The large touch-screen interface replaces most of the camera’s external controls, leaving only the shutter button, the playback mode button, a slightly redundant power button and the tiny and rather fiddly zoom control, which is a miniature rocker switch on the top panel. Despite its small size the zoom control is exceptionally smooth. It doesn’t appear to be a stepped zoom, so it is possible to frame shots accurately, but the tiny control does make this a bit tricky.
The touch-screen interface works well, but as usual the touch areas are quite small, and anyone with large fingers is going to find it a bit fiddly. However with practice and a long sharpened fingernail it is possible to operate the T77 quickly and smoothly, although the focus point selection proved to be unresponsive and awkward to use. If I have one complaint it is that in program mode the screen is very cluttered, with buttons obscuring the bottom edge of the frame. It is possible to turn the icons off, but this does rather defeat the point of a touch-screen interface.
The T77 is a fairly simple camera. It has three main shooting modes; a program mode in which all menu functions are available and functions such as metering, focusing, ISO and EV compensation available via on-screen buttons. In Auto mode these disappear and the camera handles scene mode selection, macro focusing, exposure metering and pretty much everything else automatically. As well as this there is an even simpler Easy mode, in which everything except number of shots remaining and focus confirmation are hidden from the user.
The camera also has a number of scene programs, six fairly standard ones in the Scene mode, plus landscape, night portrait, soft snap and twilight modes. There are several other shooting mode features, including face detection, a smile detection mode with adjustable sensitivity, and Sony’s Dynamic Range Optimiser, which helps to preserve shadow and highlight detail.
What it lacks in shooting features, the T77 makes up for with its huge list of playback features. It has multiple image editing options, including useful tools like automatic red-eye removal, as well as a fun effects using the touch screen, such as radial blur, starburst effects, vignetting effects around a selected point, and even a face-detecting warp feature that can make any glum-looking people in your shots appear to be smiling. There are also several slideshow features such as automatic subject detection, colours and transition effects and a selection of fairly cheesy music tracks.
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