Congratulations to Natalie who just won the Sony Cyber-shot WX9! We used Random.org to select the winner and her winning comment is:
Fave destination? That I’ve been to? Paris.
But on my “I know this will be a favorite” list is Greece or Italy.
Natalie is the amazing woman behind The Bobby Pin, a blog about everything and anything. A firm believer that “that life is best lived when you have a plane ticket in your hand,” Natalie always has a camera in hand whether she’s jet setting around the world, cooking, or showing off her latest bargains. The Bobby Pin is the wonderful blog that it is because of Natalie’s natural gift for the written word and an eye for beautiful photography. We have no doubt the camera will be put to good use.
We can’t wait to see your Sony Cyber-shot WX9 picture and hear what you think about it! Keep us posted.
These last couple of days I had an opportunity to play with the new Sony Cyber-shot WX9 digital camera which will be available in the next couple of weeks.
Let me first tell you that I’ve gone through many different brands when it comes to point-and-shoot digital cameras and I was extremely pleased to get my hands on this impressive Sony product.
As a travel and wine blogger, I’m constantly sharing pictures of my travels around the world as well as my favorite bottles of wine. Because of this, I need a camera that is easy to carry while helping me capture professional-looking photos in different environments.
So, whether it’s indoors or outdoors, landscapes or a close-up of food or wine, and even the occasional video, it’s important for me to have a camera I can rely on anytime and anywhere. And because I prefer to travel light, a bulky DSLR with various lenses is not an option.
While I recommend you check the specifics of this camera on the Sony site, I will tell you a bit about what I think about the Cyber-shot WX9 in regards to traveling.
The size & feel
I love the slim, minimalist, and elegant look of this well-built camera. Thankfully, it’s so small and light it can fit in your pocket. As travelers, you know that’s a big deal when you’re on the road and have to be mindful of weight and space.
However, don’t be fooled by the size, this 16.2 megapixel camera is powerful and has a huge amount of very useful and extremely cool functions.
The 3.0” LCD screen is a beauty and the menu options are so easy to navigate you’ll easily figure out how the camera works without much need for an instruction manual.
I use extreme close-ups very frequently to capture the rich texture of food or to shoot the crisp image of a wine label.
Capturing these close-ups with the Sony Cyber-shot WX9 Gourmet setting turned out to be easier than expected. The pictures were sharp even in low light and without a tripod.
Anti Motion Blur / High Sensitivity
Speaking of low light, another very useful travel setting on this camera is the Anti Motion Blur which reduces blur when shooting in a low light setting.
Also try experimenting with the High Sensitivity feature to shoot without flash in low-light reducing blur. Both could be useful options for historical landmarks or museums when flash isn’t allowed, yet you want to capture that Mona Lisa smile.
Or, maybe you’re off to England to watch Prince William marry Kate Middleton and don’t want to miss her wave as the carriage quickly passes? That’s easy with the Sony Cyber-shot WX9. Use the Burst Setting which takes continuous photos (about 10, I think) and shows up on your camera view finder much like a flipbook. Later, you can pick the prize winning Princess Kate wave and discard the rest.
Have you ever set the camera timer only to find yourself mid-jump in a photo because the timer beat you to your position? The Cyber-shot WX9 has face recognition for one or two people to ensure this will never happen again.
After you set the timer, it won’t start counting the seconds until after it recognizes your face. No more take after take after take… a traveler’s dream!
I have always found panoramic pictures more of a pain than they are worth, which probably explains why I don’t have very many in my photo albums. However, for the first time ever, I am thoroughly enjoying the Panoramic feature on this Sony camera. With a simple push of a button Cyber-shot WX9 helps the user take a beautiful, easy panoramic shot in one easy swoop (see photo below).
It also takes vertical panoramic shots making this the camera I want to have handy when I’m standing in front of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
Another setting I love for traveling is the Background Defocus. This allows you to specifically track and focus on an object while anything in the background is slightly off-focus. This is another useful setting for museums, zoos, specific objects, people, specific features on buildings, and so much more.
For the ladies and gentlemen who have less-than-perfect skin like me… it’s important to mention the Sony Cyber-shot WX9 has a Soft Skin setting. Yes, even on those rough, makeup-free days in 90 degree heat with 100 percent humidity in Thailand, you can look like an Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Cover Girl. I won’t blind you with the non-Soft-Skin-makeup-free-close-ups from the test shots, but believe me when I say the Soft Skin feature fixed about 80 percent of the flaws on my face. It’s cover-up without the cover-up.
Another fantastic Sony Cyber-shot WX9 feature is the Full HD video capabilities on AVCHD format. While the video itself looks fine, the sound leaves a lot to be desired, specifically if you’re in a crowded place. I also wish the camera came with a more robust image stabilizer for video. However, most people carrying around a point-and-shoot camera such as the WX9 aren’t looking for superb sound quality; they simply want something quick and easy. In that case, it serves its purpose (see video sample below).
