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DCRP Review: Sony
by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: March 31, 2008
Last Updated: May 16, 2008
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W130 is a compact, 8.1 Megapixel camera. It features a 4X optical zoom lens, optical image stabilization, 2.5" LCD display, face and smile detection, a VGA movie mode, and more. The W130 is one of five models in Sony's W-series of compact cameras, and if you want to see what differentiates all of them, have a look at this chart:
I hope that clears up any confusion you may have about the various W-series models!
Ready to learn about this compact, point-and-shoot camera? Then keep reading -- our review starts right now!
What's in the Box?
The DSC-W130 has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
Like most point-and-shoot cameras these days, Sony built memory right into the DSC-W130, in lieu of bundling a memory card. The W130 has 15MB of memory, which won't hold very many 8 Megapixel photos. Thus, you'll want to buy yourself a Memory Stick Duo card, and fast. I'd recommend picking up a 1GB card to start with. MS Duo cards come with an adapter that allows them to fit into regular Memory Stick slots (like on printers or card readers).
The DSC-W130 can use two different batteries: the included NP-BG1, and the optional NP-FG1. The only difference between the two is that the NP-FG1 has the InfoLithium feature, which allows the camera to tell you exactly how many minutes of juice you have left. Both of these batteries have 3.4 Wh of energy, which is on the low end of the spectrum. Despite that, Sony managed to get some great battery life numbers, as illustrated by this chart:
As you can probably tell, the W130's battery life is well above average. Only Casio does it better.
I should mention a couple of "gotchas" regarding the proprietary battery used by the DSC-W130 (and every other camera on that list). For one, they're fairly expensive -- buying a spare NP-BG1 will set you back at least $25, with the FG1 costing at least $43. Secondly, if the BG1 or FG1 runs out of juice, you can't use an off-the-shelf battery like you could on a camera that uses AA batteries. This is one of the trade-offs that comes with owning a compact camera.
When you're ready to charge the W130's battery, just pop it into the included charger (which plugs directly into the wall -- my favorite). And then be prepared to wait, as the charge times are excruciatingly slow, with a typical charge taking 4.5 hours. If you want a faster charger, then you'll have to pony up at least $33 for the BC-TRG charger, which takes only 1.5 hours to charge the battery.
As is the case with all compact cameras, the W130 has a built-in lens cover, so there's no clunky lens cap to deal with.
The DSC-W130 has a decent amount of accessories for a compact camera, and I've compiled them into this handy chart for you:
Not a bad selection if I do say so myself! The one thing missing here is an AC adapter -- there isn't one available.
[Accessories selection updated 5/16/08]
My production-level DSC-W130 did not come in a retail box, so I did not get the software CD-ROM. For everyone else, Sony includes Picture Motion Browser 3.0 (Windows-only) and Music Transfer (Mac/Windows) with the camera. Picture Motion Browser is a basic image acquisition and editing tool, while Music Transfer lets you custom slideshow music onto the W130. You can read more about Picture Motion Browser 2.0 (the last one I tested) in my DSC-T200 review.
Sony breaks the DSC-W130's manual into a few parts. In the box, you'll find a printed "Instruction Manual", which has enough information to get you up and running. For more details, you'll have to open up the "Cyber-shot Handbook" on the included CD-ROM (grrr). The quality of the manuals are just okay -- there's a lot of fine print, and they're not what I'd call pleasure reading.
Look and Feel
The Cyber-shot DSC-W130 is a compact camera made mostly of metal. It's not as thin as Sony's T-series cameras, closer in size to a deck of cards. The camera is made mostly of metal, with the front having a "brushed" appearance. The only weak spot is the flimsy-feeling plastic door over the memory card and battery compartment.
The camera controls are well-placed, though some of the buttons are on the small side. The camera can be operated with just one hand, though it felt a lot more stable if I used both.
Images courtesy of Sony Electronics
Sony was one of the first to offer cameras in multiple colors, so you shouldn't be surprised to see that the W130 is available in black, pink, and silver.
Now, here's a look at how the DSC-W130 compares to other compact cameras in terms of size and weight: