Sony Cyber-shot W310 Review

The Sony Cyber-shot W310 is a 12.1-megapixel consumer-oriented compact camera.  It’s compact size and friendly price-point are sure to make it a consideration for casual photographers looking to keep a camera at their instant disposal for snapshots.

Sony Cyber-shot W310 Key Features

  • 12.1MP
  • 4x Optical Zoom
  • VGA-Quality Video Capture
  • ISO 100-3200
  • 2.7″ LCD

Sony Cyber-shot W310 Handling, Ergonomics and Control

As noted above, the Sony W310 is rather compact.  It’s also quite basic.  The top of the camera provides only a power button and shutter release, while the rest of the camera functions are addressed via the buttons on the rear of the camera.

I’m not a big fan of zoom buttons on the backside of a camera.  I prefer a rocker switch that wraps around the shutter release for easy access with your index finger.  That said, the zoom controls on the W310 serve their purpose and work fine.

Changing between still image and video capture is done by a handy switch on the back of the camera, which is an acceptable alternative to a dedicated record button that is absent on the W310.

Settings and menu navigation is performed via a 4-way control dial, that doubles as quick access buttons to display modes, flash, Smile Shutter and self-timer controls.

The number of customizations in the W310 is actually fairly decent for a $140 camera.  I was happy to find the ability to adjust ISO settings in the menu.  Of course, you can leave it on the default of Auto ISO, which covers ISO 100-800 at the camera’s discretion.  There are also a number of white balance, metering and focal point selections available.

The W310 offers a number of scene modes to choose from: High Sensitivity, Twilight,  Twilight Portrait,  Soft Snap,  Landscape,  Beach,  Snow, and  Gourmet.  Otherwise, you’re stuck with iAuto or Program.  It’s also possible to force adjustments to exposure compensation via the menu system.  You can adjust video recording quality only to capture VGA-quality 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 resolutions at 29.97 fps.

The menu navigation is quite intuitive and you can nose your way around to find your settings with ease.  In my experience, this is a strong suit in of Sony cameras.  As with previously-reviewed Cyber-shot’s, the W310 is quite a user-friendly camera.

Sony Cyber-shot W310 Image Quality

Unfortunately, the downside of the W310 falls in image quality.  Sony has always been pretty aggressive with noise reduction when processing images in-camera.  This typically works well for Sony in cameras like the TX7 and HX5V; however, it seems to be a little too much for the W310, the details tends to be blurred from the aggressive noise reduction.  Granted, this is an entry-level camera, so we can’t expect the world from it.

The Sony W310 will likely satisfy most entry-level point and shoot users with the image quality for small web and email-sized images, as well as 4 x 6 prints.  Just know that going into your purchase of this camera, and you won’t be disappointed later on when you try to make lots of 8 x 10 and larger prints.

Below are a handful of images captured with the Sony W310.  Feel free to download any of these sample images for your personal inspection (not for republication).  You can get the original files by right-clicking on any of the images and choosing “Save link as…”


ISO 100


ISO 200


ISO 400


ISO 800


ISO 1600


ISO 3200


ISO 100 – f/4.3 – 1/1000s


ISO 100 – f/7 – 1/320s


Macro Mode – ISO 100 – f/3 – 1/80s


ISO 400 – f/3 – 1/200s

Sony Cyber-shot W310 Accessories

Sony NP-BN1 Battery – The Sony Cyber-shot W310 comes with one of these rechargeable lithium-ion batteries; however, if you’re going to be away from power for an extended period, you can pick up spares.

Memory cards – I’ve used the basic Kingston SD cards in the Sony W310, which worked just fine. No need to go all out on fast memory cards with the W310. Cheap cards from reputable brands will work just fine. The W310 is compatible with all SD and SDHC cards – but not SDXC cards.

Memory card reader – If you don’t own a memory card reader, they make transferring images to your computer a world faster. I highly recommend picking one up with the W310. They’re cheap and big time saver. Lexar makes a good card reader for about $15.

Conclusions

While the Sony W310 won’t knock your socks off with class-leading image quality, it is a very user-friendly camera (aside from my minor quibble about the zoom buttons).  It’s cheap, and it’s basic.

The Sony Cyber-shot W310 is available from Photography Bay’s trusted retail partner, B&H Photo, at the following link:

Sony Cyber-shot W310 at B&H Photo

By making your photography purchases at B&H Photo through these links, you are helping Photography Bay to continue bring quality camera tests, news and reviews. Thanks for your continued support.

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