Conclusion: I haven't actually used a Sony Cyber-shot compact for about a year, and on previous experience I was expecting the W80 to sail through this review and emerge - even if not with flying colors - as an easy recommendation for anyone wanting a simple point and shoot compact that won't ruin the line of your suit. Sadly things are never that simple.
Pros: Good resolution, particularly in the middle of the frame, Nice design - very slim, all-metal body, HDTV output, Decent macro, Good image quality in good light; bright, sharp images with immediate 'consumer friendly' appeal, Very reliable exposure system in most shooting conditions, Face Detection works well and is fast, Accurate flash exposures, Lots of detail at lowest ISO settings, Easy to use with attractive interface
Cons: Slow, unreliable focus in low light, Combined effects of noise and noise reduction at high ISO's and in low light produces poor results, Noise reduction effects visible even at low ISO settings, Fiddly controls and fancy fade effects which make menus feel unresponsive, Screen is low res, has low refresh rate in low light and isn't that bright, Strong red-eye even with red-eye reduction mode, Fairly weak flash with fairly slow recycling, Multi AF can get confused in bu...
Excerpt: The DSC-W80 has a newer interface and look compared to other W series cameras from Sony (it comes in attractive colors of the sleek metal body as well). Also, W80 uses Sony’s new Bionz image processor, which is much faster. The photos have sharp details and accurate colors, noticeable noise only from ISO 800 and above.
Summary: Enable face detection, and the camera will seek out and frame up to eight faces in a shot, ensuring they are in sharp focus. We did notice a significant improvement in group-portrait shots when using this feature. Image quality was decent—shots were well exposed with good color saturation. However, noise artifacts became quite obvious at 400 ISO and above, rendering the higher ISO settings all but useless.
Excerpt: The Cyber-shot DSC-W80 ($250) is a midrange model in Sony's W-series
line of compact cameras. It has a number of step-up features from the lower-end
models (the W35 and W55), including image stabilization, a faster image processor,
face detection, and component video output. That's on top of its more standard
features: a 7.2MP CCD, 3X optical zoom lens, 2.5" LCD display, and VGA movie
Pros: Stylish, compact metal body, comes in four colors, Optical image stabilization, Low noise through ISO 400, Large 2.5" LCD display (but see issues below), Optical viewfinder (a rarity in this class), Snappy performance; amazing continuous shooting mode, AF-assist lamp; good low light focusing, Face detection and redeye removal features work well, though limited to just two shooting modes, Nice playback mode, Above average battery life, Optional underwater case, USB 2.0...
Cons: Images are soft, with fuzzy details, even at lower ISOs, Considerable corner blurriness, Clunky, confusing new menu system (and I'm being generous here), Redeye remains a problem (but it can be fixed in playback mode), Low resolution LCD, Weak flash, Needs manual controls, especially for white balance and shutter speed (see photo tests to see why), High sensitivity mode borders on useless, Design annoyances: poorly placed power button, tiny and stiff four-way controll...
Excerpt: The Eye-Catching Sony Cyber-Shot W80 Capture wonderful holiday memories, special family occasions and great action shots with the Sony Cyber-shot W80, which features state-of-the-art technology to really make the most of any conditions.
Summary: A solid compact camera that combines speedy operation with above average image quality. If you're making enlargements the over sharpening may become an issue, but otherwise this is a good choice if you're after an all purpose model.
Pros: Extremely fast, Low noise shots, Good colour reproduction
Cons: No manual white balance, Over sharpening issues, Sluggish menu and controls