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Old Dec 16, 2009, 5:39 PM   #1
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Default New Sony W290 Not as Good as old W7

For years I've used a Sony DSC-W7 7.1MP. Thinking more megapixels is better, I purchased a Sony DSC-W290.

But the pictures from the W7 look better than the pictures from the W290 !

A friend of mine told me the following, most of which I don't understand:


So your old camera has a much larger sensor (2.2x bigger) which is generally a big advantage.

General discussion of sensor sizes : http://www.dpreview.com/news/0210/02...ensorsizes.asp

Unfortunately DPReview does not have a detailed review of your new Sony camera, but using reviews of other newer sonys with a similar area sensor, it seems the new camera likely provides much worse performance than your old Sony camera. This is because it has more pixels and only half the chip area, on top of a slower lens and a weaker flash.

Here is what they say about a 10Mpix Sony with same area sensor as your new sony: (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonyt300/page10.asp)

<“in pure image quality terms, the T300 is a little bit disappointing and looks ominously like the herald of a season of disappointing cameras. 6.2 x 4.6 mm expanses of silicon do not appear to like being divided into 10 million segments - which is unfortunate, as that exact combination appears in a lot of recently announced models from a lot of manufacturers. The T300's insistence on rendering bright reds as eye-searing pinks may just be down to Sony's beliefs about what its customers want from their images, but we fear its always-on, detail-destroying noise reduction will be something we see a lot more of.

The question this camera raises is: if the extra megapixels added are too mushed-up by noise reduction to allow for large prints or cropping-in on images, then what are they good for? It's a question that we believe a lot of new cameras will have to answer,

Even 7Mpix sonys in the new smaller area size get slammed, so 12Mpix likely even worse:


Here is full review of your older Sony camera:

a few of their final comments:
<In a market where the trend is towards ever-smaller compact cameras Sony has, in the W series of cameras, provided an alternative for those who prefer something a little more substantial, and something a little more traditionally-styled. By doing so they are obviously intending to cover all the bases - the W7 is internally virtually identical to the ultra-compact P200, and shares that camera's ease of use, speed of operation and ability to produce pleasing results in a wide variety of shooting situations. The 2.5-inch screen may not be very high resolution, but it's bright and clear, and the extra size makes it a joy to use.
Sony's 7MP chip has impressed us in every camera we've tested, offering significantly lower noise and better dynamic range than the 5MP chip that preceded it (Sony didn't make a 6MP version), so image quality is, unsurprisingly, pretty good. Purists will - as usual with Cyber-shots - find the results a little 'over-processed', and there are some issues with highlight clipping, but overall they are perfect for the target market, and print very well with little or no post-processing…….
So then, the W7 is a camera that offers excellent performance, solid handling and very good image quality in an easy to use, well-built package.
Even though it is older technology it seems ,
Old sony may be better :
better sensor (>double size)
faster lens,
higher power flash
closer focus
AF assist
likely better color

New sony camera :
wider lens
antishake comparison not known

Do you agree with the above. Can someone simplify this explanation ? Should I return the W290 and keep using the W7 ?
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Old Dec 16, 2009, 7:48 PM   #2
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Yes, I agree 100% with the attached explanation. The problem is called "pixel density." In short, when you attempt to cram too many pixels (an abreviation for photo elements) on an imager, there is a crowding problem. To fit more pixels on the same size as the old imager, two things have to happen. (1) the pixels or photosites have to become smaller, and (2) the pixels have to be placed physically closer together.

Just like a smaller ice cream cone holds less ice cream, the same holds true for the pixels on this imager. Smaller pixels are only able to gather and process less light, because the individual pivels are actually physically smaller in size.

Each pixel is like a miniature electric eye cell. When pixels are phsically crowded together their angle of light acceptance is narrower or made physically smaller. The closeness of each pixel also generates electrical interference between side by side pixels.

One professional review that I read at on a well known website, actually downgraded the image quality of the Sony W-290, and warned consumers to expect poorer image quality than they had been used too on the older Sony digital cameras.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 17, 2009, 11:54 AM   #3
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Default Thank you ! Camera recommendations ???

Great explanation. I find it difficult to believe that of these three cameras I have, the old Sony produces the best pictures.

new Nikon = Nikon S630 (12MP)
new Sony = DSC-W290 (12MP)
old Sony = DSC-W7 (7.1MP)

I'll return the Sony W290 and Nikon S630, but what camera may I purchase which will yield pictures BETTER than my old DSC-W7 ?
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Old Dec 17, 2009, 6:22 PM   #4
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Well, if you want to stay with Sony, the H-50 or HX-1 are good choices. I expect to see a replacement to arrive in Spring 2010 for the W-300 camera.

Sarah Joyce
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