Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX80 Preview
by Mike Tomkins
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX80 acknowledges a fundamental truth about consumer photography: we take photos so we can share moments in our lives. A photo not worth sharing is, for many, a photo not worth taking in the first place. The more easily you can get the photos out of your camera and into the hands of friends and family, the better -- and the Sony WX80 caters to that with built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking connectivity. Instead of hunting for cables or fiddling with flash card readers and a desktop or notebook PC, getting your photos onto social networks or into emails becomes a simple matter of enabling the Wi-Fi hotspot on your phone, then transferring the images across from the camera, ready to upload and share. And you can also transfer movies in MP4 format without a cable. You can also control the camera remotely, helping you get into your own shots, instead of being stuck behind the LCD.
Beyond its Wi-Fi connectivity, the Sony WX80 is a relatively straightforward camera. Images are captured with the pairing of a 16 megapixel Exmor R backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor, and Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar branded 8x optical zoom lens. The sensor offers swift burst shooting capability of up to 10 frames per second at full resolution. 35mm-equivalent focal lengths range from a useful 25mm wide angle to a moderate 200mm telephoto. Maximum aperture is rather dim, starting from f/3.3 at wide angle, and falling to f/6.3 by the telephoto position. On the plus side, there's Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to help you get blur-free images at slower shutter speeds.
On its rear panel, the Sony DSC-WX80 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 4.2 meters at wide angle when using Auto ISO sensitivity.
Ease-of-use features include Sony's Superior Auto mode, which recognizes the scene type and then configures the camera appropriately, and allows multi-shot exposures that can do things like reduce blur and noise levels, letting you shoot hand-held in lower light. There's also 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 that 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 1080i60 movies, with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and a rate of 60 interlaced fields per second.
The Sony Cyber-shot WX80 is powered by a proprietary NP-BN lithium ion rechargeable battery, and includes both Micro HDMI high-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 only in red, black, or white-bodied versions, the Sony WX80 is priced at US$200 or thereabouts.