Sony DSC-W70 Review

 
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Sony W70 Optics


Lens

Zoom
Good lens performance, a typical 3x optical zoom range.

38mm
114mm
4x Digital Zoom

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W70's Zeiss lens zooms over the equivalent of a 38-114mm range, a typical zoom range for its class. Results are good at wide angle, with only minimal coma distortion in the trees and well defined details. Details are a little softer at telephoto, however, and lens flare seems to be a bit more of an issue there. The W70's 4x digital zoom performs well in comparison to most digital zooms, holding onto a nice level of detail despite the inevitable loss in quality from the digital enlargement.

Macro
A very tiny macro area with good detail, though fairly strong blurring in the corners. Flash exposure is very uneven.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W70's macro setting performs very well, capturing an unusually small minimum area of only 0.94 x 0.71 inches (24 x 18 millimeters). Detail is strong and resolution high, though with a fairly large amount of softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode, but the W70's is a bit more than most.) The W70's extremely close shooting range here almost entirely precludes use the flash, which is partially blocked by the lens, resulting in an uneven exposure. (Plan on using external lighting for your closest macro shots with the W70.)

Distortion
Moderate barrel distortion, and moderately high 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-W70's 0.6% barrel distortion at wide angle is a bit lower than average, but still noticeable in its images. At the telephoto end, the W70's 0.4% pincushion is a little higher than I'd like to see.

Barrel distortion at 38mm is 0.6%
Pincushion at 114mm is 0.4%

Chromatic aberration
Moderate, small effect on images at edges.

Wide: moderate, top left @ 200% Wide: bright, top right @ 200%
Tele: quite low, top left @200% Tele: quite low, top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is moderate at wide angle, showing about 6-7 pixels of bright coloration on either side of the target lines, but decreases to very low levels at telephoto focal lengths. (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
Moderate softening in the left corners of the frame at telephoto, but much better than average sharpness at full wide angle.

Wide Angle:
Only slightly soft in the lower right corner.
Wide Angle:
Sharp at center.
Telephoto:
Softening in the lower left corner.
Telephoto:
Also slightly soft at center.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W70 produced slightly soft corners in some shots, most noticeable at its more telephoto focal lengths. At full wide angle, the corners are much sharper than average.

Viewfinder

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

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

The Sony DSC-W70's optical viewfinder was quite tight, showing only about 80% of the final frame area at both wide angle and telephoto lens settings. However, the LCD monitor showed almost exactly 100% accuracy.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W70 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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