Below is a graph output by the software with the same data. This time, the ideal color is represented by a square. The Sony Cyber-shot T5’s produced color is represented by the circle. The two shapes are connected by a line; the length of the line shows the color error. The closer these two shapes are, the better.
The Sony T5 has big shoes to fill. The Sony T1 scored a 9.76 overall score and only over-saturated colors by 5.7 percent. The T5 did not quite fare as well as the initial T-series model. The Cyber-shot T5 received an overall color score of 8.73. While this score is well below the T1, it is still above many compact digital cameras’ scores. The T5 had similar saturation to the T1, only over-saturating by 5.9 percent. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 had a mean color error of 6.8, which is quite impressive – especially for its slim size. Overall color rendition remains rich and should appease most users.
**Still Life Scene **
Below is a shot of our marvelous still life scene, which we faithfully capture with every digital camera we test. Not only is it so beautiful that we can’t get enough of it, but capturing a standardized image allows our readers to compare the same scene as rendered by different imagers to judge which camera’s performance they like best.
Click on our graceful tableau to down load a full res file (warning: file is very large!)](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/viewer.php?picture=T5-StillLifeLG.jpg)
Resolution / Sharpness*(4.25)
*To evaluate resolution, we shoot several exposures of an industry standard resolution chart at various focal lengths and apertures, then report the best score. Scores are also reported as a percentage of the camera’s advertised and unprocessed resolution to provide a means of comparison across camera categories. If a digital camera’s true pixel count comes within 70 percent of its advertised pixel count, we designate it as "good." When a camera comes within 80 percent, we dub it "very good" and within the realm of 90 percent it receives an "excellent" score.
Click on the chart to view full size image](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/viewer.php?picture=T5-ResCH-LG.jpg )
Sony advertised 5.1 effective megapixels on the T5’s 1/2.5-inch Super HAD CCD. In our testing, the best resolution came from shooting at an aperture of f/4.4 at a focal length of 16.6 mm. The Sony Cyber-shot T5 recorded 4.25 megapixels in our test, which is 84 percent of what is advertised and therefore a "very good" score. This performance isn’t too surprising as the Sony T1 recorded 86 percent of its advertised pixel count on our test. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 did apply a significant degree of in-camera sharpening, registered as 24 percent oversharpening according to Imatest, which is quite a bit even for a compact model; however, since the majority of users will not be conducting much post-processing, it should not present too much of a problem.
**Noise - Auto ISO ***(7.6)
*The automatic ISO setting on the Sony T5 performed much better than most compact digital cameras’ automatic ISO settings. In our well lit studio, this Cyber-shot chose a low ISO 80 and still produced minimal amounts of noise. For this, the T5 received an overall automatic ISO noise score of 7.6. The high score is attributed to a combination of the T5’s accurate reading of the bright lighting conditions (a pitfall of many competing models) and the low noise the camera produces at lower sensitivity ratings.
Noise - Manual ISO* (5.83)
*We tested the noise levels at each of the Sony T5’s four manual ISO settings and input the data into a regression analysis to determine the overall score. Below is a chart showing the amounts of noise at individual noise levels. The horizontal axis shows the manual ISO settings and the vertical axis shows the amount of noise.
From the 64 setting to the 400 setting, there is the expected gentle slope – except for a dip at the ISO 200 setting. The Sony Cyber-shot T5 received an overall manual ISO noise score of 5.83. This is less than the automatic setting, but is still quite good for a compact digital camera. The irregular slope of the curve stems from an impressively low noise output at the ISO 64 setting. While the ISO 400 setting will capture images with a bit of perceivable noise, in daylight, images recorded with the T5 will be clean.
Low Light Performance* (4.0)
*Sony’s T-series of Cyber-shot digital cameras is touted as an out-and-about line of stylish cameras that is perfect for pocketing and snapping shots at the nightclub or party. To see if the Sony T5 can capture decent shots in the dim lighting of bars and clubs, we took several exposures at decreasing light levels of 60, 30, 15 and 5 lux. Since not everyone is familiar with the lux measurement, here’s a little briefing. 60 lux is about equivalent to two softly lit lamps or perhaps what you’d find at a nightclub. A single 40-watt bulb gives off about 30 lux of light. 15 and 5 lux are very near darkness and simply show where the Sony Real Imaging Processor hits the wall.
The image at 60 lux retains exposure and illumination but looks grainy. The image gets slightly darker at 30 lux and increasingly grainy with the limited maximum shutter speed available. The lighter colors get progressively pinker and less saturated as the lighting dims and the exposures are extended. The Sony T5’s image gets even darker at 15 lux and reaches its max exposure. The image processor seems to hit its wall somewhere between 15 and 5 lux, as there is a dive in illumination between the two light levels, loss in color vibrancy and jump in noise. Don’t expect perfect pictures from the T5 at the club; when the shell appears stylish and trendy, it’s just not a formidable low light imager.
**Speed / Timing **
*Start-up to First Shot (8.73)
*The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 performed decently with a start-up time of 1.33 seconds. While this isn’t furiously fast, this still beats most other ultra compact models. However, with the camera’s sliding lens cover and heavily marketed image processor, we expected a bit more speed.
*Shot to Shot (9.23)
*The burst mode on the T5 isn’t incredibly impressive. The fastest shot to shot time was 0.699 seconds.
*Shutter to Shot (8.42)
*There is some shutter lag, but not so much that your subjects will pack up and leave the frame. From the time the shutter release button is pressed, this digital camera takes 0.29 seconds to record the shot.
*The front of the DSC-T5 doesn’t really look like a camera when the lens cover is closed; it looks more like a promotional cigarette pack. The front face is fairly flat with a slight downgrade toward the right and left edges. Up along the left edge is a polished silver band with the Sony logo embossed at the bottom and the model name, the DSC-T5, embossed at the top. This band opens from the side as a door to the battery compartment. The main portion of the front is a lightly brushed silver, which stands in contrast to the darker brushed silver lens cover. The top half of the cover is rectangular and consumes the upper portion of the camera; it slides downward about a half inch to reveal the lens, flash, and AF illuminator. The lens does not extend from the camera body; it is smaller than a fingernail and surrounded by black printed text: "3.5-4.4/ 6.33-19.0" to advertise the camera’s aperture range and focal length. To the left of the lens is a smaller circle; this is the illuminator. Above this is the tiny flash, which is oval-shaped and very skinny. To the left of the illuminator and below the flash is more printed text: "Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar" and "Optical 3x."
*The back of the T5 almost looks like a television set with its large 2.5-inch LCD monitor on the left and the Sony logo emblazoned at the bottom. Above the screen are other embellishments: "5.1 Megapixels" and "MPEG Movie VX." All of the camera’s controls are crammed in an inch-wide space to the right of the screen. At the top sits the zoom toggle, which is a single oval-shaped button with a ‘W’ on the left and a ‘T’ on the right. Below the left side of the toggle is a small, round button with a screen icon above it; this changes the information on the screen. Directly below this button is a labeled Menu button. To the right of these two buttons is the built-in speaker, which has two long holes that look like a smile and a frown placed within an indentation the shape of a donut. Below this and the Menu button is the multi-selector, which is centered in the inch-wide space. The multi-selector is composed of five buttons: four directional buttons and a round selection button in the center. The outer directional buttons have icons embossed in them. The top button has a flash symbol, while the bottom has a self-timer icon. The right side has a flower icon to access the macro mode and the left side has an arrow symbolizing the instant review function. Below the multi-selector and to the left is a button with a trash icon and an image size icon.
Across the very top of the back, the shiny top surface of the T5 is visible. On this surface and above the LCD is a tiny flash indicator with a flash icon next to it. To its right is the mode switch with its playback, camera, and movie icons.
Left Side* (8.0)
*The thin left side of the Sony T5 is void of features; there is only a screw towards the top that holds the two lightly brushed silver panels together.
**Right Side ***(8.0)
*The right side consists of a polished silver door and a silver eyelet that doesn’t rotate. The door has the word "open" embossed into the left side with arrows pointing to the right. To the right is a long divot that acts as a grip for prying fingers. Along the right edge are several embossed symbols and words, including "Memory Stick Duo Pro" and "InfoLithium." The door snaps open with the hinge on the left to reveal the skinny compartment that houses the battery and memory card.
*The top of the Sony T5 is polished silver and slopes downward to the front and back sides, essentially creating a ling, thin, skinny dome. The built-in microphone, which looks like four tiny holes, is located on the left side. To its right and approximately in the center of the top is the power button, which has a tiny LED next to it. To its right is the tiny mode switch and to the right of that is the skinny, rectangular shutter release button.
*The bottom is polished silver like the top, but has three screws holding the camera together. On the left of the bottom is a connection port where the cables hook to the T5. To the right is the tripod mount, followed by a Sony tag and serial number.
*This slim digital camera doesn’t have room for an optical viewfinder because of its large 2.5-inch LCD screen. The screen provides live views that are smooth and bright; in fact, sometimes the pictures look better onscreen than they really are. For example, I took some movie clips of my son playing on the floor, and on the screen the clips looked fine. When I uploaded the clips into my computer, the image was much darker and barely usable.
LCD Screen* (8.75)
*The 2.5-inch Clear Photo LCD has 230,000 pixels, which is more than any of the T5’s sleek competitors like the Nikon S2 and Fujifilm Z1 (not the recent Fuji Z2). According to a Sony press release, this screen has up to 40 percent better color reproduction than any of Sony’s previous models. The colors do look quite good as the screen is nice and bright. While this is an excellent check for focus and composition, the bright screen can also be detrimental in some ways. As I stated in the section above, the LCD is deceivingly bright; pictures are not really as bright as they look onscreen. This large LCD can be viewed from many angles, as it has an anti-glare coating on it. The LCD can display all kinds of information, including image parameters, live histograms, and even the amount of minutes the battery will last.
*The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 has a skinny flash that is revealed when the lens cover slides downward. The tiny flash isn’t very effective; its specs state it reaches 4 inches to 8 feet 2 inches. Further, the small narrow unit will emit strong specular beams that create hard-edged shadows. This type of illumination is generally unflattering for portraiture, often accentuating slight skin blemishes. Also, with the flash unit placed next to the lens, on the same vertical plane, the defined shadows will fall to the side of the subjects and be quite visible. This is a significant design flaw for a snapshot-oriented camera that will likely record its share of "people pictures."
The flash modes – auto, on, off, and slow sync – can be adjusted with the top button of the multi-selector. Red-eye reduction can be turned on and off, but only within the setup menu. Also in the menu is an option to adjust the flash level from normal to + or -, but this is in the recording menu. I always prefer to have all the flash options in the same spot; putting the red-eye reduction option with the other flash modes would have made it more accessible to users. The strange thing is that when the red-eye reduction mode was used, its strobe-like presence still didn’t eliminate all red-eye problems. I still had a couple uncorrected pictures.
Zoom Lens* (5.0)
*The Sony T5 has a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens that does not extend from the camera body. The 3x optical zoom lens has a focal length of 6.33-19 mm, which is equivalent to 38-114 mm in 35mm format. The tiny lens is constructed from 11 elements in 8 groups and includes 3 aspheric elements and 1 prism.
There are a few problems with the lens and its setup. First, its aperture range is subpar. At its widest, the lens can open to f/3.5-f/5.6 and in the telephoto setting, it can open to f/4.4-f/10. These maximum apertures aren’t enough to provide a good exposure in low light or correlate with fast enough shutter speeds to control blurring. The second problem with the lens setup is that it is situated on the right edge of the camera’s front face, where fingers are likely to get in the way. The third problem is that the lens cover has a shiny mirror-like band on its top. When opened, light can reflect straight into the lens and wash the picture out. Sony’s inclusion of a Carl Zeiss lens was a smart move, but its placement and aperture range could use some serious improvement.
Model Design / Appearance*(8.0)
*The T5 is all about style and appearance. When the lens cover is closed, it looks like a small futuristic pack of cigarettes. Sony calls it a "vertical design," which is a good name. If this digital camera were any shorter, it would look like a cell phone – but it would still look cooler. The Sony Cyber-shot T5 has a lightweight aluminum body that is sleek and stylish. It is designed without a handgrip and with a non-extendable lens so that its flat profile will be easily transportable. Sony is selling the T5 in four different colors: silver, black, champagne gold, and red, with the latter two only available on the Sony web site.
Size / Portability* (8.0)
*The 3.69 x 2.36 x 0.8-inch Sony T5 is built to slide easily into a pocket; its lens does not extend and there is no handgrip to speak of, so the only protrusion is the slight lip of the lens cover. The T5 is very slender with its thinnest point being 0.6 inches. The slim camera body weighs 3.98 ounces; when the battery and memory stick are loaded and the wrist strap attached the T5 weighs 4.8 ounces. This model is extremely portable because of this light weight, its small size, and its flat façade.
Handling Ability* (6.0)
*What is good for portability is not necessarily good for handling. The lack of a handgrip makes the T5 perfect for a pocket, but not quite as form fitting in the palm of a hand. Some other very compact models omit the grip, but have thumb divots or other subtle gripping features like textured brand labels where the fingers rest. However, the Sony T5 does not even have ergonomic features; it’s all about style. So while the T5 is meant to be grabbed out of the pocket for a quick shot, it’s meant to be put right back in afterwards – it’s not made for hour-long photo shoots.
Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size* (6.0)
*The Cyber-shot DSC-T5 has a slim body and a large LCD screen, which doesn’t leave much room for control buttons. Thus, the buttons are small. There is a power button on top that it tiny and recessed, but most people won’t use it because sliding the lens cover open powers up the camera too. Maybe it’s handy, but it can also be annoying. When you’re recording, accidentally bumping the lens cover up will shut the camera off. The mode switch atop the T5 is also tiny and will require sharpened fingernails to slide it right or left. The shutter release button sticks out a tiny bit, but not as much as on other models. The zoom toggle is a single flat panel with nothing to distinguish the wide setting from the telephoto setting on the opposite side. Most cameras with the toggle setup use a slope or divot of some sort; users of the Sony T5 would benefit from having this subtle convenience. To its credit, the camera’s buttons are all clearly labeled. The only button that isn’t labeled is the one in the center of the multi-selector, which is intuitively the button that makes menu selections.
*The T5 has the typical Sony menu setup, which appears as icons applied over a gray keyboard-like rectangle at the bottom of the screen. Live views are available in most menu options, as the view is directly behind the gray menu. When users scroll over the icons, the text title appears above. If the option is unavailable in a particular mode, it will be grayed out. The most options are available in the Program mode menu, which consists of the following: Camera (shooting mode), EV, Focus, Metering Mode, White Bal, ISO, P. Quality, Rec. Mode (burst, bracketing, etc.), BRK (sets bracketing increments), Multi-burst, Flash Level, P. Effect, Saturation, Contrast, Sharpness, and Setup.
The setup menu option is a portal into a gray menu without the live view. It has five tabs at the left side, so users can scroll through the tabs and see all the options rather than scrolling down and down on a single menu to find a buried option. The tabbed screens are Camera 1 and 2, Memory Stick Tool, and Setup 1 and 2. The Camera 1 screen offers AF Mode, Digital Zoom, Date/Time, Red-Eye Reduction, AF Illuminator, and Auto Review. The Camera 2 menu is much shorter with only an Enlarged Icon option. The Memory Stick Tool has these options: Format, Create Rec. Folder, Change Rec. Folder, and Copy. The first Setup menu screen has LCD Backlight, Beep, Language, and Initialize options while the second screen has File Number, USB Connect, Video Out, and Clock Set options.
The movie mode has fewer options than the still image mode, but offers many more options than most compact digital cameras with EV, Focus, Metering, White Balance, P. Effect, and Setup options.
When photographers play back their pictures and movies, they can select which folder to file the photos in, which images or movies to protect from deletion, which images should be printed (DPOF), and whether to print an entire folder or a DPOF order. In the playback menu, users can also play slide shows and access editing features such as Resize and Rotate for still images and Divide for movie clips. The menus are intuitive, easy to navigate, and provide plenty of options whether the user is shooting photos or videos.
Ease of Use* (7.5)
*The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 can be used straight out of the box; it is very easy to handle, select menu options, and figure out where buttons are and what they’re for. Making changes such as flash mode and macro focus are simple because they are located on the multi-selector. Making exposure changes such as exposure value compensation and white balance are also easy with the intuitive menu system and direct navigation. Buttons are clearly labeled; menu options are straightforward. The large LCD screen is easy on the eyes and the enlarged icon option makes viewing and changing options even easier. The T5 is meant to be a point-and-shoot; it succeeds with its ease of use.
Auto Mode* (7.0)
*The fully auto mode truncates the DSC-T5’s menu so that only the burst mode and setup menus are accessible. All functions accessible through on-camera buttons, such as the image size and self-timer options, are still available though. There are pros and cons to this auto mode. Pros: it is easy to use and transitions the T5 into a complete point-and-shoot interface. Cons: the auto mode can only be found in the menus (it would make more sense to place it on the more accessible mode switch) and the mode remembers its settings. For example, if users change the flash mode and then turn off the camera or switch modes, the next time they return to auto mode will have the same flash mode selected from the previous shooting experience. I would personally prefer an auto mode that resets to its defaults every time it is accessed, although for many the camera’s memory bank will be of great assistance.
Movie Mode* (6.5)
*The Sony T5’s movie mode is very easy to find as it is located on the main mode switch. It has two image sizes: 640 x 480 and 160 x 112. The largest resolution records 16.6 frames per second, which looks acceptable, but is not nearly as smooth or naturalistic as 30 fps appears when replayed. The faster 30 fps frame rate is available, but only if the optional Memory Stick Pro Duo is used. The smaller option is meant for video mail, but its limited pixels and slow frame rate of 8.3 fps makes it hard to see what’s actually going on in the video. Sure, it’s easy to email. But the recipient will wonder whether it’s a virus or a real video. I would like to see a 320 x 240 image size, so the clip is recognizable and still easy to send. All video clips record audio simultaneously. There are lots of shooting options available in the movie mode, including exposure compensation, focus, metering, white balance, and picture effects. The only option notably missing from the T5’s movie mode is zoom of any kind. This digital camera doesn’t take great video in low light, even when the exposure compensation is adjusted. The continuous focus isn’t very fast; if the subject is moving, it will appear a bit blurred.
**Drive / Burst Mode ***(6.0)
*The burst mode on the Cyber-shot T5 consists of a normal burst mode and a multi-burst mode that shoots more quickly but at a smaller resolution. [Refer to the Testing / Performance section of the review to see exactly how fast the normal burst mode is] The multi-burst mode can be set to shoot at 7.5, 15, or 30 frames per second. Pretty fast, huh? The downside is that its frames are 320 x 240 pixels. The T5 stitches 16 of these small frames into a single image file. The individual frames can be viewed on the screen, but they are saved as one photo. Overall, I was impressed with the Sony T5’s burst mode. Many slim compact cameras overlook the burst mode entirely, so it’s nice to see a slim model with some speed.
Playback Mode* (7.0)
*The playback mode is located on the mode switch, so it is easy to find. If users want to just check out the last picture taken, they can press the left arrow of the multi-selector which acts as a review function. Otherwise, there is the playback mode that offers viewing, shooting information, and editing options. Viewing images on the 2.5-inch, 230K pixel LCD screen is bliss. The multi-connector cord can connect the Sony T5 to a television for alternative viewing. Slide shows can be played in a loop or only once. The interval time between photo can be selected as 3, 5, 10, or 30 seconds. When viewing individual pictures, users can put the photo in a folder, protect it from deletion, specify it as a picture in need of printing (DPOF), play it in a slide show, and resize or rotate it. Users can print from this menu as well. Pictures can be deleted with the on-camera trash button.
Custom Image Presets* (6.5)
*The Sony T5’s scene modes are located within the same menu that hosts the Auto and Program exposure modes. Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Soft Snap, Landscape, Beach, Snow, Fireworks, High-speed Shutter, Candle, and Magnifying Glass are available. The menu is made up of icons, but most are easy to understand. The only non-intuitive icon is for Soft Snap, which is kind of a non-intuitive scene mode in itself. The mode is for taking pictures of subjects that require a "gentle atmosphere," according to Sony’s "Read This First" manual. The Soft Snap mode is characterized by a bust of one person with another person in the shadow behind. Loyal users of Sony-brand digital cameras will easily recognize this, but others will have to consult the manual. The T5 offers a live view of the ten scene modes as users scroll through them. For instance, if sitting indoors and checking out all the scenes, the High-Speed Shutter’s live view will get dark. This live view is always a nice feature for beginners who may not be sure which mode to use at times.
**Manual Control Options **
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 is not known for its manual control, but does offer a limited selection. The most control can be had in the Program mode, which allows users to adjust the exposure compensation, focus mode, white balance, and ISO. The white balance function does not have a manual adjustment, which is disappointing. The camera does have a 5-step manual focus, which is about as manual as selecting the ISO or white balance from a menu.
*The Sony T5 has several auto focus modes that can focus as close as 1 cm in the Magnifying Glass mode, 3.1 inches in the macro mode, and 19.7 inches in the normal mode. This Cyber-shot has a 5-area multi-point auto focus that works fairly quickly when shooting still images. An auto focus illuminator helps the camera focus in low light; this illuminator can be turned off or put on automatic in the setup menu. Spot, Center, and Multi AF modes are available – this is nice because most compact cameras don’t offer much in the way of auto focus modes. Spot AF focuses on a tiny point in the center, while Center AF focuses on a larger area in the center. Multi AF is for those rare moments when the subject is wandering from the center of the frame. This would be good for photographing a crowd of people surrounding a birthday cake. Another nice feature about this auto focus system is that the T5’s viewfinder shows brackets where it is focusing, so users will know for sure whether their subject is in focus. My only complaint with the system is that it is slow in the movie mode, blurring subjects as they move toward and away from the camera.
*Manual (2.5) *
The Sony T5 has a 5-step manual focus, which is just like choosing a preset white balance option from the menu – so this isn’t true manual focus. However, it must be mentioned that this model offers 0.5 m, 1 m, 3 m, 5 m, and Infinity options. This is great as long as your subject is right at these distances. However, if your subject is 2 m away, the "manual" focus won’t meet your needs.
*The metering mode has options that sound similar to the auto focus modes: Spot, Center-Weighted, and Multi-Pattern metering. The Spot option analyzes a tiny point in the center of the frame to determine the exposure. The Center-weighted option does this from a larger area in the center. The Sony T5 looks at all areas of the frame and averages it with the Multi-pattern metering option. These metering modes are fairly standard, even on compact digital cameras but should help attain reasonable exposures in most common shooting situations.
*Exposure controls such as shutter speed and aperture cannot be manually altered on the T5, but exposure compensation can be adjusted up or down by 2 Exposure Values in 1/3-stop increments. Photographers can check the exposure with the real time histogram that can be displayed on the LCD screen – which is a real assistance. The Sony T5 also has an exposure bracketing function available in the same menu with its burst modes. Once the option is chosen in that menu, a separate bracketing menu option lets users select the amount of shift in the three-image series. Users can choose 0.3, 0.7, or 1.0 EV.
*There are live views in the white balance menu, which is helpful. Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, and Flash options are available. Unfortunately, there is no manual white balance mode. This would have been nice as there are thousands of different types of light bulbs and potential lighting situations that cannot possibly fit on a menu of presets. The Fluorescent option is for cool white bulbs. Many cameras are now offering two or three fluorescent options for warm white and other types of bulbs as well. Sony’s truncated list of presets and the omission of a manual mode makes this white balance function substandard.
This will be particularly troublesome under strong orange tungsten casts. We first recognized the issue under our studio tungsten lamps which are far stronger than traditional "home" bulbs, but the problem persisted. The T5 was tested using both the Auto and Incandescent options under studio and home tungsten bulbs, but neither could be perfectly calibrated. While colors can generally be corrected with little effort post-capture, in a pocket-sized point-and-shoot imager, most users don’t want to have to take that extra step.
*An automatic ISO function is available, but when users have the chance they should try setting the ISO manually as this reduces noise levels when done right. 64, 100, 200, and 400 ratings are offered in a menu, but no live view is available for this option. This is a fairly standard feature set, but the low ISO 64 setting does help to minimize noise when ample lighting is available.
*The shutter speed is not manually controllable but can move from 1/8-1/1000th of a second as automatically determined by the camera. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 does have a High-Speed Shutter mode that is useful when shooting sporting events or fast-moving objects. The slowest shutter speed in this range is not adequate for dim lighting; most digital cameras offer at least a few seconds for the shutter to remain open for night shots. Keep the T5 in bright light or use the flash.
*The Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens has an aperture range of f/3.5-f/5.6 at its widest and f/4.4-f/10 at its most telephoto setting. This range is not manually controllable, but the Soft Snap scene mode is supposed to satisfy the user’s need to blur the background for that so-called "gentle atmosphere" effect.
Picture Quality / Size Options* (7.0)
*With 5 megapixels, the Sony T5 offers plenty with six still image size options. Pictures can be compressed to either Fine or Standard as well. The highest resolution offered is 2592 x 1944; there is also a high-resolution size optimized for 4 x 6-inch prints. The 3:2 formatted size is 2592 x 1728. A slight jump in resolution takes us to the next sizes: 2048 x 1536 and 1280 x 960. A 640 x 480 pixel option is there for e-mailing photos. Perhaps the most unique feature about the image sizes is the 16:9 formatted HDTV selection. This 1920 x 1080 pixel size fills large widescreen televisions. If you’re looking for an excuse to get that plasma screen, try this one: "I just really want to utilize the Sony T5 to its absolute fullest. The HDTV mode is going to waste…"
Picture Effects Mode* (6.5)
*Perhaps for snapshooters looking to avoid the time commitments of Photoshop, the Sony T5 offers some in-camera effects. Black & White and Sepia are included; these are quite common. There are also saturation, contrast, and sharpness options that can be adjusted to +, -, or Normal. These same image parameters can be adjusted in the included software. However, some users of the T5 may never want to deal with the software either. For direct printing of black and white photos, this mode is a nice feature. There are live views to help users select options.
*The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 comes with a simplified editing program called Picture Package for Sony version 1.6 for Windows. The CD-ROM also includes a USB driver, a Cyber-shot Life tutorial, and Pixela ImageMixer VCD2 for Windows and Macintosh. The browser of the Picture Package software is simplistic, with only two buttons – one to upload images from the Sony T5 and the other to browse for images already on the computer. This software program doesn’t save images in its browser, so each time you open the program you have to browse for images again and again. Once you’ve got pictures in the program, there’s only so much you can do with them. Images can be viewed as thumbnails or in larger screens. In the larger screen, users can email, edit, and rotate their pictures. The editing feature opens a window with a few options: crop, resize, save as, brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, and sharpness. There is also a red-eye fix option that is perhaps the most useful feature, considering the Sony T5’s flash leaves red eyes in many pictures. Movies can be played back, but cannot be edited at all.
Pixela ImageMixer is a fancy CD burning program. Users can put titles and backgrounds on images and movies for fancy slide shows, then burn CDs. This is the only program available to Macintosh users, so there are no editing options available to them.
*Jacks, Ports, Plugs (6.0) *
The Sony T5 comes with a multi-connector cable that attaches to the bottom of the camera. This same jack can also fit into a Cyber-shot Station cradle. The cable splits off into a USB cable and an /V out cable. While this is a strange setup, it’s arguably better than the oodles and oodles of interconnecting cables that come with some compact models.
*Direct Print Options (4.5)
*The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 is PictBridge compatible. Images can be selected in playback mode to be part of a DPOF print order. Images can also be moved into folders, which can then be printed. There is no single on-camera button for printing, but printing from the playback menu really isn’t difficult at all.
*The skinny Sony T5 comes with an even skinnier rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The NP-FT1 InfoLithium T-series battery comes with a matching BC-CS3 charger that plugs directly into the wall. This battery allows the camera to take 240 shots before it has to recharge. This is quite impressive considering the large 2.5-inch LCD screen and the power it must take to run it.
*Memory (6.0) *
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 has 32 MB of internal memory and a slot for an optional Memory Stick Duo or Duo Pro card. This model supports this media up to 2 GB; it
must have a Memory Stick Duo Pro for full 30 fps video.
Other Features* (1.0)
2x digital zoom –* Sony markets two types of digital zoom. There is Precision Zoom, which is the normal 2x digital zoom that deteriorates picture quality. The Smart Zoom only works when shooting 640 x 480 pixels; it utilizes the entire CCD to offer 1-12x digital zoom.
Self-timer – On the multi-selector, users can activate the self-timer by pushing the down arrow. The Sony T5’s self-timer is nothing fancy; it has a standard 10-second delay.
*The market is saturated with slim digital cameras that all have the same specs: 5 megapixels, 3x optical zoom lenses, and 2.5-inch LCD screens, although very few provide 230,000 pixel screens. As you will see in the comparison section, most of these models also have the same $350 retail price that the Sony Cyber-shot T5 has. The T5 is one of the more reasonably priced Sony digital cameras, as some of their other sleek models reach upwards of $500. Just looking at the specs, this is a good value. However, after testing the camera out and getting lots of blurry pictures due to the inability of the camera to boost the shutter speed, I wouldn’t even pay $350 for it. However, if adequate lighting is available, overall image quality is strong.
*Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T33 –*The T33 has a more rectangular shape at 3.9 x 2.4 x 0.8 inches, but weighs a little more at 4.4 ounces without the card and battery. It has 5.1 megapixels and appears to be a copy of the T5 in many ways. They have the same 3x optical zoom lenses, mode selections, white balance modes, ISO and shutter speed ranges, and 2.5-inch LCD screens. The biggest difference between the T33 and the T5 is the sliding lens cover. The T33 doesn’t have any sort of cover, which leaves its lens slightly vulnerable. However, the Sony T5’s cover can be a curse when it accidentally slides and turns the camera off. The Sony T33 does not have internal memory, but does include a Cyber-shot Station camera dock. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T33 retails for the same $349.99.
