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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 - Performance and Results

By Cliff Smith



  • Recommended by TR
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5


Our Score:


Not too surprisingly the TX5's performance is almost identical to that of the TX1, in other words excellent. It starts up and is ready to take a picture in a a little under two seconds, and in single-shot mode at full resolution it has a shot-to-shot time of a respectable 1.6 seconds. In continuous mode it has the same unusual set-up as the TX1, with three speed settings, each of which can shoot a maximum of ten frames, in either one second, 2.5 seconds or five seconds, all at full 10MP resolution.

The autofocus system is of course also the same as the TX1, so it's nice and fast, although it does slow down a bit in low light. It is reliable and accurate even in very low light, with a bright AF assist lamp giving it a range of several metres even in total darkness. The flash is surprisingly powerful for its size, easily filling a large room and is well metered for close range shots.

The TX1 scored high marks for image quality, and the TX5 has inherited all of its good points. The Carl Zeiss lens is of course superb, with good corner-to-corner sharpness, very little wide-angle distortion and plenty of detail. At maximum image quality files average around 4.5MB, about average for a 10MP camera , and there are no signs of image compression. Colour reproduction is very smooth and natural, and exposure is reliable and accurate. Dynamic range is better than average for an ultra-compact, and the in-camera HDR feature takes care of any high-contrast scenes.

The TX1 had a maximum full resolution ISO setting of 800. The TX5 starts at 125 ISO goes up to 3200 ISO and I was expecting this to cause problems, but I needn't have worried. At 125-400 ISO the image quality is excellent, and at 800 and 1600 ISO the results are far from disappointing. Even at the maximum setting images are just about usable, although only for smaller applications.


The Sony Cyber-shot TX5 is a remarkable camera, a sleek and attractive pocket compact that is just as tough as most of the military-grade rugged compacts. Build quality is superb, the touch-screen interface is versatile and easy to use, performance is outstanding and the picture quality is superb. My local camera shop tells me that this thing is flying off the shelves, and I'm not at all surprised.


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.


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.


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. ;-)


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


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? ;-)


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...


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.


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


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!


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.


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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