Sony W290

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 front
  • 12MP - 1/2.3" Sensor
  • 3" Fixed Display
  • ISO 80 - 3200
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • 1280 x 720 video
  • 28-140mm (F3.3-5.2) lens
  • 167g - 98 x 57 x 23mm
  • Launched February 2009
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Sony W290 summary

Sony W290 is Sony's Small Sensor Compact camera first released on February of 2009. The camera comes with a 12MP, CCD 1/2.3" size sensor with a max resolution of 4000 x 3000.

The W290 is placed #150 out of 261 in Small Sensor Compact cameras & over-all #1059 out of 1465 for digital cameras in our list. You should try out our Smart camera filter to find camera rankings based on your personalized criteria.

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The following is a diagram of multiple factors used in the rating system.

Sony W290 family

The Sony W290 is part of a family of products. You can read the complete list below.

ModelVisualizeLensResolutionSensor SizeReleased
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-WX500 front thumbnailSony WX500
W290 vs WX500
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-W800 front thumbnailSony W800
W290 vs W800
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Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-WX350 front thumbnailSony WX350
W290 vs WX350
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-WX300 front thumbnailSony WX300
W290 vs WX300
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-W730 front thumbnailSony W730
W290 vs W730
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-W710 front thumbnailSony W710
W290 vs W710
Photography Glossary
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-WX80 front thumbnailSony WX80
W290 vs WX80
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-WX150 front thumbnailSony WX150
W290 vs WX150
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-W690 front thumbnailSony W690
W290 vs W690
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-WX50 front thumbnailSony WX50
W290 vs WX50
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-WX70 front thumbnailSony WX70
W290 vs WX70
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Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-W610 front thumbnailSony W610
W290 vs W610
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-W620 front thumbnailSony W620
W290 vs W620
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-W650 front thumbnailSony W650
W290 vs W650
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-WX30 front thumbnailSony WX30
W290 vs WX30
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-WX10 front thumbnailSony WX10
W290 vs WX10
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-WX5 front thumbnailSony WX5
W290 vs WX5
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-W370 front thumbnailSony W370
W290 vs W370
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-W290 front thumbnailSony W29028-140mm
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Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-W230 front thumbnailSony W230
W290 vs W230
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-W220 front thumbnailSony W220
W290 vs W220

Sony W290 Pros and Cons

Here is a collection of upsides and downsides of the Sony W290 based on aspects that are typically considered necessary in a camera.

does have HDMI port
flash built-in
good zoom range (28-140mm 5.0 x zoom)
has image stabilization (Optical)
has manual focus
quite wide (28mm)
screen is a good size (3 inch)
very good minimum ISO (80)
cannot use external flash
display is not selfie friendly
lens is fixed (fixed lens mount)
low fps (2.0 frames per second)
manual mode not possible
max zoom aperture not good (f5.2)
missing headphone port
missing mic port
missing Time Lapse recording
MP count low (12MP)
no aperture priority mode
no phase detect autofocus
no RAW files
no shutter priority mode
screen does not articulate
screen has low resolution (230 thousand dot)
sensor size is tiny (1/2.3")
slow maximum aperture (f3.3)
video res low (1280 x 720 pixels)
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Sony W290 Sensor features

The specification of the sensor in the Sony W290 is 6.17mm x 4.55mm (1/2.3"). The 28 mm² sensor can capture 4000 x 3000 pixels using aspect ratios of 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9. The camera has Image Stabilization (Optical). Optical stabilization is more effective than digital stabilization as the latter might lead to cropping.

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The CCD sensor has 12MP and gives a native ISO range of 80 - 3200. Sadly, RAW files are not saved which means that you have less margin for error.

The picture below illustrates the W290's sensor size compared to other common sizes. The W290 sensor has a crop factor of 5.8 and is pointed out in green.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 sensor size Sora from OpenAI releases its first ever music video

To get a sense of different aspect ratios, you can refer to the visual below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Sony W290 dimensions

Sony W290 weighs around 0.37 lb (167 gr / 5.89 oz) & the physical size of the camera is 98mm x 57mm x 23mm (3.9" x 2.2" x 0.9"). The weight of typical Small Sensor Compact camera is 174 gr so the Sony W290 is very much the same in comparison with its competitors.

