Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX1 review: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX1

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Typical Price: £280.00
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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Excellent 'sweep panorama' mode; 10-frames-per-second shooting at full resolution; good performance at high ISOs.

The Bad Very expensive; 4x non-wideangle zoom; awkward lens-cover action; wasted screen area in 4:3 stills mode.

The Bottom Line The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX1 is such an amazing fusion of style and technology that it's easy to overlook some pretty basic issues. It's too easy to drop when you're trying to slide the lens cover open, the 16:9 ratio LCD display is an inefficient size for showing stills, and the lens range is mediocre. The DSC-TX1's brilliant at extraordinary things but only average at the ordinary ones

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6.5 Overall

There's a fine line between useless gimmicks and worthwhile, innovative features. Sony's thrown so much technology at the little, chromium-plated Cyber-shot DSC-TX1 that some of it's surely got to stick. It can be yours for around £280, from Currys and PC World, among other retailers.

Eminently pocketable
If cameras get much thinner than this, you won't need an LCD display, because you'll be able to see straight through them. The DSC-TX1's slimness makes it supremely pocketable, although this raises its own issues. For example, make sure you use the wrist strap, because sliding down the front lens panel to switch the camera on is like trying to wrestle a bar of soap.

The DSC-TX1 suffers from some pretty unpleasant barrel distortion at the wideangle end of the zoom range, but the colours and definition are alright and it does better than most compacts at high ISOs, too (click image to enlarge)

The lens is a fairly ordinary 4x 'folded' zoom model that remains inside the camera body while you're shooting. It's round that back that things get interesting, mostly because there isn't anything around the back except the LCD display. The DSC-TX1 is controlled entirely by touch, via big, chunky icons. There's an assortment of chimes to provide audio feedback when you select an option.

The display is only the start, though. Elbowing convention in the groin, Sony's used a 10.2-megapixel CMOS sensor and a variation on the Exmor processing system in its digital SLRs to provide some extraordinary features.

Take the 'sweep panorama' mode, for example. In this mode, you don't just shoot a series of individual overlapping shots in the usual way. Instead, you pan the camera in a single movement and it takes all the shots automatically, stitching them together in-camera. The results aren't perfect, but they're good enough.

The DSC-TX1 is controlled entirely via its 76mm (3-inch) touchscreen

The DSC-TX1 is pretty handy at action shots, too, with a 10-frames-per-second continuous-shooting mode. We've seen such modes before on compacts, and they usually chop the resolution down to a couple of megapixels, but the DSC-TX1 can shoot 10fps at full resolution. That's quite something.

This high-speed motion-capture technology is used elsewhere too, such as in the 'handheld twilight' mode. Don't worry about low light or shake, just hold the DSC-TX1 as steady as you can and leave it to take six shots, which are then stitched together into an image that's ten times better than you could ever have expected.

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