The Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 is a tough camera which was announced in February 2013. It is waterproof, dustproof, freezeproof and shock proof. There is also a Magnifying Glass Plus mode for shooting tiny objects. The TX30 is available for £299.00.
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Features
The Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 is a waterproof camera that is also dust, freeze and shockproof. It has an 18.2 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor and an internal 5x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 26-130mm, it can be extended to 10x using Clear Image Zoom. To help keep your shots as sharp as possible there is Optical SteadyShot.
When shooting there are two auto modes which adjust the camera settings automatically. Intelligent Auto recognises a wide number of scenes, whereas Superior Auto recognises when your subject is moving. There are a number of scene modes and artistic picture effects. These effects work on photos and videos to help expand your creativity.
There is a Magnifying Glass Plus mode for shooting tiny objects and an LED to brighten up close-ups. When using continuous shooting you can shoot at 10 fps. The TX30 shoots extra-wide panoramas and when shooting portraits the camera can remove skin blemishes, brighten teeth, widen eyes and cut forehead shine
Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD with Optical SteadyShot Active mode to help keep your videos steady even when you are moving or zooming.
18.2 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor
5x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 26-130mm)
3.3 inch 1,229,760 dot OLED touchscreen
Waterproof to 10m
Dust, freeze and shockproof
Magnifying Glass Plus mode
Camera LED light
Intelligent and Superior Auto modes
Full 1080p HD video recording with Optical SteadyShot Active Mode
1cm minimum focusing distance
Artistic picture effects
10 fps continuous shooting
Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Handling
Many waterproof cameras don't look as stylish as the TX30, although designed to battle the elements, you get the feeling it could show the evidence of a few bumps and scrapes if it was to be dropped regularly. Many waterproof cameras have a dual locking system for the battery and memory card, the TX30 just has a single clip, so care needs to be taken to ensure it is snapped shut properly before underwater use. It has a metal body and a thin rubber grip down one side of the front of the camera to aid grip.
The back of the camera is dominated by the 3.3 inch 1,229,760 dot OLED touchscreen. The touch screen is responsive and is used to do almost everything with the camera. The only buttons you'll find are placed on top of the camera, there is the shutter release, zoom rocker and on / off switch and movie record button. You can also switch the camera on and off by sliding the front cover up and down, we did find water took a while to dry out if it got behind the front cover. The menu system is easy to navigate.
Battery life is rated at 250 shots according to CIPA test results. We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot without Flash
Shot to Shot with Flash
Continuous Shooting - High
Continuous Shooting - Low
Shot to shot time starts at 0.7 seonds, but slows to 1.1 seconds after just three shots. Both continuous shooting modes are at full 18.2 megapixel resolution.
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Performance
Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Sample Photos
Sample Photos - Images are well exposed with excellent colour reproduction. Portraits have good skin tones but there is spots of red-eye when using the flash. Underwater performance is good, with the Magnifying Glass Plus mode making it possible to take some stunning close-ups. The background defocus mode takes two pictures to create a DSLR style image taken with a large aperture.
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Lens test images
Lens Performance - Image detail is OK at both ends of the lens, with a good control over purple fringing. Image quality does suffer when using the Clear Image Zoom, but for sharing on the web, it is fine. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm, this allows for decent macro shots to be taken.
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - Images have low noise at ISO 80, 100, 200 and 400. A little detail is lost at ISO 800, causing images to become a little soft, which slightly worsens at ISO 1600. Image quality begins to reduce significantly at ISO 3200 with quality worsening rapidly at ISO 6400 and ISO 12800. These two highest settings are best avoided where possible.
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights the auto white balance (AWB) performs well, with a slight colour cast when using the incandescent preset. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB again performs well, with all three fluorescent presets having a colour cast.
Panorama 1 | 1/500 sec | f/4.5 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Panorama 2 | 1/400 sec | f/4.5 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Panorama mode - Panorama images have a good amount of detail and are stitched together really well.
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Digital filters
Digital Filters - The TX30 has a number of picture effects available to you take creative pictures. There are a number of examples above.
Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD. Quality is good, you can use the optical zoom during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.
All the main camera manufacturers have produced waterproof cameras, but Sony's tend to stand out from the crowd as they look more like a normal camera, rather than some of the tough models that are also available. This doesn't mean the TX30 isn't tough - it's waterproof to 10m as well as being dust, freeze and shock proof. Adding to its stylish look, the 3.3 inch LCD touch screen fills the rear of the camera, with no buttons except for those on the top.
Image quality is good, but it's the Magnifying Glass Plus mode that was really impressive. It can be a little tricky to get the focusing right, but with practice you can take some stunning shots. The TX30 also shoots full resolution images at 10 fps.
The Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 is one of the more stylish waterproof cameras available and has a very impressive and unique macro mode.
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Pros
Excellent Magnifying Glass Plus mode
Decent image quality
Waterproof to 10m
Dust, freeze and shockproof
10 fps continuous shooting
Stylish looking waterproof camera
Large, high-resolution responsive touchscreen
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Cons
Water gets behind the sliding lens cover
Battery and memory card cover only has a single clip
Lots of red-eye in portrait shots when using flash
Noisy images from ISO 3200 upwards