The Good Fast performance; Smile Shutter and touch-based focus are quirky but useful features; touch-screen interface much improved over previous cameras.
The Bad Too reliant on the touch screen; poor picture quality compared with the T100's; tiny zoom rocker.
The Bottom Line Though still a solid camera, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T200's touch-sensitive LCD and lower image quality present a step back from its excellent predecessor.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T200
Sony had a hit on its hands when it released the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100. Attractive design, fast performance, and beautiful pictures made the T100 one of our top picks for compact cameras. It's hardly surprising that Sony would try to achieve that sort of success again, and it nearly does so with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T200. It takes the quick shooting and most of the great design of the T100, and adds a handful of new features that range from the useful (the Smile Shutter) to the only somewhat irritating (the touch-screen interface).
When I first heard that the T200 would use a touch screen rather than the T100's conventional button controls, I'll admit I was concerned. Sony's previous attempts to put touch screens in cameras, namely the DSC-T50, the DSC-N1, and the DSC-N2, met with less than ideal results. In those cases, the screen was more of a hindrance than a useful feature. Thankfully, Sony has managed to learn from its mistakes when developing the T200.
It's still not perfect, but the T200's 3.5-inch touch-screen interface is miles better than the T50's and N2's controls. It still focuses too much on the screen itself, but the large icons and fairly direct menu system make it much more convenient than its predecessors. You can access most controls through the main screen, where large icons make easy targets, even for large fingertips. Like most new Cyber-shot cameras, the T200's system settings rest hidden in the device's PlayStation Portable-like Home menu, a slightly redundant submenu you probably won't access much except when turning off the camera's annoying beeps. Every other setting, from scene preset to ISO sensitivity, can be found with just a few taps of the screen.
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