While travelling at Salt Lake City, I was compelled to buy a camera. The surroundings demanded me to take them home, well at least as pictures. I was looking out for Digital camera for some time as our old Fuji 4100 was a bit bulky to carry on a business trip. I didn’t want to spend too much money on the camera. I didn’t want a SLR, that was too much for me both in terms of money, involvement and care. I just wanted to snap shots and I could get good pictures that is pretty much all I needed.
Of course, I started with Consumer reports. I didn’t want the tiniest ones; these introduce quite a bit of shake during the shots. The compact ones listed the DSC-W170 as a best buy. The W300 was what I ideally wanted, but about $300 wasn’t what I wanted to spend. At SLC, I hopped around Walmarts, Bestbuys, Targets but couldn’t find any of the DSC-Ws. These take wide angle shots, good for landscape pictures. I guess this model range is going out and will probably be replaced by a newer range. Hence, it was a tough search.
Finally, an Office Depot had the W120 and W150. I settled for the W120. The camera itself is about 3.5″ x 2.25″, which makes it easier to drop it into the shirt pocket. It has a built in flash and a view finder. Now a view finder is very important as in bright light, the LCD panel gets washed out and you can’t see well what you want to snap. It also has a 4x Optical zoom. Consumer reports says you should have at least 3x Optical zoom. And it produces 7.2 Megapixels photos. Yes, it is not 15 MP, but 7.2 is good enough for 10×8 prints; by the way I never print photos now-a-days. We only view it on the screen. It also has a smile shutter, that I haven’t tried. There are other loads of features – you can connect the camera to a HD TV and the camera somehow manages to show a great picture on the big screen. Consumer Reports said that worked well; I haven’t tried that. See, I just need a functional good camera to snap the moment and get decent pictures. You have many modes preset such as portrait, twilight (this is neat), soft focus (only subject is sharp, rest is blurred), self timer, 2 (or more) second delay so that it eliminates the shake introduced by pressing the button.
The battery is meant for the camera i.e., you can’t use AA/AAA batteries. The small size of the battery makes the whole camera small. The charger is neat, you can plug the charger right into the outlet without long wires hanging. After the charging, you can snap the charger’s prongs? back into the casing, making it easier to carry along on a trip. The Optical stabilization (Super Steady Shot, as Sony calls it) should be good, as I haven’t noticed any shake in the pictures I took, given the size of the camera.
You can view back the pictures as a slide show on the LCD panel and also play some music, if that is what you want. So far I have taken over 200 pictures and am quite happy with the camera. I read that there are some software bugs that prop up (some macro error), but haven’t seen that yet. Hopefully, I don’t ever.
You can connect the camera to your computer’s USB drive and transfer pictures directly without any special software, thought the camera comes with Sony’s own picture organizer and viewer. The camera requires the Memory Pro stick card, which is slightly more expensive than your typical SD cards. If you connect to the computer with the secondary memory on, you won’t see the built-in memory card. You have to remove the memory stick pro to access the internal memory.
On the rush to go to the mountains, I had to pick up a 2 GB MSP for about twenty two bucks, but if you plan ahead you can find a 4GB for a little less on the Internet. The built in memory is good enough for about 15 pictures at lower resolution. The menu is extensive and hence not exactly simple; given the vast amount of features, it is hard to make it a simpler one, I guess.
Overall for about $130 I paid for the camera ($22 for the additional memory), I am very satisfied with it. You can view the pictures I took at Picasa.