Sony Cybershot W310: Flashy

Phone cameras are swiftly becoming bigger and better and while they act as a good ‘capture the moment’ tool, they’re not quite sophisticated enough for every picture perfect occasion.

The name, Cybershot will no doubt ring a bell with anyone who has had dealings with digital cameras before and the 12.1 megapixel Sony Cybershot W310 is out to prove that portable snappers are here to stay. With a lightweight design and heavy load of features, does it manage to strike the right balance?

Design

The Cybershot W310 takes on a plain look with a funky twist thanks to the front brushed metal panel and solid yet soft feeling plastic backing. The Vario Tasser lens stands out in a rounded silver metal lining with this theme carrying through to the 4 x optical zoom. The curved edges make the W310 pleasing to the eye and are practically pocket friendly. You’ll be able to subtly slip the W310 away too thanks to its light 121 gram weight and small build of 95.3 x 55 x 18.7mm.

The simple design is reflective of the navigation system Sony has implemented onto the Cybershot W310. Lining the top of the device is the power key and shoot button, which is considerably bigger making it easy to establish and get your finger onto. Bringing up the rear on the back panel are several different sets of icons and movers that may look a little daunting at first, but make themselves clearly known as each one is labelled up. You’ll find your zoom function here, playback button and a switch to flick between camera and video mode. The circular navigation panel hosts your flash and display brightness options plus a self timer function and smile detection feature. The menu button opens up further shoot and general camera options plus a delete shortcut.

Dominating the back of the Cybershot W310 is the 2.7″ LCD display which gives this camera top marks for usability as it clearly shows exactly what the lens sees to help you line up your shot perfectly. The menus are also well laid out so chopping and changing options is straight to the point.

Features

The Sony Cybershot W310 springs to life as soon as you hit the power button and while the feature line up is by no means the best in the business, the W310 strives to make taking pictures easy and the added extras it does have bring a little more fun to the party.

All your basic adjustment settings are on board such as white balance, metering mode and high sensitivity ISO. For the more novice photographer, the Cybershot W310 can do all the hard work for you with an Intelligent Auto mode that adjusts all your settings automatically to give you the best picture regardless of the situation you’re shooting in. Beginners can also enable the Easy Shooting function which simplifies the camera’s controls and displays step-by-step on screen instructions which really help you find your feet when first faced with the prospect of taking a good picture.

Although the Cybershot W310 takes a simple approach to camera technology, it comes with some essential tools to enhance your shots after taking them. One of these is a Retouching function which gives you the opportunity to edit your images on screen including red eye reduction and trimming. Blurry pictures can also be a regular unwanted occurrence on handheld cameras and Sony has tackled this problem head on by throwing in a SteadyShot feature which takes a burst of two pictures which are then merged together to create a single, more focused shot.

The Sony Cybershot W310 also records 640 x 480p video at 30 frames per second. It renders well in playback mode and you can rewind and fast forward sections of your footage too.

The Verdict

The Cybershot label gave us big expectations for this small piece of kit and in terms of usability it delivered all the goods. Picture quality was a slight hit and miss with some photos being in focus and other not, even when we didn’t enable the zoom function. The optical zoom itself doesn’t go particularly far in terms of close ups and the W310 wasn’t so keen to focus on objects when we pushed the zoom all the way out. On the plus side though, the colours of the pictures were rich. Essentially what you see on the camera’s LCD screen is what you get once you upload pictures to your computer so we weren’t left disappointed in that department.

Other tech specs:

  • The W310 accepts Sony’s Memory Stick Duo and Memory Stick Pro Duo media plus SD and SDHC cards.

Conclusion

The Sony Cybershot W310 continues the great legacy of the Cybershot family, successfully going where your smartphone, as much as you may love it, can’t without crossing into complex boundaries. It has all the snap happy photographer needs!

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