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The DSCW100 was the first camera I invested in. Before it, I was adamant that there was nothing I could gain from having a digital camera and indignantly glued myself to my poor quality phone camera. Purchasing this numerous years ago was perhaps one of the best moves I made.
In all honesty, it's a charming little thing. It may not be as sleek or high-tech as the newer models, but it has a sort of familiarity to it that you could get comfortable with very quickly, and what's more, it's a sturdy little thing, resilient to all sorts of brutal treatment from travels and being tossed around on camping trips and whatnot.
The camera in itself is nothing special. It's everything you'd expect from a camera; nothing more. For the non first-time camera purchaser, buying this camera would not be a special or grandiose hello, at all. More like greeting an old friend you know well. You're slightly unfamiliar at first, but it only take a couple of minutes to get back into the swing of it all.
Essentially I think that's what's so great about it. It may only just be over 8MP, and it make not have a sleek slimline shape, but it's in that sort of goldilocks zone for cameras. Everything's just right, and just as it should be. It does what it does best. It's a camera (with a wrist-strap, as an added bonus).
THE WORD OF WARNING:
There is a single word of warning that I will offer to any person who purchases an older model camera from Sony's DSC range. This is something I speak of as a matter of personal (and rather tragic, as I grew so fond of my camera) experience.
A few months ago, I lost the charger that the camera provided and was in desperate need of a new one, for an urgent project I had planned. As such, I improvised: I went down to my local Argos and bought a 'universal charger'. It did the trick and I figured I was on my way. But a few weeks later, after charging my battery a couple of times with this charger, the camera refused to recognise it. It said it was no longer compatible. I went online to Sony's website looking for the battery (NP-BG1, for all those who'd like to know) only to find that because they'd upgraded their technologies and batteries, they'd discontinues official sales of the battery. I'm currently hunting for a replacement; you can order cheap replica batteries off of Ebay, but I'm not completely sure I'd want to.
(EDIT: Note that what sites often offer as 'battery for DSC-W100' are not official batteries. You can tell this, as they lack the Sony stamp. Presently (2011), sites like batterydiscount are retailing these for an extortionate fee of £25, not including shipping.)
Needless to say, the camera does have its faults. It's not perfect. Nothing is. One of the 'big' issues I might be inclined to point out is that its internal memory capabilities are poor, but you might note this is easily remedied by an SD card. Further to this, it doesn't have all these latest features like 'panoramic view' and such. In fact its features are mostly limited to changing the colour contrasts for sepia effect black and white, and the like.
I shopped around extensively prior to selecting this camera (a few years ago now) - but still use it regularly to this day. It is definitely robust (having dropped it on some nights out more than once) and has a great many features. Very easy to use - which is perfect for me because I don't like to go through many menu options when checking pictures taken.
There is some memory built in, but I purchased a 4gb card and at the highest resolution of pics - have never gone over that. The zoom function is fantastic and it will allow you to crop pictures whilst using the camera. The battery life lasts for quite a while, again great because I take my camera with me and often use the video feature too.
Personally, I prefer to let the camera auto-adjust when taking pictures, but it does have about ten options which you can select from.
Not too weighty and fits into my handbag easily. A great camera!
This is small light weight camera, with a good size screen. Its a huge improvement on the cybershots and produces good quality pictures.
Not the cheapest camera on the market, but you can feel the quality.
The internal memory holds enough pictures for a day out, but you will need a memory stick, which are different to the old memory sticks.
It has easy to use controls and the instructions are very easy and straight forward.