Sony cameras have always had above average performance. Start-up time for the T5 is a respectable one second, thanks to the non-extending zoom lens, and in burst mode it can fire off five frames in around 3.5 seconds, although after nine shots there is a fairly lengthy wait while the image buffer empties itself into the storage medium.
The T5 also has a very good movie mode, although you’d never know it from reading the manual, nor from Sony’s pretty but inaccurate and relatively uninformative website. In fact it can shoot at 640 x 480 resolution and 30 frames per second with audio, although this is only available when using a Memory Stick PRO Duo card.
The T5 has a nice if rather slow F3.5 - F4.4 Carl Zeiss lens, with a zoom range of 6.3 - 19.0mm, equivalent to 38 – 114mm. It also has a large 1/2.5in SuperHAD sensor, so in theory it should produce excellent results. However something has gone wrong somewhere because the image quality is disappointingly low. Colour rendition is seldom accurate and generally under saturated even in good light, the noise reduction and sharpening process reduces all fine detail to a homogenous blur, and even so image noise is present even in low-ISO shots.
High-contrast edges have some of the worst purple fringing I’ve seen since about 2002, the lens produces severe and uneven barrel distortion and flash coverage is insufficient at wide angle, with a distinct bright spot in the middle of the frame. All in all, not too good. It’s a shame, because I really wanted to like this pretty little camera. It has style, specification and performance, but with such low image quality I cannot really recommend it when there are better cameras on the market for less money.
Ultra-slim design and a good array of options cannot compensate for very low picture quality. Image noise, over-processing, lens distortion and purple fringing all conspire to ruin what could have been a nice little snapshot camera. Add in questionable handling and some flimsy components and it’s game over for the DSC-T5.