The Sony Cybershot DSC TX10 is a pocket digital camera with a difference. It has an extremely wide range of features. As well as being waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof the Cybershot DSC TX10 can shoot full High Definition movies, has a touch controlled LCD screen, can take 3D still photos and has a sweep panorama function.
Looks suggest the Cybershot DSC TX10 is a premium digital camera. Sony's use of a sliding lens cover adds to the attractive design. At less than 18mm wide you should have no problem slipping this camera into more or less any pocket.
Sony have created versions in pink, black and silver.
Why Buy The Sony DSC TX10
The Cybershot DSC TX10 offers you a great mix of style, features and lightening fast response times.
95.6 x 56.1 x 17.9
16 megapixels gives you plenty of scope for producing large prints. You can also crop photos to improve composition and still have a large enough image to make a print.
The 4x zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 25 - 100mm in 35mm format. This means that the lens is able to squeeze wider scenes into your photos. Having such a wide angle to the lens also means that the scope for zooming in is a little limited.
The lack of scope for zooming in can be addressed if you opt to reduce the number of megapixels you are shooting at. As you reduce megapixels more zoom becomes available. This is on a sliding scale with a maximum of 28x zoom being available to you.
Image stabilisation has been built into the lens. This helps overcome any blur caused by unsteady hands.
Sony have made the Cybershot DSC TX10 waterproof to depths of 5m.
The camera should be able to survive drops of up to 1.5m. This may be an attraction if you have younger children that like to use the family camera.
Digital cameras find it difficult to operate in extreme cold. The Cybershot DSC TX10 is able to keep going when temperatures drop down to -10 degrees centigrade.
Sony have sealed the camera so that it is protected against dust.
LCD Screen Touch Control
The LCD screen is 3 inches in size. Compared to other robust digital cameras the screen was easy enough to see, although not as clear as many standard digital cameras.
You can take panoramic pictures with the Cybershot DSC TX10. All you need to do is select the panoramic mode, press down the shutter button and sweep the camera round in an arc. Your panoramic picture is then stitched together in camera.
High Definition Movies
Sony have equipped the camera with the ability to shoot Full High Definition movies. Digital cameras can capture HD footage at one of two resolutions. This camera is capable of recording at the higher of the two. It is also able to record sound in stereo.
High Speed Shooting
One of the benefits you get from the advanced sensor is the ability to reel of photos at high speed. There is a burst mode that allows you to capture a short burst of shots at a rate of 8 frames per second.
You may have seen photographs taken by professional photographers with the background thrown out of focus. The Cybershot DSC TX10 includes a background defocus mode. This gives you the opportunity to really make your subject stand out when taking portrait or wildlife photos.
A small number of digital cameras offer the ability to capture 3D images. This camera is one of them. The 3D shots can be viewed on 3D televisions.
Close Up Photography
For close up photography you have access to a macro mode that is able to focus from 1cm away from your subject.
Although in many ways the Cybershot DSC TX10 operates as a simple point and shoot digital camera you have access to a few more advanced features. These include white balance, ISO, exposure compensation and metering.
Although the Cybershot DSC TX10 is ultra slim it is still easy enough to get a good grip of the camera. There is an on/off button on the top of the camera, but you can also turn the Cybershot DSC TX10 on by sliding the lens cover down. The lens cover does not slide up automatically when you turn the camera off, so you need to remember to do this each time in order to ensure the lens is protected.
Lens Position and Flash
The lens is sited in the top right hand corner of the camera as you look at it. The lens is integral and does not protrude from the body when the camera is turned on. A little extra care is required to ensure a stray finger does not obstruct the lens when a picture is taken. The flash unit is centrally positioned near the top of the camera away from any stray fingers.
Touch Control and the LCD Screen
The touch screen is responsive and compares well against other touch controlled screens. It can take a short while to build up the accuracy required to change settings through a touch screen. A stylus is included in the box in case you find it difficult getting the buttons to respond to your touch.
The Cybershot DSC TX10 is one of the fastest digital cameras around for typical, every day shots. A single shot was timed at 0.15. That is under half the time the majority of digital cameras take to capture a shot. Turn on time, times for multiple shots and shots taken with flash were all very impressive.
As you might expect with a touch controlled camera there are very few control buttons on the camera body. The buttons available are the on / off button, shutter button, picture review button and a button to shoot movies. There is also a control for zooming in and out. This is relatively small and you may find it a bit fiddly.
What's in the Menu?
When you first turn on the Cybershot DSC TX10 key options display down each side of the screen. These include flash, shooting mode, the help guide and access to the menu system.
On entering the menu system 9 items appear on the screen. If you scroll down a further two items are shown.
Camera setup is accessed from the menu system. The setup menu is divided into four sections and has a total of 27 items. The setup menu can be tricky to scroll through.
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
With a lot of light coloured areas in this photo the camera does a good job of to capturing a high level of detail in these areas of the shot. Glare from the sun is handled well in general. I really like the overall look of the photo. The picture is bright and the colours are well balanced. One concern is that sharpness softens as you move away from the centre of the photo.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
Zooming the lens out completely produces a good shot all round shot. Just about all digital cameras struggle for absolute pin sharpness with these more distant scenes. In this instance the Cybershot DSC TX10 compares well against digital cameras with similar specifications.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
As with the first test shot there is a loss of sharpness as you move away from the centre of the shot. The centre of the shot is in sharp focus, but as you move away from the centre sharpness drifts. This is especially true on the left hand side of the shot. Some of the darker areas of the shot also lack detail.
The loss of sharpness away from the centre is quite pronounced in this shot. Again the left hand side of the scene is softer than the remainder of the shot.
Moving in closer produces better a sharper result. As noted earlier the Cybershot DSC TX10 does find it difficult to brighten any darker areas. In this case it causes areas of the hair to look dark.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
The flash unit produces enough brightness to spread the light across most of the picture. As with the outdoor portrait some areas of the hair lack a little detail as the shortage of light makes those areas darker.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
Without flash the Cybershot DSC TX10 produces a photo with a much warmer look than the one taken using flash. Sharpness is good with the definition of the photo being very good for a photo taken indoors away from the sun.
You can get in more or less as close as you want to when you place the Cybershot DSC TX10 in macro mode. The camera is able to place the main subject of the photograph in sharp focus before throwing the surrounding areas out of focus. The level of quality is good for a smaller compact.
The colours in the test photos were fairly gentle. This helped to make the scenes a fair reflection on how they looked at the time the pictures were taken.
The indoor portrait shot kept noise levels to a minimum. That bodes well for noise levels in general.
Picture Quality Summary
As long as you are not too ambitious with print size the pictures look good. Focusing can look soft away from the centre of the photo.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time
Ease of Use
The touch controlled interface is one of the easier touch screens to use out of the cameras I have tested. There is enough room on the screen to make selections easily and the screen is also very responsive compared to a lot of touch controlled cameras. There is also an in camera guide if you find yourself stuck.
Points I Like
Feature, response times, design, very slim size
Where it Could Improve
Loss of sharpness away from the centre of photos.
The Sony Cybershot DSC TX10 has a great range of features, but the overall sharpness of the photosof more distant scenes is slightly disappointing. If you are not planning to make large prints then the issues with picture sharpness are unlikely to unduly trouble you. If on the other hand you can envisage producing larger prints of landscape style shots you may find the soft focus detracts from picture quality.
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