The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W530 14.1 MP Digital Camera packs quite a lot
into a small, lightweight package at an affordable price. Not too many
years ago, even high-end digital single lens reflex (dSLR) cameras only
boasted 12.1 MP at pricing that was well over $1,000 but the DSC-W530
offers higher-resolution in an affordable package that is only 5.6 by 2
by 6.1 inches and that weighs a pound.
It is true the dSLRs do
offer far more flexibility and are now offering up to 18MP resolution,
however, the DSC-W530 is very capable “point-and-shoot” camera in its
own right, offering a large 2.7-inch LCD viewer with which one can
easily frame shots, as well as Carl Zeiss-Tessar optics that are among
the best on the market. The DSC-W530 is a wide-angle camera that allows
one to take extra-wide closeups and thanks to the technology built into
the camera the image appears quite normal (some extra wide angle lenses
have been known to show spherical rounding where the far images of an
image are distorted, however, that is not the case here). Images as
close as half-an-inch from the lens are possible, as well as distant
photos thanks to the zoom ability of the 26 mm lens.
Sony uses its
proprietary processor as the engine for its 4X zoom camera. The
processor features algorithms that test lighting, background lighting,
contrast – the whole range of image variables – so that images that are
taken appear natural. In Auto Mode, for example, the DSC-W530 tests a
whole range of lighting variables and then provides the correct amount
of fill light from its built-in autostrobe.
In Sweep Mode, one can
hold the shutter button down and sweep through 268 degrees of arc to
provide a seamless panoramic view. That one can produce a rock-steady
image, while sweeping across a panorama is due to Sony’s autostabilizing
Steady Shot image stabilization. The DSC-W530 is capable of produce A3+
or 13 by 19 images.
Sony’s proprietary processor does all of the
work for you in iAuto or Intelligent Auto Mode as the software checks
and averages the overall lighting and skin tones to deliver natural
images. The processor also enables the DSC-W530 to “remember” up to
eight facial images and recognize those faces so that imaging for those
individuals is optimized. This features also works with the photographer
so that in Self-Portrait Mode after the timer is set, the camera waits
until it recognizes the photographer’s image is in frame and then the
countdown timer is tripped. In this mode, one is never left out of
family shots again.
Another technology built into the entire Sony
camera line is the Smile Shutter mode. Working in coordination with
their auto-sensitivity mode, the camera waits, using a Soft Shutter
feature, until it recognizes that a tot or young child is smiling and
the image is taken. This mode can be detuned a bit for adults to enhance
naturally smiles in any image. Working with this mode, is Anti-Blink
technology. In this mode, the processor actually takes two images when
the strobe is used so that the inevitable camera squint is eliminated
and the person appears naturally. (Normally, a person will blink
automatically when an autostrobe is fired and many lower-priced cameras
fail to allow for this so that you end up with an image of person with
squinting eyes. Anti-Blink takes two shots, the first with the strobe
firing and the second almost immediately afterward, usually within the
framework where a person opens his or her eyes normally.
Natural (Fill) Flash mode, the processor tests the background shadows
and highlights and determines the correct amount of fill light that is
needed for an image to appear normal. This means that one will see the
strobe firing even on a bright day as it fills in darker shadowed areas.
DSC-W530 works over a wide range of lighting conditions as it will
provide auto settings from ISO 100 to 3200 (for the F-stop photographer,
F-100 to F-3200). There are seven ISO ranges, ISO 100, 125, 200,l 400,
800, 1600 and 3200. This gives one the ability to handhold an image in
even low-light conditions.
All of the software modes work
together. For example, Digital Range Optimizing analyzes background
lighting and contrast modes while Intelligent Scene Recognition takes
1/30th of a second to cycle through eight modes that include Backlight,
Backlight Protrait, Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Twilight Portrait with
tripod, Portrait, Landscape and Macro (for closeups) to provide a
photographer with a natural-looking image. This extends to Auto and
Advanced modes. In Auto Mode, the DSC-W530 takes one image, while in
Advanced mode, it shoots an extra image to give one a choice of shot
The DSC-W530 is also capable of taking 480 pixel, 30
frame-per-second videography. This is the native resolution of VGA (640
by 400) and this interfaces easily, through the proper USB 2.0 adapter
cord to a PC, so that one can upload the video to the PC for editing
with Sony’s Picture Motion Browser Software V 5.3. A portable version
allows direct interface to a PC that, if it has Internet access, can
upload images directly to such services as Photobucket.
note that one can expand memory only to 4 GB though Sony’s proprietary
memory cards, which is certainly something of which one should take
note, as is its limited amount of storage available (4GB).