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Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5 Review

Sony DSC-TX5 front view





Oct 7th, 2010:
The ultra compact 10.2 megapixel Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5 serves as an update to the Sony DSC-TX1 from 2009. The Sony DSC-TX1 was one of the first Sony Cyber-shot models to offer an innovative back illuminated 'Exmor R' CMOS sensor, providing low-light performance with approximately twice the sensitivity of traditional image sensors.

The Sony DSC-TX5 features the same sleek design and internal 4x optical zoom with Steadyshot image stabilizer found in the DSC-TX1, while adding extended durability with protection against a variety of elements including water, dust, shock, and freezing, for the first time in a Cyber-shot model.

The Sony DSC-TX5 can be submerged down to 10 feet (3m) underwater, and according to Sony is protected against drops from as high as 5 feet. Being also dust proof and freeze proof adds layers of protection that makes the Sony DSC-TX5 an equally welcome companion whether swimming at the beach or while skiing down the slopes.

The camera features a large 3.0 -inch 230,000 pixel 'touch screen' LCD, offering a wide viewing angle and brightness adjustment.

The DSC-TX5 is void of most external buttons and controls common to similar point and shoot models, since the camera menu's and most operations are controlled via the 'touch screen' monitor. As such the Sony DSC-TX5 is able to maintain a very compact form factor with dimensions of only 94.0mm x 56.9mm x 17.7mm, making for an unobtrusive camera that can be effortlessly stuck in a pocket or purse.

Sony DSC-TX5 Major Features
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 Sample Images
Sony DSC-TX5 Specifications

Sony DSC-TX5 back view


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 Major Features:

  • 10.2 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor
  • 25mm equivalent wide 4x optical zoom lens. Approximately 25mm-100mm field of view in 35mm terms
  • Incorporates Sony's SteadyShot optical image stabilizer technology to minimize the chance of blurred shots
  • Waterproof, Shockproof, Dustproof and Freezeproof (within limits below)
  • 3.0-inch Wide Clear Photo LCD Plus 'touch screen' display with 230,000 pixel resolution
  • Face Detection, Smile Shutter and Blink warning technology
  • Easy shooting mode for beginners
  • Intelligent Auto (iAUTO) mode designed to recognize the type of scene and adjust settings accordingly
  • 12 convenient user selectable scene modes including Hand-held Twilight Mode
  • Anti motion Blur mode to minimize effects of subject movement in low light
  • Built-in automatic flash coverage to 10 feet in Auto
  • 720p MP4 movie mode: shoot 1280 x 720 high definition movies at 30 fps with sound
  • Fast 10 frames per second shooting at full 10 MP resolution
  • Intelligent Sweep Panorama Mode for capturing wide panoramic images
  • Auto ISO up to 1600 ISO, Manual up to 3200 ISO
  • In-camera editing features including cropping
  • Sony NP-BN1 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery and charger supplied

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 Overview:

Sony DSC-TX5 top view


The Sony Cyber-shot TX5 features a 10.2 MP Sony "Exmor R" CMOS image sensor providing for fast operation, and enhanced low-light sensitivity with improved image clarity and reduced grain.

The few buttons and controls found on the DSC-TX5 are located on the top of the camera. The On/Off button, shutter release and zoom toggle switch are placed side by side, with a small playback button found directly below the shutter release. The camera features a sliding protective lens cover that has to be moved down before the camera is ready to shoot.

Other operations of the Sony DSC-TX5 are controlled by using the camera's touch screen LCD monitor. The multi-purpose touch screen offers an intuitive user interface, including the ability to select the focus point with a simple touch, scroll through images by sliding your finger across the screen and one-touch access to the camera MENU.

The Sony DSC-TX5 is waterproof to a depth of 10 ft, shockproof from falls 5 ft or less, and dustproof thanks to its airtight construction. The TX5 can even withstand extreme weather conditions, being operable in temperatures from -10 to 40 degrees Celcius. With its enhanced durability and protection, the Sony DSC-TX5 is designed for active lifestyle photographers.

In terms of use and operation, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 provides user friendly features that will appeal to those that desire point and shoot simplicity and can do without extended manual creative control.

 

In shooting mode the camera displays a live view of the scene in the center of the LCD screen with two black menu bars on either side.

Commonly accessed functions are activated by pressing the corresponding area on the side function menu bars.

At the top of the right function bar you find basic shooting information such as battery life, number of shots remaining and selected image size.

The shooting modetab and the playback tab are found on the bottom of the right function bar.

Press MENU at the top of the left side bar to access the Function Menu. Other functions that can be accessed from the left side bar include; Smile Shutter (smiley face icon), Flash, Self-Timer and Continuous shooting mode settings. The function options displayed in the side bar vary depending on the selected shooting mode.

