Following the usual chic design of their T series cameras, Sony's new fashion oriented compact model, the Cyber-Shot DSC-T20, is quite an impressive product. The image quality was quite good and the stylish design should appeal to those after something a little more eye-catching than your average camera.
- Above average pictures, Stylish design, Speedy
- Colour reproduction suffers for having no manual or preset white balance modes, Sluggish interface
Another strong compact camera from Sony, the Cyber-Shot DSC-T20 will suit fashion conscious buyers who want a stylish point and shoot model that captures great pictures
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
Sometimes cameras that focus on fashion wind up lacking a little in the imaging department, but our Imatest testing software quickly show the T20 is more than capable of competing with other, similarly priced units.
Its score of 1536 in our sharpness test is a perfect example. This is a strong result for a 7.1 mega pixel camera, and indicates crisp pictures that are suitable for small and medium magnification. Our test shots looked quite good, although they were slightly softer than the score would indicate. This isn't a huge problem, especially factoring in the target market of this model, but it is worth noting that at bigger print sizes the shots do exhibit a little fringing.
Meanwhile in our chromatic aberration test, the T20 scored about where we expected, with a result of 0.125%. This is within the range that compact cameras usually score and our test shots reflected this, with some noticeable but not prominent blurring towards the edges of our shots. Thankfully there was very little haloing - a problem commonly associated with entry level compact cameras.
Compacts also often struggle when it comes to image noise, but here the T20 really excelled with an Imatest result of 0.61% at ISO 100. Most compacts score closer to 0.80%, so this is an excellent result with our shots being clean and speckle free. As anticipated, the shots gradually degraded as we increased the sensitivity, and at ISO 400 and above they weren't really useable.
The only area of disappointment was in the colour checker test. It achieved a score of 9.01 in this test, which is quite a bit below other models, (usually around the 7.0 or 8.0 mark). As usual with mainstream consumer cameras, the reds were quite strongly saturated while most of the other colours were well-balanced. The overall colour reproduction will be fine for most casual users, even if it is a little behind some competing units.
Coming in a smooth white chassis with a slide down lens cover and a black back plate, the T20 is sure to impress those more fashion conscious buyers. We think it looks great, with minimalist controls on the back face and silver highlights. However, the back is entirely covered in a glass sheet, which does tend to get grimy quite quickly, so a cleaning cloth or something similar may be a good idea if you're really that concerned about how the unit looks.
We found the menu easy to navigate for the most part and it should suit novice users quite well. The options are broken down into several sub-menus, with the key features popping up at the touch of the 'menu' button. However, Sony has implemented their new menu on this model and, as with previous units; we found it a little sluggish with a noticeable delay when navigating.
All the usual features you'd expect from such a camera are present, including exposure compensation, multiple focus modes and a variety of scene modes. White balance presets are available, but there is no custom mode, and ISO sensitivities run up to an impressive ISO 3200. The burst mode operated at three frames per second, which is quite good by compact camera standards.
The T20 was also extremely quick, exhibiting lightning fast results in our speed tests. Exhibiting 0.05 seconds of shutter lag, 1.5 seconds power up time and just over a second between shots. These are extremely quick times, and are certain to mean you won't miss a vital shot. The unit sports a 3x optical zoom, which is completely standard for a camera of this type.
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