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Sony TX10 - Design and Performance

Audley Jarvis

By Audley Jarvis

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

The TX10 uses a traditional soapbar design, with a sliding aluminium cover. While this cover does protect the lens encasement and accidental exposures, it doesn’t prevent the camera from being accidentally turned on, meaning it’s perfectly possible to walk around with the camera switched on but unable to shoot.

In the hand the TX10 does feel especially light and slight, especially given its tough compact credentials. It’s certainly the least tough-feeling "tough compact" we’ve handled, although on the other hand it’s perhaps also the most stylish, far removed from the exposed bolts and industrialised styling of rival tough compacts.

Sony TX10 1

The TX10’s lightweight, smooth aluminium casing and lack of a proper finger grip don’t make it a particularly ergonomic camera though. In fact, it’s the kind of camera that can all too easily slip from your fingers, which makes its tough outer casing all the more important. Anti-shock credentials aside, we’d recommend using it with a wrist-strap at all times.

Being a touchscreen camera, physical buttons are few and far between. The On/Off, Playback and one-touch Movie Record buttons are all small and recessed into the camera, but easy enough to find. Although the elongated shutter button does respond to a half-press to find focus, we found it to be extremely sensitive and eager to fire the shutter as well. At 3in and 921k-dots, the rear monitor of the TX10 is right up there with the very best of them when it comes to clarity and sharpness. While it can be difficult to see in bright sunlight, used in the shade it’s a great monitor to work with.

Zoom controls are located on the shoulder of the camera in the form of a spring-loaded stick and we found it offers very good control over the zoom. Our only real criticism is that the 4x optical zoom is a bit limited; the self-enclosed lens housing physically limits how far the zoom can extend, which compromises its overall telephoto capabilities. You can, of course, employ the digital zoom, but this degrades image quality, even when only used a fraction over the 4x optical limit.

We’ve no problems to report with the touchscreen controls or general menu navigation, with the 3in screen proving responsive to measured presses and finger jabs. Menus are similarly easy to navigate, with a handy ‘?’ button that can be called on for further info on the camera’s various shooting modes and functions.

Sony TX10 2

The camera even allows you some degree of customisation over what quick-access icons appear on the main screen while shooting, so if there are settings you regularly change from shot to shot you can save time by putting them directly on the main shooting screen.

The TX10 is pretty quick to switch on and AF performance also impresses. The camera has a total of nine AF points and used in anything but Program mode will default to multi-area autofocus. Program mode allows you to choose either Central AF or Spot AF point, which allows for more flexible focusing using the focus-recompose technique.

It’s also possible to select a point of focus using the touchscreen, although getting the camera to focus on the exact point you want it too can be a bit hit and miss (with the exception of faces). While the camera appears to offer automatic tracking of moving subjects we found it to be somewhat unreliable. Autofocus speed is near instant in good light, less so in darker conditions. In really poor light or near darkness the camera automatically deploys an orange AF assist beam to help it find focus.

Processing times between individual images varies. Used in either Program or Intelligent Auto mode the TX10 takes a little under a second to process images. However, when using something like the multi-exposure Superior Auto mode or Background Defocus, the camera will take considerably longer to process images.

samcamera

February 16, 2012, 12:00 pm

Thanks so much for the photos. I ordered the Sony TX10 review for my DD's birthday. It will be here by Weds. The main problem I see is now I think my other DD will want one too (she's not wild about the one I got her last Christmas).

Disappointed TX10 owner

October 9, 2013, 12:31 pm

I bought this sony TX10 mainly because i wanted a camera that can withstand outside elements.

Advertising claims it is shock "proof" "up to 5ft" as Sony would want us to believe...unintentionally dropped mine to the streets only once, unknowingly when i stepped out of the car (so you can imagine that is only 1ft) and my TX10 already incurred small dents in various places, and the battery/memory card slide opener got dislocated.

Brought it to the official Sony service center as it was still under warranty, but was denied a replacement unit for reasons they say that shock proof it is depending on the surface it dropped into. WTF?! I sensibly told them the streets were smooth and not rocky, so the accidental drop from a height not so high should not cause any at all even small damages to a rugged camera, (if this happened to a competing Panasonic TS3 or Olympus Tough both would survive the fall completely undamaged) and so, my demands should be valid. I bought the Sony one thinking because of the good reputation Sony Corp. leaves to me, but now, I'm boycotting their products.

Buyer Beware... now the successor to it, the TX20, is now being advertised as shock-resistant and not proof anymore, most probably because Sony can't admit they themselves attempted to do a public deception by claiming their camera is shock "proof" AND "up to 5ft", which is entirely untrue at all.

Disappointed TX10 owner

October 9, 2013, 12:35 pm

Maybe by saying that it all depends on to the surface the TX10 fell into, they mean I should drop the camera to a pillow?! or some cushioned sofa?! and not while out of the house where it normally is used :|

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