Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77 review: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77

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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Attractive design; useful feature set; fast performance.

The Bad Nearly too small; touch screen not for everyone; soft photos.

The Bottom Line The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77 is a fun, fast ultracompact, but it's almost too tiny for its own good.

6.8 Overall
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 8.0
  • Image quality 7.0

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77 is roughly the size of a closed flip phone, and its internal 4x zoom lens lets it stay that size even in use. Also, since it sports a touch-screen display with next to no physical controls, it slides into and out of a pants pocket with no effort. Its smallness, however, has an impact on usability and photo quality. It's a fairly quick camera, though, so if you can overlook its less-than-sharp photos and don't mind the touch-based interface, the T77 is one of the better ultracompact cameras around.

Key specifications Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77
Price (MSRP) $299.99
Dimensions 3.8x2.4x0.6 inches (WHD)
Weight (with battery and media) 5.3 ounces
Megapixels, image sensor size, type 10 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD
LCD size, resolution 3-inch touch-screen LCD, 230K dots
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 4x, f3.5-4.6, 35-140mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (still/video) JPEG/Motion JPEG
Highest resolution size (still/video) 3,648x2,736 pixels (4:3) / 640x480 at 30fps (14:3)
Image stabilization type Optical and electronic
Battery type, rated life Lithium ion rechargeable, 220 shots

Typical of Sony's T-series cameras, the T77 is quite stylish and available in multiple colors: silver, black, green, pink, and brown. The camera has an elegant feel with a full metal body up front and on the sides, and nothing but screen on the back. In fact, the only physical controls are the power and shutter buttons on top and the little nub of a zoom rocker at the right corner. The only other button is a small playback mode button at the top right of the display. To take a picture you simply slide down the flat, metal lens cover and click away. You'll want to be careful of errant fingers getting in shots and touching the lens, however, as the lens is positioned at the far left, and the camera is so small it can be difficult to hold.

If having to wipe off fingerprints is a deal breaker, you'll want to skip this camera and probably all touch-screen models, for that matter. Aside from fingerprints, you might take issue with the touch screen's responsiveness. The T77 does all right with fingers, but it's better with the included stylus (or "Paint Pen" as Sony calls it) likely because you can be more precise with your taps. It clips onto the wrist strap and lets you quickly poke around the three onscreen menus (Home, Menu, and Display) along with the in-camera retouching and painting tools (you can add stamps, frames, or draw on pictures) all while keeping the screen free of fingerprints.

General shooting options Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 80; 100; 200; 400; 800; 1,600; 3,200
White balance Auto; Daylight; Cloudy; Shade; Florescent 1, 2, and 3; Incandescent, Flash
Recording modes Auto, Program Auto, Scene, Movie, High Sensitivity, Soft Snap, Easy
Focus Face AF, 9-point center-weighted AF, Spot AF, Touch AF, Semimanual (1.0/3.0/7.0m), Infinity
Metering Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Color effects Normal, Vivid, Black & White, Sepia
Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) 100 photos

One of the better uses for a touch-screen display for shooting is the availability of a touch-based autofocus system. Simply tap on your subject onscreen and that's what the camera will focus on. However, the T77 occasionally struggled, requiring multiple taps to get the right subject. But, you, of course, don't need to use it, and the camera otherwise has a reasonable amount of shooting options without getting bloated and overly complicated. This includes Sony's auto scene recognition called iSCN, which picks the correct settings according to what's being shot: Backlight, Backlight Portrait, Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Twilight using a Tripod, Portrait, Landscape, and Macro.

The T77 put up some impressive performance numbers for its class. Shutter lag in particular was excellent at 0.3 second in brightly lit conditions and 0.6 second in dim (a lag time we usually get in good lighting). From off to first shot takes 2.1 seconds and it's ready to take another photo in 2.2 seconds. Turning on the flash only drives that time up to 2.8 seconds. The T77 also has a good burst speed of 1.7 frames per second.

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