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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 review

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  • Recommended by TR

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5
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  • Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 Black Digital Camera (10.2 Megapixel - 4.43 mm-17.70 mm - 7.6 cm 3" Touchscreen LCD - 4x Optical Zoom - 3648 x 2736 Image - 1280 x 720 Video)

Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • Rugged skills without rugged looks
  • Natural colour reproduction
  • Large 3-inch touchscreen LCD

Cons

  • Autofocus slows a little low light
  • Lack of manual settings options
  • Touchscreen display not that responsive

Key Features

  • 4x optical zoom
  • 10-megapixel camera
  • Ruggedised body
  • 720p video recording
  • SD/MemoryStick Duo compatible
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £249.00

Waterproof, shockproof compact cameras have become very popular over the past couple of years, with several of the main manufacturers fielding “ruggedised” models in their ranges. I took a look at a few of the more popular waterproof compacts last year, and there are a few other recent models that can be added to the list, such as the Casio EX-G1 and the Pentax W90 which I'm hoping to review soon. While all these cameras live up to their adventure-proof claims, most of them could hardly be described as attractive. Most waterproof compacts are designed to look like military hardware, with exposed bolt heads (often merely cosmetic) and aggressively chunky lines, no doubt to appeal to the outdoor sports enthusiasts, who in the eyes of camera designers are apparently all macho men with three days of stubble on their chins.

The problem is that even the most hard-core adrenaline junkies don't spend all day every day throwing themselves off mountains. Sometimes they like to go out in the evening, and may even own a few shirts that aren't made out of neoprene or Gore-tex. For those social occasions they don't necessarily want to be toting a camera that looks like it fell of the back of a Land-rover, so Sony has come up with the Cyber-shot TX5, a slide-front ultra-compact 10-megapixel camera with a big touch-screen monitor and Carl Zeiss 4x zoom lens. It looks just as elegant and stylish as any of the other cameras in Sony's range, but it is fully waterproof to a depth of three metres for up to 60 minutes, shockproof against drops of up to 1.5m onto a hard surface, and freeze-proof down to minus 10 centigrade. That's the same degree of ruggedness as some of the better-known waterproof compacts, such as the Olympus mju-Tough 3000 and 6010 or the new Panasonic FT10, and tougher than the Fujifilm Z33 WP, possibly it's closest competitor in the “tough but stylish” stakes.

The TX5 really is a very pretty camera. It is not only smaller and lighter than other rugged cameras, it's smaller and lighter than most other ultra-compacts, measuring 94 x 56.9 x 17.7mm and weighing just 144g including battery and memory card. The build quality is of course fantastic, with a body that is a combination of aluminium and high-strength plastic. Like most of Sony's compacts it's available in a range of colours, including pale green, pink, red, silver or the black (actually more of a slate grey) seen here. Unsurprisingly it's not a cheap camera, and is available direct from Sony's website for a rather pricey £329, £40 more expensive than the TX1 with which it shares most of its features. However shopping around online it is possible to find the TX5 for a much more reasonable £240.

joose

August 2, 2010, 8:52 pm

Just wanted to say that I appreciate that you have judged the camera value by the street price rather than the RRP.

Chris

August 2, 2010, 9:44 pm

That panorama was stitched completely in camera? Crikey, I'm impressed. These little things must be packing some serious processing power these days.





Only 1080 pixels high though, I suppose there's plenty room for improvement.

RafflesNH

August 3, 2010, 2:47 am

"Corner sharpness is also very good, with no chromatic aberration."





ahem... I'm surprised you missed this one as it's not especially difficult to see.





If you're still stuck, it's the blue branch silhouetted against the bright sky. ;-)

DarthKent

August 4, 2010, 12:03 am

9 out 10 for Image Quality. Are you sure?





The ISO tests look 'blotchy'


"No chromatic aberration" apart from the big purple streak where the sky is coming through the brick.


I noticed a halo effect in the tunnel shot and an even bigger halo effect in the HDR shot.


Plus the overall shots look very grey, so I, as a test, I took the street scene and had a look at its histogram. The darkest part start at around 25 (out of a scale of 255). Admittedly this can be rectified in photo touch up software but...





