Shooting modes are limited to the point-and-shoot variety, with Intelligent Auto, Superior Auto, Program and 16 individual Scenes modes making up the regular shooting options. While Program mode is by far the most flexible mode, allowing control over a generous number of individual settings such as autofocus and metering, the others are much more limited. They offer little more than the ability to dial in EV compensation and switch Face Detection on and off.
Superior Auto differs from Intelligent Auto mode in that it’s effectively a multi-exposure mode that combines anywhere between two and six images before combining them to produce a final image. It’s best used in low-light and high-contrast situations, although processing times between images takes significantly longer.
These regular shooting modes are supported by a Panorama Shooting mode that uses Sony’s proprietary sweep technology to capture panoramas. If you are especially keen on taking these kinds of images then its fair to say we’ve yet to see anyone who does panoramic technology better than Sony. The TX10 even offers a High Resolution option for more detailed panoramas, as well as a dedicated setting for underwater images.
Background Defocus is another potentially handy shooting mode you can call upon. Given that there’s no independent control of aperture on offer it should, in theory, prove quite useful, especially when shooting portraits. No doubt with that in mind there’s a Soft Skin effect option lurking within the sub-menu for the vain among you.
Last but not least is a 3D shooting mode that offers a choice between 3D still images, panoramas and multi-angle. You’ll need a 3DTV or monitor to view your 3D images on though as the TX10’s otherwise excellent screen is very much limited to just the two dimensions.
Despite its hefty price tag the TX10 is only able to shoot JPEGs with no RAW capture possible. Movie recording is well catered-for though, with the TX10 able to record at a maximum 1920x1080 Full-HD resolution at 50i at one of three quality settings: 24Mbps ‘FX’, 17Mbps ‘FH’ and 9Mbps ‘HQ’. If memory is sparse or if you just don’t need to use maximum resolution then you can opt to shoot at 1280x720 HD or even 640x480 VGA.
Sound is recorded in stereo via two microphones located on the front of the camera, behind the protective slide. High Definition movies shot at the three highest settings are compressed in the super-efficient AVCHD format, while all lower resolution movies are stored as MP4s. You’ll need to go into the camera’s main menu settings to change between the two though, which strikes us as being a bit long-winded.