Art and Photography

Thoughts about DSC-W300?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jul 6th, 2008 8:55 pm
Tags:
None
[OP]
Member
User avatar
Aug 28, 2005
328 posts
60 upvotes

Thoughts about DSC-W300?

I didn't find much discussion in this forum about the Sony DSC-W300 compact camera.

I'm hoping to go on an international study exchange next year, and thought that it's probably a good time to pick up a new camera (the last digital camera I bought was an HP PhotoSmart from maybe 5+ years back, and the current camera that I've inherited is an old Fujifilm from roughly the same era).

In general, I've heard some fairly good things about the W300, and I'm intrigued by its manual mode. Flipping through a PDF version of the manual that I found, it appears that you can set the aperture and shutter speed settings to a certain degree. While I am no serious photographer, I would like some freedom to play around a bit if possible. My sister has a W55, but I don't think that the W55 is a fair comparison for the W300 despite them bearing the same series designation.

It seems that many people, although put off by the high megapixel count, have found the camera pretty decent, even at higher ISO levels. Perhaps because the camera uses a larger CCD sensor (compared to the T300, which I was originally looking at, which uses a smaller sensor)? That, or there are some effective noise reduction algorithms being applied... Regardless though, the review at Luminous Landscape that I read still shows that the W300 manages to maintain a relatively high level of fine detail.

I'm considering purchasing a camera at the end of July or early August. Are there any W300 owners here who might care to comment?

Currently, is it a fair statement to say that Sony's best offering in the compact point and shoot market is the W300?

I do have to admit that I am a little bit bias towards Sony right now because of the money I've already sunk into a those Memory Stick Duos for other devices.
10 replies
Deal Guru
User avatar
Sep 3, 2003
12046 posts
370 upvotes
Toronto
The W300 is nice, but 13mp is way too much. Shrinking images down to web-friendly sizes should yield good results, however. Luminous Landscape reviews are pretty good because they emphasize real-world use, and not so much pixel peeping.
Deal with it.
Deal Addict
Jan 17, 2004
1508 posts
15 upvotes
Toronto
I bought a W300 to replace a Fuji F30, and I am not entirely happy with it. It has a lot of dorky features I could care less about (face detection, smile detection, searching for photos of children or adults, etc).

I didn't buy a P&S to do much manual shooting, but it seems pretty limited in what it can do. I only played with it a bit and did not read the manual, but it seemed like I couldn't get very long exposures or small apertures. I also dislike how most of the options are buried inside menus. This is especially important for a camera that might appeal to shooters who would use manual mode. For instance, you have to go into the menus and scroll around a lot to change ISO, whereas the F30 had a button you could use to change bring up the ISO menu. Bracketing is nice to have.

The interface feels sluggish. Sometimes after taking a picture the camera seems to pause with a "Processing" message. Not sure what that is about. White balance occassionally seems off. Haven't measured times, but it feels slow to take a picture after powering on.

You can't change zoom levels while recording a movie. I don't see a way to protect individual pictures (this is important to me since I often let my toddler screw around with it).

I've only had the camera a few days, haven't shot many pictures, and have not yet had time to downlaod them, so I cannot answer the most important question, which is how do the pictures look. My guess is that it's good enough. I basically bought the camera on the basis of the Luminous Landscape review and Reichmann's rep, but wish I could have found it somewhere with a decent return policy so I could have tried it out first (I refuse to shop at Henry's). I think the interface issues will annoy me and I will end up wishing I bought, say, an F50.
Deal Addict
Jan 17, 2004
1508 posts
15 upvotes
Toronto
Other annoyances - no dedicated delete button - you have to go into the menus to delete a picture. Small buttons which are finicky to press.

A nice feature which I thought was silly at first, but think I might grow to like, is its ability to do slideshows. There are a number of transitions it can do, and it will play music. You can create several "favorites" lists and have it just display images from any one of those, or you can have it look for faces, children, or smiles. I thought I would find this annoying, but I can imagine amusing a lot of family and friends at dinner with it. Instead of having to scroll through the camera to find my favorite pictures, I could just add them to a favorites list, then run a slideshow out of that list. I wouldn't buy a camera just for this feature, though.
[OP]
Member
User avatar
Aug 28, 2005
328 posts
60 upvotes
Thanks for the notes about the W300.

