Sony DSC TX9 Review

Ultra Compact

Picture
Sony DSC TX9 Ease of Use 8
Features 9
Movie Mode 9
Build Quality8
Colours 8
Photo Quality 9
Style 9
Lowlight 9
Macro 9
Value for Money 8
12 Megapixels
4x Zoom
3.5 inch LCD Screen
97.8 x 59.5 x 17.5mm
149g

Overview

The Sony Cybershot DSC TX9 is a top of the range pocket camera. It has a touch controlled LCD screen, plus a number of other innovative features. These include a 3D panoramic mode. The Cybershot DSC TX9 is one of the slimmest cameras on the market and has an attractive design that incorporates a sliding lens cover.

When you find a digital camera with such an impressive range of features there is a worry that picture quality will not match up. In this instance that is not the case as the Cybershot DSC TX9 handled my tests well and is perfectly capable of taking good quality snapshots.

Why Buy The Sony DSC TX9

I found a lot to like about this camera. It looks good, has an outstanding set of features and takes a crisp, colourful photograph.

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:

12
4x
3.5 inches
97.8 x 59.5 x 17.5mm
149g

Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

1cm
Yes
No
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
SD/SDHC/SDXC/Memory Stick PRO Duo

Features

Compared to other pocket cameras the Cybershot DSC TX9 has some extra features built in by Sony. Looking at the more basic features this a 12 megapixel digital camera with a 4x zoom lens. The lens has a focal length equivalent to 25 - 100mm in 35mm format. This gives it a wide angle of view for squeezing wider scenes into a shot. If you choose to shoot at lower resolutions more zoom becomes available. For example at 5 megapixels you get access to 6.2x zoom.

The LCD screen is 3.5 inches. This is a large size and is a big help with touch control.

If you are looking for something different then the Cybershot DSC TX9 offers you 3D panoramas. To get the most out of this mode you need to be able to play back your shots on a 3D television set. Another feature you do not see all that often with a compact is the ability to defocus backgrounds. This can help you to produce more professional looking portrait shots or indeed any type of shot where you feel the photo could benefit from the background being thrown out of focus.

A lot of these features are available because Sony have used a different kind of sensor to the type used on more regular compact cameras. Another advantage this gives you is the ability to fire off shots in rapid bursts. The Cybershot DSC TX9 is able to take full resolution shots at a top speed of 10 frames per second.

High quality movies can be captured too. A maximum resolution of 1080i is available. This matches the highest resolution currently available. In addition you also have access to image stabilisation, a smile shutter to automatically capture shots of people smiling and a soft skin setting for pleasing portraits.

Handling

The Cybershot DSC TX9 looks like a typical touch controlled digital camera. There are very few buttons and the LCD screen covers the entire rear of the camera.

You can turn the camera on by either sliding the lens cover down or pressing a button on the top of the camera. Also on the top of the camera are the shutter button and a small control for zooming in and out.

Two further buttons are for reviewing photos and placing the Cybershot DSC TX9 into movie mode. All other controls are accessed through the LCD screen.

The initial screen you are shown when turning the camera on gives you one touch access to shooting a movie, selecting flash mode, using the self timer and continuous shooting. You also have the option to review photos and change the shooting mode through touch control. This screen also gives you access to the main menu.

There is room for nine options on the screen. There is also a slider you can use to access two more options.

One feature I like is the ability to select menu items that you use on a regular basis and swap them with the default items on the front screen.

It can take a short while to get used to using a touch screen and improve your touch accuracy. Having said that Sony have produced a screen that works well and I found it relatively easy to make my selections.

Image Quality - See Sample Images Below

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

I like the colours showing in this shot. Sharpness is good with the brickwork on the building standing out well. There is a small loss of sharpness as you move out towards the edges of the photo. The sky is smooth and free of any grain even with larger prints.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

A lot of this shot is in sharp focus. If you take a look at my test shot you will see that the Cybershot DSC TX9 offers a very wide angle of view. Sharpness does fall away as you reach the edges of the shot. This is a problem I often see with cameras with very wide angle lenses.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

With the lens zoomed all the way in any loss of sharpness becomes much less apparent. On the whole this is a good effort. Detail levels in the lighter areas of the shot are good.

