Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W730 Preview
by Mike Tomkins
With the Cyber-shot W730, Sony caters to the consumer photographer on a tight budget, but still looking for high resolution and a reasonably generous zoom range. Resolution is provided for with a 16 megapixel Super HAD CCD image sensor, while the Sony W730's Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar branded, 8x optical zoom lens aims to get you closer to the action.
As you really have to expect at the price, the W730 turns in a rather pedestrian performance of just one frame per second, but on the plus side, it has a reasonably useful ISO sensitivity range of 100 to 3,200 equivalents. 35mm-equivalent focal lengths range from a handy 25mm wide angle to a moderate 200mm telephoto. Maximum aperture is a bit dim, starting from f/3.3 at wide angle, and falling to f/6.3 by the telephoto position. Thankfully, there's Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to help you get blur-free images at slower shutter speeds, and it includes Active mode for greater correction when shooting movies.
On its rear panel, the Sony DSC-W730 features a slightly smaller than average 2.7-inch, Clear Photo LCD monitor with a resolution of 230,000 dots. On the front panel, a flash is included, with a range of just 2.8 meters at wide angle when using Auto ISO sensitivity.
Ease-of-use features include Sony's Intelligent Auto mode, which recognizes the scene type and then configures the camera appropriately, as well as a 360-degree sweep panorama function that handles image capture and stitching automatically. All you need do is press the shutter button once and pan across the scene. A Beauty Effect function lets you retouch portrait images to smooth and tone your subject's skin, whiten their teeth, widen their eyes, and remove shine. And as well as stills, you can shoot high-def 720p30 movies, with a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels and a rate of 30 frames per second.
The Sony Cyber-shot W730 is powered by a proprietary NP-BN lithium ion rechargeable battery, and includes both composite standard-def video output and USB 2.0 High Speed data connectivity. Images and movies are stored either on SD, SDHC, or SDXC cards, or on Sony's own proprietary Memory Stick Duo cards.
Available in silver, pink, or blue-bodied versions, the Sony W730 is priced at US$140 or thereabouts.