Smile Shutter technology captures a smile the moment it happens. Press the Smile Shutter button (Smiley face icon) and the camera automatically captures the image when it detects someone smiling.

The Sony TX5 incorporates a built in flash capable of providing output up to 3m (10 feet) in Auto ISO. The flash power extends up to 6m with ISO sensitivity set to 3200. Flash functions include; Auto, Fill Flash, Off, Slow Sync, and Red Eye reduction (emits a pre flash)

The Sony TX5 offers a Self-Portrait and two person Self-Portrait mode found under the camera's self-timer settings where the shutter does not fire until a new face(s) is detected entering the frame. Standard self-timer settings include either a 2 sec or a 10 sec delay before the shutter fires.

The camera can deliver up to 10 frames per second continuous shooting at full 10 MP size, a feature designed to capture the action as it unfolds.

 

Pressing the shooting mode icon (seen in above screen grab) brings up the REC Mode menu which allows for the selection of the desired recording mode.

Available options include: Intelligent Auto, Program Auto, iSweep Panorama, Movie Mode, Anti Motion Blur, Hand-held Twilight, Backlight Correction HDR and Scene Selection.

Choose Intelligent Scene Recognition (iSCN) Mode and the camera automatically detects nine different types of scenes and, within just 1/30th of a second, selects the appropriate camera settings.

Recognized scenes include Backlight, Backlight Portrait, Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Twilight using a tripod, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, and Close Focus.

The Sony TX5 can capture either 720p HD or standard definition VGA video at a frame rate of approximately 30 frames per second. Movies are saved with MP4 compression, and include audio. In Movie recording mode, there is a Scene mode dedicated for shooting movies underwater.

 

The Sony DSC-TX5 also features 12 convenient user selectable Scene modes.

Choose the desired Scene mode and the camera automatically adjusts settings to match the conditions. The available modes include:

High Sensitivity / Twilight / Twilight Portrait / Portrait / Landscape / Beach / Snow / Fireworks / High Speed Shutter / Underwater / Gourmet and Pet mode.

Simply tap on the selection and the camera does the rest.

When set to Hand-held Twilight Mode, the Sony DSC-TX5 can capture six images in a fraction of a second with one press of the shutter, and combines the data from all six to create a single image with improved detail and lower noise. Intended for producing cleaner and sharper night shots without using a tripod.

In Anti Motion Blur Mode , the TX5 captures six images in a fraction of a second while using a higher shutter speed and combines the data from all six to create a single image with reduced chance of subject blur (under low light conditions).

The camera also features a Backlight Correction HDR mode intended for shooting high-contrast scenes. The camera takes two pictures at different exposure settings and processes the best elements of both, with the intent of delivering improved shadow and highlight detail in the final image.

With the Sony DSC-TX5's Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode you can have the camera automatically stitch together a series of images for an extra wide field of view as seen above. Simply activate the feature and press the shutter release while panning the camera from side to side or up and down.

The images that are stitched together are captured at lower resolution so there is some trade off in image quality when using this mode compared to shooting regular full size stills. The application is best suited for creating panoramic images for online use, including photo galleries, blogs and social networks.

Pushing the MENU tab found on the top left side bar while in shooting mode brings up the camera's function menu shown below.

Simply select Easy Shooting Mode, and easy-to-understand basic instructions are displayed on the LCD screen and the camera switches to all automatic settings, removing several function choices and allowing the user to focus on just capturing the subject.

 

The function menu on the DSC-TX5 also allows for the control of a number of camera settings.

Menu option choices include; select Easy Mode, Image Size settings, Macro mode (close focus), Exposure Compensation, Auto or manually selectable ISO, White Balance (WB) settings, Focus point selection (Multi AF, Center AF, or Spot AF), Metering Mode, Face Detection and Display settings.

The ISO sensitivity range on the Sony TX5 can be set to Auto or manually selected from 125 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 ISO.

For creative versatility, the Sony TX5 offers three metering mode options (Multi, Center and Spot) and selectable Auto Focus settings, including touch point AF (simply touch the area of the scene on the display screen that you wish to be in focus when taking the picture).

Although the TX5 does not offer manual exposure control settings, exposure compensation in +/-2 stops is available (to brighten or darken the image exposure).

 

The DSC-TX5 includes Sony’s Face Detection technology that can automatically distinguish between children and adults.

The camera's Face Detection technology detects up to eight individual faces and adjusts flash, focus, exposure, and white balance, optimizing the results when taking pictures of family and friends.

