The recently launched Sony Cybershot DSC-W380 is a compact digital camera which is packed to the brim with features and many intelligent functions. Going by the specs alone, we are impressed and let's quickly check out how it fares against the competition.
Sony Cybershot DSC-W380: Design & Features
The Sony Cybershot DSC-W380 has a simple compact design and a solid metal body. The matte-dark finish of the body ensures that the camera can withstand scratches and smudges. The camera might not be as slim as its stylish Cybershot T brothers, but the DSC-W380 is still quite compact. The back has a large 2.7-inch LCD viewfinder that is clear and bright even though viewing angles are not great. There is also a zoom rocker with a mode dial below, a 5-way directional pad, and tiny circular buttons for playback, menu and delete. The overall design is quite user-friendly and even the tiny buttons do not take much time getting used to.
The Sony Cybershot DSC-W380 boasts a 14.1Mp CCD image sensor, Sony's own G-lens with 24mm wide angle and 5x optical zoom and is powered by the BIONZ processor. It captures 720p HD video at 30fps and has Sony's Optical Steady Shot for image stabilisation. One commendable feature is the Sweep panorama which lets users take panoramic pictures by just sweeping the camera from left to right (or up and down) while holding down the shutter button. It has 45MB of internal memory and it is compatible with SD/SDHC memory apart from Sony's proprietary Memory Stick Duo PRO.
To make shooting simpler, the Sony Cybershot DSC-W380 includes the Intelligent Auto (iAuto) mode which optimizes the camera setting for different scenes. The iAuto mode combines intelligent Auto Focus, Motion Detection and Intelligent Scene Recognition to determine the optimized setting for each shot. The rest of the shooting modes include the usual Easy mode, scene selection mode, SteadyShot, Program Auto and Movie mode. Fortunately, optical zoom can be used while recording a movie.
Sony Cybershot DSC-W380: Performance
Starting up the camera took around 1.7 seconds which is decent. Our main gripe was with the overall response of the camera which seemed a bit slower than other cameras we've seen in this price range. Zooming also did not happen instantaneously as there was a few milliseconds' delay in both zooming in and zooming out. The delay between image capture and when they were displayed on the LCD was also noticeable. This could be annoying at times when you want to quickly check what you just captured and continue to another shot. Focusing was quick though even in poorly lit environments. Despite its Optical Steady Shot feature, the Sony Cybershot DSC-W380 could not handle shaky hands as pictures were getting blurred easily.
Sony Cybershot DSC-W380: Image Quality
Despite all these shortcomings, still images captured under good light came out with vivid and bright colours. There were slight purple fringes in some high contrast areas but they were barely noticeable. White balance was accurate and images had average details. The much appreciated 24mmm wide angle lens showed more barrel distortion than the 24mm lens on the DSC-WX1 from the Cybershot W-series. The lens showed decent sharpness at the center but softness on the edges were also noticeable.
Overall, images looked good but not outstanding. When we compared it with cameras like the Nikon CoolPix S570 which falls in the same price category, we could easily notice more sharpness in the images captured by the latter. In terms of details and sharpness, we just wished the DSC-W380 performed better. Up till ISO 200, images looked clean and noise was barely noticeable. However, once we notched up the ISO to 400, noise started to kick in which made images average. Overall, the Sony Cybershot DSC-W380 captured good and useable images but they weren't outstanding. Taking panoramic picture is one of the most impressive
The 1280x720p videos captured were also average. Details were just sufficient but videos we captured with the DSC-WX1 had more details. Low light clips also showed certain amount of noise and they could have been sharper. Overall, the Sony Cybershot DSC-W380 shot average 720p HD video.
NEXT: our expert verdict >>