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Sony DSC T70 Digital Camera Review

Matt Grayson gets his mitts on another Sony T range camera. This time, it's the DSC T70.


|  Sony DSC T70 in Compact Cameras
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A third model in the range of slim, metal compacts from Sony. The T70 is a smaller version of the T100 and T200 incorporating the touch screen technology, albeit on a smaller screen.

 

  • Sensor: CCD - 8.1Mp
  • Image Size: 3264 x 2448 pixels
  • Lens: 35-114mm f/3.5-4.4 (3x zoom)
  • Focus: 9 Area Multi-Point AF, 5 Step Manual Preset, Face Detection
  • Exposure: Program AE/9 modes
  • Metering: Multi-Pattern/Centre
  • Monitor: 3in Touch Screen LCD
  • Movie Mode: Yes
  • Storage: 31Mb Internal, Memory Stick Duo and Pro Duo Media
  • Batteries: InfoLithium Rechargeable
  • AC Adaptor: Optional
  • Video Output: Yes via Cyber-shot station - HD1080
  • Size/Weight: 90x56x21mm - 128g
  • Transfer: USB 2.0

At £209, the DSC T70 has 8Mp, 3x optical zoom and a 3in touch screen LCD. Comparably, the Panasonic FX33 also has an 8Mp sensor, 3.6x optical zoom with a wider field of view and a 2.5in LCD screen. The Panasonic is £10 cheaper and although the Leica lens is not as good as the Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar, it's still very good. Alternatively, the Canon Ixus 950IS for the same price also comes with 8Mp, a larger 4x optical zoom and smaller 2.5in LCD screen.

Sony DSC T70 Modes and features
Sony DSC T70 Styled on its older brothers the Sony DSC-T100 and DSC-T200, the front is dominated by a large sliding panel which acts as a power switch when slid down. Performing this action unveils the small Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens, AF assist beam and small, thin flash.

The top of the camera has a small strip of chrome which has the main power button with the Playback button sat next to it. The Shutter release is next with a very small zoom slider on the corner.

The back of the camera has nothing but the screen as it is touch sensitive, so there's no need for buttons.

The styling of the screen layout follows on from the T200 with three options in the top and bottom left and bottom right. The top right is reserved for the back button when in a menu.

Several other icons scatter the screen and on the left side they are showing the battery power, the screen ratio, self timer status and what mode the camera is in. On the right is the macro and flash status, face detect activation and amount of images available.

The Menu, as always with new Sony compacts, is split into two areas called Home and Menu. They have also added a third shooting menu just for good measure. The Home menu splits the core menu down into bitesize pieces to save having to search through to find the bit you want. This is great in principle, but what if you don't know what area it's in?

Tapping the Home icon will fetch up five tabs for Shooting, Playback, Print, Memory card and Set up tools. Each tab has several different options which are usually doubled up somewhere else. The Shooting tab has all the options that the Shooting menu on the main screen has, so one of them is a complete waste of time. Sony DSC T70 The Playback tab has the review options with the added benefit of accessing the Slideshow option where a slideshow can be made from the pictures on your card. The Print tab has print options and in a display of common sense, Sony have put the Music tool into this tab to save creating a dedicated tab for it. The Music tool allows you to download music onto the camera to put onto your slideshow.

In a desperate bid to completely contradict my last sentence, the next tab which is allocated to Memory tools has one option which then gives one option, which then gives one option. Seems like a waste of time to me.

Finally, the fifth tab is the Set up access and is doubled up in the Menu too. Four options are available in this and they take you to particular areas of the main set up menu to save searching through. I like this idea, but has its drawbacks as it's not always possible to know which area you want to go to.

If that hasn't confused you, we're only two thirds through the menus available. The Menu tab gives access to more everyday use options. Three pages await your perusal and they start off with the Drive and bracketing in one tab which saves space. Next is White balance and the Colour modes. Flash compensation is also available to give a little boost or suppression of flash light and red-eye reduction, Steadyshot options and the doubling of the previously mentioned set up tab is the final option.

Luckily, that's all the Menu has to offer, so the final Menu is a small button sat just above the Menu. It's primarily a shooting menu and tapping the icon brings up the option of setting the camera to Auto, Scene, Program and Video mode.

It's all quite extensive and in a bid to simplify the vast menu, Sony could have shot themselves in the foot. The doubling up of options is terribly annoying and only serves to confuse and even bewilder.

Sony DSC T70 Sony DSC T70 Build and handling
The camera is well built with a metal casing and tough screen to cope with all the prodding. The lens is still provided by Carl Zeiss to ensure crispness and quality.

The sliding lens cover hasn't got anything to grip onto and the spring that snaps it in and out of place is strong. This means that those quick shots can sometimes be missed because your fingers slip fruitlessly off the half open cover as it springs back into place.

