Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 Review

If you’re looking for a quality point and shoot that can double as your rugged cam, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 is a great option.
If you’re looking for a quality point and shoot that can double as your rugged cam, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 is a great option.
If you’re looking for a quality point and shoot that can double as your rugged cam, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 is a great option.

Highs

  • Responsive touchscreen
  • Impressive in low light
  • Panorama sweep is a nice bonus feature
  • Sliding on/off panel is convenient

Lows

  • Too small
  • Operating with touchscreen only might scare some off
  • Competitors in this price range have more built-in features
  • Touchscreen could be difficult to manipulate in some “tough cam” scenarios

DT Editors' Rating

All tough cams are not made equally – or similarly for that matter. Sony offers up the world’s slimmest rugged point and shoot, along with a very capable touchscreen responsible for most of the camera’s operations. Its most notable elements will either win users over (tiny size, touchscreen dependence) or be the reason they opt for a competitor’s camera like the Olympus TG-610.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5Features and design

First off, we’ll start with what the TX5 has going for it. It’s an incredibly light and slim device, with a sliding panel to protect the lens. Touch pocket cams don’t always have the luxury of being quite as convenient to carry as Sony’s – it weighs a mere 5.1 ounces and its backside is all screen. The 3-inch LCD touchscreen packs approximately 230,000 pixels in resolution. It registers touch surprisingly well and doesn’t require tap after tap after tap to get where you want to go – but always expect this to get a little more difficult underwater, or while wearing gloves.

But back to what it does well. The sliding panel not only protects the camera lens but functions as a power switch, yet another convenience in a tough cam. And it’s virtually buttonless: There is a designated power button, zoom, playback, and shutter control, but that’s it. If you’re planning to exploit everything this camera can do in the great outdoors, you’ll be happy with the lack of tiny bells and whistles you need to manipulate. Of course, if you’re unfamiliar with touchscreen controls or have an affinity for messing with the smallest details of your photo setup, it might be frustrating to have it confined to the screen. That said, the learning curve with the touchscreen controls is anything but steep.

The TX5 comes equipped with a slew of scene selectors, included “snow,” “beach,” and of course “underwater.” To get more specific, users also various white balance options and of course, more experienced photographers can alter ISO sensitivity themselves. But the camera’s real selling points are its simplicity and durability.

What’s in the box

The TX5 comes with the camera, a startup and help guide CD, wristband, multi-connector cable, NP-BN1 battery, and battery charger.

Performance and use

The most impressive feature the TX5 is arguably its speed. Consumers should be able to use tough cams to their fullest abilities, and sometimes it seems like their indestructibility takes precedence over their speed. But the TX5 comes packaged with an incredibly capable sensor and processor – the Exmor R CMOS sensor and the BIONZ processor – that allow it to take 10 frames in one second at its full 10.2-megapixel resolution.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5

The camera’s wide-angle 4x zoom gives photographers some room to work with: It offers some variety and makes landscape shooting a possibility, which can’t be said for every pocket cam out there. The camera’s built-in scene selectors also work well, and can further simplify using the TX5 for novices. Better yet, the touchscreen interface is extremely intuitive when it comes to using and finding these presets. Just like any good outdoor-use camera should, it comes with a panorama option. It’s a different take on the feature, however: You simply select the mode and then follow the easier than easy instructions which include an arrow telling you to sweep the camera across your desired landscape. It then processes the image for you; push it to the limits and it can capture an image with a 258 degree field of view. Of course, the quality can’t be compared to costly DSLRs like the A55, but it shouldn’t have to be. The TX5 performs admirably in low light, thanks to its sensor, but be ready for some lag with the auto focus.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5

While the diminutive size is convenient for packing and pocket purposes, that doesn’t always mean it’s easier to use. The zoom toggle is absolutely miniature; using it with gloves or underwater could prove difficult. And sure, no one wants a weight secured to their wrist – but the TX5 feels like it could blow away. The child-sized camera might just be too small for some, and while a 3-inch display is impressive for a device so small, it’s a relatively small space to work entirely within.

Conclusion

If you’re specifically on the hunt for a dustproof, waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof point-and-shoot that you can really subject to the elements and push to the weather limits, the TX5 will do, but it can easily be bested by cameras without rugged specs. A slightly heavier device that doesn’t entirely rely on a touchscreen will also be easier to manipulate in your more extreme photography sessions.

That said, if you’re looking for a quality point and shoot that can double as your rugged cam, the TX5 is a great option. The touchscreen isn’t anything to be afraid of, even for those unfamiliar with it. And for general use, its size is definitely a plus, not to mention its iAuto and built-in scene options. However, for its price we’d expect some artsy filters or expanded editing capabilities.

Highs:

  • Responsive touchscreen
  • Impressive in low light
  • Panorama sweep is a nice bonus feature
  • Sliding on/off panel is convenient

Lows:

  • Too small
  • Touchscreen only operation might scare some off
  • Competitors have more built-in features to offer
  • Touchscreen can be difficult to manipulate in some “tough cam” scenarios
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: inflatable backpacks and robotic submarines

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Photography

Capture life in every direction with the best 360 cameras

While 360 cameras are still a new technology, that doesn't mean there's not a few that are worth a look. Whether you want to shoot from the middle or just need a simple, affordable option, here are the best 360 cameras on the market.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses - something no phone…
Photography

How to take pictures of the Perseid meteor shower and the stars

The night sky can be both one of the trickiest and most rewarding shoots to master. Stop putting your camera away at sunset and learn how to photograph the stars in this tutorial on the night sky.
Social Media

How to use Adobe Spark Post to spice up your social media images

Images are proven to get more likes than plain text -- but only if those images are good. Adobe Spark post is an AI-powered design program for non-designers. Here's how to use it to take your social media feeds to the next level.
Photography

18 seconds of fame: Giphy’s quirky new GIF film festival has a $10K prize

Have a knack for creating GIFs? Someone is going to win $10,000 for a video that's 18 seconds or less at the Giphy Film Festival. The new contest is set to recognize the top creator for the short micro-films in five different categories.
Photography

A turn for the better: Loupedeck+ adds custom dials, more to Lightroom console

The Loupedeck+ improves on the original Lightroom console by adding welcome customization options and introducing support for Skylum Aurora HDR. What's even better is that it does this all at an even lower price.
Mobile

Google One subscriptions offer more cloud storage for low prices, other perks

Can't get enough storage on Google Drive, Photos, or Gmail? Google One is the new way to boost your cloud storage. But it's not just about more space -- Google One comes with a loads of benefits.
Photography

Sorry, DSLR, but Sony mirrorless is now the best-selling full-frame camera

Four out of every ten full-frame cameras sold in the United States during the first-half of 2018 had the Sony name. That makes Sony's mirrorless full-frame cameras the best-selling models.
Emerging Tech

Meet the Mantis Q: A drone you can control by yelling, waving, or even smiling

"Mantis, take a picture." Yuneec's new consumer drone, the Yuneec Mantis Q, responds to voice commands along with gestures and smiles. The 4K drone also integrates several different flight modes and safety features inside a one-pound…
Photography

Color grading pushes Pinnacle Studio 22 toward more pro video editing features

Designed for videographers that aren't pros but aren't basic users either, Pinnacle Studio 22 expands its advanced tools with color grading and four-point editing. The updates bring more advanced tools to the platform.
Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here’s all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Web

Adobe Spark Page makes web design easy — here’s how to use it

Using artificial intelligence and simple tools, Adobe Spark Page is designed for easy web page design. Here's how to use Adobe Spark Page to create a travel journal, event page or any other one-page website.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.