Sony DSC-W100 Review

 
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Sony W100 Optics









Lens

Zoom
A typical 3x optical zoom range, with good performance.

38mm
114mm
2x Digital Zoom

The Sony DSC-W100 zooms over the equivalent of a 38-114mm range, an average zoom range for its class. Details are a hint soft at wide angle, with some slight coma distortion in the trees, as well as some corner softness. Still, results are pretty good overall. The 2x digital zoom takes it out to 6x total, and Sony's Precision Digital Zoom does a pretty good job of holding onto detail despite some loss of resolution.

Macro
A small macro area with good detail and high resolution, though slightly dim exposure. Flash coverage is uneven up close, partially blocked by the lens.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Sony DSC-W100's macro setting performs well, capturing a small minimum area of 2.37 x 1.78 inches (60 x 45 millimeters). Detail and resolution are both good, though there's a fair amount of softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) Exposure is a little dim, even with external lighting, with a significant shadow in the bottom of the frame. The flash almost throttles down enough, but coverage is uneven and there's a dark shadow at the bottom of the frame. (Plan on using external lighting for your closest macro shots with the DSC-W100.)

Distortion
High barrel distortion, though very low pincushion.

This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel--usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion--usually at telephoto). The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W100's 0.9% barrel distortion at wide angle is a little high among the cameras I've tested, and fairly noticeable in its images. At the telephoto end, the DSC-W100's 0.01% pincushion is very low.

Barrel distortion at 38mm is 0.9%
Pincushion at 114mm is 0.01%

Chromatic aberration
High, especially on the left side, moderate effect on images at edges.

Wide: high and bright,
top left @ 200%
Wide: fairly bright,
top right @ 200%
Tele: lower but bright,
top left @200%
Tele: low, top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is rather high at wide angle, showing about 9+ pixels of bright coloration on either side of the target lines. The effect is lower at telephoto, however. I also noticed stronger distortion on the left side of the frame (about 16-17 pixels at wide angle), possibly due to some corner softness on that side. This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.

Corner Sharpness
Some softening in the left corners of the frame, strongest effect at telephoto.

Wide: soft in the lower left corner Wide: much sharper at center
Tele: very soft in the lower left corner Tele: sharper, but still soft, at center

The Sony DSC-W100 produced soft corners in a few shots, with the most visible effect in the left corners at both wide angle and telephoto. Results were the strongest at full telephoto however, in the lower left corner.

Viewfinder

Coverage
A tight optical viewfinder, with very good accuracy from the LCD monitor.

38mm eq., optical viewfinder 114mm eq., optical viewfinder
38mm eq., LCD monitor 114mm eq., LCD monitor

The DSC-W100's optical viewfinder was quite tight, showing only about 81% frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 83% at telephoto. However, the LCD monitor showed close to about 100 percent frame accuracy, and was actually a little "loose" at wide angle, showing about 102% frame accuracy.

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W100 Photo Gallery.

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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