Sony Dsc W120

By: PXR5

The Sony DSC W120 is a 7 megapixel digital camera with a 4x optical zoom lens. This camera is easy to use and is small enough to fit into a pocket.

Why Buy the Sony DSC W120?
Pocket cameras tend to fall into two groups. The first is more stylish and more expensive. The second is a simpler designed cheap digital camera. Sony has set up the DSC W120 to fall into the second category. Therefore if you are looking for a digital camera from a reliable brand and don't want to break the bank then the DSC W120 is worth taking a closer look at. This is also one of the few smaller compacts to offer a viewfinder.

Image Quality Sony DSC W120 test shots

Outdoor 1 (Medium Zoom)
My first outdoor shot gets us off to a solid start. The sharpness of the photo is above average throughout the picture with only a small amount of focusing lost as you move towards the edges of the shot. The colours are true and I like the blues on the boats.

Brightness levels are about right as well.

Outdoor 2 (No Zoom)
This is not a bad effort, but there is a loss of sharpness on the right hand side of the photo where the scene gets more distant. Although this is quite a tough shot when it comes to focusing other digital cameras have been able to cope with the set up better than the DSC W120 does.

Outdoor 3 (Maximum Zoom)
With the lens fully extend the camera produces a sharper photo. There is still some softness towards the edges, but not enough to put me off this digital camera.

Outdoor 4 (Building)
Other cameras I have tested have been able to really make the bricks on this building stand out. The DSC W120 Sony digital camera is unable to hit the same levels of sharpness.

Outdoor Portrait
This is a typical outdoor portrait shot. Although I have used a cloudy white balance setting to match the conditions I would still like to have seen more depth to the colours in this shot.

Indoor Portrait with Flash
Without a doubt this is my favourite portrait shot taken with this digital camera. What really impresses me is the amount of colour retained in the photo, especially when you consider other digital cameras I have reviewed, can produce shots that look washed out when the flash is on.

Indoor Portrait without Flash
This is another good effort. There is plenty of detail in the photo considering there is less light available than for the outdoor portrait shot.

I am happy with the colours the camera produces. They have a natural feel to them and are a fair representation of the colours in each scene when the photos were taken.

When you look through my reasons for buying the DSC W120 Sony digital camera, being able to take great macro shots will not be on the list. This is because if anyone is serious about close up work they would have to be prepared to spend a fair bit more on a digital camera than they would need to with this one. Therefore it is a bonus to note that the DSC W120 is capable of taking a decent macro shot. There are good levels of detail and clarity showing in my test picture.

ISO 400
How the camera performs at higher ISO settings depends to a large degree on the amount of light available at the time. If conditions are bright then picture quality is good. A drop off in light means a loss of quality. Therefore if you are using higher ISO to freeze movement on a bright day you will achieve better results than if you are using ISO to overcome a lack of light in a scene.

ISO 1600
Not surprisingly similar, but more extreme results occur at ISO 1600. I have seen better results from other digital cameras.

I do have one or two concerns about the levels of sharpness when scene are distant. Putting those qualms aside the DSC W120Sony digital camera does a steady job and manages to get to grips with most situations.

Shutter Lag
Most of the shutter lag times I recorded are roughly average for this type of digital camera. A single shot took 0.35 seconds and five shots took 12.38. Turning the flash on produced a fast single shot time of 0.39 seconds. Five shots took 12.38 seconds.

You can compare this camera to other models by taking a look at the Shutter Lag Comparison Table.

Style: This is a small, unfussy pocket digital camera. The DSC W120 has a fairly typical rectangular shape. It is available in silver, black, pink and blue.

Dimensions: 88.2 x 57.2 x 22.9mm

Weight: 123g

Batteries: Power is supplied by a lithium ion battery (NP-BG1). Sony suggests you should be able to take around 420 shots in between charges.

Memory cards: The camera is compatible with memory stick duo and memory stick duo pro memory cards. To get you started Sony have built 15mb of storage into the DSC W120. This is enough for around 6 shots.

Ease of use rating: The DSC W120 is quite easy to use. Most of the key controls (flash, zoom, macro and playback) are controlled through buttons on the back of the camera. The inclusion of a control dial also cuts down on the number of times you need to dip into the menu system.

Points I like:
Ease of use - price tag - viewfinder

Where it could improve:
Sharpness of distant subjects

A couple of alternatives with similar features are: Panasonic DMC FX35 and Olympus FE-340.

The Sony DSC W120 handles most snap shot situations well. It does struggle for sharpness in places once the subject gets distant. You can't have everything at the price though and if you are looking for a cheaper pocket camera the DSC W120 still does a decent job.

Front View Front View

Back View Back View

Top View Top View

Sample Menus

home easy mode

setup iso

Sony DSC W120 Summary

Description:7 megapixels and a 4x optical zoom lens

Ease of Use:9





Value for Money:8


Movie Mode:8

Image Quality:7

Build Quality:8


"This is a steady, pocket sized digital camera. It is one of the cheaper small compacts from a leading brand. The camera is easy to use and the emphasis has been placed on point and shoot simplicity rather than more advanced features."

Review Date:
April 2008


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