The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T70 is an 8.1-megapixel snapper that looks every penny worth of its £170 pricetag, but there are still plenty of people unconvinced about touchscreens. We put the T70 through its paces.
The T70 looks stunning. It feels even more svelte than it actually is, and our black model complemented the silver trim beatifully. It also comes in silver, white and pink finishes. Like other cameras in the T-series, the T70 features a sliding faceplate. It's a very slender plate, with a precision fit far removed from some of the other chunky faceplates we've seen recently.
The main concern we have about faceplate cameras is that they generally have the lens placed right in the top left-hand corner, and it's all too easy for fingers to stray into the picture. The lens is a non-protruding 5x optical zoom.
We like the gigantic 76mm (3-inch) 16:9 touchscreen. As well as controlling the menus, the touchscreen interface allows you to focus on any point on the screen with a double tap. Tapping the screen in playback mode zooms into recorded images. There are no buttons on the back, with the shutter release, a redundant power button, playback toggle and a truly horrible tiny zoom slider all on top of the camera.
Features include face detection, optical image stabilisation and ISO 3,200 maximum speed. There are three exposure bracketing modes. There are ten scene modes, including a high ISO mode, soft snap for blurring backgrounds and 'smile shutter'.
The new smile shutter feature has garnered a lot of attention. Weand it just about works, but that doesn't mean we like it. It's designed to find faces, detect when everybody is smiling and then capture that moment. You can specify what degree of jollity your subjects must be displaying to trigger the shutter -- low, medium or high -- although on all but the low setting it was tough enough convincing the camera that one person was smiling, let alone an entire unruly brood.
We did like the various postproduction effects available, including the fun -- if crude -- option to scribble on your pictures. Also available are a more interesting range of frames and effects than the usual gimmicky nonsense, including a silent movie-style vignetting effect.
Smaller lenses, like the non-protruding kind typical in faceplate-activated cameras, can tend to barrel distortion. Happily, we didn't see any evidence of this with our test shots. The automatic white balance is another strong point, coping with different conditions inside and outdoors.