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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 Overview

Posted: 01/10/2012

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 digital camera is based around a 1/2.3"-type, 16.1 effective megapixel Sony Super HAD CCD image sensor with RGB color filter array, coupled to a Carl Zeiss-branded 5x optical zoom lens. For 4:3 aspect-ratio still image shooting, the Sony W650's lens offers a 35mm-equivalent range from a generous 25mm wide angle to a moderate 125mm telephoto, while 16:9 still shooting yields a sensor crop and 28 - 140mm equivalent focal range. 16:9 movies get a slightly stronger crop for 29-145mm focal lengths, while 4:3 aspect movies have the strongest crop, at 37-185mm equivalents, making wide-angle 4:3 video rather challenging. The lens has a maximum aperture that varies across the zoom range, from F2.6 to F6.3. Autofocusing is possible to a minimum of just five centimeters at wide angle, or one meter at telephoto. The camera can capture 4:3 aspect ratio images at up to 4,608 x 3,456 pixel resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio images at up to 4,608 x 2,592 pixels, or 30 frames-per-second MPEG-4 video at either 720p (1,280 x 720 pixel) high-def or VGA (640 x 480 pixel) standard-def resolution or below. Helpfully, the DSC-W650 includes Sony's SteadyShot optical image stabilization, useful for reducing the likelihood of camera shake-induced blur.

On the rear panel of the Sony Cyber-shot W650 is a 3.0-inch Clear Photo TFT LCD panel with a resolution of 230,400 dots. This serves as the only method of framing and reviewing images, since the Sony W650 doesn't feature an optical or electronic viewfinder. The Sony DSC-W650 has a multi-point autofocus system and includes a face detection system with face tracking, but it isn't clear yet precisely how many points or faces it can detect. The face detection function is also used to provide a Smile Shutter function that automatically triggers the shutter when your subject is smiling. The W650 offers three methods for determining exposures - multi-pattern, center-weighted or spot metering. Shutter speeds from 2 to 1/2,000 second are possible under automatic control, and sensitivities ranging from ISO 100 to 3,200 equivalents are on offer. 2.0EV of exposure compensation is available, in 1/3 EV steps.

Eight white balance settings are available, including auto and seven presets. As well as Intelligent Auto and Program modes, the W650 offers a selection of 12 scene modes -- High Sensitivity, Night Scene, Night Portrait, Landscape, Soft Snap, SteadyShot, Beach, Snow, Gourmet, Pet, Gourmet, and Fireworks -- which offer a modicum of control over the look of images. The Sony W650 includes a four-mode flash strobe with red-eye reduction capability. Flash range is stated as 0.5 to 3.7 meters at wide angle, or 1.0 to 1.5 meters at telephoto, when using automatic ISO sensitivity. A two- or ten-second self timer allows the photographer to get in the picture themselves, or to avoid camera shake caused by pressing the shutter button when shooting on a tripod.

Images and movies can be recorded on Secure Digital, SDHC, and the latest SDXC card types, as well as on Sony's proprietary Memory Stick Duo, PRO Duo, PRO HG Duo, and Micro or the standard microSD and microSDHC types using the appropriate adapters. There's also a not-so-generous 27MB of built-in memory, enough to save a few test shots. The Sony W650 includes both USB 2.0 High Speed data connectivity, and video output, although we don't yet know if this is standard or high-definition. Power comes courtesy of a proprietary NP-BN (supplied) or NP-BN1 (optional) lithium ion rechargeable battery pack, rated as good for 220 shots on a charge to CIPA testing standards.

The Sony W650 digital camera is available from February 2012, priced at around US$140.