Sony's ever-increasing stable of digital cameras has its most recent addition in the Sony DSC W90. Armed with a host of features that not all mid-range point and shoot cameras have, the Sony DSC W90 is guaranteed to make even the most amateur shooter go lens happy with a vengeance.

Features and design

The Sony DSC W90 features an 8.1Mp sensor and uses the popular Carl Zeiss Lens with 3x optical zoom. The main USP here is its Bionz processing engine which Sony claims enables fast processing and high-precision focusing for producing High Definition images. Its Double Anti-Blur technology with Optical Image Stabiliser (IS) sharpens even shaky captures and has an ISO setting of up to 3200 for extreme low-light shooting.

Features such as face detection (that can identify up to eight faces), multi point (up to nine points) focusing system and High Definition (HD) TV output to watch pictures on a compatible TV are features that set the Sony DSC W90 in a league of its own among midrange digital cameras.

The Sony DSC W90 follows the regular metallic colour coating all over its body. But if bling is not your thing, Sony offers the same model in black.

Given its compact size and light weight, the Sony DSC W90 is one of those easy on-the-pocket cameras whose handling is a breeze. The brushed aluminum front has a retractable lens with mechanical shutter covering it when switched off. This renders a separate lens cover redundant.

The Optical View finder is a power saver as you can switch off the display and use the view finder for a better composition. The back of the Sony DSC W90 houses a 2.5in 115k colour TFT Display with all the control buttons stacked up on the right. The ergonomics is great with the button placement.

The supplied AV/Data Cable port can be found at the bottom while the Li-Ion battery and memory slots are on its side. Sony follows its simple interface design which is direct and easy to follow. Pictures can be saved either in the Sony DSC W90's 31MB internal memory or the bundled 1GB memory stick.

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Performance

With a fully charged battery, the Sony DSC W90 took just 2 seconds to boot up. We first started shooting in auto mode on a sunny afternoon. We were impressed by the speedy response, thanks to the Bionz processing engine. Even better, our captured images of flowers and landscape came out with vibrant and well balanced colours.

The vivid colours are better than reality, which makes the Sony DSC W90 perfect for capturing those holiday pictures. Its Optical IS is miles ahead of other mid-range digital cameras. Group photos reflected natural skin tones and accurate white balance.

The Optical viewfinder helped us get the right composition, thus upping the not-so-visible TFT display under sunlight. Getting the right focus in macro mode was also not a problem. Its lens could get as close as 2in. In low lights, though noise was low, there was some loss of detail.

We think this is Sony's idea of evening up things; while it keeps minimum noise, images sacrifice their details.

The Sony DSC W90's flash lights up subjects up to a distance of 6ft but not beyond. The high ISO 3200 settings captured images with enormous noise, but keeping it below 800 gives the best result. The red-eye reduction mode managed its task pretty well.

We suggest using this mode in a situation when plenty of flash usage is required. Burst mode at high framerate works great while shooting moving subjects. The absence of manual controls is compensated by the program mode which offers enough settings to tweak the camera for casual shooters.

Support for viewing pictures in High Resolution is not justified though, as the package does not include the HD cable to connect to a HDTV. Video clips captured are stored in MPEG VX format with customisable resolutions up to 640x480 at 30 fps. Clips recorded do not suffer from the usual compression pixelation issue and they are good enough to watch on a 21in TV.

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Sony DSC W90: Specs

  • 8.1Mp compact camera
  • 3x optical zoom, 5.1x HD smart zoom, 6x digital zoom, up to 15x smart zoom
  • High Definition output
  • Super SteadyShot and ISO 3200 high sensitivity (REI) antiblur
  • Face Detection
  • Carl-Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens
  • 2.5in (6.2cm) LCD screen, and optical viewfinder
  • red-eye correction
  • VGA 30fps movie mode with audio
  • PictBridge
  • 31MB internal memory
  • rechargeable battery, charger, AV & USB cables, wrist strap and software
  • 91x58x22.9mm
  • 124g
  • 8.1Mp compact camera
  • 3x optical zoom, 5.1x HD smart zoom, 6x digital zoom, up to 15x smart zoom
  • High Definition output
  • Super SteadyShot and ISO 3200 high sensitivity (REI) antiblur
  • Face Detection
  • Carl-Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens
  • 2.5in (6.2cm) LCD screen, and optical viewfinder
  • red-eye correction
  • VGA 30fps movie mode with audio
  • PictBridge
  • 31MB internal memory
  • rechargeable battery, charger, AV & USB cables, wrist strap and software
  • 91x58x22.9mm
  • 124g

OUR VERDICT

Speedy performance with a rich list of features and good ergonomics the Sony DSC W90 is an excellent camera. Just for the sake of nit-picking, we'd like to see manual controls. That said, it's a great camera to bring those memories alive. PCWorld.in

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