Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T300 review: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T300

Original (top). Portrait with effects, from top left to right: periphery blur, monochrome surround, fisheye lens, radial blur, Happy Faces (low level), Happy Faces (high level).

After you edit your pictures, you can use the T300's various slide-show and sorting features to organize and share them with your friends. You can use the touch screen to sort pictures into different folders, and even tag your favorite shots so you can view them separately. A built-in slide-show mode displays your photos with a customizable MP3 soundtrack and a variety of slide transition effects. The camera comes with a composite video cable for displaying pictures on a television, though HDTV owners should consider the optional component video cable if they want to fully take advantage of the feature.

Once you get past the awkward menus and copious options, the camera performs quite fast. In CNET Labs' tests, the T300 snapped its first shot 1.9 seconds after powering on, and took another picture every 1.7 seconds thereafter. With the onboard flash enabled, that wait increased to 2.2 seconds. The shutter felt responsive, lagging just a hair under half a second in our high-contrast environment and a full second in our low-contrast lighting. In burst mode, the camera delivered a respectable 1.9 frames per second.

Quick performance and dozens of features are great, but in the end cameras have to be judged on the pictures they take. Unfortunately, we found the T300 seriously lacking in that respect. Even at its best, photos generally look soft, with haloing along edges. At its lowest sensitivity, ISO 80, we still see noise in flat colors, like gray. It becomes noticeable across the board at ISO 200, and by ISO 400 starts degrading detail. At ISO 3,200 photos look like they were painted with a worn-out kitchen sponge. Finally, the camera's lens produced conspicuous vignetting--darkening the corners of shots--at its widest, and displayed distortion at both the wide and telephoto ends of the range.

While the Cyber-shot DSC-T300 offers a great design, loads of features, and fast performance, its pictures simply don't look match up to its predecessors or to competitors such as the Canon PowerShot SD950 IS. If you can pick up the T200 or T100 however, seriously consider either of them instead of this latest model.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T200
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T300
Casio Exilim EX-Z1050
Canon PowerShot SD950 IS
Samsung NV11

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T300

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