Sony got off to a bad start with its CyberShot DSC-W170, as it uses Memory Stick Duo cards, but there is none supplied in the box.

So this review was conducted with the 15MB of internal memory. Take four photos, transfer them, take four more photos – which forces you to buy a memory card. So you'll need to allocate £10 for 1GB of Duo or £20 for 2GB. This seems a little expensive when you consider an 8GB SD card is just £23.

This Sony-knows-best approach extends to connectivity, as you have to plug an octopus of a cable into a proprietary port on the base of the camera that then gives you USB and composite connections. You'll be fine if your laptop has a Memory Stick card reader, but the alternative is yet another cable that has to be tucked away in your bag.

Dark shots

Sony has got the big numbers right as the 10.1-megapixel rating is matched with a wide angle Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens and 5x optical zoom that gives a 35mm equivalence of 28-140mm. That's all well and good, but there are annoyances aplenty.

The LCD screen is relatively small at 2.3 inches and the W170 is plagued by eight different audio settings. We only require two options – on and off.

Once we'd got to grips with the W170 we found that interior photos were rather dark, but the underlying quality of the images was very good. Exterior shots were generally good, but lacked the extra brightness you expect to see on a bright sunny day. Close-up Macro photos of flowers were good, but lacked the pin-sharp detail we expected to see.

Photos taken towards the sun suffered from lens flare, which is something we used to expect and which you can usually avoid, but it isn't present with many rival cameras, so we have to consider it to be a problem.

You have to work to get used to the Sony, but once you've done that you'll find the image quality is good for interior shots but variable for outdoors.