Sony DSC-WX100 camera

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.

Sony DSC-WX100

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.

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23 thoughts on “Sony DSC-WX100 camera”

  1. looks like a good camera and look forward to seeing the results “in the field” so to speak 🙂

  2. Got one myself a few weeks ago. I can’t believe how tiny it is yet is producing photos as good as cameras twice its weight and size that I have carried. I really like mine. Can’t believe more lightweight backpackers haven’t been raving about it. It is a fantastic camera. You have to hold it to realise just how tiny and light it is, no photo does it justice. My last three lot of walk photos on Trekking Britain were all taken using it. 🙂

    1. Good to know it works well in the field. It’s about as small as you’d want to go as a camera. It will be interesting to see if a few years time they can squeeze a larger sensor into the same body. I don’t know why there was some criticism of the display. Seems fine to me.

  3. I had a previous version of the Sony Syber-Shot and really liked it. Until I discovered that it was small enough to drop into a mug of hot tea whilst camping two years ago 😦 . ( http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=7761 ) For some reason I replaced it with a Ricoh, but have never felt really happy with the swap. You may have just convinced me to go back to the Sony 🙂 .

    What is the anti-judder/image stabilisation like?

    1. I’ve not had a chance to test it properly, but the stabilisation seems to be at least as good as the TZ5. It seems to lock faster.

      The technology moves on apace, and the automatic setting seems to work well. You also get good panoramic and video functions.

  4. Currently using a TZ20, in part due to its GPS for geo-tagging. Battery life is pretty good, for a digi-cam. Pic quality could be better though. If i had the choice again, i think i’d go for the Sony HX9V.

  5. I can understand the size and weight but i don’t think the lens is as good as the Lumix. The trouble i find with compacts is the lack of cloud definition and also zoom definition if the light is not perfect. I’m no expert Robin so i’m not trying to put the mockers on it. I have 2 Sony digitals myself. Are you selling the TZ5 by any chance?

    1. I’m keeping it for my daughter. Like most things, there’s an element of compromise. I’d say the Sony pictures are better than the lumix but not by a massive margin. Any deficiency on the lens seems to be more than made up by the higher definition sensor. For me, the deciding factor was having a smaller and lighter camera that takes pictures that are at least as good.

  6. I bought the Sony DSC HX9V expecting a good std of pics and it’s good but i think i should have waited for the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 because i think the “Mountain” shots are better..The images are not as good as my old DSC F717 by a long way but this is too heavy to backpack with. The video is superb though on the 9V. Don’t blame you keeping the TZ5 in the family. I would have bought it off you if you wanted to sell it. Mine will do me for the foreseeable future. Have fun practicing with the settings.

    1. I’d be surprised if the TZ30 isn’t better than the WX100 but it is still a fair bit heavier, bulkier and more expensive. If you want a serious compact camera then the RX100 looks very good but it’s £500.

  7. No. £500 is not for me anymore. I would wait for a good second hand one. Camera’s depreciate too fast. Did you consider the Nikon S6300 at £130 btw?

    1. There is an emerging trend of putting larger sensors in compact cameras, e.g. Canon S100. I’m sure this will filter down into the lower price bracket over the next few years.

      I didn’t look at the Nikon. One of the difficulties of choosing a camera is getting good comparative reviews. The WX100 is quite new, hence doesn’t appear in group tests. I see the Nikon is light, but not quite as light as the WX100. Looking at the basic data, the WX100 appears to have the edge http://www.digifotocam.com/compare.php?id=81&id2=172&kat=all

      In the end, you take a chance with whatever you buy. Jamie seems very happy with his WX100, so hopefully I’ll be pleased with mine.

  8. Interesting Robin. Though it must be pointed out that it tends to be that the more pixels you put on a smaller sensor the more prone the images are to noise/grain. Not good for low light scenes (think cloudy days or dark bothies) or if you use the flash.

    AlanR makes a good point concerning the lens too. Even though there’s no clear difference in those pics (I agree the Sony looks better), the Sony cam must be doing quite a bit of in-house processing (a photographers enemy I have to add).

    On a personal note, I’m quite excited with the likes of the Canon EOS M cameras. DSLR quality (practically the same but some difference in terms of the actual mechanics of the device), mirrorless (no shutter mechanics to worry about with long term heavy use) and tiny next to a regular DSLR.

    Times certainly are a changing that’s for sure. And I for one love it! Helps me out with pack weight and bulk! 🙂

    Enjoy your new camera. Seems a bargain for the spec.

    1. The Exmor sensor is claimed to have good low light sensitivity. TBH, I’m not a photographer and don’t have any interest in large cameras or processing in RAW. In fact I don’t have much interest in processing at all. What I want is a small automatic camera that takes decent photos. Hopefully that’s what I’ve got.

      1. I’m not talking about ‘processing’ per se. I’m talking about the sensor. That is what captures a picture at the end of the day. What a camera does once it receives that information is another story.

  9. Robin, inspired by your review I am about to splash out on similar. Now that you have had it for a few weeks, have any niggles come out?

    1. None that come to mind. It’s been very good. I’ve used it in auto mode all the time and it’s done a very good job. Even the battery life seems to be good, although I did buy a couple of extra ones.

    1. Thanks, Simon. I was unsure where to take Lemmings as it became rather euro centric and I felt I was starting to repeat myself. I’m thinking of doing a series on topical economic issue like public debt, quantitative easing, currency problems for small countries aimed at non-specialists. The idea would to to explain my take on these issues rather than being an economic primer. My thought was to do it on this blog, which has a much wider audience. On the other hand I could do it on Lemmings and point people towards it. Others have also an interest in a revival. I’d better stir myself out of my retirement torpor.

  10. hello Robin, nice article, may i know what is the different between wx100 and w690? if the performance are quite similar, maybe i might go with w690 cause the price are more cheaper. 😉

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