The Sony DSC-TX5 also offers Blink warning technology that warns you when the camera thinks that a person in the scene might have blinked when the image was taken.

The Sony DSC-TX5 offers a number of playback functions. Playback can be accessed by pressing the dedicated playback button located on the top of the camera, or by pressing the playback icon located on the bottom left on the camera's LCD touch screen. The playback icon changes to a shooting mode / camera icon when you enter playback mode, allowing for a quick tap to return to shooting when viewing images.

Selecting the MENU option (at the top of the left function side bar above), allows access to a range of playback options. The additional icons in the left side bar represent from top to bottom; the ability to select viewing the images by shooting date or folder, thumbnail view, slideshow functions and delete (trash can).

You can scroll through images by sliding your finger across the touch screen or by pushing on the icons in the right function bar dedicated to playing back the next or previous image.

The Sony DSC-TX5 offers a PHOTOMUSIC feature which combines images with music (4 tracks, 5 minutes per track) to produce fun and entertaining slide shows with standard visual effects (Simple, Nostalgic, Active, and Stylish). Select from pre-loaded tracks on the camera or transfer your own from your computer.

 

Features found in the playback menu include; the ability to add creative borders and stamps onto images, Paint or draw on displayed images using your finger or the supplied stylus (image is then saved as a new file), Protect images from accidental erasure, set DPOF print settings, select Direct Print options via a compatible printer, and the ability to Rotate the image.

The camera's Retouch feature offers three selections, including the option of choosing to Trim / Crop the image, apply Red-Eye Correction or use an Unsharp mask to improve the appearance of sharpness.

The Sony TX5 features a component output (1080i) for connecting the camera to a high definition TV (the cable is an optional accessory). A standard combination Audio/Video and USB cable is included in the box. The Sony DSC-TX5 uses Secure Digital (SD) or SDHC media or Sony Memory Stick Duo and Pro Duo memory cards. The camera does not come supplied with a memory card. A small amount of memory is built-in to the camera, good for a few shots in a pinch.

The DSC-TX5 runs on a Sony NP-BN1 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery which provides up to approximately 230 shots per charge. The camera comes supplied with one battery and a charger.

Sony DSC-TX5 battery


Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5 Review User Experience:

The Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5 falls into the category of being one of the smallest cameras available on the market. Considering its rugged protected design and underwater capabilities, the camera lends itself well to active lifestyle, family and travel type photography.

Based on our tests with the Sony TX5, the 4x optical zoom with Steadyshot image stabilizer delivers good center sharpness throughout the zoom range. Some edge softness is visible in wideangle images although this is common to most point and shoot cameras in this class.

The 9-point Auto focus system does a good job at maintaining focus, and the Sony Face Recognition system is very responsive and quickly locked in on faces in the scene. The metering system did a good job delivering well balanced exposures in general.

Taking advantage of some of the camera's built-in selectable scene modes and exposure compensation allowed us to compensate and get the desired shot that might not have been as achievable by simply using Auto mode.

We found the 3.0-inch wide touch screen to be responsive and among the better that we have tested. For people with larger fingers the supplied stylus (can be attached to carry strap) works handily in making selections and carrying out operations on the LCD screen.

We also found the menu interface on the Sony DSC-TX5 to be intuitive and geared towards simple operation. Overall we enjoyed using the Sony DSC-TX5 and felt the camera was easy to handle and use, while in most cases delivering very acceptable image quality for its class.

If you are looking for a user friendly, sleek and compact digital camera that can easily be brought along wherever your travels take you, we do not hesitate to recommend the Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5. Based on our experience with the Sony DSC-TX5 we assign the camera a solid 8/10 for a combination of image quality, construction, performance and handling. In our opinion one of the better models in its class.

To buy the Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5 we recommend checking out Amazon. Compare US street prices here. See Canadian prices for the Sony TX5.


What we like about the Sony TX5:
What we don't like:
  • Compact rugged design and almost everything proof - fun for underwater use
  • Delivers generally good image quality
  • Responsive user-friendly touch screen display - one of the best we have tried
  • Shoots 720P HD video at 30 fps
  • Extra wideangle coverage starting at 25mm equivalent (many models start at 28mm)
  • Capture up to 10 frames per second at full 10.2 MP resolution
  • Selectable scene shooting modes, including Handheld Twilight, Anti-Motion Blur, Back Light Correction HDR and Intelligent Sweep Panorama
  • Fast Face Recognition feature
  • Relatively short battery life (a back up battery is recommended)
  • Corner softness visible in some images, although fairly similar to most ultra compact cameras
  • Flash exposures have a tendancy to come across looking a bit over saturated
  • Small zoom lever can be awkward to operate
  • No Manual, Shutter or Aperture priority exposure control


Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5 Review Sample Image Gallery:



Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5 Specifications
Effective Pixels 10.2 megapixel EXMOR R Back Illuminated Sensor
Processor Bionz Image Processor
Focal Range 4.43 - 17.0 mm (25-100mm in 35mm terms for still shots)
Movie 16:9: 28-112mm / Movie 4:3: 34-136mm
Zoom Optical 4x. Digital approx. 8x
Aperture f/3.5 - f/6.3
Image Stabilizer Optical Steadyshot Image Stabilizer
Protective Construction Waterproof 10 feet (1 hr), Shock proof (5 feet), Dustproof and Freeze-proof to -10 degrees celcius
Panorama Mode Panorama Intelligent Sweep Panorama (Horizontal / Vertical up to 258-degrees)
Face Detection

Detects up to 8 faces in a scene and adjusts focus, exposure, flash settings and white balance – for optimal results with natural-looking skin tones. Face Self-Timer makes group photos easy, taking a shot after an extra face enters the frame.

Face Detection modes: Auto / Touch / Child Priority / Adult Priority

Blink Warning and Smile Shutter mode

Auto Focus 9 points AF / Center Weighted AF / Spot AF / Flex-ible Spot AF(Touch)
Focusing Distance Macro iAUTO (Wide: Approx.1cm (0.39’’) to Infinity, Tele: Approx.50cm (1.64’) to Infinity)
Program Auto (Wide: Approx.8cm(0.26’) to Infinity, Tele: Approx.50cm(1.64’) to Infinity)
AF Assist Beam Yes strobe from flash
Metering modes Multi Pattern / Center Weighted / Spot
Dynamic Range Optimizer Standard setting
Exposure Compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments
ISO sensitivity Auto / 125 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200
Shutter Speed iAUTO (2” - 1/1,600) / Program Auto (1” - 1/1,600)
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Fluorescent 1(White Fluorescent Lighting) / Fluorescent 2 (Natural White Fluorescent Lighting) / Fluorescent 3 (Day White Fluorescent Lighting) / Incandescent / Flash / One Push
LCD monitor 3.0” Clear Photo LCD Plus wide display with 230,000 pixel resolution and touch screen operation
Built in Flash Effective Range ISO Auto: 0.08-2.9m (0.26’-9.51’) at Wide and 0.5-2.4m at Tele
ISO3200: up to 6.0m (19.7') at Wide and 4.7m (15.4’) at Tele
Redeye Reduction Yes, strobe from built-in flash
Flash Modes Auto / On / Slow Syncro / Off
Shooting Modes

Intelligent Scene Recognition: 9 scenes can be recognized by the camera

Scene Modes: High Sensitivity / Twilight / Twilight Portrait / Soft Snap / Landscape / Beach / Snow / Firewoks / Hi-Speed Shutter / Underwater / Gourmet / Pet

Special shooting modes: Handheld Twilight / Anti-motion Blur / Backlight Correction HDR

Continuous Shooting Normal / Hi-Speed Burst (High / Mid / Low)
Approximately 10fps at 10.2MP (Maximum 10 shots)
Image size

Still Images: 10M (3,648 x 2,736) / 5M (2,592 x 1,944) / VGA (640 x 480); 16:9 / 7M ( 3,648 x 2,056) / 2M (1,920 x1,080)

Panorama 7,152 x 1,080 (258deg) / 4,912 x 1,080 (177deg) / 4,912 x 1,920 (177deg) / 3,424 x 1,920 (123deg)

Movies Size 1280 x 720 (29.97fps, Progressive) (Approx.6Mbps)

VGA (640 x 480) (29.97fps, Progressive)
Movies Type MP4 compression
In Camera Editing Trimming / Red Eye Correction / Unsharp Masking
Intelligent Orientation Sensor Yes
Histogram No
Playback Zoom Approx. 2x 8x
Self Timer Off / 10sec. / 2sec./ portrait1 / portrait2
USB USB2.0 Hi-Speed
Connections A/V output component 1080i
Card Type SD, SDHC, or Sony Memory Stick PRO DUO media
Supplied Software Picture Motion Browser Ver 5.0, PMB Portable 5.0 (for Windows), PMB Portable 1.1 (for Macintosh)
Battery Type Sony Rechargeable Lithium-ion NP-BN1 3.6V (battery and charger supplied)
Number of shots Approx. 250 shots
Approx. 125 min. playback
Dimensions 94.0mm x 56.9mm x 17.7mm
Weight Approx. 128g (including battery/batteries and memory card)
 
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