The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX10 is the newest rugged (waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, freezeproof) yet stylish camera from Sony following the success of the TX5. Having used both cameras, the 16.2-megapixel TX10 improved on a lot of features that the TX5 badly needs and we’ll take a look into some of those in this review.
The Cyber-shot DSC-TX10 follows the design of Sony’s T-series line of digital cameras with its compact form and sliding lens cover. It has the same elegant metallic finish that the T-series is known for.
Sliding down the cover will reveal the same 25-mm wide angle lens found on the TX5, along with the AF assist lamp, flash and the stereo microphone (which is not present in the TX5) making this an exceptional compact digital movie recorder as well.
At the back is still the same 3-inch resistive touchscreen display but this time around it has a whopping 921k dots as compared to the TX5’s 230k. That is quite an improvement because you can really see the sharpness of the photos you take. With the TX5, you wouldn’t know if the shots are blurry or sharp unless you view it on your PC already and that’s not good for travelers. With the TX10’s beautiful LCD display, you would be proud to show your shots to your friends straight from your camera.
All the control buttons are located on top and there aren’t a lot of them so button operating the camera is very simple. There’s the On/Off button right beside the shutter button. Below them are the Display button beside the Movie Record button. On right corner edge is the nub for the 4x zoom control. That’s it for buttons, everything else is on the touchscreen.
As for the compartments, you have the charging/data connection port and mini-HDMI port (HDMI cable not included) on the side. On the underside is another compartment for the battery and the Memory Stick or SD card. There’s no battery charger included in the package and charging is done by plugging the cable directly to the side of the camera. These compartments have a locking mechanism that’s difficult to accidentally unlatch which is good when you’re underwater.
Ease of Use
Thanks to the small amount of physical buttons, using this camera is fairly easy. The touchscreen has a very intuitive menu and it won’t bombard you with too many options. Very good for casual and amateur shooters but those who wants to play with their shots with manual settings will have to look elsewhere.
You can also touch which area of the screen you want the camera to focus on in which is really useful when composing your shot.
The resistive touchscreen is responsive at times but I noticed a bit of lag when hitting the Play button on the screen to review my photos. Swiping left and right or zooming in and out didn’t pose any problems though. The TX10 groups your photos based on date and will present it in a timeline so you don’t have to browse through a large selection of photos every time.
Don’t look for a capacitive touchscreen here because you would want to operate this camera even when wearing gloves during cold weather. The touchscreen doesn’t work underwater though so you have to surface if you wish to play with the settings.
The 25-mm lens allows you to shoot wider than your average compact shooter and it can also zoom to 100mm (4x). Just like other Cyber-shots, you can do sweep-panoramic shots here both above ground and underwater up to 16 ft. How cool is that? Sweep Panorama is a feature in Sony Cyber-shots that allows you to take pano shots simply by panning the camera which will stitch it on the fly for you after taking the shot.
UPDATE: I recently tried the Sweep Panorama underwater and it’s harder than it looks especially if you can’t stay still when sweeping the camera. I tried it while snorkeling but can’t successfully pan the camera because of the shifting water.
If you’re not impressed still, you will be surprised to know that you can also take 3D shots with the TX10. Again, both above ground and underwater. But wait, there’s more! You can take 3D panoramic shots too! Of course, you need a 3D TV or a laptop with 3D display to show your 3D photos off to your friends.
Since there’s no manual mode here (except for ISO and White Balance), you will typically use the Intelligent auto, Superior auto, and the different Scene modes. Frankly, I don’t know why you would want to use the Intelligent mode when the Superior mode is well… superior. If you don’t know what mode to use, the help button is one touch away to tell you what each mode or scene is used for. This allowed me to use the camera like a pro without reading the manual.
What’s missing here are some effects that you can do with your shots. Some brands have different artistic styles that you can apply to your shot like one favorite of mine which is the “œtoy or miniaturize effect” which the Sony Cyber-shot TX10 doesn’t have.
It does however have one thing that would probably interest you, the Background Defocus mode which can give your shot a “œbokeh” or a blurred background effect to give more focus to your subject. In this mode, you need to be at a certain distance from your subject to achieve the effect. Based on your zoom, the camera will tell you what’s the ideal distance you need to be to take the shot. It could take a few shots to get it done but it really works.
You can also take 1080i HD videos with this camera with very good sound quality thanks to its stereo mic located in the front.
Sample Photos / Video
Despite the f/3.5 max aperture, the Exmor R lens on the TX10 still allows it to capture good indoor or low-light shots without the aid of a flash.
Here are some sample photos taken with the Sony Cybershot DSC-TX10:[nggallery id=9]
And here’s a sample underwater video:
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX10 is a very nice upgrade from the TX5. It retained its compact yet stylish form but improved its ruggedness (16ft underwater as compared to the TX5’s 10ft). It’s not a lot but when you’re swimming with whale sharks or just snorkeling, you don’t want to always think about the depth that you’re bringing this camera into.
The 921k dot display is something that a good camera should have. It really showed the sharpness and the colors of the photos I took. I always get bummed out when I transfer my compact camera photos to my PC only to find out that the colors are washed out or blurry but on the camera’s LCD, they look good. The TX10 will show you how your photo will exactly turn out.
The 3D capability is just a novelty feature but it’s something that you would appreciate when the time 3D displays become more common. The TX10 is a very good all-around camera that you can take with you anywhere with the price tag of Php24,990 being its only downside.
|Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX10 Specs:|
|16.2 megapixels (4:3, 16:9 aspect ratio)|
|25-100 mm Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens (4x zoom), F3.5 ““ F4.6|
|Exmor R CMOS sensor|
|3″ touchscreen LCD display (921k dots)|
|ISO: Auto, 125, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200|
|Waterproof up to 5m or 16 ft.|
|Freezeproof – 14° – 104° F|
|Full HD 1080/60i movie recording with stereo sound|
|iSweep Panorama Mode|
|3D Still image, 3D Sweep Panorama|
|SD/SDHC/SDXC/Memory Stick Duo/Memory Stick Pro Duo, Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo|
|Colors: Black, Pink, Yellow Green, Silver and Aqua Blue|