Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W610 First Impressions Review

The DSC-W610 is one of the newest—and cheapest—members of the Cyber-shot family.

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Focus

The DSC-W610, like most budget cameras, has no option for controlling focus manually. There's no manual lens ring, no buttons on the back for pulling focus, and no focus dials anywhere on the device. So, you must use autofocus to bring your image into focus. But that's what most budget camera owners will probably want to use anyway.

The camera has three autofocus modes: Multi Point (uses a variety of focus points to focus the image), Center Weighted (changes focus based mostly on the center of the frame), and Spot focus (allows you to pick a spot in the frame to use as a focal point). Generally, the focus wasn't all that fast when we tested it out on the W610 at CES, but part of our problem stemmed from the poorly-designed shutter button that was hard to press halfway down (to kick in the autofocus mechanism).

Exposure & Metering

You won't find manual aperture or shutter speed control on the W610, but you can make basic exposure adjustments on a -2 to +3 scale (with 1/3 EV steps). The camera has three auto exposure metering modes that are essentially the same as the camera's three autofocus modes: Multi Pattern, Center Weighted, and Spot.

Printed on the front of the W610's lens is an aperture range of f/2.8 to f/5.9, and, according to Sony the camera has a shutter speed range of one second to 1/1600 of a second. Neither of these settings can be adjusted manually, remember, so this is simply the range the camera's auto exposure system gets to choose from.

ISO

The ISO range for the DSC-W610 goes from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which is a solid range for a camera expected to retail for just a tad over $100.

White Balance

Like most Cyber-shot cameras, the Sony W610 has six white balance presets (Daylight, Cloudy, 3 Fluorescent settings, Incandescent light, and Flash). The camera does not, however, have a manual white balance setting, which is something you do get on the higher-end DSC-W650. So, if manual white balance is important to you, then you may want to consider spending the extra $30 bucks for the W650 instead of saving cash with the more limited W610.

Image Stabilization

The W610 has Sony's SteadyShot image stabilization system, but the IS on the W610 doesn't appear to be optical in nature (at least according to Sony's specs). This leaves us with another difference between the DSC-W610 and its more expensive big brother (the DSC-W650, which has an optical stabilization system).

Picture Effects

Unlike optical image stabilization and manual white balance, Sony chose not to leave off the picture effects on its cheapest new Cyber-shot camera. The W610 still has the fun Toy Camera and Pop Color picture effects modes that you also get on its more-expensive siblings, the W620 and W650.

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Sections

  1. Our First Take
  2. Product Tour
  3. Handling
  4. Modes
  5. Controls
  6. Hardware
  7. Conclusion
  8. Photo Gallery
  9. Specs

What's Your Take?

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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