Sony WX5 Unboxing and Hands-on Review
October 7, 2010 | Joey Mariano
The WX5 is Sony’s latest model in its WX line of Cybershot cameras. The WX5 has some significant advantages over the previous model, the WX1. Design wise, it is a bit more rounded on the edges and the screen size has been increased slightly from 2.7″ to 2.8″. Despite the minor change in screen size, they have made a major change in the screen’s pixel density, doubled from 230K to 460k. The megapixels have been bumped up on the WX5 from 10.2MP to 12.2MP. They’ve also added a few new features such as 3D capture, background defocus, HDR, and 1080i video recording to name a few. We will also be comparing the WX5 to Sony’s top-of-the-line ultracompact, the Cybershot TX9 which boasts a 3.5″ touchscreen with 921k pixels!
Here’s the video of the unboxing and hands-on:
Here is a sample image gallery from both cameras, the WX5 and the TX9. I tried to take the same shot with each camera.
Sony WX5 Image Gallery
You may need to open each gallery in its own tab so you can easily switch between the two to do a direct comparison. Some shots are slightly different due to the WX5′s extending lens vs. the TX9 internal lens.
Sony TX9 Image Gallery
As you can see from the image gallery, the WX5′s F2.4 lens can capture more light in dark situations than the TX9′s F3.5 lens. One thing I did notice about the TX9 though was that the images seemed a bit more crisp. (You can see the difference in sharpeness on gallery images 5 and 6 especially.)
Overall, I think the WX5 is a worthy compact point and shoot camera. It can hold its own against Canon, Panasonic and Nikon’s ultracompacts in terms of image quality. In many cases, it surpasses them in terms of features. The WX5 and TX9 can do 10 Frames Per Second in full resolution burst mode, the SD4000is can only do 3FPS. The Sony does 1080i video, the Canon, 720p. The Sony WX5 has a better wide angle (35mm equivalent) at 24mm compared to the SD4000is at 28mm. (The wide angle is extremely useful when shooting indoors where there are distance constraints when taking photos. If that’s not enough, you can use the sweep panorama feature or the 1080 hd video recording.) Canon’s ultra-compact S90 and SD4000 may have brighter F2.0 lenses, but Sony’s handheld twilight mode, which combines multiple images shot in succession, provides better images than the Canon’s. The F2.0 lens may let more light in, but it is still easier to obtain a sharp image with Sony’s handheld twilight or anti-motion blur modes. Yes, I can get sharper low light shots with my Canon 30D with my 50mm prime lens at F1.8, but who wants to carry that around?
The WX5 and the TX9 are both great cameras. They won’t replace your DSLR in terms of pure image quality, but they will be the cameras that you actually have on you. That’s what counts. Not to sound like too much of a Sony fanboy, (I love my Canon HV20 video camera, Canon G7 prosumer camera and DSLR 30D,) but I think Sony has figured out what most camera users want most, interesting photos without a lot of headache. These cameras are aimed directly at the 95% of daily users, not amateur or professional photographers. They make it easy to take good photos. These daily users don’t want to mess around with settings, they want to take photos…good photos. They don’t want to mess around in Photoshop, so Sony oversaturates the images slightly and offers soft-skin modes and does the processing in-camera. Brilliant! It can do panoramas by stitching the images in camera, not on a program on the computer. Awesome. The 1080 video quality is superb for a camera 10 times this size. The ability to capture blur-free images and low-light images without a flash (due to Sony’s in-camera processing of consecutively shot images) is genius. 3D capture is just a cool bonus.
Did I mention how good it feels to hold in your hand? The material is top notch. The camera is weighty enough to feel significant (and worth their price) without feeling over weight. The user interface is easy to use. I put the TX9 on a table and people would pick it up and look at the pictures without asking, “how do I do this?” The camera is fun to use and fun to show off to others.
What Apple has done with the iPhone, by changing the smartphone into something everyone can use and enjoy to its fullest potential, (not just using a few minor features,) is what Sony has done with their line of Cybershot cameras, specifically the TX9 and WX5. Just like Apple has it’s Apple Fanboys, Sony also has it’s Fanboys — I’m now one of them…but with good reason. They know how to make consumer point and shoot cameras.
(October 6, 2010 @7:00pm) The video review and unboxing of the Sony WX5 is currently being encoded in iMovie. As soon as it is finished, I will upload it to YouTube and embed it here along with my written review.
(August, 31, 2010) The Sony DSC-WX5 just arrived today. The plan is to compare this Cybershot WX5 to the new TX9. Video review coming soon. Check back.
For now, check out my review of the Sony TX9, the first consumer 3D camera.