Design and features
Sharing a similar aesthetic to Sony's other slimline TX-series cameras, the TX9 features a sliding front metal panel that covers a 4x optical zoom lens. It moves internally, so no parts protrude from the camera itself when the lens is zooming. At the wide-end it's 25mm, but otherwise it's unremarkable — opening to f/3.5-4.6 maximum aperture at the wide and telephoto extremes.
At the top of the device is a slim shutter and power button and the tiniest zoom rocker you could imagine. Other top panel evidence gives away that this camera has HD video recording at 1080i in AVCHD (or MPEG-4). A 12.1-megapixel sensor with Sony's Exmor R technology means, at least in theory, it should give good low-light shots and speedy performance.
Elsewhere, swivel the camera around and a glorious 3.5-inch touchscreen panel greets you, with a 921,000-dot resolution. It's rivalled only by Samsung's touchscreens in terms of girth, on cameras like the ST5500 with 3.7 inches of screen time.
Tap to focus is a feature we're seeing more and more of on touchscreen cameras, and the TX9 definitely has this, but there is no touchscreen shutter release — you still need to press the physical button to take the image.
Shooting modes are accessible via the green mode command at the top left corner of the screen, and brings up an interface with the following selections: intelligent auto, superior auto, iSweep panorama, movie mode, program, background defocus, scene selection and 3D shooting. Superior auto takes up to six shots in quick succession to reduce noise and increase dynamic range. In our tests, the difference between standard automatic mode and superior auto were hardly noticeable.
In the box comes a dock that provides HDMI out, USB connectivity, DC input and a stereo AV-out port. The TX9 also is compatible with the party dock, as we reviewed in conjunction with the TX1.
All things 3D
As 3D imaging slowly permeates the camera market, Sony is one of the first to move with its 3D sweep panorama technology that we also saw in the company's interchangeable lens camera, the.
The TX9 has two main 3D shooting modes; 3D sweep panorama, which constructs images by panning the camera across a set axis. The other is sweep multi-axis mode, which takes 15 photos across the frame at variable angles and when you tilt the camera in playback mode it simulates the effect of a 3D image. And when we say simulate, it really is nothing like a 3D experience. It works best when used on images with strong foreground and background elements, but for most examples (as you can see below) it doesn't really look that effective.
General shooting metrics (in seconds)
- Time to first shot
- Shot-to-shot time
- Shutter lag
- Sony Cyber-shot TX91.720.3
Continuous shooting speed (longer bars indicate better performance)
- Sony Cyber-shot TX910