Sony WX500 Brief Review



  • 18.2 megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS sensor
  • Maximum aperture f/3.5-6.4
  • Maximum shutter speed 1/2000
  • Maximum ISO 12800
  • 30x optical zoom
  • BIONZ X image processor
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Contrast detection autofocus
  • Manual modes
  • Scene modes including panorama
  • 10 fps burst speed (up to 10 frames)
  • 3” tilting LCD screen
  • Wi-Fi and NFC
  • Li-ion battery rated at 400 shots
  • Weighs 8.3 oz (236g)
  • Release Date: 2015-04-13
  • Final Grade: 86 4.3 Star Rating: Recommended

Sony WX500 puts big zoom in a small yet capable camera
The Sony WX500 is the more budget friendly compact zoom, but still sits at over $400.
By Hillary Grigonis, Last updated on: 6/2/2015

We thought the Sony HX90 was a bit pricey at release--the Sony WX500 answers that with a bit more palatable price, but axes a lot of the usability features. Selling for about $410 at its first release, the Sony WX500 offers a big 30x optical zoom, making it a good option for traveling.

The WX500 and HX90 will have similar image quality--both sport the same 1/2.3" sensor and 30x zoom lens with a f3.4-6.5 maximum aperture. Both come with a five-axis optical image stabilization system, an excellent feature to have when using such a long zoom. Both have manual modes, though miss out on RAW shooting.

While you'll get similar image quality from both cameras, the pricier HX90 will be a bit easier to use. The WX500 doesn't have the pop up viewfinder, which would have come in handy when shooting in bright sunlight. The WX500 also doesn't have the control ring around the lens for adjusting settings, or the larger grip of the HX90.

The Sony WX500 still sports a tilting LCD screen, which will even rotate 180 degrees for selfies. The size is also excellent, considering the features. Battery life is a bit better than on the WX500 then the HX90, though not by much.

The Sony WX500 looks like it will snap pretty decent images for the category, but competition in this category seems to offer more value. The Panasonic ZS50 appears very similar and even offers RAW shooting, though doesn't have the tilting screen; since it's an older model, it's easy to find for under $400. The Nikon Coolpix 9900 has very similar features except a bit slower burst speed at 7 fps, for about $60 less. Both the Olympus SH-1 and Canon SX700 are much more budget friendly, though they don't sport quite as many features.

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Sony has been at the forefront of the market for consumer electronics for the past 30 years by offering innovative imaging products in response to changes in the market. Sony has made cameras that are ideal for casual users, hobbyists, and professional photographers through their dedication to implementing the most current technology with a sleek and minimal style, resulting in an end result of the highest quality.

Sony was the first to put a full-frame sensor inside of a mirrorless camera, the A7 and A7R, and a little later, the A7S. While the first-of-its-kind cameras aren't without flaws, Sony executed their ideas fairly well and made some pretty solid cameras to start the new line.

Speaking of first-of-its kind, Sony also designed a “camera-without-a-camera,” the QX10 and QX100. These cameras have a sensor and lens, but no operating system—instead, consumers use their smartphone via wi-fi or NFC to operate the camera. While the cameras certainly have flaws (mainly in the slow response due to operating through wi-fi), we still have to applaud Sony for the way they've responded to the rise in smartphone photography (plus the cameras have actually sold remarkably well).

Sony has also been highly successful with the RX compact camera line that began with the RX100, a compact camera with a 1” sensor, excellent image quality and full manual modes. The camera has since seen some solid updates, and remains a good option. Sony also added the RX10, a camera with a 1” sensor but instead of focusing on compact size, adds a much bigger zoom.

While their focus is on more advanced models, it’s usually a pretty safe bet to pick up a Sony compact, even a budget priced one, and still get a lot of bang for your buck. We're also big fans of Sony's designs, making their cameras easy to use and adjust, like the HX400 that has an automatic sensor on the electronic viewfinder as well as a control ring around the lens.

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