Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5

The Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 isn't without its flaws, but the camera's true go anywhere nature (from soirees to surf) makes it a winner.


8.4
CNET Rating
7.9
User Rating

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CNET Editor

Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.


Design

The problem with rugged cameras is that they look, well, rugged. That's great when you've donned your wetsuit and are in hot pursuit of the jaguar shark, or you're paraskiing down K2 keeping an eye out for a yeti. Unfortunately, if you're sipping a glass of Vouvray in a chic Loire Valley restaurant, you mightn't want to whip it out to record the moment.

That's not an issue with the Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 though. At just 17.7mm thick, the TX5 is thin and petite, while the metal front is a tactile delight; four colours are available (pink, red, silver and black). There's also a slider on the front, which makes switching the TX5 on and off underwater a snap (literally). It's a shame then that the wrist strap isn't adjustable, because unless you have the arms of a body builder, the strap will likely slide off with alarming regularity when you're in the drink.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 (rear)

Most of the camera's functions are controlled via the 3-inch touchscreen.
(Credit: CNET Australia)

On the back there's a 3-inch 230,000-pixel touchscreen that works well both on and off land as it doesn't suffer from any distracting reflections. An upshot of only having physical controls for power, playback, shoot and zoom is that you needn't take your eyes off the scene ahead when fiddling with settings. Quite why Sony has included an easily lost stylus, though, is beyond us.

Features

In terms of ruggedness, the TX5 isn't the toughest camera on the market, as it's only rated waterproof up to 3 metres, shockproof for falls up to 1.5m and cold proof down to -10 degrees Celsius; it's also dustproof. This makes it good for snorkellers, skiers, beachgoers, watersports lovers and fashion-conscious adrenaline junkies, but probably won't be suitable for scuba divers.

At the bottom of the camera is the customary tripod mount that's not even close to being in-line with the camera's lens. Alongside this are two interlocked watertight flaps that conceal the TX5's battery (good for 125 minutes or 250 photos), a card slot that accepts either SD/SDHC or Memory Stick cards, and a proprietary multi-connector port for USB and AV out connectivity.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 barrel distortion and stray finger

The TX5's lens exhibiting barrel distortion and a stray finger.
(Credit: CNET Australia)

Should you forget to insert a card, the Cyber-shot has 45MB on usable internal memory that's good for around 10 or so photos. When plugged into a computer the TX5 allows you to access its memory card, internal storage and an internet cafe-friendly lite version of Sony's rather average Picture Motion Browser software.

Performance and image quality

Located in the top corner of the TX5's body, the lens is all too easily obscured by a stray finger if, like us, you hold compact cameras with two hands when shooting. The 4x optical zoom lens exhibits a fair amount of barrel distortion at its widest. If the 25-100mm (35mm equivalent) lens is quite wide enough, the Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode allows for easy panoramic shots: just press the shutter and move the camera along the horizon. The trade off? Lower resolution than you would get for a manually stitched job.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 underwater

Even when using underwater mode, some level adjustment is required in Photoshop.
(Credit: CNET Australia)

Behind the lens is a 10.2-megapixel sensor; image quality is good, albeit a bit soft at 100 per cent. Colours are nicely balanced, although there's purple fringing that's most noticeable in backlit or high contrast scenes. Low-light performance is aided by optical image stabilisation and an ISO range that stretches up to 3200. Noise is well controlled until you head beyond ISO 800, after which it falls into a vat of random pixels.

Start-up time clocks in around a second, with shot-to-shot times under half a second. Manual controls don't stretch to exposure and aperture, but users can tweak flash, exposure compensation, white balance, metering, focus mode (including touch to focus), macro mode, and face and smile detection.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 ISO comparison chart

ISO comparison chart at 100 per cent.
(Credit: CNET Australia)

The menus are generally well laid out and shortcut icons are customisable. If you happen to be deep in the menu system and a yeti crosses your path, shot priority allows you to go back to photo-taking mode with just a half press of the shutter button.

When shooting video, the TX5 can record MPEG4 at a maximum of 1280x720 at 30 progressive frames per second. Although image quality is sharp enough, sound quality is rather tinny, and holding the camera steady for long periods may prove to be problematic.


Conclusion

The Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 isn't without its flaws, but the camera's true go anywhere nature (from soirees to surf) makes it a winner.

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Post comment as
ricemg
4
Rating
 

"Replacing with Canon"

ricemg posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Small, starts quickly, sweep panorama

The Bad:Low light shots terrible, don't trust, general picture quality lacking, no built in effects?

