Digital Camera Home > Digital Camera Reviews > Sony Digital Cameras > Sony CyberShot DSC-W5

Digital Cameras - Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W5 Test Images

 

I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumbnail index page for the test shots. The data on this page includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with all that detail, we're posting the thumbnail index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!

 

"Sunlit" Portrait:
(This is my new "Outdoor" Portrait test - read more about it here.)

High resolution and good detail, though slightly warm color. Contrast is high, with limited detail in the highlights and shadows.

  • Exposure compensation: +0.7 EV, about average.
  • Contrast/Tone: High, some highlight detail lost, even with fairly dark midtones.
  • White Balance: Auto and Daylight both slightly warm.
  • Color accuracy: Aside from the warm cast, not too bad. Blues are a bit dark, as are the greens and yellows.
  • Skin tones: A little warm, but pretty good.
  • Resolution/sharpness: Good, where the camera is actually focused: It seems to have focused on the flower bouquet, rather than on Marti's face. As a result, the bouquet is sharp, but Marti's hair and face are a little soft.
  • Shadow detail: Pretty good, pretty low noise.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files W5OUTAP0.HTM through W5OUTAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

Contrast Series:
The Sony DSC-W7's contrast adjustment does work to hold down the contrast here, and color saturation on bright colors is relatively unaffected. There's an odd effect on Marti's skin tones though, with her skin going almost gray in places. Hence, perhaps OK for landscape shots, but I don't recommend the low-contrast setting for use with human subjects. A shame, the camera does really need this control to handle harsh lighting like this.

Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High



 

Closer Portrait:

Higher resolution and stronger detail, but again, high contrast.

  • Exposure compensation: +0.7 EV, about average (and the same as the wider shot).
  • Exposure/Tone: Contrast very high, with stark highlights and shadows.
  • Detail: Stronger detail, though details still slightly soft overall.
  • Distortion: Good, 3x zoom lens helps prevent distortion close-in like this, though some is noticeable.

 

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files W5OUTFACAP0.HTM through W5OUTFACAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
High Intensity
Slow-Sync Flash
High Intensity

Underexposed in both Normal and Slow-Sync flash modes, even with increased intensity. Warm color cast with Slow-Sync.

  • Exposure: Dim even with High intensity setting, though brighter than the default exposure. Slow-Sync mode brighter, but stronger warm cast.
  • Flash balance with room lighting?: Good, in that the highlights from the flash aren't blue-colored.
  • Color: Red skin tones, dark colors in bouquet

 Normal Flash Series:

Intensity Series
Low
Normal
High


Slow-Sync Flash Series:

Intensity Series
Low
Normal
High



 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance

Slightly warm color with the Incandescent white balance, and a bit more exposure compensation than average.

  • Exposure: +1.3 EV adjustment needed, slightly higher than average. Default exposure quite dim.
  • White Balance: Incandescent good (though a hint warm), Auto poor, very warm.
  • Color: Slightly warm overall, flowers dark, though red flowers are quite bright.

 

ISO Series:
The Sony DSC-W5 does a good job of holding image noise in check as the ISO (light sensitivity) is increased, but it does so by trading away subject detail in areas of subtle contrast. This means that shots at ISO 400 are rather soft-looking (although probably acceptable to many users) when printed at 8x10 inches, but look fine at sizes of 5x7 and below.

ISO Series
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Pretty good color with the Auto white balance, with high resolution and good detail. Some blurring in the corners though.

  • Sharpness/Detail: Pretty good overall.
  • Sharpness in Corners: Some falloff, about average.
  • Color: Auto white balance best, Daylight setting a little warm.
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: Some in the shaded areas of the brick pattern and the grass.





 

Far-Field Test

High resolution and strong detail, with a pretty good dynamic range.

This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance, and to present a near-infinite range of detail to the camera. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio.

