I really liked the Sony W70 I tested a couple of years back, so I approached the new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80 with a lot of enthusiasm. The W80 is an attractive entry-level auto-exposure only digicam designed to appeal to casual photographers, snap-shooters, first time digital camera buyers, and shutterbugs who value simplicity and ease of use. The W80 is compact enough to drop in a pocket and tough enough (metal-alloy body available in black, pink. silver, or white) to go just about anywhere. The camera features 7.2 megapixel resolution, Sony’s fast Bionz processor (first seen on the A100 dSLR), Super SteadyShot optical image stabilization, a very good 3X Carl Zeiss zoom, a 2.5 inch LCD screen (and an optical viewfinder), very good battery life, and Face Detection AF.
UPDATE: Full Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80 review published.
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Picture quality is dependably very good (outside in good light) and images are relatively sharp with a slight warmish cast, but the W80 (like most entry-level P&S digicams) suffers from “consumer” color interpolation. Images are hue accurate, but noticeably over-saturated with hard contrast. The W80 is very fast, across the board – it powers up quickly; locks focus rapidly (in good lighting), and shutter lag (once focus is acquired) is essentially real time.
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On the negative side of the scale, the menu system is poorly designed and unintuitive. The built-in flash is a bit anemic and users can’t delete an image immediately after capture - they must first access the cumbersome menu system. I found the W80 frustrating in a few respects, but I wasn’t disappointed with the camera’s ability to consistently deliver solid images in a variety of lighting situations. We’ll have an in-depth review of the W80 up in a few days.
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