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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX1 - Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX1

By Cliff Smith

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

As I've made abundantly clear in the past, I'm not a big fan of touch screen interfaces on digital cameras. In my opinion they're little more than a gimmick and don't offer any real advantage over conventional buttons and D-pads. The rest of the world seems to disagree with me however, and to be fair the touch-screen interface of the TX1 isn't too bad. The on-screen button areas are fairly large, the plain icons and help text make it easy to understand, and it does offer a couple of useful features, such as touch-selection of the focus point, or painting tools that can be used to edit images in playback mode.

The menus can be customised by dragging icons from the main menu onto the sidebar menu, which is a nice idea. The screen responds well enough to a finger touch as long as you press firmly, but there is also a small stylus supplied for more precise control. Unfortunately the touch interface is a bit slow, with a noticeable delay between touching a control area and the camera responding. It's not unbearable, but compared to the slick controls of some of its rivals at this price point it does feel a bit clunky at times.

As you might expect from such an expensive camera, the TX1 does include a number of advanced features, including a couple that I haven't seen before. One is the Sweep Panorama mode. Many camera have a panorama stitching mode, offering an on-screen guide to help when taking a series of photos that can then be combined into a wide panorama using an image editing program. The TX1's Sweep Panorama mode does the stitching for you on the fly; simply press the shutter button and pan the camera across the scene in the direction indicated by an on-screen arrow. The camera captures a series of images which are combined almost instantly into an ultra-wide panoramic view.

Another clever new feature is the Hand-held Twilight mode (oh the temptation to make a terrible pun about sparkly vampires...). In this mode, and in the Anti Motion Blur mode, the camera takes six full-resolution shots in approximately 1.5 seconds and then combines them into one image, incurring less image noise than the same shot taken in High ISO mode. Of course this will only work with stationary subjects, but it can compensate automatically for camera movement and under the right circumstances it does work surprisingly well. I'm rather surprised that this hasn't been combined with an in-camera HDR mode, since this is available on some of Sony's DSLRs.

Other more conventional features are equally impressive. The video recording mode can shoot in 1280 x 720 pixel resolution at 30fps with surprisingly clear mono audio, and unusually the optical zoom lens can be used while recording. The zoom motor is completely silent and cannot be heard on the soundtrack.

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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