Digital cameras don't appear to be getting smaller anymore – point-and-shoot digicams, especially, seem to have reached the practical limit of miniaturization. However, resolution and popular consumer features (like face detection and larger LCDs) continue to proliferate.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W300 is a case in point. The compact little W300 is about the same size as the previous W200, but it has more megapixels (13.6 versus 12.1), a larger LCD (2.7 inches versus 2.5 inches), and more features than its predecessor. The W300 is Sony's "W" series flagship model, a stylish retro-chic, auto exposure only digicam with a scratch-resistant titanium shell. The W300 is designed to appeal to casual photographers who value pocketability, ease of use, good optics, and DSLR-like resolution levels.
The point-and-shoot market is currently inundated with similar compact and ultracompact digicams, but the snazzy little W300 is not just another pretty face in the crowd. What sets the W300 apart? A very good 3x (35mm -105mm equivalent) Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar zoom, a 2.7 inch screen, face detection AF, smile detection, Sony's proprietary Dynamic Range Optimizer, Super Steady Shot image stabilization, and the ability to interface with the newest generation of Sony HDTVs.
While image quality is dependably very good to excellent, the W300 is a bit too menu driven: for instance, users can't delete an image immediately after review – that action requires a trip to the menus. Those who dislike proprietary memory formats should also note that the only image storage option is a Sony Memory Stick Duo/PRO Duo card (and 15MB of internal image storage).
Strangely, the very tweakable little W300 has an unnecessary slide show button, but no direct access to the exposure compensation mode. Finally, while the W300'w controls are logically placed and easily accessed everything is marked with remarkably tiny print – not a good thing for older users and those who depend on eyeglasses.
Our full review of the Sony Cybe-rshot DSC-W300 will be up in a few days.