Although I take photographs, I don’t class myself as a photographer. I hardly ever do any processing. For me, photos are an enjoyable way of recording my walks and reliving them. While I can understand the desire to take “professional” photos and have a high quality camera, whether that’s a DSLR or a micro four thirds or whatever, I just want a decent point and shoot that isn’t too bulky.
For the last three years, I’ve been using a Panasonic Lumix TZ5, which has served me well. It’s reasonably compact and weighs 244g. It’s got a decent zoom and the iA (Intelligent Auto) setting gets the settings right most of the time. Technology moves on and I’ve been considering a new camera for a while. I’ve been looking at the TZ30 and the Canon S100. Both are similar size and weight to the TZ5, but better quality, particularly the Canon S100, which has a larger sensor.
I then came across the Sony DSC-WX100, which looked very interesting. The sensor is the same size as the Panasonic but records at 18.2 mega pixels. It has a 10x zoom (same as TZ5), but is almost half the weight at 124g and much more compact. Recently the price dropped to £176 on Amazon, so I bought one.
These photos show how much more compact the Sony is compared with my Lumix
It’s just about as small as I’d want to go with a camera. While the controls are dainty, they are just large enough to be comfortable. I’m not going to give you an in depth review because you can find technical reviews elsewhere. Below is a comparison of images between the cameras.
Panasonic Lumix TZ5
I’ve reduced them to comparable sizes. To me, the Sony is slightly better, showing a bit more detail and without the blue tinge of the Lumix. Obviously the difference widens at the original resolution size. The Sony has much better video and low light capabilities. The start up time is fast and the auto setting seems to be good. One thing that was mentioned in some reviews was that the display screen is poor. It seems fine to me, although it’s obviously a bit smaller. All in all, I think it’s a worthwhile upgrade.
Sony are currently launching the DSC-RX100 at about £500, which is the same size as the Lumix but with a much larger sensor and far superior lens. The trend over the next few years will be to pack bigger sensors in smaller cameras, so I felt it was worth not jumping in now but waiting for this trend to filter down the model range. I must say, I’m rather taken by the WX100 and like the size. The Lumix now seems big and bulky by comparison.