This article first appeared in HWM Oct 2011.
Compact cameras are a dime a dozen these days, and finding one to suit your needs can be quite challenging. Sony has its fair share of fashionable and fun-sized compacts, with the Cyber-shot DCS-W570 being one such device.
From the get go, the W570 is very small and light, roughly the thickness and size of a deck of cards. That is probably the most unique trait in terms of design, as the camera is otherwise quite plain. Sporting a metallic front fascia and a plastic back with a chrome lining, the W570 doesn’t quite stand out visually, but given its diminutive size, fits nicely in the back pocket of our pants.
The W570 camera relies solely on physical controls, so the left side at the back might get a tad daunting for newcomers, as the controls have been crammed into a small space next to an equally small 2.7-inch screen, ostensibly to save space. But not to worry, there are a few key buttons that you will be using more often – namely (from top to bottom) the slider, click wheel and menu button. Nevertheless, these buttons are a bit tough to properly use as they’re incredibly tiny and crammed together.
The slider acts as a substitute for the traditional mode dial that we find on higher-end compacts and DSLRs. To switch to different modes (still capture, sweep panorama, video capture), you simply slide it up or down. Pressing the small menu button launches a side menu that allows you to select various modes (Intelligent Auto, Program Auto, Scene, Underwater Sweep Panorama) and settings. The Program Auto mode is made for more seasoned photographers who prefer a little more control, as it lets users adjust shooting parameters like white balance, ISO and light metering. Navigating through the menu is done through the click wheel. Generally, navigation felt fluid, but could have been improved with a scroll wheel instead.
In terms of image performance, the camera performs admirably in color reproduction, and reasonably well in noise control. The W570 scored an extremely high 2000LPH for both horizontal and vertical on our resolution test chart. Noise starts creeping in at ISO 400, and becomes more prominent in ISO 800 with slight color discoloration. Photos taken at ISO 1600 are still fairly usable, but we would advise against shooting at ISO 3200.
The new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570 is a good product to start off with for those looking to take nice photos without fuss. The camera is light, small and easy to use, making it perfect for those snapshot moments.