Overall, do you think it's a good camera? It sounds like the usability is a bit difficult, but things like this, I might be able to get used to over time.

I have also been pointed towards the Panasonic FX500. In some regards, it seems similar to the W300 in that it's Panasonic's later offering in their compact line.

I wouldn't expect too much in the manual department from a point and shoot... but it's nice to have it provided that there is actually some use for it. The FX500 is listed as having aperture and shutter speed priority controls on the dpreview.com site I was browsing through. The only thing about the FX500 that people seem to complain about, however, is noise, which, is the thing that people praise the W300 for... So I'm a little bit torn.
Deal Addict
Jan 17, 2004
1508 posts
15 upvotes
Toronto
Like I said, I actually haven't evaluated the pictures except for looking at them on the LCD. If Reichmann says it takes good pictures, I will take his word for i, and assume that it is good enough for a pocketable camera that I really don't expect too much from. I couldn't find many other reviews. My only worry is that the auto WB seemed screwy in a bunch of shots I took the other night indoors.

I don't mean to say that the Sony is an awful camera, or even that the usability is that bad. Depending on your application, it might be just the thing. However, as a user who mostly uses DSLRs now, I am used to being able to do and change things quickly and easily, and in many cases the W300 interface does not help here. The F30 was pretty good in this respect, but I bet a lot of P&S are closer to the W300 than they are to the F30.

The W300 does not have A/S priority modes but it does have a full manual mode. It has a live histogram which is nice.

One more thing, the first charge didn't seem to last too many pictures - less than a hundred. Maybe that will get better. I got close to 600 shots on my F30. Might have to do with the fact the LCD is blindingly bright, and I can find no way to tone that down.

Sorry for the stream of consciousness posts. Random things about the camera just keep popping in my head.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Sep 3, 2003
12046 posts
370 upvotes
Toronto
NuggyBuggy wrote:
Jul 4th, 2008 1:43 pm
Other annoyances - no dedicated delete button - you have to go into the menus to delete a picture. Small buttons which are finicky to press.
Completely agreed. Why have a HOME button instead?
Deal with it.
Deal Addict
Jun 7, 2005
4276 posts
67 upvotes
I was really on the fence between the DSC-W130 and the Canon SD1100 (top 2 choices from airmiles for compact P&S).

The pros I found for the Sony were the extra optical zoom, and that it has the ability to add on lens adapters if you decided to do so (very cheap on ebay).

The cons I found were the Sony Memory sticks are much more expensive than SD cards.

In the end, I went with the Canon and I think I will be very happy, although the extra zoom would have been great. I go to a lot of sporting events and I find myself wanting more zoom more often than a wider view.
Deal Addict
Jan 17, 2004
1508 posts
15 upvotes
Toronto
KorruptioN wrote:
Jul 4th, 2008 4:19 pm
Completely agreed. Why have a HOME button instead?
The HOME button isn't even the worst of it - at least there are some settings under there that someone might want to access more rapidly (though the truth is, there are none).

The worst button is a dedicated SLIDESHOW button which pulls up a slideshow display whether or not you are in playback mode. Although I rather like the slideshow (it amused my kids to no end tonight), do I really need a dedicated button to get to it ???
[OP]
Member
User avatar
Aug 28, 2005
328 posts
60 upvotes
NuggyBuggy wrote:
Jul 4th, 2008 3:56 pm
The W300 does not have A/S priority modes but it does have a full manual mode.
I'm not too experienced with photography, but in your opinion, which is more desirable? A/S priorities, or a full manual mode?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that A mode allows you to choose an aperture setting and have the camera infer an appropriate shutter speed, while S is the reverse. And then M, on the other hand, requires that you specify both yourself?

It seems that if I'm interested in A/S priority modes, then my only choices in the compact point and shoot world are some Panasonic Lumix models, or, Casio Exilims?
Deal Addict
Jan 17, 2004
1508 posts
15 upvotes
Toronto
rcxAsh wrote:
Jul 6th, 2008 12:36 pm
I'm not too experienced with photography, but in your opinion, which is more desirable? A/S priorities, or a full manual mode?
Personally, in a point-and-shoot, and given a choice between either A/S priority modes, or manual mode, I'd probably rather have the priority modes. I rarely use manual mode on my P&S, and only sometimes on my DSLR. I do use the priority modes quite often.

Top