Sony Cyber-shot TX5 Hands-On Review

by on March 6, 2010

in Sony

Sony Cyber-shot TX5

The Sony Cyber-shot TX5 is a rugged, point and shoot camera that is touted as dustproof, waterproof, freezeproof and shockproof.  The TX5 features a 10.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor for improved low light performance and noise control.  Additionally, the TX5 features a 4x optical zoom lens with image stabilization and can capture 720p HD video.

Like it’s more powerful sibling, the TX7, the Sony TX5 features a touchscreen LCD for quick and intuitive menu navigation.  The touchscreen LCD also allow you to tap the screen to select your focus point.

I really liked the TX5′s 3-inch touchscreen LCD.  There are some touchscreens that just down work on cameras – either in terms of input response or menu navigation.  The TX5, along with the pricier TX7, do touchscreens right.

I must admit that I like the TX5′s touchscreen more than the iPhone with regard to input response.  You tap an icon or menu selection and it works every time.  If Sony can get a touchscreen on a compact camera so right, I could easily see Sony successfully planting a touchscreen display on an entry-level Alpha DSLR in the near future.  In my opinion, Sony is doing a lot of good things in the compact camera and DSLR market right now and this touchscreen is another solid example.

Sony Cyber-shot TX5

Like many other recent Sony Cyber-shot models, the TX5 offers the very cool Sweep Panorama mode for make quick and easy panoramic images with no post processing required.  If you’ve never seen this mode work in real life, it’s an amazing feature.  You select the panorama mode in the menu, the camera tells you which way to pan the camera on the back of the LCD thanks to a big arrow (in the image below it was from left to right), then you just sweep the camera in that direction and it captures multiple images as you pan to produce one large panoramic image.

Sony Cyber-shot TX5 Sweep Panorama Sample
Click here for full size image

The Sweep Panorama mode is most effective with static subjects like landscapes and such.  When moving subjects are in the scene, it creates problems because you are capturing multiple images as you sweep the camera from side to side, which can create weird effects like capturing half a head or arm of person.  Just a little tip to keep in mind, but still a very cool feature for a pocket camera.

As noted above, the Sony TX5 is a very rugged camera.  The full specs on these rugged qualities provide of submersion in water up to 10 feet deep, freezeproof  down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and drop resistant up to 5 feet.  Below is a short clip from PMA 2010 that somewhat demonstrates these qualities.

The TX5 also offers a great feature that Sony calls Backlight Correction High Dynamic Range mode.  I really like this feature on every Sony camera that I’ve used it with, including the recent TX7, which I have used it extensively (expect a full review of the TX7 soon).  This HDR mode captures two successive images at different exposure values each time you press the shutter, and then combines the files instantly inside the camera to produce one image.  The resulting effect is tamed highlights and details in shadow areas of the image, and it works extremely well for a compact, point and shoot camera.  While I didn’t get to experiment with it a whole lot with the TX5, the same mode works exceptionally well in the TX7 and I expect similar consistent results from the TX5.

Sony Cyber-shot TX5

One of the big advantages in Sony’s recent line of point and shoot cameras is the compatibility with industry standard SD cards.  Up until the most recent batch of cameras were released, Sony’s Cyber-shot line was tied to using Sony’s proprietary Memory Stick format, which was more expensive and frustrating if you had different brands of cameras in your household.  Thankfully, Sony finally got on the same train as consumers and offered SD cards as an option.  All of the new Sony Cyber-shot models, including the TX5 are compatible with both Memory Stick and SD cards.  Again, big kudos to Sony for stepping up to the plate here.

Finally, I managed to grab a few images a different ISO settings as they were turning the lights out on me at the end of my last day at PMA 2010.  Thanks to the kind Sony rep who waited patiently as I snapped a few more images with the TX5.  You can right-click on the links below and chooses “Save link as…” to download any of these images for your personal inspection.

ISO 200

Sony TX5 Sample Image
ISO 200 full size image

ISO 400

Sony TX5 Sample Image
ISO 400 full size image

ISO 800

Sony TX5 Sample Image
ISO 800 full size image

ISO 1600

Sony TX5 Sample Image
ISO 1600 full size image

ISO 3200

Sony TX5 Sample Image
ISO 3200 full size image

Sure, there’s some grain in the images as you move up to higher ISO settings; however, it’s not so bad that it won’t look fine as a 4×6 print for the family album.  And that’s generally the standard that I hold a point and shoot camera to.  While I’ll reserve final judgment on the TX5 after I get a chance to spend some more time with it, and take a little more time shooting and printing images from it, the initial results appear quite promising.

