Sony W830 Review -- First Impressions
by Mike Tomkins
Preview posted: 01/06/2014
With the Cyber-shot W830, Sony answers the consumer photographer on a tight budget who still needs a reasonably generous zoom range and extremely high resolution -- on paper, at least, as we've not yet put the camera through our lab to test real-world resolution. The model is a follow-on to last year's W730, and its most noticeable upgrade is an upgraded sensor.
The new sensor is a 20.1 megapixel, 1/2.3-inch type Super HAD CCD type, and its output is processed by a Sony BIONZ image processor. The Sony W830's Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar branded, 8x optical zoom lens seems unchanged from that in the W730, with the exception of Zeiss (rather than Carl Zeiss) branding, an interesting if insignificant departure from the norm.
As you really have to expect in a budget model, the W830 still turns in a rather pedestrian performance of just one frame per second. On the plus side, it has a reasonably useful sensitivity range of ISO 80 to 3200 equivalents.
35mm-equivalent focal lengths from the 8x zoom optic 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 the system includes Sony's Active mode for greater correction when shooting movies.
On its rear panel, the Sony DSC-W830 still features a slightly smaller than average 2.7-inch, Clear Photo LCD monitor with a resolution of 230,000 dots and five-step brightness adjustment. 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 720p HD movies, with a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels and a rate of 30 frames per second.
The Sony Cyber-shot W830 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 from February 2014 in silver, pink, or black-bodied versions, the Sony W830 is priced at US$120 or thereabouts, a slight $20 less than last year's model.
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