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The following is a visual of the Sony W290 with a soda to help you to get a feel for its size.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 dimensions scale

The top view directly below will show you the button layout on the W290.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 topview buttons dials

Sony W290 Lens features

The W290 has got an inbuilt lens having a focal range of 28-140mm making it a 5.0 x zoom which is not huge but it is likely to be useful in certain situations.

At it's widest 28mm, the lens has an aperture of f3.3 which will be pretty sluggish and not the best for low light conditions and you will probably find it difficult to get a shallow depth of field. You will also need to increase your ISO giving you noisy pictures. On the long end, 140mm comes with f5.2 making it fairly sluggish and you would have to utilize slow shutter speeds.

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Sony W290 Connectivity

The W290 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • HDMI Yes

Digital cameras which include NFC or Bluetooth support can be controlled wirelessly via smartphones. You are able to copy pictures and oftentimes adjust settings without connecting directly with the camera.

Several apps also provide a Liveview and hit the shutter in case you are not close to the camera. If the camera features a HDMI port, it can be hooked up to an external display. Many cameras will allow you to charge the battery pack with the USB socket.

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Sony W290 Video features

The max video quality in the Sony W290 is 1280 x 720 and you can record in MPEG-4 format. 720p is awful for today's requirements. You should aim for at least FUll HD quality for video. The body does not have a microphone or headphone jack which means you have got absolutely no control over the sound. It is probably a better idea to find another camera if you want better sound for your video clips.

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Sony W290 Weather Sealing

There is no environment proofing for the Sony W290 so you have to be careful in rainy or dusty conditions.

Sony W290 Display and Viewfinder

The Sony W290 comes with a 3 inch fixed screen having a resolution of 230 thousand dots.

Please be aware that the screen has no touch support.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 screen and viewfinder Japan-exclusive Leica Leitz Phone 3 features big sensor and new modes

The ViewFinder specs for Sony W290 are below:

  • ViewFinder None

Viewfinders are rather handy for bright outdoor conditions which will make the camera display washed out and hard to see.

Sony W290 Shutter features

Sony W290 can shoot continuously at 2.0 frames per second. The highest shutter speed is 1/1600 sec.

Photography Glossary

Sony W290 Flash and Hot shoe features

Sony W290 has just inbuilt flash with no external flash support.

Sony W290 Autofocus features

Sony W290 has only Contrast Based Auto Focus & lacks Phase Detect Auto Focus. Phase Detection autofocusing is a lot quicker & exact as compared with Contrast Based autofocusing.

The AF system comes with 9 focus points to pick from. Sony W290 has the ability to use manual focusing if required for low light scenarios or you require more exact focusing control.

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Sony W290 Battery life

The usual Small Sensor Compact camera battery life is 241. Fujifilm X30 has got the maximum (470) battery life for this class of cameras.

Here is a list of Small Sensor Compact cameras which have the best battery life:

Sony W290 for specific types of photography

The following illustration indicates a outline of the Sony W290 for specific types of photography. To view more, check out the specific section below.

Portrait photography with Sony W290

The Sony W290 receives a score of 27 which is bad, and means the camera is simply not acceptable for portrait photography. Photographing portraits leans greatly towards sensor size, support for RAW photos in addition to the flexibility to utilize external flash.

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has manual focus
lack of manual mode
can't use external flash
low megapixels (12MP)
sensor is small (1/2.3")
lacks RAW format

Street photography with Sony W290

Having a reasonable rating of 56, the Sony W290 is somewhat suited to use in street photography. A good street photography camera features a good balance of picture quality and portability.

