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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX1 review

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8

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If you're of a mind to spend around £250-£300 on a digital compact camera, you're going to have some pretty nice products to choose from. Most of them are going to be top-of-the-range cameras loaded with advanced features, models such as the Panasonic LX3, the Canon S90, the Ricoh CX2 or the Nikon P6000. There aren't many ultra-compact snapshot cameras that fall into that price bracket, but there are one or two, such as the Canon IXUS 990 IS or the new Olympus mju 9010. There is now another one to add to that very short list; the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX1, a 4x zoom 10-megapixel ultra-compact that is currently selling for a wallet-busting £290.

Although that might seem like a lot of money for what is essentially a point-and-shoot snapshot camera, there's no denying that the TX1 is a beautifully made camera with some very clever features to add to the value. The build quality is excellent, with a sleek all-metal body that is just 16.5mm thick, making it one of the slimmest cameras on the market. It's fairly light too, weighing 142g including battery and memory card, making it a good fit for a shirt pocket or purse on a night out.

The TX1 is available in a range of colours, including silver, gold, pink, blue and the handsome gunmetal grey shown here. The overall design is basically the same as most of Sony's other T-series cameras, a with a slide-down front panel that covers a corner-mounted internal zoom lens, in this case the same Carl Zeiss 4x zoom f/3.5-4.6 optics as last year's T900, giving it a focal length range equivalent to 35-140mm.

The TX1 has a touch-screen interface, with a three-inch wide-screen monitor taking up most of the room on the back of the camera. There is a narrow textured area on the right, and the large strap lug doubles as a thumb rest, so despite its ultra-skinny profile the TX1 is actually quite comfortable and easy to grip securely.

There are only four external controls; the on/off button (although in normal use opening the front panel switches the camera on), the shutter button, a button to toggle between playback and recording modes, and a very small slider switch to operate the zoom. At first I thought that this was going to be very fiddly, but in fact the zoom action is smooth and responsive, and it is possible to jog the zoom in very small increments by tapping the control, allowing for very accurate framing.

Premfab

February 3, 2010, 12:30 am

This is more like it.





Rather than falling for the 'more megapixels at the cost of quality' game, Sony have decided to up the style and desireability stakes.





There might be better 'compact' cameras out there but none as desireable.





Yes, a camera is ultimately about picture quality, but I would bet that Sony, despite being stylish, is not too shabby at taking pictures.





Now, if only Sony lost their memory stick and sported an SD slot ....!!!!

PS3½

February 3, 2010, 1:46 am

Great review Cliff, as usual. It'll be interesting to see how this camera compares to the new TX7, with its Full HD recording, higher resolution screen etc.

joose

February 3, 2010, 1:48 am

£209 from here. http://www.camerabox.co.uk/pro... Value should really be bumped up I think. I understand that your going by the RRP however, it's been a while since this camera came out and the price your reviewing it by is no longer relevant.

Martin Daler

February 3, 2010, 3:02 am

@Prem


I think the DSC-TX7 will take both SDHC and MemoryStick

PS3½

February 3, 2010, 4:09 am

The TX7 (and I think other forthcoming Sony cameras) support SD cards as well as Memory Sticks.

g00n3r

February 3, 2010, 4:10 am

Why has it taken 6 months to review this model? Come on guys hurry up, I've just ordered this camera based on your review, only to discover the TX7 has just been released!





Not happy!

morsch

February 3, 2010, 4:35 am

Huh when I read the article subheader ("breathtakingly expensive") I was expecting something more expensive than that. I guess compact prices have gone down since I bought my Panasonic LX01 a couple of years ago. Having a super-slim compact is nice because it means you'll bring it along more often. OTOH I already have a camera in my phone, obviously with a performance that's not remotely comparable, but still. IQ at ISO 800 and particularly at 400 isn't that great, IMHO, although the noise is fairly pleasant.

Cliff Smith

February 4, 2010, 9:11 pm

g00n3r - Many apologies for the delay. I've been after this camera since the day it was launched, along with the WX1 and HX1, but unfortuntely Sony's PR company were a bit slow in making press review samples available. If it's any consolation it's still a very nice camera six months after launch.





joose - It pays to do a bit of research into the reliability of online retailers, especially ones that seem to have unusually low prices.

joose

February 5, 2010, 2:47 am

Fair point Cliff :)

Michael Atkinson

February 5, 2010, 4:57 pm

As an owner, and probably sony addict... I must say that the TX1 is really quite fantastic and I have no problems with the touch screen/ menus. Oh and the Panorama mode is quite absolutely a great idea and has been put to excellent use!

Alejandro

February 8, 2010, 3:25 am

Sony made an amazing product, but limitated.


Older Cybershots had "Manual Mode" and now Sony is removing this option from every new model.


For me, this Cybershot is a Toy without Manual Exposure.


My DSC-F88 with only 5 Megapixel takes better shots than newer 12 Megapixel models when in dark environments. Still, 30 Seconds Exposure images look better than a 2 seconds one with higher ISO levels (I don't like "Monet Paintings" when taking photos at night).


That's why I returned two DSC-WX1 to Sony.


Sony downgraded the Cybershot line.

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