Experts are impressed that the tiny Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W350 packs plenty of features, including a 14.1-megapixel sensor, 26 mm wide-angle lens that takes solid close-up shots (4x optical zoom), 2.7-inch LCD and HD video (720p). Weighing just 4.1 ounces and measuring less than 0.7 of an inch thick, it "almost fits inside an Altoid candy tin," says David Elrich at Imaging-Resource.com. Despite its small stature, it has a larger LCD than the spritely Canon PowerShot SD780 IS and includes many of the same shooting features found on the pricier Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W370 (Discontinued), which has a 7x zoom lens and a 3-inch LCD. In addition to 10 scene modes, Sony's Sweep Panorama feature lets you take a 268-degree vertical or horizontal shot by holding the shutter button down and panning the camera. However, CNET's Joshua Goldman says panoramic photo results aren't as good as pricier Sony Cyber-shot cameras provide, and critics warn that the DSC-W350 isn't for anyone who likes to tinker with manual settings.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W350 isn't a particularly fast camera, say editors at Which? magazine. Elrich says shot-to-shot times are a "test of patience," and users at Amazon.com complain about difficult menu navigation. Image quality is good for its class, but not without shortcomings -- noise and softness among them -- says Goldman, and editors at Which? magazine deem video quality "unexceptional." Still, the zoom works in video mode, and the camera uses Sony Memory Sticks plus SD/SDHC cards, though you'll have to fork out extra cash for a proprietary cable if you want to play videos on an HDTV (as is the case with most Sony cameras). Nevertheless, the Cyber-shot DSC-W350 comes up as the critics' choice over the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W370 because of the more sophisticated Carl Zeiss lens and superior Sony BIONZ engine, along with better image quality and performance.
Imaging-Resource.com and CNET both compare the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W350 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W370. The coverage at Which? magazine isn't nearly as detailed, but there's a handy ratings chart, and user reviews at Amazon.com reveal issues that show up with heavy use.
Although David Elrich is impressed by the Sweep Panorama mode and generous feature set of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W350, he nevertheless cautions that the camera comes with trade-offs in performance. Among the flaws are the slow shot-to-shot times, underpowered flash and low-light performance in which "noise rears its ugly head and colors can be thrown out of whack."
Review: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W350, David Elrich and Stephanie Boozer, April 5, 2010
When it comes to the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W350, Joshua Goldman contends that it has "just enough features to justify its price" along with an attractive design and uncomplicated operation. However, he notes that the LCD is reasonably bright but not great, and photo quality is generally soft and lacking in fine detail.
Review: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W350 (Pink), Joshua Goldman, Feb. 10, 2010
3. Which? magazine
While not as meticulous as professional photography reviewers, Which? magazine (Great Britain's equivalent of ConsumerReports.org) conducts thorough tests of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W350. Editors conclude that the super-slim camera is easy to use, but pictures are disappointing and image stabilization receives the lowest possible score.
Review: Digital Cameras: Compare Features and Prices, Editors of Which? magazine
"Good camera when it feels like it!" says one owner about the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W350. While more than half of the users are pleased with the camera's features and performance relative to the price point, others say the camera isn't worth it. Complaints include a lack of durability, poor image quality and difficult-to-use navigation.
Review: Sony DSC-W350 14.1MP Digital Camera with 4x Wide Angle Zoom with Optical Steady Shot Image Stabilization and 2.7 inch LCD (Black), Contributors to Amazon.com