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Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 Digital Camera Review

Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 Digital Camera Review - Daniel Bell reviews the Sony CyberShot DSC-J10, a digital camera with an unusual design.

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Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-J10 in Compact Cameras


Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 front side

The Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 was released in January 2011 and has an unusual design as well as 4Gb of internal memory. It is available in white, blue and black and costs £158.99.

Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 front

Sony CyberShot DSC-J10: Features

The camera has a 16.1 megapixel sensor and a 4x optical zoom lens which is a 35mm equivalent of 35 - 140mm. There is a substantial 4Gb of internal memory but as there isn't a memory card slot, once it is full there is no way to increase the capacity. To transfer picture and videos to a computer there is a built-in USB arm which plugs in, and charges the battery, without the use of a separate cable.

The camera has Intelligent Auto (iAUTO) mode which sets the settings to take the optimum images in varying conditions or you can choose from the scene modes available, including: High Sensitivity, Soft Snap, Landscape, Twilight Portrait, Twilight, Gourmet, Pet, Beach, Snow and Fireworks. There is also P mode and SteadyShot, which shoots with blur reduction. Panoramic images are taken using a sweep method, the camera stitches together a series of high-speed burst images when moving the camera left, right, up or down.

Video recording is only 640 x 480 VGA.

Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 screen

Key Features

  • 16.1 megapixels CCD sensor
  • 4x optical zoom lens
  • Sweep Panorama
  • Intelligent Auto Mode
  • 2.7 inch Clear Photo LCD screen
  • 4GB internal memory
  • Face Detection
  • Smile Shutter
  • Easy Shooting mode
  • In-camera retouching
Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 top

Sony CyberShot DSC-J10: Handling

The Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 feels a bit like a bar of soap and is ideal for those looking for a camera which slips easily into your pocket. The lens is internal therefore the camera doesn't ever get any larger, with the only moving part being the USB connector.

The buttons are well laid out with seperate buttons for the shutter release and zoom button rather than the usual layout with the zoom rocket around the shutter release. There is a dedicated button to switch between the picture, video and panoramic modes.

The menus are clear and easy to navigate, without options which are likely to confuse beginners. The battery life is rated by CIPA at 210 shots and during testing the camera didn't show any signs of not being able to achieve this number. As the camera is regularly plugged in to download the images the camera gets charge more often.

The camera is ready to take pictures within a couple of seconds of switching on and is reasonably quick to focus. In Burst mode it is able to shoot at 1.4fps.

Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 USB connector

Sony CyberShot DSC-J10: Performance

The camera takes images with excellent colour reproduction and there is plenty of detail in pictures taken at either end of the lens. At the telephoto length there is clearly pincushion distortion, which can be seen in the ISO test pictures as the lines in the charts are bendy. With a minimum focus distance of just 1cm it is possible to take great macro shots.

Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 wide angle   Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 full optical zoom
Wide-angle, ISO80, 1/320, f/5.3, 6.2mm (35mm equiv: 35mm)   Full optical zoom, ISO80, 1/250, f/7, 24.7mm (35mm equiv: 140mm)
Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 digital zoom   Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 macro
Digital zoom, ISO80, 1/250, f/7, 24.7mm (35mm equiv: 140mm)   Macro, ISO100, 1/30, f/3.5, 6.2mm (35mm equiv: 35mm)

Noise is evident even at ISO80 and ISO100, which steadily worsens through ISO200 and ISO400, where images are starting to lose sharpness and detail although the images produced are still good. When shooting at ISO800 the images are starting to look very noisy. At ISO1600 and ISO3200 the noise is significant and images produced are best used for small prints and the web. Although noise does get bad at the higher levels, the camera manages to retain good colour reproduction.

Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 ISO80 Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 ISO100 Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 ISO200 Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 ISO400
ISO80, 1/4, f/4.5, 23mm (35mm equiv: 129mm) ISO100, 1/5, f/4.5, 23mm (35mm equiv: 129mm) ISO200, 1/10, f/4.5, 23mm (35mm equiv: 129mm) ISO400, 1/20, f/4.5, 23mm (35mm equiv: 129mm)
Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 ISO800 Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 ISO1600 Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 ISO3200  
ISO800, 1/40, f/4.5, 23mm (35mm equiv: 129mm) ISO1600, 1/80, f/4.5, 23mm (35mm equiv: 129mm) ISO3200, 1/125, f/5.3, 23mm (35mm equiv: 129mm)  

Below are some example images taken using the J10. The camera takes very pleasing portrait pictures with good skin tones and merely a hint of red-eye. In bright conditions images tended to be a washed out somewhat, which is clearly evident in the landscape picture.

Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 portrait   Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 beach mode
Portrait, ISO160, 1/60, f/4.1, 17mm (35mm equiv: 98mm)   Beach mode, ISO80, 1/640, f/5.7, 12mm (35mm equiv: 69mm)
Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 landscape   Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 landscape with building
Landscape, ISO80, 1/200, f/3.5, 6.2mm (35mm equiv: 35mm)   Landscape with building, ISO80, 1/400, f/5.3, 6.2mm (35mm equiv: 35mm)

The following image was taken using the Sweep Panoramic mode, which is really easy to use and gives excellent results when viewed on the web, but lack detail and aren't suitable for large prints.

Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 panoramic
Sweep panoramic, ISO400, 1/4000, f/3.5, 6.2mm (35mm equiv: 35mm)

The auto white-balance setting does an excellent job and clearly performs well under the lights in our studio. There is nothing to tell between the AWB and incandescent preset under the incandescent lights. Under the fluorescent lights, the AWB setting gave the best picture, with the fluorescent preset giving a magenta cast in the image.

Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting   Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 Preset Incandescent WB - Incandescent Light
Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting, ISO100, 1/4, f/3.5, 8mm (35mm equiv: 43mm)   Preset Incandescent WB - Incandescent Light, ISO100, 1/13, f/3.5, 8mm (35mm equiv: 43mm)
Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 Auto White Balance - Fluorescent Light   Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 Fluorescent White Balance - Fluorescent Light
Auto White Balance - Fluorescent Light, ISO100, 1/4, f/3.5, 8mm (35mm equiv: 43mm)   Fluorescent White Balance - Fluorescent Light, ISO100, 1/4, f/3.5, 8mm (35mm equiv: 43mm)

Video Mode

Unfortunately the J10 doesn't have HD video recording and is only 640 x 480 VGA.

Value For Money

The Sony CyberShot DSC-J10 is currently available for £158.99. Other cameras to consider with a built in USB are the GE Create, priced at £169.00, and Samsung PL90 for £111.99. We have reviewed many other compact cameras worth consideration including the: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS16 for £119.99, Nikon Coolpix S3100 for £99.99 and the Canon IXUS 220 HS for £169.99.

Sony CyberShot DSC-J10: Verdict

The J10 takes good pictures with excellent colour reproduction and detail in images at both ends of the lens. Sadly it lacks many features which you can find on many digital compact cameras available for less than the price of the J10.

It is very suprising that the camera is unable to shoot full HD videos and there is noise evident in the images even at the lowest ISO setting, but if you are looking for a very compact camera with built-in memory rather than using SD cards then the J10 delivers acceptable results.

Sony CyberShot DSC-J10: Pros

Easy to use Sweep Panorama mode
Excellent colour reproduction
Close focus distance of just 1cm
Bulit-in USB connector
Good amount of internal memory

Sony CyberShot DSC-J10: Cons

No HD movies
The lens isn't particularly wide
Poor noise performance
Pincushion distortion at telephoto length
Plenty of cameras with more feature available for less


Sony CyberShot DSC-J10: Specification

Price £158.99
Contact www.sony.co.uk
Optical zoom 4x optical zoom, 6.2 - 24.7mm (35mm equiv: 35 - 140mm), f/3.5 - 4.6
Resolution 16.1 megapixels
Sensor size 1/2.3 inch
Sensor type CCD
Max image size 4608 x 3456
Aspect ratio 4:3
Focusing system 9 points
Focus points Centre weighted, spot
Focus distance 1cm
File types JPEG, AVCHD
ISO sensitivity ISO80 - 3200
Metering types Multi pattern, centre weighted, spot
Exposure compensation ± 2.0EV, 1/3EV step
Shutter speed range 2 - 1/1000 sec
Frames-per-second 1.05fps
Image stabilisation Yes
Movie mode VGA
Monitor 2.7in LCD TFT screen
Media type 4GB internal memory
Interface USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
Power Lithium-ion (SP60)
Box Contents USB Charger(AC-UB10/10B), Power cord, Wrist strap, CD-ROM, Dedicated USB connection support cable
Size 93.6 x 59.4 x 17.3 mm
Weight 126g
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Photographs taken using the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-J10

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