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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