Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 Digital Camera Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Sony Cybershot DSC-W690, a digital camera with 10x optical zoom and a 16 megapixel sensor.

| Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W690 in Compact Cameras
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Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 Digital Camera Review: Sony Cybershot Dsc W690 Front 1

The Cybershot DSC-W690, announced in February 2012, is a slim and easy to use camera from Sony. It has a 10x optical zoom lens, 16 megapixel sensor and is available in black, blue, red and silver for around £134.00.
Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 Digital Camera Review: Sony Cybershot Dsc W690 Front 3

Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 Features

The Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 has a 16.1 megapixel CCD sensor and 10x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 25-250mm. To make picture taking as simple as possible there is an easy shooting mode, which has large, easy-to-read instructions as well as an in-camera guide. There is also Intelligent Auto which automatically adjusts the camera settings for the scene.

Other shooting modes include 360 Sweep Panorama and Artistic Picture Effect modes (Toy Camera, Partial Colour, Soft High-Key and Pop Colour). Also found on the W690 is Face Detection, Smile Shutter, Self Portrait Timer and in-camera retouching.

For shooting videos the camera records at 720p HD with optical zoom also available. To help keep videos shake free, even when recording handheld, there is Optical SteadyShot Active Mode.

Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 Digital Camera Review: Sony Cybershot Dsc W690 Top 1

Key Features

  • 16.1 megapixel CCD sensor
  • 10x optical zoom G lens (35mm equiv: 25-250mm)
  • Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation
  • 3 inch 230k dots LCD screen
  • Intelligent Auto Mode
  • 720p HD movie recording
  • ISO 80-3200
  • 5cm minimum focusing distance
  • 360 Sweep Panorama
  • Artistic Picture Effect modes
  • Available in black, blue, red and silver
Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 Digital Camera Review: Sony Cybershot Dsc W690 Rear

Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 Handling

The W690 is extremely compact and has a metal front, with the rest of the camera being constructed from plastic. The camera doesn't offer anything to help grip. The buttons are quite small and don't protrude much out of the camera, meaning you may struggle if you have large fingers. On top of the camera is the on/off button and shutter release, with the zoom adjusted by two buttons on the rear of the camera, where you'll also find the d-pad, playback, menu and ? buttons. There is also a sliding switch which allows you to choose between normal shooting modes, panoramas or video.

The majority of the camera settings are adjusted via the menu system, it can be a little time consuming but the menus are logical and easy to navigate. The 3 inch screen is easy to see in bright lighting conditions, but the colour reproduction is fairly poor, the images look much better when you view them back on your computer.

The battery has a CIPA rating of 220 shots, during testing we managed just short of 300 shots. We tested the camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.

Shutter Response   0.125 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.4 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   1.3 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.9 secs
Shot to Shot (without flash)   3.2 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   6.5 secs
Continuous Shooting   1.0 fps

Continuous shooting records at full 16 megapixel resolution.

Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 Digital Camera Review: Sony Cybershot Dsc W690 Battery And Memory Card

Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review and product ratings.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W690 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The W690 takes images that are well exposed with excellent colour reproduction. Portrait shots have pleasing skin tones, with just a hint of red-eye when shooting with the flash.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W690 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Detail is good throughout the images when shooting wide or with the full optical zoom, with the camera doing well at keeping purple fringing to a minimum. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 5cm, this allows the camera to get close enough to take a decent macro shot.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W690 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - A sharp noise free image is taken at ISO 80, with only a very slight hint of noise coming in at ISO 100. Images are still sharp at ISO 200 and ISO 400, with noise increasing steadily, as you'd expect. At ISO 800 there is a significant increase in noise, with black and white dots appearing and a softer image produced. Images are very soft at ISO 1600, with an increase in the number of black and white dots causing detail to become lost. This is even more evident when switching to ISO 3200.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W690 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - The W690 struggled a little under our incandescent lights, with a magenta cast when using both the AWB (Auto White Balance) and incandescent presets. The AWB does really well under the fluorescent lights, producing a good image, with the three fluorescent settings giving a cast in the image.

Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 Digital Camera Review: Standard Panorama | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 250
Standard Panorama | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 250

Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 Digital Camera Review: Wide Panorama | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 250
Wide Panorama | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 250

Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 Digital Camera Review: 360 Panorama | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 250
360 Panorama | 1/500 sec | f/8.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 250

Panorama mode - Panoramas are taken using a sweep method and look good when they have been resized for web use. When you view the full size, they lack lots of detail and you can see areas where there is some ghosting.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W690 Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a range of picture effects available to help you take more creative pictures, with examples of each above.

Video - Below is a video shot at 720p HD. Optical zoom is available during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube Page.

Value For Money

The Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 is available for around £134.00. Other cameras with a similar specification (16 megapixel sensor and 10x optical zoom) include the Fujifilm FinePix T400 at £92.00, Olympus VR-340 at £99.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1 at £124.00 and Nikon Coolpix S6300 at £129.95. The Samsung PL210 at £79.00 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 at £179.00 also have 10x optical zoom, but there sensors are 14 megapixels.

Other compact cameras with Wi-Fi are the Canon IXUS 510 HS at £275.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 at £204.95, Samsung ST200F at £128.00, Samsung WB150F and Canon IXUS 240 HS at £224.00. You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 Verdict

The W690 packs a good amount of optical zoom into its compact body and is easily small enough to carry around in your pocket. Image quality is also good with good colour reproduction. It's not the quickest camera around, we found it a little slow when it came to switching on, shot-to-shot and when using continuous shooting. If these aren't so important to you, the Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 is a decent compact digital camera.

Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 Pros

Decent zoom range in a compact body
Decent image quality
Good colour reproduction
Takes portraits with pleasant skin tones
Available in a range of colours

Sony Cybershot DSC-W690 Cons

Some of the buttons are quite small
Slow continuous shooting
Quite slow between shots


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W690 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.3 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent25mm - 250mm
Optical Zoom10x
Image Sensor
Pixels16.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.3
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution230,400
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus5cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1600sec
Shutter speeds longest2sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting1fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS50
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • Memory Stick (Sony)
  • SDXC
  • Micro SD
  • Micro SDHC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeNP-BN
Battery Life (CIPA rating)220shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsRechargeable Battery Pack (NP-BN), Battery charger, Multi USB, Wrist Strap, Instruction Manual, AC Power Cord

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Photographs taken using the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W690

Hummingbird drinking nectarMail Pouch BarnLucyReflecting in GhentJ&k State Tour 21(INDIA)J&k State Tour 14(INDIA)J&k Tour 9J&k Tour 8J&K Tour 3

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