Sony Cyber-shot WX100 and WX150 pictures and hands-on

If you're looking for a compact camera with a healthy zoom, then the Sony Cyber-shot WX100, or WX150, might just fit the bill, as well as in your pocket. 

Described by Rachel Banin, head of personal imaging and sound at Sony UK, as an "evening camera", it's the sort of compact that you can slip into your clutch bag or jacket pocket without pulling at the tailored lines of your suit. 

The Sony Cyber-shot WX100 is certainly compact in the hand, although as a result there isn't a great deal of grip on this camera. The 10x zoom is surprising, however, as it extends out of a body you'd expect to offer only half that.

Measuring 92.3 x 52.4 x 21.6mm and weighing just 124g, there is a 2.7-inch display on the rear of the WX100, with an average 460k-dot resolution.

In terms of control, this is very much a point and shoot, but it isn't a dumb camera. It lacks any sort of model dial, instead there is a slider on the rear to switch between stills, panorama (2D and 3D are offered) and movies. It will capture 1080i video.

Other features are accessed via the buttons and dial on the rear, which will then let you access features such as "background defocus" which cleverly guides it into the right position based on the zoom you select so the effect works. So even though this is a point and shoot, it still does a surprising amount. 

Still at the core is Sony's new 18-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor with Optical SteadyShot. The 10x Sony G zoom lens gives you the equivalent of 25-250mm, although the max aperture is an average f/3.3, which is fairly slow.

We've included a couple of test shots we took with the WX100. We failed to grab the model's attention at the right moment, but the detail on the Matthew Williamson dress comes out nicely. The small fruit tree was shot using background defocus and the leaves do stand out sharply from the building behind, so it sort of works.

The WX150 is essentially the same as the WX100 described above, but it offers a slightly larger 3-inch display (at the same resolution). In the photo gallery the WX100 is pictured in white, the WX150 in silver.

Due to be available from the end of March 2012, we don't have the pricing, but they should be affordable.