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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T200 review:

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T200

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The Good Bulletproof build; smile-activated shutter; good colours.

The Bad Touchscreen interface; tiny zoom control; weak detail.

The Bottom Line Whether you're in front of or behind this fun family camera, it's bound to raise a grin -- and capture it, with a unique new 'Smile Shutter' mode. The large touchscreen is easy (but slow) to use, the long lens is fast and flexible and images explode with colour, if not detail

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CNET Editors' Rating

8.3 Overall

Sony heads uptown, with another brushed metal T-series camera that screams quality and style, from its over-sized lens cover to an enormous 76mm (3-inch) touchscreen that occupies the entire back. Sony also somehow finds room for a 5x non-protruding zoom lens, fronting an 8-megapixel sensor.

The T200 is available now, in silver, black and (rarer) blood red, at around £230.

When it comes to build quality, only Canon can rival the sheer solidity of Sony's style cameras. The T200 isn't especially light (186g ready to shoot) or slim (20mm), but everything feels built to last, especially the rock-solid lens cover and the bright, colourful 76mm touchscreen.

Finding a 5x zoom inside such a compact camera is a real joy and Sony's Super SteadyShot image stabilisation is as effective as ever. This, combined with relatively noise-free high sensitivities (up to ISO 1,600 is still acceptable), makes the T200 a good bet for low-light shooting -- although the small flash is surprisingly powerful, too.

The big gimmick this time is a development of the now common face-detection technology, called 'Smile Shutter'. Activate this scene mode and the shutter is completely deactivated. Instead, the T200 simply automatically takes pictures when it detects people smiling. And guess what? It works. Admittedly, you sometimes have to pull grins wide enough to swallow whole slices of toast and it does favour toothy beams over subtle smirks, but it's a great way of side-stepping shutter lag when you want nice pictures of restless kids.

Images are powerfully bright and saturated. If you like eye-popping colours and don't mind sacrificing some fine detail and reality to get them, you'll love the saccharine-sweet snaps the T200 serves up.

There are also enough built-in colour and effect filters, including cropping and resizing options, so you may not need to open a PC editing package at all -- except perhaps to tone down those lurid splashes of colour.

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