Sony Cyber-shot WX150 Digital Camera Review$249.99
Smartphones keep eating into compact-camera sales, but there's still a place for capable, no-nonsense point-and-shoots, neither crippled by cut-rate components nor burdened by bogus extras like WiFi and touchscreens.
The Sony Cyber-shot WX150 ($249) is the best one that we've seen so far this year. It's a good-looking camera, and even with the respectable 10x zoom (25-250mm equivalent), it's slim enough to fit in a tight pocket. The interface is straightforward and easy to use, but also includes one of the most comprehensive, user-friendly in-camera help guides we've seen in a point-and-shoot. And other fan-favorites, like a big, bright 3-inch LCD and a stable of digital effects are included as well.
Then there's strong image quality, anchored by the 18.2-megapixel CMOS sensor. Colors are punchy, resolution scores are great, and details are clean in most shooting situations. Just as importantly, the sensor's speedy performance enables a handful of effective multi-shot modes that can snag decent low-light shots and bring balance to overly bright scenes—and it's all automated.
The few complaints we do have are just minor quibbles. The pixel count is much higher than necessary, so details look pretty soft at the full size. But it'll be a rare occasion when anybody uses the full 18 megapixels, and when the shots are scaled down to more realistic sizes (think Facebook, or even up to 8x10 prints), they look great. Price is the only other minor issue; we haven't tested the Panasonic SZ7 yet, but it looks very, very similar on paper, and costs $50 less.
All told, the WX150 is a fun, functional pocket camera. It'll be a solid companion for a night out, a day at the park, an afternoon around the house with grandma, or even a week on vacation. There aren't buzzworthy features, but it's a better product because of that. We'd knock about $50 off the price tag if we could, but any casual, novice, or otherwise easy-going photographer should be pretty happy with this in their pocket or purse.