  • Sharpness/Detail: Good, strong detail in the foliage and house.
  • Sharpness in Corners: Very good, much better than average.
  • Color: Slightly dark, but pretty accurate.
  • Dynamic Range: Pretty good, good detail in highlights, a bit less in shadows.
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: Very little, only a slight amount in shingles.


Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
2,592 x 1,944
W5FAR2592F
W5FAR2592N
2,048 x 1,536
W5FAR2048
-
1,280 x 960
W5FAR1280
-
640 x 480
W5FAR0640
-


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400


Sharpness Series:
A good range of sharpness adjustment. Low setting takes unsharp masking in Photoshop(tm) very well, High is a little coarse-looking, but would be good for inkjet prints at small print sizes (5x7 inches or below).

Sharpness Series
Soft
Normal
Hard


Contrast Series:
The contrast adjustment works better here than in the Sunlit Portrait test above, since the odd saturation changes aren't apparent in a complex subject like this.

Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High


Saturation Series:
A good range of saturation adjustment, little impact on contrast.

Saturation Series
Low
Normal
High


Color Series:

Color Series
Black & White
Sepia



 

Lens Zoom Range

A typical 3x zoom range.

The DSC-W5's focal length range of 38-114mm equivalents is fairly typical of most point & shoot digital cameras. (Just slightly less wide-angle than the 35-105mm range that's most common.) It corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a modest telephoto.

Wide Angle
3x Telephoto
Digital Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Pretty good color, though dark, and good resolution and detail.

  • White Balance: Auto setting best overall, Daylight setting a bit warm.
  • Color: Good skin tones, but blue robe and background are a little purple.
  • Sharpness/Detail: A lot of fine detail and high resolution, with good sharpness. (Pushing the limits of the poster though.)





 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

A small macro area with pretty good (though slightly soft) detail. Flash has trouble up close though.

  • Minimum Macro Area: 2.31 x 1.74 inches (59 x 44 millimeters), about average.
  • Softness in corners?: A fair amount, extending far into the frame. (Most cameras get fairly soft corners in macro mode, the W5's softness extends a bit further into the frame than I'd like though.)
  • Flash performance in macro mode?: Flash doesn't throttle down enough for macro area, overexposes the shot.




 

"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Good overall exposure, slightly warm color balance, good color accuracy.

  • White balance: Auto setting best though slightly yellow, Daylight setting warmer yet.
  • Color Accuracy: A slight warm color cast overall, but most colors are quite accurate. The bright red swatch is quite oversaturated though, green is slightly oversaturated, and yellow is undersaturated. Bottom line though, better than average color accuracy.
  • Shadow detail and noise: Good detail in the briquettes, low noise.



The images series below duplicate examples of various camera controls we've already covered above. I include them here though, for our more analytically-minded readers, who'd like to see the effect of various camera controls with a well-known target like the MacBeth Color Checker (tm).

ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400


Contrast Series:

Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High


Saturation Series:

Saturation Series
Low
Normal
High


Color Series:

Color Series
Black & White
Sepia



 

Low-Light Tests

Good low-light performance, with moderately low noise and good color. Autofocus system works to about 1/4 foot-candle, fine for average city night scenes.

  • Exposure limit: 1/16 foot-candle at all three ISO settings. (About 1/16 as bright as typical city street lighting at night.)
  • Autofocus Limit: To 1/4 foot-candle with standard autofocus, all the way to 1/16 foot-candle with AF assist.
  • White Balance: Slightly pink in some shots, but better than average overall.
  • Noise Levels: Higher at ISO 400, but good at the lower ISOs.
  • Detail loss to anti-noise processing?: A fair bit, particularly at higher ISOs, but the results are a little hard to see in these shots.
  • General Notes: The Sony DSC-W5 is an excellent low-light shooter, able to deliver well-exposed shots to the limit of our test (1/16 foot-candle, about 1/16 the brightness of typical city night scenes), at any ISO setting. Its autofocus system works down to about 1/4 foot-candle with the AF assist light turned off, and in total darkness on nearby objects with the AF assist enabled. Noise levels are quite low, although some subtle subject detail is traded away, particularly at the highest ISO setting. All in all though, a good choice for after-dark available-light photography. (Note though, that its flash tends to underexpose a fair bit, see the comments below about that.)

