I was able to try out (ok my wife took most of the shots) this little point-and-shoot camera from Sony during my Holy Week trip to Cebu. The Cybershot W380 is a very lightweight and compact 14.1 megapixel shooter from Sony.
It’s as simple as any small P&S cameras out there but it also has some nice tricks up its sleeves. The optical zoom range of this camera is only at 5x but it is packed with Sony’s bright, f/2.4 G Lens (will talk about it more in a bit) and a 24mm wide-angle lens. It can also do 720p HD video recording.
Simple to use
Sony didn’t want people to think too much when they shoot using the W380 that’s why they limited the shooting options you can do. No option to play with shutter speed which I would love to see on a small f/2.4 lens camera (closest you can have to a slow shutter speed is by using the Twilight Scene).
The 6 modes on the dial are easy to understand with only the P mode giving you the most options where you can adjust ISO, White Balance, Metering and Focus modes.
It’s quite fast to start up as well at just under 2 seconds before you can take that shot from an off state.
Sony boasts of this G-Lens technology that they usually reserve for their SLR’s and other prosumer cameras. Putting it (along with an aperture range of 2.4) in a small P&S like the Cybershot W380 gives it a lot of advantage over others in the same class.
One of the advantage is being able to shoot decent photos in limited lighting without the help of a flash. Now all your party shots don’t have to be too washed out with oily faces because you have to use a flash.
Because of its large f/2.4 aperture range, taking macro shots will make you look like a master even on the “œAuto” setting mode. No need to do any measurements, just zoom it out to its widest angle and go near your subject for a surprisingly good macro shot.
Another cool feature on the W380 is creating panoramic shots on the fly very easily with its “œSweep Panorama” feature. You don’t need any stitching program on this one. Just hold the shutter button while swiveling your body to complete the shot.
Wait a few seconds and you’d get to enjoy your panoramic shots right then and there. Pretty handy I might say in case you don’t know if you had a good shot or not.
Another feature we were fond of using is the Self Timer. Usually, cameras only offer you three options on timer: Off, short timer and long timer. With the W380, it also has a timer which sets off when it detects a face or two is within frame.
The Cybershot W380 gives you an option to choose single or dual face detection timer which is perfect for self-shots. Set to dual-face timer and it automatically fires a shot 2-seconds after detecting two faces. Don’t worry, the AF light will blink to warn you if it detects a face.
I would say that the Sony Cybershot W380 is really an excellent compact point-and-shoot digital camera. The wide-angle shots, the bright lens and the not-so-amateur looking macro shots that it can do makes it very competitive with other small point-and-shooters out there.
You will also get the “œSweep Panorama” feature which is not seen in other brands (close competition I tried was Olympus and its onboard stitch program that is slower than Sony’s). On top of that, you would get a handy 720p HD recording device here as well.
One more thing I have to mention, Sony allows SDHC cards on the Cybershot W380 which I think is a good move. Of course, you can still use your staple Sony memory sticks.
The Sony Cybershot W380 retails at Php19,999.
For more sample shots, click here.