My biggest gripe about this camera are the night/low light shots which this camera was supposed to excel at. Shots taken using the 'Anit-blur' and 'Handheld Twilight' modes are blurry and noisy. I'm not expecting pictures of stars in a moonless sky here - I'm just talking about pictures in restaurants with plenty of ambient light. I took hundreds of indoor / night shots and literally all of them were unusable when viewed on a display. I didn't see many reviews expressing this, so maybe I just got a lemon. Even indoor daytime photos with mixed lighting came out blurry.

As far as the waterproof, drop-proof, etc - This camera doesn't feel anything proof. It feels about as solid as every camera I've owned. So when we got to the beach I thought of all the reviews I read where people's cameras were ruined and decided not to risk ruining the camera for the rest of the trip.

Oh, and no camera effects? Like b

Shayshay89
7
Rating
 

"Good for the most part"

Shayshay89 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Light weight, ok photo production, great underwater shots

The Bad:Peeling paint, slow touchscreen

I loved this camera.

It took good photos, was light in weight, video was great, you could listen to what you recorded as soon as you had done it, the underwater photos I took were beautiful!

HOWEVER, there were a few things I found annoying on this camera!
The paint started to peel in the first few months of receiving it, I found the touchscreen was quite slow when an option was selected, I found taking photos at night the flash would take a while to actually flash, I wish the screen was a bit bigger and some of the settings were quite confusing!

But if you just want something to point and shoot and to take underwater this camera is great. I had it for a few years where I dropped it, took it travelling with me through Europe twice and was always in the bottom of my bag!

madd
3
Rating
 

madd posted a review   
Canada

The Good:sleek

The Bad:liar

i bought that camera but when i used it the first time in the pool right after the paint was peeling, then a few months you can see a water trap inside the lens, how was it happened? it supposed to be WATERPROOF!!!!!!!!!

CadeC Facebook
8
Rating
 

"I found the DSC-TX5 a great camera overall, I am looking forward to the DSC-TX10 to see what i can produce with it."

CadeC posted a review   

The Good:Very user friendly alround with shooting in low light, underwater (day

The Bad:The camera is nearly all LCD screen on the back and can be problematic while in use from bumping due to minimal hand grip, lens is all too easily obscured by a stray finger. The sound quality is tinny, and holding the camera steady for long periods proved to be difficult. Especially if you have big hands like myself. The paint come off the front slider (In the first 2 moths. (colour-Black) The battery life is short. The cover for the batterie catch / locking cover to seal the battery

The Good: I found the DSC-TX5 a great camera overall, Very user friendly with shooting in low light, underwater (day

Darren
6
Rating
 

Darren posted a review   

The Good:HD Video

The Bad:It said it was compatible with the party shot

I just bought the party shot accessory at a Sony store that was closing. It was selling for $26 and remembered reading about it as an accessory that came with my camera, the DSC-TX5. After getting home I see on the box it is compatable only with the TX1 and the WX1. I even see it on amazon advertised to work with it

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-IPT-DS1-Party-Shot-Photographer-Cyber-shot%C2%AE/dp/B003C0DBBA

Anyway there is no way it fits on it. All sales were final. Now I am stuck with this...

 

Sam posted a comment   

The Good:Compact waterproof panorama night and burst modes

The Bad:Battery life

Got mine last week in time for snorkeling trip in Phuket. Under water shots are great. Easy to use. No problem with cover paint work. Battery life is dubious but not a problem yet. Speedy shots and burst mode takes care of moving targets. Night shots are good even with unsteady hands. Overall very happy except tx10 is a few months away at same price.

 

homer posted a comment   

The Good:compact, waterproof, 10 shot 1 sec burst

The Bad:coating lifting from front cover, continuous audible mechanical noise, LCD screen goes weird at depth.

Coating is lifting on front cover after only a few months. Continuous audible mechanical noise audible when you put it to your ear, also audible on video recordings and probably causing wear and draining batteries. I still love the camera overall by why would sony accept these flaws as OK?

anon
8
Rating
 

anon posted a review   

The Good:small, sleek and easy to handle

The Bad:short battery life!

overall a mad camera


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User Reviews / Comments  Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5

  • ricemg

    ricemg

    Rating4

    "My biggest gripe about this camera are the night/low light shots which this camera was supposed to excel at. Shots taken using the 'Anit-blur' and 'Handheld Twilight' modes are blurry and noisy. ..."

  • Shayshay89

    Shayshay89

    Rating7

    "I loved this camera.

    It took good photos, was light in weight, video was great, you could listen to what you recorded as soon as you had done it, the underwater photos I took were bea..."

  • madd

    madd

    Rating3

    "i bought that camera but when i used it the first time in the pool right after the paint was peeling, then a few months you can see a water trap inside the lens, how was it happened? it supposed to..."

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