Review Price £249.00
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.