It’s not unusual for camera manufacturers to maximise returns on their R&D expenditure by launching several different models that share almost all of their main features, to the point where in many cases the specifications of several models in a given range are virtually identical, differing only in a few minor details. A few weeks ago I reviewed the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77, a 10.1-megapixel sliding-cover ultra-compact with an internal 4x zoom Carl Zeiss lens and a touch-screen interface. Today I’m taking a look at the Cyber-shot DSC-T700, which as you may have guessed has the same sensor, the same lens and most of the same major features as the T77.
There are some differences of course, the main one being the monitor. Where the T77 has a decent three-inch screen with a resolution of 230,400 dots, the T700 has a bigger 3.5-inch screen with a massively sharp resolution of 921,600 dots, making it one of the highest resolution compact camera monitors on the market. Whether that is enough to justify the rather exorbitant price is a matter of opinion. The T77 is pretty expensive at £210, but the T700 thumbs its nose at the credit crunch with a recommended retail price of £299. Even from online retailers I couldn’t find it for less than £258. This is breathtakingly expensive even in the rarefied atmosphere of luxury compact cameras. The new Panasonic Lumix FX37, with its 5x zoom ultra-wide lens, is currently selling for around £190, the Canon IXUS 970 IS is £205, and the Nikon CoolPix S610c (review next week) is around £214.
So apart from an unfeasibly sharp monitor, what does your £258 buy you? Well for starter it buys more cool style than you could ever possibly need, because there’s really no denying that the T700 is a great looking camera. With the sliding cover closed, from the front it is just a flat, sharp-edged slab of brush-finished aluminium, with a nicely understated Sony logo in the middle. Turning the camera over, virtually the whole of the back is taken up by that huge black monitor screen, with only a few discreet controls on the top panel to spoil its “fell though a time-warp from the future” appearance. The whole thing is just 16.4mm thick and weighs just 160g including card and battery, just heavy enough to feel satisfyingly expensive. Like all good style-oriented products, it is available in the titanium-grey shown here, as well as silver and, of course, pink.