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8/10

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100

Despite the fact that it is one of the most prolific manufacturers of digital cameras, with a very significant share of the market, for some reason Sony often seems reluctant to send me compact cameras for review. The last time I got to take a look at one was the Cyber-shot DSC-W70 almost six months ago. I don’t understand, it’s not like I slated it or anything.

Well after some pestering and persuasion I’ve finally got them to send me another one, this time it’s the Cyber-shot DSC-T100, the 8.1-megapixel, 5x zoom flagship of the T-series pocket compacts, which was launched in February this year. Perhaps if I say nice things about it, they’ll send me another one soon.

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I’ll certainly be happy to start off that way, because the T100 is a very nice looking camera. The front features a large sliding cover over the lens, flash and AF assist lamp, leaving it a plain sheet of shiny brushed aluminium (although it’s also available in black). Turning to the back we find a very large 3-inch 230k LCD monitor and a minimal selection of nicely styled controls. There are a couple more buttons on the top plate, but the overall impression is of elegant simplicity.

There’s nothing delicate about it though. The case is made from aluminium, the monitor has a scratch-resistant coating, and although it is quite a slim camera (91.8 x 59.2 x 22.3mm) it feels quite solid and weighty. With battery and card fitted it tips the scales at 172g, so it’s not going to blow away in a breeze.

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The resolution and zoom power of the T100 put into the top bracket of performance compacts, alongside cameras such as the Casio EX-V7 that I reviewed last week, or the Ricoh Caplio R6 and Panasonic Lumix TZ2. It is an expensive camera compared to these models though, currently retailing at around £240. Considering that it doesn’t have any of the manual exposure options of these competing models that’s a lot of money for a point-and-shoot compact. It does have some interesting features though, including a Carl Zeiss branded lens, 3200 ISO maximum sensitivity, Sony’s Super Steady Shot CCD-shift anti-shake mechanism and DRO (Dynamic Range Optimiser) exposure adjustment system as seen in the Alpha A100 DSLR, and the ability to output images in 1080 HD format for display on high-definition televisions. It can play back images as a slide show with music accompaniment, and record MPEG movies in VGA resolution with mono audio.

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