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Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Review

The Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 is a stylish camera which is waterproof, dustproof, freezeproof and shockproof. Daniel Bell reviews.

| Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 in Compact Cameras

Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Review: Sony Cyber Shot Tx30 Black (3)

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.

Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Review: Sony Cyber Shot Tx30 Macro Lights

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.
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Review: Sony Cyber Shot Tx30 Black (4)

Key Features

  • 18.2 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 5x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 26-130mm)
  • Optical SteadyShot
  • 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
  • ISO 80-12800
  • 1cm minimum focusing distance
  • Artistic picture effects
  • 10 fps continuous shooting
  • Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Review: Sony Cyber Shot Tx30 Black (5)

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.

Shutter Response   0.05 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.175 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.175 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   1.35 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   0.7 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   3.8 secs
Continuous Shooting - High   9.6 fps
Continuous Shooting - Low   2.0 fps

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 Review: Sony Cyber Shot Tx30 Black Bottom

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 PerformanceUnder 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.

Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Review: Panorama 1 | 1/500 sec | f/4.5 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Panorama 1 | 1/500 sec | f/4.5 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80

Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Review: Panorama 2 | 1/400 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.

Value For Money

The Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 is available for £299.00. Other waterproof cameras include the Pentax WG-3, available for £305Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5, available for £295, the Nikon Coolpix AW110, available for £270 and the Canon Powershot D20, available for £260. For more waterproof cameras, have a look at the Top 10 Best Waterproof Cameras.

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Verdict

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.

  Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Review:
  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


Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.5 - f/4.8
35mm equivalent26mm - 130mm
Optical Zoom5x
Image Sensor
Pixels18.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4896
Pixels (H)3672
Sensor TypeExmor CMOS
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3.3in
Screen resolution1,229,000 dots
Touch ScreenYes
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Spot
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1600sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
Video FPSNo Data
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • Micro SD
  • Micro SDHC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium NP-BN
Battery Life (CIPA rating)250shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsRechargeable Battery Pack (NP-BN), AC AdaptorAC-UB10/UB10B/UB10C/UB10D, Wrist Strap, Micro USB Cable, Instruction Manual

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Photographs taken using the Sony Cybershot DSC-TX30

   "out of fuel (dry out)""Sailors Drink""Happy Easter for sale"the spectator

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