Outdoor Building

As with many digital cameras picture quality is at its best when mid zoom is used. This is a very good effort. Sharpness is very good across the shot with high levels of detail showing.

Outdoor Portrait

There is not a great deal to report with this test picture. Sharpness and definition are fine, as are the colours. The Cybershot DSC TX9 will be able to deliver plenty of pleasing portrait shots for you.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

As with the outdoor portrait shot this is a fairly standard effort. Flash in this small cameras is not especially powerful, but as the Cybershot DSC TX9 proves that while you are in flash range lighting is even and spreads out across the shot.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

This is a harder test with light levels testing the camera's ability to focus and keep noise at bay. The Cybershot DSC TX9 did exceptionally well. What this means is that the camera has been able to produce a shot with a smooth look to it. This type of look is usually flattering to your subject.

Macro

The macro shot is very sharp indeed. You cannot ask for a lot more from such a small, compact digital camera. There is also no problem in getting in very close to your subject.

Colours

Sony digital cameras tend to produce strong colours and the Cybershot DMC TX9 upholds that reputation. Blues in particular appear to have a bit of extra bite to them.

Noise

Noise levels are controlled well. There is just a small amount of noise I have detected in areas of light shade.

Picture Quality Summary

The Cybershot DSC TX9 is able to take a good quality snapshot in most situations. It handled all my tests well and compares favourably with a lot of pocket sized digital cameras.

Shutter Lag Times

Shutter Lag Rating Fast

Single Shot
Five Shots
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time

0.26 seconds
8.23 seconds
1.85 seconds
17.37 seconds
2.58 seconds


Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Par When it comes to touch control the Cybershot DSC TX9 compares well to other cameras. I feel that Sony has improved the quality of the technology involved over a period of time and I found it easy to select options.

Points I Like

Innovative features - movie mode - shutter response without flash - large screen - accurate touch control

Where it Could Improve

Shutter response with flash

Verdict

In addition to the obvious touch control attraction the Sony Cybershot DSC TX9 has a lot going for it. The large LCD screen is a big help when it comes to a touch screen interface and I feel Sony have steadily improved usability in this area with their digital cameras. If I had a large budget and wanted a touch control digital camera this one would be top of my list at the time of writing the review.

Test Shots

outdoors 1 outdoors 2 outdoors 3

building macro colours

portrait-outdoors portrait-indoors indoors

See sample images link arrow

Product Shots

Front View

Front View

Back View

Back View

Top View

Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Sony DSC TX55 Rating 85/100

If the touch screen was perfect then the Sony Cybershot DSC TX55 would be a truly outstanding digital camera. As it is picture quality is hard to beat for such a small camera. Style and design is very impressive and the features on offer give you more or less everything you are likely to want in a point and shoot pocket camera and a bit more on top. It can be very hard to find the perfect touch screen so if touch control is important to you then this camera is well worth a place on your short list.

Read Review: Sony DSC TX55 Review

Panasonic DMC FX90 Rating 79/100

Panasonic offers some excellent digital cameras and can normally be replied upon to produce crystal clear photos. As with previous reviews of cameras in the FX part of the range the Panasonic Lumix DMC FX90 just does not match up to those usual high standards. Focusing is softer than it should be and you are likely to see the results of this even with relatively small sized prints.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX90 Review

Panasonic DMC FX70 Rating 79/100

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX70 does not quite match up to the picture quality I am used to seeing from Panasonic digital cameras. It does have a lot of other plus points, but if you are looking for true clarity in your photos there are better pocket cameras around.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX70 Review

Related Pages

Sony DSC TX9 Review Sony DSC TX9 Specification Sony DSC TX9 Sample Images Sony DSC TX9 vs Panasonic DMC FX700 Sony Digital Cameras

Review Date

November 2010

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