Sony DSC-W370 Review
If you're looking for a high quality digital camera, but can't afford more than $200, the Sony DSC-W370 is a solid option. It replaces its predecessor, the W290, and shaves off 50 dollars from the cost as well.
Overall, our review of the W370 is rather lukewarm, especially when it comes to photo quality. On paper though, it does have some good features for the money. The optical lens is the highlight feature, with 7 X magnification. It has a 3 inch LCD display, and a new 14-megapixel sensor. It also supports 720p HD video.
But let's begin with the design. The W370 isn't very slim, but it's not bulky either. It'll fit easily into your pant pockets. It weighs 6.2 oz if you include the memory card and the battery - not light, but not very heavy. The grip is good, but we recommend using a wrist strap just in case.
On the top panel, you'll find the power on/off button and the shutter button. When you turn the camera on, the green LED lights will tell you its on. On the back panel, you'll find the zoom lever. Below that you'll find the mode dial. Below the mode dial is a small playback button that can power the camera on, but it doesn't turn it off incidentally.
Below this playback button is the four way navigation control. Press up to see the display options. Right to see the flash modes, down to see the self-timer modes, and left to turn on smile detection. On the bottom is the menu button and a trash button.
The LCD screen is fairly large at 3 inches with 230,000 dots. The resolution is bright enough to see your images. Overall, the controls are not an issue, and any beginner should have no problem using this camera with a few hours of practice and manual reading.
For the most part, if you're a newbie and want the camera to do all the work, just set the camera to intelligent auto or easy mode. By default, when you hold the W370 and take a shot, the camera will set the correct mode for you. If you're shooting a flower, for instance the camera will set it to macro mode. So you basically don't have to worry about anything. There are also up to 10 scene shooting options you can choose from such as High Sensitivity, Beach, Food, and Pet.
Let's talk about image quality. Colors are a bit over-saturated, especially blue and red, but not by much. Sony, like most brands decided to over-saturate the colors because the mainstream prefers more vivid colors, so most people should be satisfied. Exposure and white balance are good. Hue accuracy is solid.
Let's talk about noise profile. We still saw details in our photos when using an ISO of 400 or less. Chroma noise didn't seep in until using an ISO of 1600 or so. Luminance noise, on the other hand crept in by the time we hit an ISO sensitivity of 800.
If you're planning to make prints out of our photos, expect to see very good prints in 13 X 19 when your ISO is 100 or less. When you hit 200, 13 X 19 is still good, though you will see some artifacts, so we recommend lowering it to 11 X 14 inches. At ISO 400, 11 X 14 inches prints are OK. At 800, we recommend using 5 X 7. At 1600, 5 X 7, and 3200, 4 X 6. Once you get above 800 though, we noticed some very bad color shifts. In general, in low ISO levels, the image quality is what we'd expect from a camera in this class. But we're a bit disappointed at the performance in the higher ISO's. Since the W370 doesn't use Sony's Bionz image processor, we think this is the reason why it displays more noise than usual in the higher ISO sensitivities.
Even though the W370 doesn't have a wide angle lens, some of our images did have some barrel distortion when we used the widest angle. The sharpness is solid however, and the amount of fringing around high contrast subjects is normal for a camera of this price. You won't notice it in small print sizes, only in medium to large prints.
The shooting performance is pretty average, and sub-par in some aspects. Start to first shot is 2.4 seconds, which is respectable. Shot to shot took 1.9 seconds without the flash, and 4.1 seconds with the flash. Continuous shooting mode clocked in at 1.3 frames per second - not bad. But this is where the performance falls way short: Shutter lag is .8 seconds in good light, and 1.6 seconds in low lighting conditions. So if you're planning to shoot moving objects, the W370 will definitely not get the job done.
The video quality is OK - it's pretty much the same quality as a HD mini-camcorder. You can indeed the zooms while video recording. The battery life is a tad below average.
- 14.5 megapixel
- 7 X Optical Zoom
- 3 inch LCD with 230,400 dots
- ISO of 80 - 3200
- Solid build
- Good zoom lens
- Comfortable grip
- 720p HD movies
- 3 inch LCD display
- Autofocus is slow
- Startup and shutdown is not fast
- Prefocus shutter lag is not fast
- Below average battery
The W370 is a nice, compact camera that is good for both beginners and those that prefer some customization.
That said the image quality could've been better in higher ISO's. If you commonly shoot in good lighting conditions and taking shots of still objects like portraits, the W370 should suffice. But don't expect it to handle fast action shots, or low lighting well at all.
So, if you're on a tight budget, the W370 is an okay purchase. But we highly recommend spending a few more and going with the W350.
Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Where to Buy It:
Lowest Price: Amazon for $194.99.
Note: This is a 15% off Amazon coupon and one of the best deals for the Sony DSC-W370.
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|Amazon||$194.99 (Cheapest Price)|
Prices last updated on: Sun, 27 Sep 2020 00:05:05 PDT