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image stabilization (Optical)
screen is fixed
small sensor (1/2.3")
does not have RAW files

Sports photography with Sony W290

A bad sports photography points tally of 25 suggests the Sony W290 is simply not acceptable for shooting sports. A camera really should have very good focusing and continuous shooting for sports photography.

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built in image stabilization (Optical)
very slow continuous shooting (2.0 frames per second)
no shutter priority
megapixel count low (12 megapixels)
sensor is very small (1/2.3")
does not have phase detect auto focus

Travel photography with Sony W290

Portability is really crucial in buying a camera for travel. Overall, the Sony W290 gets a modest 57 for a travel camera which makes it fairly suited to take with you on your trips.

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built-in flash
quite wide (28mm)
doesn't have Time Lapse function
MP count low (12 megapixels)
does not feature selfie friendly display
slow maximum aperture (f3.3)

Landscape photography with Sony W290

For anyone looking to purchase a digital camera for landscape photography, the biggest factor will be image quality. The Sony W290 with it's bad rating of 41 for a landscape camera is simply not acceptable among it's competitors.

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you can focus manually
really wide (28mm)
pretty good screen size (3 inches)
has image stabilization (Optical)
fixed lens (fixed lens mount)
sluggish maximum aperture (f3.3)
manual mode not available
sensor resolution not great (12MP)
tiny sensor size (1/2.3")
has no RAW files
does not have Time Lapse mode

Vlogging with Sony W290

A camera for vlogging preferably should offer a articulating display, microphone input and if possible image stabilization. Considering every thing, the Sony W290 is simply not acceptable as a vlog camera as it gets a bad score of 28.

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quite wide (28mm)
image stabilization (Optical)
sluggish maximum aperture (f3.3)
display isn't selfie friendly
video res low (1280 x 720 pxls)
does not have external microphone socket

Sony W290 Alternatives

If you want replacements to the W290, below is a collection of the highest scored cameras which fall in to the class of Small Sensor Compact.

The line graph here provides you a summary of the W290 versus it's top ranked rivals suggested above.

These are some more cameras you might view as alternate options. To review a thorough comparison, simply click on the "compare" link.

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General Information
Model type
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290
Small Sensor Compact
Body design
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Sensor size
Sensor dimensions
6.17 x 4.55mm
Sensor area
Sensor resolution
12 megapixels
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio
4:3, 3:2 and 16:9
Peak resolution
4000 x 3000
RAW images
Highest native ISO
Min native ISO
Focus manually
Autofocus touch
Autofocus continuous
Autofocus single
Autofocus tracking
Autofocus selectice
Autofocus center weighted
Multi area autofocus
Live view autofocus
Face detect autofocus
Contract detect autofocus
Phase detect autofocus
Total focus points
Lens support
fixed lens
Lens zoom range
28-140mm (5.0x)
Largest aperture
Macro focusing range
Focal length multiplier
Display type
Fixed Type
Display size
3 inch
Resolution of display
230 thousand dot
Selfie friendly
Touch functionality
Viewfinder Information
DXO scores
DXO Overall rating
not tested
DXO Color Depth rating
not tested
DXO Dynamic range rating
not tested
DXO Low light rating
not tested
Min shutter speed
Max shutter speed
Continuous shutter speed
2.0 frames per second
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manual exposure
Change white balance
Image stabilization
Inbuilt flash
Flash distance
3.90 m
Flash modes
Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye reduction, Slow Sync
Hot shoe
Auto exposure bracketing
WB bracketing
Multisegment exposure
Average exposure
Spot exposure
Partial exposure
AF area exposure
Center weighted exposure
Video features
Video resolutions
1280 x 720 (30 fps) 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Highest video resolution
Video file format
Mic jack
Headphone jack
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environmental seal
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
167 grams (0.37 pounds)
Physical dimensions
98 x 57 x 23mm (3.9" x 2.2" x 0.9")
Self timer
Yes (2 or 10 sec)
Time lapse recording
Type of storage
Memory Stick Duo / Pro Duo, Internal
Storage slots
Cost at release