The Sony TX5 is stylish life-proof compact with a large touchscreen LCD and Sweep Panorama HD technology. But how does it stack up to other high-end compact cameras? The Sony TX5 review finds out...
Sony Cyber-shot TX5 Review
Compacts designed to be water, freeze and shockproof often trade in a little style to meet these specifications, but the Sony TX-5 is life-proof and does well not to compromise its aesthetics qualities.
Sony TX5 Design
Style-wise the Sony TX5 repeats the successful Cyber-shot combination of a smooth body with few external control and a slick, sliding lens cover, and manages to squeeze all its technology into a body less than 18mm thick.
These include Sony’s Exmor R CMOS sensor, claimed to deliver excellent results even in low light, at an effective resolution of 10.2MP. There’s also a 4x optical zoom starting at a respectable 25mm wideangle, and a 3in touchscreen LCD on the rear, though sadly only with a 230,000dot resolution. As expected, Sony has kitted the model out with HD video recording, at to a maximum resolution of 720p at 30fps, and has even included its neat Sweep Panorama technology for effortless panoramic shots.
Sony TX 5 Functions
In line with other Cybershot model, a full arsenal of functions and settings is included in the Sony TX5. The Smile Shutter Function may be set to one of three levels of sensitivity, while a Self Portrait mode promises to fire the shutter when it detects the camera is at arm’s length. The more standard Face Detection is also present, as are Intelligent Auto, Dynamic Range and Anti-Blur options.
Sliding down the lens cover starts up the camera, which happens in less than a second. The 9-point AF system is excellent at quickly bringing subjects into focus, and its square markings can helpfully be used to make sure everything is level in the frame, although a dedicated grid line function can also be activated from the menu system.
Although the buttons on touchscreen are a little on the small side, the touchscreen itself is pleasantly responsive and means that most options can be accessed without any frustration. The menu system has also been designed to please the eye, and offers helpful descriptions of functions throughout. With no manual control it’s not exactly suited for those learning about photography, but for anyone else in need of a little assistance it does a fine job explaining everything.
Sony TX 5 Image Quality
Sleek design often comes as a compromise for lacklustre image quality, but with the Sony TX5 that’s not quite the case. On the whole the basics are very much there, with excellent detail in the centre of the frame, a superb metering system which delivers perfect exposures, and dynamic, punchy colours throughout images.
It’s such a shame, therefore, that the camera is let down on too many occasions by an unpredictable white balance system, plenty of softening towards corners and edges of images, and poor highlight retention. Admittedly, the latter point is due partly to the metering system maintaining balanced exposures, and not being led to underexposure, although the small size of the sensor doesn’t help either.
Perhaps one of the best looking everything-proof compacts on the market and with sometimes-excellent image quality, but at almost £300 it's priced far higher than it should be.