Sony DSC-W310 Review

 
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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310
Resolution: 12.20 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/2.3"
Lens: 4.00x zoom
(28-112mm eq.)
Viewfinder: LCD
ISO: 100-3200
Shutter: 1-1/2000
Max Aperture: 3.0
Dimensions: 3.8 x 2.2 x 0.7 in.
(95 x 55 x 19 mm)
Weight: 4.8 oz (137 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $149
Availability: 02/2010
Manufacturer: Sony
12.20
Megapixels
4.00x zoom
1/2.3"
size sensor
image of Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310
Front side of Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310 digital camera Back side of Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310 digital camera      

Sony W310 Overview

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310 digital camera is a 12.1-megapixel design with a 4x optical zoom lens. The Sony W310's lens offers a 35mm-equivalent range from a useful 28mm wide angle to a moderate 112mm telephoto. The lens has a two-step aperture which offers either f/3.0 or f/4.3 at wide angle; at telephoto the maximum aperture is f/5.8, and the minimum aperture isn't stated. Autofocusing is possible to a minimum of just five centimeters at wide angle, or 50 centimeters at telephoto. The camera can capture 4:3 aspect ratio images at up to 4,000 x 3,000 pixel resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio images at up to 4,000 x 2,248 pixels, or 30 frames-per-second video at VGA (640 x 480 pixel) resolution or below with monaural audio.

On the rear panel of the Sony Cyber-shot W310 is a 2.7-inch TFT Clear Photo LCD panel with 100% coverage, and a resolution of 230,400 dots. This serves as the only method of framing and reviewing images, given that the Sony W310 doesn't feature an optical viewfinder. The Sony DSC-W310 has a 9-point autofocus system, and does include a face detection system, capable of detecting up to eight faces in a scene. This capability is used to provide a Smile Shutter function that automatically triggers the shutter when your subject is smiling. There's no blink detection feature in the W310, however. The W310 offers three methods for determining exposures - multi-pattern, center-weighted or spot metering. Shutter speeds from 1 to 1/2000 second are possible under automatic control, and sensitivities ranging from ISO 100 to 3,200 equivalents are on offer, with ISO 100 to 800 available under automatic control. 2.0EV of exposure compensation is available, in 1/3 EV steps. The DSC-W310 doesn't offer any form of optical image stabilization.

Eight white balance settings are available, including auto and seven presets, but there's no manual white balance setting in the Sony W310. As well as Intelligent Auto and Program modes, the W310 offers a selection of eight scene modes -- High Sensitivity, Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Soft Snap, Landscape, Beach, Snow, and Gourmet -- which offer a modicum of control over the look of images. There's also an intelligent scene mode which can automatically select from a subset of seven scene modes - twilight, twilight portrait, backlight, backlight portrait, landscape, macro and portrait - as appropriate. The Sony W310 includes a four-mode flash strobe with red-eye reduction capability. Flash range is stated as 0.5 to 3.0 meters at wide angle, or 1.5 meters at telephto, when using automatic ISO sensitivity. A two- or ten-second self timer allows the photographer to get in the picture themselves, or to avoid camera shake caused by pressing the shutter button when shooting on a tripod.

Images and movies can be recorded on Sony's proprietary Memory Stick Duo, PRO Duo, PRO Duo High Speed, or PRO-HG Duo cards, as well as the more common Secure Digital and Secure Digital High Capacity cards. A nearly useless 6MB of internal memory is also available, enough to capture a handful of test photos should you forget to purchase a flash card along with the camera. The Sony W310 includes NTSC / PAL standard definition video output connectivity, as well as USB 2.0 High Speed data connectivity. Power comes courtesy of a proprietary NP-BN1 Infolithium battery pack.

The Sony W310 digital camera is available from February 2010, priced at around US$150.

Sony W310 Review

by IR Staff

We had a little trouble with the Sony W310 as we ran it through our tests, and we had to go through a few units until we got one with passable image quality. In the end, we still didn't feel that its image quality was up to snuff, so decided to not go through our full review process for it. While its brothers the W330 and W350 offer pretty decent image quality, the Sony W310 unfortunately comes up short. Contrast is too high, colors are oversaturated, shadows are too dark, and the lens is just too soft overall. You can still see our test shots here, to see what helped us make our decision.

We don't review a lot of cameras selling in the $130 price range anyway, but felt that our limited resources would be better spent on other cameras that will be of more interest to our readers. If you've been considering the Sony W310, we suggest you take a look at the Sony W330 instead: The difference of roughly $40 in street price will be more than worth it in terms of image quality.

Build actually seems okay; the Sony W310 actually looks like it should be a nice camera from the front, but it's not as nice as the cameras we'd recommend, like the Sony W330, W350, or Canon SD1300, available for just a little more money. When you're already spending $130, it's not that hard to save two more twenties to earn enough for the W330 at least, a choice that will put the initial $130 to considerably better use. The payoff in image quality with the other three cameras will astound you.

Sony W310 vs Sony W330
ISO 80
ISO 400
Sony W310 Sony W330
The crops above show the difference in quality that $40 buys you, which is why we made the Sony W330 a Dave's Pick in the Bargain category.

As always, feel free to download the sample images we have shot so you can decide for yourself. If you only plan on making 4x6 inch prints, the W310 may be just what you're looking for. But be sure to compare the image quality of the Sony W330, Sony W350, or Canon SD1300, if you can find the room in your budget for one of them.

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