Announced in January 2011, the Sony Cybershot DSC-TX10 is a compact digital camera which is both extremely good looking, whilst being tough enough to survive being dropped, used underwater and taken into freezing conditions. It is available in black, silver and pink for around £279.99.
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX10 Features
The TX10 has a 16.2 megapixel sensor with a 4x optical zoom lens, a 35mm equivalent of 25 - 100mm. With a stylish design, the camera is shockproof to 1.5m, waterproof to 5m, freezeproof to -10c and dustproof.
There are many picture taking features which make shooting with the TX10 a unique experience. If you enjoy shooting panoramic images there is Intelligent Sweep Panorama, 3D Sweep Panorama and Sweep Panorama High Resolution, the latter creating a 42.9 megapixel image. Other interesting features include Sweep Multi Angle, 3D image shooting, Background defocus, Tracking focus, High-speed continuous shooting (at up to 10 fps) and Superior Auto Mode.
Other features include Face Detection, Smile Shutter, Backlight Correction HDR, Soft Skin mode, Self Portrait Timer and in-camera retouching.
Videos can be shot at 1080i Full HD movie with optical zoom available during recording and playback is available on a HD television via a HDMI cable. A HD slideshow with music can be created to display through a HD television.
Key Features (Bullet Point)
16.2 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor
4x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 25 - 100mm)
Intelligent Sweep Panorama
3D Sweep Panorama
Sweep Panorama High Resolution
Sweep Multi Angle
3D still image
10fps high speed shooting
Superior auto mode
1080i full HD video recording
3 inch wide LCD touch screen
Backlight Correction HDR
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX10 Handling
When looking at cameras that are waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof, you normally expect to see quite heavy, larger cameras that look really tough, so the TX10 looks a lot more stylish, while also being smaller and lighter than you'd expect.
On the rear of the camera is a 3 inch touchscreen, which is very responsive and easy to use and fills the rear of the camera. The only buttons found on the camera are on/off, shutter release, movie and playback as well as a zoom rocker which is placed on the top left corner of the camera.
The camera can also be switched on and off by sliding the front of the camera up and down. The menus are clear and easy to navigate, but if there is anything you are unsure of, you simply press the ? button and press the option you want to know more about.
With a CIPA rating of 250 shots for the battery, the camera will withstand a good amount of usage when out shooting for a day. Within two to three seconds of switching on the camera is ready to take pictures and the focusing speed is quick enough not to leave you waiting to take a shot.
There are two continuous shooting modes which both take full resolution size pictures: High - burst of up to 10 shots at max speed of 10 shots/sec and Low - burst of up to 10 shots at max speed of 2 shots/sec. In our test the cameras produced 7.5 fps and 1.9 fps respectively.
Battery and memory card
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX10 Performance
The TX10 takes really well exposed images with excellent colour reproduction. Detail in the images is good, although the images do look softer in the corners than in the middle. The wide-angle image does show a small amount of purple fringing. Detail is excellent when shooting macros and thanks to the minimum focus distance of just 1cm, you can get in really close.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX10 Lens test images
Noise at ISO 125 is barely noticeable and it only slightly worsens at ISO 200, and again at ISO 400. At ISO 800 there is a loss of sharpness, but even though there's a touch more noise at ISO 1600, the sharpness doesn't look any worse. ISO 3200 produces images with a substantial amount of noise and loss of detail, but considering the TX10 is a 16.2 megapixel camera, noise performance is excellent.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX10 ISO test images
Below are a range of images taken using some of the modes on the camera. The landscape image was taken on a particularly dull day but the camera has taken a pleasant looking image. Portrait shots have really good skin tones, although red-eye is evident.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX10 Scene modes
Shooting panoramic images with the TX10 is really easy thanks to Sweep Panoramic technology. You can sweep in any direction, so you can take a more traditional panoramic, or as can be seen in the second images, you can create a high-resolution image.
Panoramic | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 4.4 mm | ISO 125
Panoramic | 1/800 sec | f/6.3 | 4.4 mm | ISO 125
Auto white-balance performance is excellent as can be seen in our studio test shots. The three fluorescent presets take images which either have a pink of yellow cast in the image.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX10 White-balance test images
The following video is full 1080i HD. The camera also allows the use of optical zoom, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.
Value For Money
The market for cameras that are waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof is competitive, but the Sony Cybershot DMC-TX10 appears more like a premium digital compact camera which also benefits from these attributes. Cameras with a 16 megapixel sensor and 4x optical zoom are mostly cheaper than the TX-10, so if you're not particularly bothered about purchasing a "tough" camera, there is likely to be better value for money to be found else where.
Similar to the Ricoh PX, the stylish TX10 camera won't look out of place in general use when out with friends but is tough enough to survive extreme shooting conditions. It is hampered by quite a hefty price tag, sitting towards the top of the "tough" camera range, but if you have a habit of dropping cameras on the floor or in water, the investment may prove worth it. Overall, you are getting a feature packed camera, which is easy to use and takes excellent pictures. If you have the money, the Sony Cybershot DSC-TX10 comes recommended.
The Sony Cybershot DSC-TX10 is packed with features and delivers superb image quality.
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX10 Pros
Fast continuous shooting at full resolution
Full HD videos
Good noise performance
Superb image quality
Waterproof, freezeproof and shockproof
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX10 Cons
Quite an expensive "tough" camera
Only 4x optical zoom