Sony WX300 Preview
by Roger Slavens
Sony's latest Cyber-shot releases seem to be all about packing as many features into as small a package as possible. The company claims the new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300 is the "world's smallest and lightest" compact camera -- measuring 3 7/8" wide x 2 1/4" tall x 1 1/16" deep (96 x 54.9 x 25.mm) and weighing 5.9 ounces (166g)-- that includes a 20x optical zoom and WiFi functionality. Sony is clearly gearing this new camera as a pocket-sized travel camera.
Step-up features. The WX300 marks a step up from the HX20V and HX30V models, which were introduced almost exactly a year ago. It features the same sensor -- a 18.2-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch Exmor R CMOS -- and same 20x optical zoom range. (The Sony G lens optical range is effectively 25mm wide to 500mm telephoto, with max apertures from f/3.5 to f/6.5.) But in addition to shaving off some size and weight, the Cyber-shot DSC-WX300 features approximately 3.6 times faster autofocus and 2 times more powerful Optical Image Stabilization than its predecessors, according to Sony. Another important improvement is battery life, with the Sony WX300 now rated for 500 shots on a single charge, which should last most shooters a full day.
Like the other Cyber-shots announced in February 2013, the WX300 also gets Sony's new, improved Superior Auto Mode that helps photographers get the right shot by automatically adjusting the camera's settings for composition and lighting, as well as by adding Picture Effects ranging from Toy Camera to Partial Color. For the WX300, Beauty Effect mode allows you to re-touch your portraits and remove blemishes, whiten teeth and open squinting eyes.
WiFi connectivity. Enhanced, built-in WiFi capabilities are also an important upgrade for the WX300, and the camera allows for content sharing via Sony's PlayMemories mobile app -- available for both Android and iOS -- and allows for smart remote control of the camera via your smartphone or tablet for taking advantage of self-portrait, group and slow shutter speed opportunities. And Sony says still images can also be viewed wirelessly on a networked TV.
Capturing the action. Video capabilities include Full HD 1080p movie recording, and include Sony's Optical SteadyShot Active Mode to help keep videos smooth and shake-free across the zoom range. The Sony WX300 also features 10 frames per second burst mode at full resolution. Intelligent Sweep Panorama allows for up to 360-degree still shots. And you can view and review all your stills and movies on a 3-inch, 460K-dot LCD monitor that includes histogram and grid displays.
Availability. The Sony Cyber-shot WX300 will begin shipping in the U.S. in April 2013 for US$330, and will be available in black, red or white.
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