(Note: If you'd like to use a light meter to check light levels for subjects you might be interested in shooting, a light level of one foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure of two seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 100.)

  1 fc
11 lux
1/2 fc
5.5 lux
1/4 fc
2.7 lux
1/8 fc
1.3 lux
1/16 fc
0.67 lux
ISO
100
Click to see W5LL1003.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see W5LL1004.JPG
4 sec
f2.8
Click to see W5LL1005.JPG
10 sec
f2.8
Click to see W5LL1006.JPG
15 sec
f2.8
Click to see W5LL1007.JPG
25 sec
f2.8
ISO
200
Click to see W5LL2003.JPG
1 sec
f2.8
Click to see W5LL2004.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see W5LL2005.JPG
5 sec
f2.8
Click to see W5LL2006.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see W5LL2007.JPG
13 sec
f2.8
ISO
400
Click to see W5LL4003.JPG
1/2 sec
f2.8
Click to see W5LL4004.JPG
1 sec
f2.8
Click to see W5LL4005.JPG
2.5 sec
f2.8
Click to see W5LL4006.JPG
4 sec
f2.8
Click to see W5LL4007.JPG
7 sec
f2.8



 

Flash Range Test

Slightly underexposed at eight and nine feet, then decreasing intensity all the way to 14 feet.

  • Flash range at telephoto lens setting: Nine feet.
8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see W5FL08.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 100
Click to see W5FL09.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 100
Click to see W5FL10.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 100
Click to see W5FL11.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 100
Click to see W5FL12.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 100
Click to see W5FL13.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 100
Click to see W5FL14.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 100



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Good resolution, 1,350 lines of "strong detail." Higher than average barrel distortion at wide angle, but very low pincushion at telephoto. Low chromatic aberration, particularly at telephoto, soft corners at wide angle, less so at telephoto.

  • Resolution: 1,350 lines both vertically and horizontally.
  • Artifacts begin at: ~1,100 lines.
  • Extinction point: ~1,700 lines.

  • Barrel/Pincushion distortion: 0.9 percent barrel at wide angle, 0.08 percent at telephoto.
  • Chromatic Aberration: Moderately high at wide angle, very low at telephoto.
  • Corner Sharpness: A moderate amount at wide angle, though less at telephoto.



Resolution Series, medium focal length
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
2,592 x 1,944
W5RES2592F
W5RES2592N
2,048 x 1,536
W5RES2048
-
1,280 x 960
W5RES1280
-
640 x 480
W5RES0640
-


 

Resolution Test, Zoom Series
2,592 x 1,944
(Fine,
Wide Angle)
W5RESW
2,592 x 1,944
(Fine,
Telephoto)
W5REST

Sharpness Series:

Sharpness Series
Soft
Normal
Hard


 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

An accurate LCD monitor, but a tight optical viewfinder. A lot of flash falloff at wide angle, but less at telephoto.

  • Optical Viewfinder Accuracy: A little tight, 85 percent at wide angle, and 82 percent at telephoto.
  • LCD Viewfinder Accuracy: Just a little loose, showing slightly more than what's in the final frame, though still very close to 100 percent.
  • Flash Uniformity: A lot of falloff at wide angle, much less at telephoto.



W5 Review
W5 Test Images
W5 Specifications
W5 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

Reader Comments!
Questions, comments or controversy on this article? Click this link to see what other Imaging Resource readers have had to say about Sony CyberShot DSC-W5, or add comments of your own!


Follow Imaging Resource:

Purchase memory card for Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS3 digital camera
Top 3 photos this month win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate