Welcome to the rugged camera game, Sony. Your TX5 impresses me with it's deck-of-cards size Leica lens, and 14-degree rating, but at three metres of waterproofness and 1.5m of shock resistance, you're a little fragile.
Other cameras, like the just released Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2, are rated to around 30 feet of depth with respectable image quality. And the Casio EX-G1 is practically as small, although not nearly as capable of a camera.
Still, I respect Sony point and shoots, and this one could be one of the most street friendly because of its sensor and some neat software. The camera has a 10.2-megapixel "Exmor R" CMOS low light sensor, has optical stabilisation (handy in a rugged camera) and 10 fps burst modes. (We suspect it has similar guts to the WX1.) Another neat trick is the Intelligent Sweep Panorama, which can stitch together up to 100 separate captures by face matching and judging motion, adjusting them for lens warp to make a huge single image. There's also built in high dynamic range processing which combined bracketed photos. Ideal for capturing detail in sunny or snowy scenes. And smile capture which triggers the shutter when the camera detects a toothy grin or a timer mode that snaps the shot when heads show up in frame. The camera also captures 720p video at 30 frames per second with a special mode that'll allow for 10 times the lens movement to adjust for shake.
Without having used this camera, I'd say it's ideal as a good solid slim point and shoot that can occasionally hit the outdoors. It'll go for $US350 this April.
SONY INTRODUCES WATERPROOF DIGITAL STILL CAMERA WITH PERFORMANCE AND STYLE
Model Offers Outstanding Low-Light Performance, High Speed,
Intelligent Sweep Panorama and More
SAN DIEGO, Feb. 17, 2010 – Leading the industry in innovation and design, Sony today unveiled two new Cyber-shot® digital still cameras (models DSC-TX5 and DSC-H55).
Slim enough to fit in your pocket or purse at less than an inch thin — about the size of a deck of cards — the TX5 is the world's thinnest and smallest certified waterproof (up to 10 feet deep) digital still camera with Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilisation and touch operation. Additionally, the 10.2 megapixel model is Sony's first digital still camera with an "Exmor R" CMOS sensor that is also certified to be freeze proof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, shockproof up to about a 5-foot drop and dust proof.
"Only Sony can deliver a technology-packed, ultra slim, fashionable T-series camera that is also durable. Until now, you couldn't have it all in one camera" said Kelly Davis, director of the Digital Imaging business at Sony Electronics. "It is so versatile because it's a great camera for both indoor and outdoor usage. You can easily take it from a day at the beach with the kids to a cocktail party with friends. This camera is also great for activities such as snorkeling, snowboarding or boating."
Waterproof, Freeze Proof, Shockproof and Dust Proof
Waterproof in up to 10 feet of water for an hour, the TX5 lets you take high-quality photos, including panoramic pictures, and 720p high definition videos of your friends, family or pets underwater. From the tropics to the top of the mountain, the camera is also freeze proof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can take pictures of the kids sledding or snowboarding. Not only is it ready for cold weather, but the TX5 is durable enough to withstand an accidental drop from up to approximately 5 feet. Additionally, it is dust proof, so you can take it with you on a camping trip or a mountain bike ride.
The camera features an "Exmor R" sensor and offers 10fps continuous burst shooting for capturing action shots, so you can get great photos of the perfect moment such as when your kids are in mid air while jumping into the pool. Additionally, the sensor provides outstanding low-light performance so you can take high-quality photos even after the sun sets.
In one easy press-and-sweep motion, take panoramic photos of the underwater landscape or breathtaking views from the top of the mountain using the Intelligent Sweep Panorama™ feature. Another benefit of the "Exmor R" sensor, this innovative feature combines separate captures, detects faces and subject motion and intelligently adjusts the width while stitching the images together, resulting in natural looking panoramic photos.
The camera features a three-inch (measured diagonally) Clear Photo LCD Plus™ (230,400 pixel) wide touch screen display that functions-even underwater. You can focus on your subject, operate the menu and share photos and videos with a touch of the screen-wet or dry. Additionally, you can decorate your photos using the paint feature or scroll through images by simply sweeping your finger across the screen.
Shadows and Details Made Easy
In addition to making it easy to capture entire landscapes or tall buildings, the TX5 camera also helps to manage difficult lighting situations. The "Exmor R" CMOS sensor lets you take high-quality photos in low light without a flash. Additionally, the TX5 has a solution for backlight situations.
With in-camera multi-shot Backlight Correction High Dynamic Range (HDR), the camera combines highlight and shadow detail of two separate captures into one remarkably natural looking image-even without a tripod. HDR offers a solution for strong backlight situations which typically result in either dark shadows in the foreground or a washed out background. Sony's "Exmor R" sensor and BIONZ® processor help to correct these issues.