Sony DSC-W80 Review

 
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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80 Optics


Lens

Zoom
Good performance with the 3x optically stabilized zoom lens. Digital zoom also performs fairly well.

35mm 105mm 2x Digital Zoom

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80's optical zoom covers the equivalent of 35-105mm, which is a typical focal range for an ultra-compact model. Overall performance is good, with very good detail and sharpness at wide angle, but some noticeable chromatic aberration and softness in the corners. At telephoto, performance is also good; however, the lower right corner is extremely soft. The camera's 2x digital zoom performs pretty well, with better results than we usually associate with digital zoom, although still not nearly as sharp or detailed as optical zoom.

Macro
A small macro area, but severe blurring everywhere but the very center. The flash had trouble throttling down, and produced an uneven exposure.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80's macro setting captures a small minimum area of 1.72 x 1.29 inches (44 x 33 millimeters). While the macro area is quite small, details are very soft throughout the frame, with crisp definition only in the center of the frame, covering roughly the numeral 1 in the dollar bill. Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode (evidence of the optical characteristic "curvature of field"), but the W80's blurring extends quite far into the frame. Shooting at the minimum macro focal distance, the flash also had a hard time throttling down, and couldn't cover the frame evenly. Plan on using external lighting for any macro shots with the DSC-W80.

Distortion
High barrel distortion, moderate pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 35mm is 0.9%
Pincushion at 105mm is 0.2%

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80's 0.9% barrel distortion at wide angle is a bit higher than average among the cameras we've tested, and noticeable in some of its images. At the telephoto end, the DSC-W80's pincushion distortion is about average at almost 0.2%, and not as noticeable in images. 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).

Chromatic aberration
Moderately high, with noticeable effect on images at edges in some wide angle shots.

Wide: High and bright,
upper left @ 200%
Wide: High and bright,
upper right @ 200%
Tele: Moderate,
upper left @200%
Tele: Moderate,
upper right @200%

Chromatic aberration is moderate to high at wide angle, showing about 5-6 pixels of bright coloration on either side of the target lines. At full telephoto, chromatic aberration is lower, and not quite as bright. Overall, the effect is noticeable in a few of our test shots, but a pretty good performance for a camera of this size.

Note: 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
Slight blurring in the corners of the frame at wide angle, excessive softness in the lower right corner at telephoto.

Wide: Slightly soft in the
corners (lower right).
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Very soft in the
lower right corner.
Tele: Sharp at center.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80 produces slightly soft results in the corners of the frame at full wide angle. At full telephoto, corners on the right-hand side are soft, with the bottom right exhibiting excessive blurring which is quite noticeable in some telephoto images.

Viewfinder

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

35mm eq., Optical 105mm eq., Optical
35mm eq., LCD 105mm eq., LCD

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80's optical viewfinder was quite tight, showing only 80% coverage at wide angle, and 77% at telephoto. It was also vertically shifted and tilted somewhat relative to the imaging sensor. The LCD monitor was much better, showing about 102% coverage at wide angle, and about 101% coverage at telephoto.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80 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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