The Sony Cyber-shot TX10 is a 16.2 megapixel compact with a 4x stabilised zoom and a 3 inch touch-sensitive screen. Like earlier TX series models it’s very slim, with an integral lens protected by a vertically sliding cover when not in use.
The Cyber-shot TX10’s sleek and elegant good looks aren’t in the least suggestive of ruggedness, so it comes as something of a surprise to discover that it can be used in the water to a depth of 5 metres and is dust shock and freeze proof.
It’s not short on features either. The Exmor R back-illuminated CMOS sensor provides very fast burst shooting capabilities as well as a number of composite shooting modes that combine several shots to improve low light performance and enhance the tonal range. It has all of the ease of use features you expect to see – face detect AF, smile shutter, scene recognition, a range of movie modes all the way up to 1080i HD and panoramic and 3D modes. The TX10 packs a great deal into a small, stylish and tough body – now let’s see how it compares to rival touch-screen models…
Compared to Canon IXUS 310 HS / ELPH 500 HS
The most striking difference between the Canon IXUS 310 HS / ELPH 500 HS and Sony Cyber-shot TX10 is size. At only 18mm thick and weighing significantly less, the Cyber-shot TX10 will comfortably sit a shirt or trouser pocket. Being waterproof there are also other places it can go where the IXUS 310 HS / ELPH 500 HS can’t follow. That’s not just useful at the seaside or ski-slopes, as you can use it without worrying in a rain shower or dusty environment.
In terms of other features, the two cameras have similar zoom ranges, the wide touch screens are similarly proportioned and both can be used to touch focus and are similar in terms of their tactile response, but I found the IXUS 310 HS / ELPH 500 HS’s bright contrasty screen much easier to see outdoors than the Cyber-shot TX10’s, despite the latter’s higher resolution.
Both cameras have a low light mode that produces a ‘stacked’ or composite image and both are stuffed with creative features. The Cyber-shot TX10 includes 3D shooting modes and iSweep Panorama compared with the IXUS 310 HS / ELPH 500 HS’s creative filter effects and movie digest. One thing that may make a difference to enthusiasts is that the Cyber-shot TX10 lacks the semi auto exposure modes available on the IXUS 310 HS / ELPH 500 HS which also provides more versatile movie shooting options via scene modes. Another factor that can’t be ignored is that, resolution, formats and encoding differences aside, the Cyber-shot TX10’s lengthy record button lag may rule it out if you like to to shoot spontaneous video clips.
Finally, the Cyber-shot TX10 has a larger 16.2 Megapixel sensor, which means you can make bigger prints. As our image quality tests show though, the higher pixel density on the Cyber-shot TX10’s sensor has a negative impact on image quality. When zoomed-out, the Canon can also exploit lower ISO sensitivities thanks to a brighter lens focal ratio, making it the preferred choice in low light overall. But the slim, waterproof body with Sony’s trademark styling is certainly very appealing.
See our Canon IXUS 310 HS / PowerShot ELPH 500 HS review for more details.
Compared to Panasonic Lumix FX77 / FX78
The Panasonic Lumix FX77 / FX78 is similar in weight and dimensions to the Cyber-shot TX10, it has a slighly larger screen and a longer zoom lens, a lower resolution sensor and lacks the Cyber-shot TX10’s water, dust and shockproof casing.
Like the Canon IXUS 310 HS / ELPH 500 HS, the Cyber-shot TX10 packs in a lot of features and while the Lumix isn’t short of a trick or two it doesn’t have the same strength in depth here as the Cyber-shot TX10. Yes it has a 3D picture mode, but it doesn’t have the same spread of options. It also has a low-light composite Handheld Night Shot mode, but at reduced resolution and it’s burst modes are similarly restricted.
In quality terms we’d say the 12 Megapixel Lumix has the edge on the CyberShot TX10. Plus it offers a similar combination of movie modes and codec choices along with a dedicated physical movie recording button that doesn’t suffer from lag to the same degree as the Cyber-shot TX10. Add to that a nice big 3.5 inch screen and if movies are higher up your priority list than smart features then the FX77 / FX78 begins to look very attractive.
See our upcoming Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX77 / FX78 review for more details.
Sony Cyber-shot TX10 verdict
The Sony Cyber-shot TX10 has a lot to offer for an ultra-compact in this price bracket. It’s small, light and stylish and shares the clean lines and good looks of other models in the TX series. Its stabilised 4x optical zoom produces good results, its touch screen is sensitive and coupled with a customisable control layout and menu system that is sensibly layed out and easy to use.
Though its f3.5 lens is not particularly bright and its high ISO performance less than sparkling, the Cyber-shot TX10 redeems itself with a lightning fast burst shooting mode and composite low-light and HDR modes. Added to which it has a raft of clever shooting modes including panoramic, 3D, 3D panoramic, Background defocus and Superior Auto that really do extend the range of possibilities for picture taking.
The lack of manual exposure modes and the extended movie recording lag, will likely put off photo enthusiasts and serious video makers but if you’re looking for a small point-and-shoot compact that’s packed with versatile shooting modes and features that deliver what they promise the Cyber-shot TX10 won’t disappoint. Plus you can take it to beach without having to worry about it getting wet.
(relative to 2011 compacts)
18 / 20
15 / 20
16 / 20
16 / 20
17 / 20