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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300: Superzoom in your palm

They might pack in a lot of zooming power, but super zoom cameras (those with optical zooms of 10x and above) generally have been cursed by form factors that tend to be more Oliver Hardy than Stan Laurel. According to most experts, that is the price one has to pay for having an extendable zoom in the camera. So you can imagine just how far our jaws dropped when we clapped eyes on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300.

With proportions of 96 x 54.9 x 25 mm, it is actually smaller than some of the high-end smartphones in the market today, and can easily fit into most palms and pockets. And yet it packs in a 20X optical zoom and an 18.2-megapixel camera with an Exmor R CMOS sensor and also throws Wi-fi into
the balance.

Seeing so much in something that’s much smaller in length than an iPhone is a surprise - Sony claims it is the world’s smallest, lightest digital still camera that packs a powerful 20x optical zoom range” and we certainly have not seen anything like it. The fact that it comes without many compromises on performance is a welcome bonus - picture quality is very good indeed, as long as you can factor in a bit of lag, and so is video.

You can transfer images and videos to your Android and iOS devices over Wi-fi using the PlayMemories app, although setting it up is a bit of a pain. There are a number of shooting options, including a surprisingly effective Enhanced Superior Auto and the much publicised Intelligent Sweep Panorama. Also on board are smile shutter detection, face detection, image stabilisation and even some in-camera editing options (although we are not fans of it - the screen is simply too small and the controls too jiggly for it). We were particularly impressed with the performance of the camera in low light conditions - we got some very decent shots even without using the flash. And while the camera is small, it is certainly very solid and smartly built - it definitely has flaunt value.

All of which would make the DSC WX-300 a very good deal at R 19,990. Its biggest strength, alas, is also its prime weakness - controlling a device so small can be a problem if one has large hands. The buttons next to the 3.0-inch LCD at the back are a bit cluttered and can be difficult to use and the same goes for the shooting mode dial on the top. And well, we did suffer the bane of superzooms - the tendency of a bit of shake to creep in as the zoom extended. But that’s just us being perfectionist. The fact is that if you are looking for a camera with serious zoom muscle and Wi-Fi connectivity that can fit your hand, the DSC-WX300 is as good as it gets right now. 

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300: 18.2- megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor, 20X optical zoom, Wi-Fi, full HD video, 3.0-inch LCD, Xenon flash, MS Duo and SD/SDHC memory card compatible, micro HDMI output.

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