My only two other gripes with the build is the zoom rocker is very small whilst the zoom is very slow. The touchscreen could also be more sensitive. Not wanting to damage it, I kept giving it a gentle tap, but it just wouldn't play ball. It prefers a hard, firm knock to get it going.

Sony DSC T70 Flash options
Program and Auto will both give you the same flash options of Auto flash, On, Off and Slow sync for lighting dark backgrounds. A tripod is needed with the latter option because of the slow shutter speed causing blur.

Sony DSC T70 Performance
The colour test has all the usual boosts to the primary colours, but the saturation of Red has still left the skin tone natural, which is good.

The burst test managed 18 shots in ten seconds with a little over an extra second to finish downloading. So that's a result of 0.56fps which ties in with Sony's claim of 0.51fps.

Our shutter lag test showed a decent response of around 0.04 seconds. Although the results were very varied, this was the most frequent result.

The landscape image has produced a decent shot despite the dreary day. Fog has desaturated the image, but the camera has still tried to boost the green of the grass. The narrower image is due to the 16:9 ratio and therefore crops off the usual building to the right.

For the portrait shots, I selected the Soft snap mode which gives a slight blur to the images. The first image is used without flash and gives a reasonably accurate reproduction of the actual colours on the day.

The second image is Soft snap used with flash and has given a much more definite cast where it also affects the white background. Whilst this is a negative point, it only really stands out when compared to the image without flash. If you were in a situation using the flash all the time, you wouldn't give it second thought.

Sony DSC T70
Primary colours are saturated, thankfully not to the expense of other colours like the skin tone or any of the pastels. Tones also have a good result.
Sony DSC T70
I underexposed this image by 2 stops to add blue to the sky as it was a bright day. The clouds would not be as detailed and the ground would have been too pale. My only concern is the colour of turbine has been offset.
Sony DSC T70
Using the Vivid colour setting delivers a similar result to the underexposed image but without the detail or saturation in the sky. I prefer the exposure of the grass in this, though.
Sony DSC T70
The Neutral colour setting has given the image a slight overexposure to whiten the turbine, pale the sky and grass and generally flatten the overall image.
Sony DSC T70
The T70 comes with two macro settings. Standard Macro has a close focus of 8cm.
Sony DSC T70
Super close is 2cm, but the zoom is lost.
Sony DSC T70
A soft focusing has been given and a warmer cast has been applied.
Sony DSC T70
The same setting with flash has warmed the image substantially.

Sony DSC T70
The landscape test was a foggy day and paled a lot of colours. The grass has tried to come out and the detail in the winch is good.

Sony DSC T70 Noise test
The T70 gives a very good noise result. Actual colour changes only start to occur at ISO400 with some purple and blue blobs. ISO800 has no more degradation on the noise, but does have distinctive sharpening of the noise adding to the decay of the image. The petals are noticeably losing detail at this stage, too.

The same degradation occurs at ISO1600 and by ISO3200, detail is almost lost in the petals and purple and green blobs have nearly taken over the black and grey squares.

Sony DSC T70
The ISO80 test.
Sony DSC T70
The ISO100 test.
Sony DSC T70
The ISO200 test.
Sony DSC T70
The ISO400 test.
Sony DSC T70
The ISO800 test.
Sony DSC T70
The ISO1600 test.
Sony DSC T70
The ISO3200 test.
 

Sony DSC T70 Verdict
Seeing as there are at least two other versions of this camera available that have been reviewed here, it's difficult to give it a unique verdict. The T100 only got seven out of ten because of its inability to backtrack through the menus. The T200 saw this problem rectified but the other problems remained like a small zoom button and the screen not being touch sensitive enough.

Annoyingly, these points have been transferred over to the T70. The physical size of the lens is smaller as is the screen and it only has a 3x optical zoom as opposed to 5x on the T100 and T200. This is reflected in a lower price and cannot justify a lower mark against the camera.

If you like the look of the T100 or the T200 and you don't want to pay as much as that, then this is a definite alternative.

Sony DSC T70 Plus points
Good build quality
Good lens
Excellent noise results

Sony DSC T70 Minus points
Zoom rocker is too small
Screen is still not sensitive enough
Menu is still unnecessarily big

FEATURES

HANDLING

PERFORMANCE

OVERALL

The Sony DSC T70 costs around £209 and is available from your 24/7 ePHOTOzine shop here.

 


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Photographs taken using the Sony DSC T70

~ O C E A N I C ~FreedomGreenwich ReachCulzean Castle

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Comments


In front of the Sony DSC-T70 is a smooth, mostly covered by the frame of the panel a large lens cover that slides over the stationary finger grip chrome. The text of the lid and the side handle can be read when the camera is set down, but it is the right way when the camera is swung the belt. Lens cover slides down to reveal the lens and turn on the camera. As the design goal is all internal, the zoom does not telescope outward when the camera is on.

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