The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W200 is a 12.1 Megapixel compact with a 3x zoom lens and optical stabilisation. Launched in February 2007 as part of an update across Sony’s W-series, it shares the title of highest resolution compact with Panasonic’s Lumix FX100.
Along with the lower resolution W80 and W90 models, the W200 sports an optical viewfinder in addition to a 2.5in screen – something of a rarity in today’s compacts. The W200 also features a reasonable degree of manual control and a surprisingly wide variety of optional accessories including a component video cable for HDTV slideshows and lens converters to widen or lengthen the basic 35-105mm equivalent range.
When Sony announced the Cyber-shot W200 though, you could almost hear a collective groan from reviewers and savvy buyers alike. We’ve all seen the image quality of compacts decrease in recent generations with noise levels becoming a serious problem as manufacturers continue to squeeze more pixels onto the limited real estate of compact sensors. It seems numbers still sell, and for digital cameras that means ever-increasing resolutions, even if it’s at the cost of compromising other aspects.
So along comes the first 12 Megapixel compact and we’d forgive you for expecting the worst – we certainly did. Surely after what we’ve seen at the 7 to 10 Megapixel level, the W200 doesn’t stand a chance – and yet as we discovered in this review, the quality can actually be a lot better than you’d think. Over the following pages you’ll see it compared to rivals with 6 to 10 Megapixels and you may be pleasantly surprised by the results. Not all of them admittedly, but certainly by some.
Has Sony performed a miracle and against the odds delivered respectable output from a 12 Megapixel compact, or is it merely a brave attempt which has just turned out better than expected? Find out in our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W200 review, and as always to see a demonstration of its key features, check out our Sony W200 video tour.
The model tested was a final production unit. Following our convention of using default factory and best quality JPEG settings to test camera bodies unless otherwise stated, the W200 was set to 12M mode and 4:3 aspect ratio with Auto White Balance, Multi metering, Normal Colour mode and the contrast set to the default DR option.