*Fujifilm FinePix Z1 –*The stylish metal Z1 is very skinny, like the T5, and comes in a sleek black color. Fujifilm’s Z1 has 5 megapixels, a 3x optical zoom lens, and a 2.5-inch LCD screen – all in a 3.5 x 2.2 x 0.7-inch camera body. Weighing 5.3 ounces, the Z1 adds an ISO 800 setting that produced fairly low noise when manually set. Despite this feature, the camera still had substandard performance in low light and color testing. The Z1 does not have a burst mode, but does have five scene modes, an automatic mode, and a movie mode that shoots VGA and QVGA clips at 30 fps. Still, its movie mode doesn’t offer the white balance and metering options that the Sony T5 does. The Fujifilm FinePix Z1 retails for $450.
Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 – This camera is a little stouter than the T5 with dimensions of 3.3 x 2.2 x 0.9 inches, giving it a more square form. Similar features are offered on this model: 5 megapixels, a 3x optical zoom lens with sliding door, and seven scene modes. The automatically oriented X60 has the same 2.5-inch size LCD screen, but it washes out easily in difficult lighting and has only 115,000 pixels of resolution. Images are much noisier and the burst mode and start-up times are slower on the X60. The movie mode can only shoot at a 320 x 240 size, which is half of what the Sony T5 can do. The Konica Minolta X60 has 15 MB of internal memory and retails for $350.
Nikon Coolpix S2 –* This model looks very similar to the Sony T5 with its silver metal body and sliding lens cover. The Nikon S2 has a 2.5-inch LCD screen like the T5, but it comes with much less resolution at 110,000 pixels. Like many other slim models, the Coolpix S2 has a 3x optical zoom lens that does not extend from the camera. With 5 megapixels, the Nikon S2 comes with a technology set that includes in-camera red-eye fix, D-lighting compensation, and face priority auto focus. The digital camera also comes with 15 scene modes. The slim S2 comes with a Nikon COOLSTATION for easy uploading, recharging, and printing, and retails for $450.
**Who It’s For
***Point-and-Shooters –* This digital camera is made for point-and-shooters. All that is required of the user is to open the sliding lens cover and the automatic settings on the camera take over. Just point and shoot. Simple.
*Budget Consumers – *This model ranks right with its competition in the $350 price range. It isn’t exceptionally cheap, but it isn’t overpriced either. Budget consumers could justify purchasing a Sony T5 online, where it can usually be found for considerably less than the retail price.
Gadget Freaks – The Sony brand name usually attracts gadget freaks, but there aren’t any interesting features here for the anxious gadget-seeker.
Manual Control Freaks – Without a manual white balance mode or manual options for shutter speed and aperture, manual control freaks will be freaked out to know they can only adjust the ISO and exposure value.
Pros / Serious Hobbyists – This segment of the market would only be drawn to the pocket-portability provided by the Sony T5. Pros and serious hobbyists would likely rather have a point-and-shoot camera that offers more control over the image or spend their $350 toward a new lens or flash accessory.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 makes good on Sony’s promise to release digital cameras with big LCDs, mega resolution, and internal memory. The T5’s 2.5-inch LCD screen includes 230,000 pixels, which is almost twice what the competition is offering on their screens. The T5 has 5.1 megapixels of shooting power and 32 MB of internal memory in which to save those shots. This model is designed primarily to point and shoot – and slide into a pocket when it’s not doing that. The 3x optical zoom lens does not extend from the body, which makes packing the T5 away easy and comfortable. This snapshot-oriented digital camera comes with automated features, ten scene modes, and a movie mode to please the majority of users. Its sleek body is offered in four different colors, making the stylish T5 a viable alternative for the fashion-conscious crowd.
The Sony T5 has a few physical problems, such as the lens cover that can easily shut the camera off and the tiny buttons that make exposure controls – the ones that are available – tedious to set. The T5 has some internal problems as well. The movie mode is hardly usable in low light and the camera’s flash produces sharp, hard-edged shadows and frequent red-eye. Perhaps the biggest drawback to this camera is its slow shutter. Images are simply not as crisp as they should be. In optimal lighting, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 will produce good photos. But if you’re looking for great images, keep looking. The T5 has a sexy body, but lacks the brains to be a really stellar digital camera.
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