So apart from that 9/10 it is then.

John Price-Thomas

August 7, 2010, 1:21 am

Sony has continually improved the TX range of cameras and the TX5 is surely the best yet. One negative point, do the images possess a white haze or are my eyes deceiving me

andersemanuel

August 7, 2010, 10:12 pm

i bought this camera for a friend and used it for a day. It's quick! focus, shot to shot and startup is very fast. compared to the last generation like the wx 1 and tx 1 it's much much better in low light conditions. movie mode is smooth and keeps focus steady, not in and out of focus in lowlight like many other cameras. BEST small SONY in many years. a big leap forward. Water and bump proofing is just a bonus :-)

Uncle Sam

August 10, 2010, 4:26 pm

I am also worried about that white haze. It's quite strong in the fence shot, the dynamic range shots and the panorama shot.


Can TR comment on this please? Maybe just a greasy fingerprint on the lens? ;-)

Jeff

August 27, 2010, 5:10 pm

This is by far the most fun I've had with a camera in many years. I did much research before buying an underwater camera for our trip to Fiji. I settled for the Panasonic FT1. I thought I should try it before leaving so went to the beach nearby and it lasted only a few minutes before leaking and dying. It was replaced by Harvey Norman, however I was now very nervous about taking it along as I felt it could happen again at anytime without warning. So after carefully researching again I found the Sony has a far superior O-ring seal but I was unconvinced that the picture quality would equal the Pana. (Why Pana settled for its rediculous seal I dont know, O-ring seals should be the only option) Well I am absolutely blown away by the TX5. Underwater burst mode will take up to 10 shots per second! The fish cant get away. The sweep panoramas are so much fun, You can sweep Right or Left or even up or down. I got some brilliant shots sweeping up palm trees and water level shots of our island. The backlight mode takes 6 photos without flash then makes one clear night shot out of them removing graininess. (A serious flaw with the Pana if not using flash)I met someone while away who was sporting the Pana. Shae bought it last year and it leaked the first time she put it in the water. When she returned from holidays Pana replaced it for her and now she was away with it for the first time again. Yes you guessed it! It stopped again the first time in the water. She took a copy of all of my underwater shots and said she's getting the TX5 as soon as she gets home. I also had a couple of semi-professional photographers ask for copies of my shots and they said they would be purchasing this camera also. Here is a link to my photos using the Sony TX5 http://picasaweb.google.com/10...

Bernado

October 15, 2010, 7:49 pm

Well, being an owner of the TX7, which is pretty much identical to the TX5 bar the waterproof aspect, I can say these cameras produce very flat and soft images. The higher the ISO rating, the more softening is applied to control noise, which is a bit of a cheat when the end results are blurred looking images. However, with some software sharpening and contrast adjustments, the images do look pretty good, making the new TX range great for someone who is able to throw a couple of Photoshop actions at it. The very good HD video recording is another bonus.


For those unable (or unwilling) to perform any image processing, the images produced may be a bit disappointing.

HaggardPete

December 10, 2010, 1:19 am

Steady on - this is a waterproof sub compact. Kicking it for not offering as good image quality as a conventional camera is just daft. The reviewer did not include this qualifier but I cant blame him for taking that as understood.





Good review, good camera. Shame about the post-review noise

Guest

March 11, 2013, 11:21 am

Yeah ! loved everything about it ! - right up until the touch screen stopped working, now just a useless piece of junk with nowhere to repair it. PS Also the paint came off the cover after just 9 months!

Pete

June 29, 2013, 8:45 pm

My sony TX-5 camera failed the waterproof test. The lens fogged up after using it at a water park. Then, after kayaking to an Island and wading through the water to shore, it completely stopped working.

Guest

October 12, 2014, 11:03 pm

i think my cam's lenses got fogged up to.. does anyone know where we can get my cam checked and fixed?

Alice Mile

October 12, 2014, 11:03 pm

i think my cam's lenses got fogged up to.. did you get yours checked and fixed?

Alice Mile

October 12, 2014, 11:06 pm

do you know where i could get my camera fixed? its lenses fogged up :( please help me.

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