The T2’s overall performance is pretty good too. It starts up in just under three seconds, which is about average for a compact. In single-shot mode its shot-to-shot cycle time is and impressive 1.2 seconds, while in continuous shooting mode it can maintain a consistent speed of approximately two frames per second, which is also very good. The multi-point AF system is very good, focusing quickly and accurately in all lighting conditions, including near darkness. The built-in flash is a little bit underpowered, with a maximum range of three metres at wide angle, but it works well at close range, with accurate metering and no burned-out highlights even on very close-up portrait shots. As for battery duration, Sony claims that the relatively small 660mAh battery powering the T2 is good for 280 shots on a full charge, but after three days of use I found that the camera was down to just one bar on the charge meter having only taken around 170 shots. This is by no means a poor performance for an ultra-compact, but it’s not quite as good as some rivals in this respect.
So far so good then, but finally we come to image quality, and here the news is not so good. Presumably to make the most of its internal memory, the T2’s image files are very compressed, averaging around 2.1MB, which is very small for an 8MP camera, resulting in visible processing artefacts and a general lack of fine detail. This is a pity, because the lens, although relatively small, has Carl Zeiss credentials and produces good sharp images with little distortion and a minimum of chromatic aberration. Colour reproduction is also very good, producing very natural tones in the default standard setting. The T2’s main image quality problems stem from its heavy-handed noise control, which blurs out fine detail on shots over 200 ISO. Shots over 400 ISO are pretty poor, and the 3200 ISO maximum setting is all but useless, as such settings usually are on compact cameras. Overall the image quality was a a bit disappointing for a premium-priced compact, especially one featuring such advanced technology.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T2 is an extremely stylish ultra-compact camera with a range of interesting and innovative features. If you can cope with the rather fiddly touch-screen interface and keep your fingers away from the lens, you’ll find it an excellent camera for social snapshots, and the creative playback features are a lot of fun. However it is quite expensive, the the overall image quality doesn’t live up to the price tag.