Last but not least, a big THANK YOU to Sony for finally getting rid of the Memory Stick Pro Duo capturing format and for welcoming the more universal SDHC card to record video and capture images! We’ve been waiting…
In conclusion, the Sony Cyber-shot WX9 is a fresh, easy-to-use digital camera packed with lots of great features for traveling. The camera retails for $220 making it worth every penny for all the amazing features, quality photos, and memories that will last a lifetime.
* Disclaimer: This was part of a media event hosted by Sony Electronics and the camera has been provided courtesy of the company. #sonyfoodie
- Can you please turn off the light?
- No, I need to finish!
- Please, I can’t sleep.
- Well, wear eyeshades…
- I forgot to pack them.
I was frustrated because I had a deadline and needed the lamp to see what was in my notebook as I worked on my laptop. Ricardo was annoyed because he was the one driving the next day and there was no question he needed to sleep. In a small hotel room late at night with no other place to go, we had reached an impasse.
Then it dawned on me. Moments before leaving home, I had stuffed a USB LED light into my laptop bag. Bingo. The light is so small and portable; I didn’t realize I had been carrying it around the entire week.
The Black Box Network Services LED light easily plugged into my laptop’s USB port and was adjusted to focus on the notebook sitting inches away from my computer. Although it’s not designed to take the place of a full-size desk lamp, I was impressed with the amount of light such a tiny lamp provides. Ricardo was able to sleep and I was able to successfully meet the deadline.
The LED light is part of a larger unit, the Black Box Network Services Gadget Kit, which also includes a USB 2.0 Optical Mouse, my second favorite item. Smaller than the size of my palm, this “Minnie Mouse” gives me easy scrolling ability and a right-click for my MacBook Pro.
Because I personally don’t need to travel with a Retractable Cable unless overseas or the Power Cord (double check to ensure compatibility), I ditch the black zippered storage case in favor of laptop bag compartments. This Standard Black Box Gadget Kit is available for $26.95, but items can also be purchased individually. I’d say these products are worth checking out if you take your work on the road.
Disclaimer: This kit was sent to TravelPlusWine for review, although the opinions expressed are uniquely our own.
2011 is going to be a very busy year here at TravelPlusWine! There’s lots of wine and travel on the itinerary and it’s only mid-January. With travel and wine on the mind mind (as always), plus all the questions we receive about our favorite travel gear… here’s a list of my favorite travel items as we begin the new year:
1. Canon S95
This is, hands down, the best point and shoot camera I have ever owned. After too many frustrating and missed photo opportunities with my last camera, I decided it was time to upgrade to something that would take great pictures and allow me to manually adjust settings as needed.
The Canon S95 has delivered on everything. I’ve been especially pleased with the low light pictures as well as its amazing ability to shoot in macro mode (wine labels!).
2. Amazon Kindle – 3rd Generation
I put off getting an eReader for the longest time because I never like to buy first generation products. I finally folded and bought the Kindle because I know I’ll be doing lots of traveling this year and want to save space in my bag.
The price also dropped to an affordable $139 which definitely played a part in my purchasing decision. If you’re going to travel a lot, be sure to buy a cover for your kindle.
You can laugh all you want at 18 pockets, but they come in handy! This past fall, I took a trip to Eastern Europe and didn’t carry a purse for most of the trip. Instead, I picked a few key items and hid them in various pockets of my ScotteVest. Ricardo did the same thing with his and we vowed to never leave our ScotteVests at home again!
Buy an extra size bigger if you plan on utilizing the pockets… so, if you’re a small, buy a medium.
I might be a gadget-loving blogger, but I can’t leave home without a moleskine. It simply takes me to long to type things into my Android phone. I carry it in my purse or ScotteVest wherever I go because I never know when it’ll come in handy. This is great for list-makers and writers.
Moleskines can also double as a pocket size travel journal.
5. Wine Skins
Each wine lover needs to travel with a couple of these in his or her suitcase because they pack flat and then do a great job protecting your wine for the long trip home. In fact, Wine Skins are so handy, I can’t imagine how I ever traveled without them!
If you do find yourself on vacation visiting wineries without a Wine Skin, dirty socks do the trick as well!
What’s your favorite must-have travel item for 2011?
Have you ever wanted a live, behind-the-scenes peak at what’s sizzling in the kitchen at a gourmet restaurant?
If so, La Terrasse in Bern, Switzerland should be on your travel and culinary radar. Starting in January, chef secrets will be streamed directly to an iPad at your table!
What’s the idea behind this? Chef Gregor Zimmerman explains, “Guests can now feel that they are a part of the whole cooking experience, and still have an intimate dinner.” You’ll be able to say a quick hello, send your compliments to the chef, or offer constructive criticism right from the comfort of your table.
You’ll also be able to use the iPad to digitally browse the gourmet menu or to take a look at the historical guest book, dating back from 1936. Look carefully and you’ll find comments from Grace Kelly and Fidel Castro!
La Terrasse is part of the luxurious Bellevue Palace, a hotel known for its class, great service, and prime location in Bern’s city center.
(Photo Credit: Bellevue Palace)