Conclusion

Sony Cyber-shot TX5

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I was very impressed with the Sony TX5.  Even without considering the rugged build of the TX5, it would be a solid offering with an above-average feature set.  Add in the waterproof, shockproof and other rugged ratings, and it is shaping up to be a great little compact camera.  From the touchscreen display to the powerful shooting modes, the TX5 looks like it will deliver the goods.  If the overall image quality is on par with what Sony has been delivering in its other Exmor R CMOS cameras (e.g., Sony WX1), then it looks like it will be a very solid camera.

You can support Photography Bay by ordering your Sony TX5, accessories and other photo gear at trusted retail affiliates like Amazon.com, B&H Photo and Adorama.

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{ 12 comments }

1 Alok S.Baranwal March 12, 2010 at 8:27 am

Very informative and useful.Keep it up !!

2 EPat Sheehan March 12, 2010 at 9:07 am

Thanks for the review. I’m not even at the rank amateur level but I do enjoy Sony cameras. I have a Sony A100 and Sony A500 and am considering carrying something smaller.

3 Lulu April 7, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Thank for the amazing review and picture and video sample. I will definitely get one
as soon as I here in Canada.

4 Meg April 12, 2010 at 7:13 am

Hi im a canon user and i wanted a waterproof shockproof camera. The Olympus tough series didn’t capture my eye nor the canon d10 and some of their review was not good. Do you think this camera will be suitable for me especially if i was a former canon user? although i like its interface and body because its stylish and light. thanks!

5 Steve C April 27, 2010 at 2:22 am

This is the best underwater I can find. I’ve waited a long time for an underwater camera that is so small and compact. Finally…
Check out my 8 feet underwater video at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N25WAVosHa4

6 RCG May 6, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Thanks for the very helpful and informative review. I recently ordered this camer and I’m hoping to get it and use it when I visit Niagara falls. I’m looking forward to all of the features that this camera has to offer and especially the underwater capabilities. Keep up the good work.

7 Geoff May 11, 2010 at 9:37 am

This looks like a great all-around carry camera. I’ve been looking for a solid water-resistant camera for quite awhile. One thing I would like to point out for people new to manufacturer water resistance claims: stated water resistance works like water resistance for watches….the claimed resistance depth is not based on actual depth, but the static water pressure exerted at a particular depth. Example: I wear a dive watch rated to 200 meters (660 feet). I was tossed out of my raft while white-watering. While waiting to be pulled back into the raft, my watch was never more than a foot underwater, but in that rapid, a foot under water came very close to the pressure of a 200 meter depth. The moral is that you still have to be careful of water conditions (for example with the TX5 I would never subject it to the force of a crashing wave).

After a year, does Sony require a factory service on the seals to insure the depth guarantee, like I understand Panasonic does?

8 Mark D Artist June 23, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I put the TX5 to some heavy use during two recent offshore sailing races and it worked great. Salt water exposure rinsed off after a post race soak. Worked for me, too! Although not at full resolution, see TX5 video made during some hard sailing in my Youtube video here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxJZtLbNtJ4

9 Anna July 1, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Any news if this vibrates like the other Sony Cybershot cameras?

10 Sheharyar July 29, 2010 at 4:14 am

good camera the best thinng which i have seen that is the facility of water prrof and dust proof also i thik that is the best thing. i like it

11 Jeff August 27, 2010 at 6:32 am

I purchased this camera for our trip to Fiji. I must say I have not had this much fun with a camera in many years. Sweep Panoramas – Amazing. Burst Mode – the fish cant get away. Dark shots without flash leaves my Ixus And Panasonic FT1 for dead. My Pana died second time in the water. I met a lady in Fiji with her second Pana and it died on first attempt in water after having the first repalced for the same reason. There is no doubt this is the best waterproof camera available at the moment. I had it underwater for 11 days and even a couple of professional photographers wanted copies of my shots and said they were buying one when getting home. Sure its not perfect, but the photos are well above average,and the most fun you’ll have taking photos without a doubt.

12 Robert October 13, 2010 at 7:08 pm

I purchased one of these little gems right after returning from my last overseas trip. Since then it has gone everywhere with me and we have become good friends. I don’t expect it to do what a larger camera or a DSLR will do (altho’ it sometimes surprises me!) I find its overall usability and image quality to be more than just acceptable. In my book, the TX5 is a winner and I am very glad to have it.

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