Ease of Use: / 5
Pricing: / 5
Video Quality: / 5
Photo Quality: / 5
Features: / 100
The Sony DSC TX100V is a mid-range compact camera from Sony with some very decent specs to back it up.
- 16.2 Mega Pixels
- Exmor R CMOS Sensor
- 4x Optical Zoom Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens
- Optical SteadyShot
- Full HD Recording – 1080i at 30fps inn AVCHD codec
- Superior Auto mode
- iSweep Panorama mode
- 3D Shooting
- Background defocus
- GPS tagging
On the Outside:
The Sony DSC TX100V is definitely a looker. This is a stylish camera, especially in its black guise. In order to power up the slim camera, you have to slide down a front panel to reveal the lens and flash. Apart from looking stylish, it also protects the lens very well.
On the back, all you have is a large touch-screen LCD display, which does great duty with all-round.
The top sees the power button, as well as the photo button and a fiddly zoom control. The zoom control was the only external part that didn’t function very well. It did what it was supposed to do, but was very fiddly and getting smooth zooms when filming video is near impossible with it.
The touchscreen was very impressive with good resolution and good response to touch input. This touchscreen didn’t leave you feeling the need for physical buttons. This is an element that Sony really excels at.
Overall this camera looks and feels very solid, as per usual for the latest batch of Sony products I’ve tested.
On the Inside:
As said before, the touch-screen is really good. Response is good and accurate and Sony has made a very good-looking, yet very functional menu system that works really well. If you’ve used any of the recent Sony compact cameras, the menu system will look familiar.
As is now usual for Sony cameras, this camera has the Superior Auto mode, iSweep Panorama mode, 3D shooting mode and background defocus mode. While the Superior Auto mode is brilliant and has progressed to far more than just a gimmick, the background defocus mode is still very much in its infancy still. It is far from perfect at the moment. The iSweep Panorama mode works very well and makes shooting panoramas very easy. The 3D shooting mode is still a bit of a gimmick in South Africa due to the lack of 3D compatible products. This one will grow in popularity.
Two features really add to the value for money proposition of this camera. The first is GPS tagging. This camera has built-in GPS, which you can use to tag locations to photos and videos taken with the camera. This is the sort of feature you only see in high-end compact cameras.
The second is the video. This camera employs Sony’s now famed Exmor R sensor in order to shoot glorious HD video. Sony also decided to go with the AVCHD codec, rather than the usual H.264 its rivals use. The AVCHD codec can be set to shoot at up to 28MBps. This means amazing quality video.
The camera also didn’t disappoint when it comes to actual performance. The photos have a lot of detail and showed very little noise, even in lower light situations. The metering was spot-on, with the camera displaying amazing results, even when aimed right at the sun. I really taxed the metering system with some really difficult situations, and it didn’t miss a beat.
I was also surprised at the amount of detail in the shadow areas. Details did start to look overly processed in very dark areas. The pixel-level detail doesn’t add up to DSLR levels, but this camera will not disappoint in the amount of details it displays. In fact, the level of detail is quite astounding at this price-point.
Only aimed right at the sun did the lens show some flaring. The lens also didn’t show any real distortions with moiré basically invisible and some chromatic aberrations creeping in, in very high contrast situations.
A wonderful feature of the camera is that you can tap for focus on the touch-screen display. This means you can tap where on the screen you want the camera to focus. This feature worked really well, especially with macro photos, as this is usually where compact-cameras struggle with close focussing. It also meant I could keep focussing where I wanted to, rather than where the camera deemed appropriate.
Macro performance was average, with some higher than expected distortions when in macro mode.
The camera shoots photos in 4:3 ratio, which is closer to square than the traditional 3:2 ratio. This shouldn’t be a problem though.
The Exmor R sensor also disappoint when it comes to shooting video. Shooting at 28MBps is unheard of at this price point and there will be very few compact cameras that can beat the quality of this video. This Exmor R sensor employed by Sony has seen Sony currently having the best quality video of any compact camera manufacturer. In fact, many DSLRs could benefit from video this good.
The metering is quick and accurate and adjusted very smoothly. The built-in Optical SteadyShot also worked very well for steady footage. The only fiddly part with shooting video was the zoom control. It just isn’t up to scratch with the rest of the camera. With stills it’s not an issue, but it makes smooth zooming very difficult.
Apart from that the video footage looks amazing when shown on a HDTV and with some editing and grading one might not even know that the footage was shot with a compact camera.
The Sony DSC XT100V is a stylish and solid compact camera that actually punches above its weight in terms of quality versus its price-point. The photos show amazing details and are well-developed and the video simply cannot be matched by other manufacturers’ compact cameras.
Sony has upped the stakes in the midrange compact camera market and it will be interesting to see who will answer the call first.