half a charge. I have left it on full automatic mode which has coped with fast moving dogs and landscapes equally well. The macro mode is particularly good, focussing on objects really close to the lens. At the other extreme, the optical zoom is very respectable.
There are a few built-in effects which seem a bit gimmicky, but the colour filters do work very well, giving effects that I have previously spent ages in photo editing packages to achieve, and the panorama works well both sideways and up and down.
Unfortunately there are some bad points to weigh against all that. For a start the camera does not feel very solid, being made of plastic. This is especially true of the on/off button which requires a very robust press to operate, and the cover for the battery/memory card compartment. It is only a little thing, but I am frustrated that the door does not latch shut - you have to slide the lock across to secure it.
Worse than that, the processor feels quite slow. When you take a photo there is quite a lag while the camera saves the shot. Part of this is because it is processing very large files - larger than 7MB if you are shooting at 20 megapixels. Changing the default to 10 or even 5 megapixels does speed it up a bit and 10 megapixels is more than enough. I guess Sony have to cram more megapixels into the CCD in order to appeal to people who think more is better, but personally I would rather they had stuck to 12 maximum and spent the money on the processor instead. Even 5 megapixels is more than enough if all you are going to do with the results is put them on Facebook or a digital picture frame.
In summary, the camera is convenient and fine for casual use. I expect I will carry it with me a lot for opportunistic photos but if I am going anywhere special I will take the big DSLR as well.