Sony Cybershot WX350:A Compact Camera For Travelers
29 April 2017 | Mri & Rob Grout
Every time I used to use my old camera, I would complain about something or another not working. Oh, it's too heavy and doesn't fit into my pocket. Oh, the photos never come out well enough. Oh, the zoom has stopped working again (though to be fair to it, that was more than likely due to all of the sand I accidentally got in to it when I ran from an angry sealion chasing us). But whatever, the point is that I didn't like the camera that I was stuck with. Nevertheless, being the cheapskate that I am, I didn't want to get a new one. But my husband got fed up with me complaining about it all the time and so when my birthday came around, he simply ignored my claimed desires and got me a Sony Cybershot WX350. Which I absolutely love. I mean, it might not be 100% perfect, but that's love isn't it? Being aware of one's faults but loving him - er it anyway. :P
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So what exactly do I love about the Sony Cybershot WX350 camera?
1. Its Small Size
Weighing in at only 164g and with the measurements of 25.7 x 96 x 54.9mm, the Sony Cybershot WX350 reviews very well in the size department. It's small enough to slip into the front pocket of some tight jeans (though I probably wouldn't trust it to stay there if I was going for a run) and light enough to stay there for hours without being an annoyance. However, given its price and my clumsiness and Rob's desire for me to take care of it better than I did the last one..., I always keep it in its own semi-hard case. This case does not fit into said jeans, but even with it the Sony Cybershot WX350 is still light enough that it's not even a hassle to take on a random walk around town.
2. Amazing Photo Quality
3. 20x Optical Zoom Ability
Having a good zoom was one of my must haves when getting a new camera. I love taking photos of wildlife, but I also like not being mauled by a sea lion or regular lion or tiger. I've yet to encounter the latter two in the wild, but I think it's a fair assumption that my preference to capture a beautiful beast unscathed will still be the same when the time comes. It also has a 40x digital zoom, but according to Rob that feature is useless given it's just like taking a photo and then cropping it on a computer. I've just taken his word on that given the 20x optical zoom the Cybershot wx350 has is normally more than enough.
4. Battery Life
I haven't actually timed the battery life that comes with the Sony Cybershot WX350 as the camera turns off on its own after a few minutes and I think that's a waste of battery life and my time. However, I have taken it on a three day hike and it only got down to 1/2 battery (though that was using it carefully - as in only 500 photos of ibex and mountains instead of 1000). I've also taken it on a three hour long whale cruise, where it was on pretty much as soon as we left the harbour because I never knew when they would show. It then stayed on until we pulled back into dock because I was super hopeful and still so excited. In the nearly two years since I've had it, I've never had to worry about running out of battery life even when we've been traveling for days at a time without a power socket.
5. Fantastic Value
To be honest, I just found out the price of the Cybershot WX350 when writing this review - something I'm quite happy about given I would never have gotten it otherwise being the cheapskate I am. However, given it's lasted for 23 months, at $273.75 that's less than 40 cents a day and who-knows-how-cheap for all of the 10,000s of photos I've taken in that time. In addition, the buttons are still readable and the original battery is still working amazingly well. So if anyone's looking for a great valued camera for your travels (or to get someone something as a gift), then the Sony Cybershot WS350 is definitely the one to get.
*The camera has other great features, but if I covered them all, this post would go on forever. Besides, this way you can still enjoy some nice surprises.
And the imperfections of the Sony Cybershot WX350 camera are:
1. Sensitive Lighting Requirement
The camera is almost useless when there's mixed lighting. For instance if you're taking a photo of the outside from inside a cavern, the quality of the shot is fairly low. Same if you're taking a photo on a hazy day, if half of the shot is in shadow, etc. Sometimes you just have to enjoy the moment and not always be obsessed with taking photos, though. So given my obsession with this, this imperfection is actually pretty good for me as otherwise I would never really enjoy the beautiful places I've been.
2. Inability to Take Macro Shots
As unfortunate as it is, the Sony Cybershot W350 cannot take a macro shot in the slightest. It focuses on the wrong item despite how much of the view it might take up and despite how forward it is compared to everything else. The camera does have a macro setting, but I have no idea why as it's completely and utterly useless unless you and whatever it is you're taking a photo of stays still forever and can sacrifice an offering to a deity that actually cares enough to help you out.
3. That Crap it Does With the Delete ThingIf you're the sort that leaves all of your photos on your camera, then this doesn't make a difference. However, if, like me, you delete the photos once you copy them onto your computer or hard drive, then this feature of the Cybershot WX350 is slightly annoying. I'm not sure why, but when I first started using it, it didn't do this, but after a couple of months and from then on, it deletes the picture but not the file. So instead of going back to 0 photos cached, it has 287 black slides to manually delete or flick through. This is easily fixed by formatting the camera each time you copy your photos over, but if you forget to do so and then take a few photos...you're either stuck with the black slots or decide to lose the new photos. Luckily, however, the black files do not transfer to your computer. They only seem to show up on the actual camera.
3. Panarama is a Fixed Size
Despite seemingly allowing you to take different sized panaramas (as you don't have to turn the full range every time), when you look at the photos afterwards they're just filled in with black from the point you stopped at, like in the one above. This is really irritating as you then have to crop it on a computer and watch as the quality 'decreases' as you 'zoom in.' Due to this, I don't take panaramas with the Sony Cybershot WX350 often, especially as the lighting is always fixed and they don't come out as well as simply taking multiple shots and then using a program to stitch them together afterwards since you need to use the computer for regular ones anyway.
4. Whitewashing Photos After 23 Months
To be fair, having a working camera for nearly two years is fairly long (based on the length of time my previous cameras have lasted), but I really wish they would last more like five to ten. However, the biggest issue I have with this caera falling apart is that the actual camera seems to have died long before the original battery has - especially since its way of dying is to first randomly click on buttons for a few months without even me touching it; then start whitewashing photos. The latter is extremely irritating because there's no warning. One day you just wake up and can't use the moment-capturing device reliably. EDIT: After some research this white washing problem is due to an issue with the Sony Cybershot WX350's sensor (most likely software) and is unfortunately not worth fixing financially.
Final Review of the Sony Cybershot WX350
In my honest opinion, the Sony Cybershot WX350 is a good cameras for travelers. Its small size means it's never left behind even on the longest and toughest hikes where weight means everything. Its high zoom ability means travelers don't have to get dangerously and disrespectfully close to wildlife or into sketchy situations concerning cliff edges or wobbly structures. Its long battery life means I can take it on multi day hikes without any worry of missing the perfect shot on day three. However, if you're big on taking macro shots or like to shoot in a mixed lighting setting, then this camera is unfortunately not for you.
Would Lifelong Vagabonds Buy the Sony Cybershot WX350 Again?
I really enjoyed using the WX350 in the near two years since I've had it. It's taken some amazing photos for me and I really love its small size and 20x optical zoom. However, I'd be lying if I said it was perfect for me; so I will keep researching new inventions until I find a camera that is. One thing is for certain though: I'll be using the Cybershot WX350 as the baseline when choosing a new compact superzoom camera.Edit: I have just purchased a Canon Powershot SX720 HS as we found one on sale and will be reviewing that in a few months. For more product information on the Sony Cybershot WX350 check out this link.
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