Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77
Ultra-slim compact camera with touch-screen interface.
- Slim build, stylish design
- High levels of chromatic aberration, touch-screen interface can be irritating
An adequate but not particularly impressive compact, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77 wins points for style and size but it has a few image quality issues and a somewhat irritating touch-screen interface.
Price$ 429.00 (AUD)
It seems to be touch-screen madness at the moment, with a slew of cameras, phones and MP3 players all sporting an iPhone-like interface. The latest of these is the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77, which is a slim and extremely stylish 10.1-megapixel compact camera. It definitely succeeds in the looks department and it takes reasonably good snaps, although it is targeted at amateurs, not serious photographers.
Similar in design to past T series units, the T77 has a front panel that slides down to reveal the lens. The key difference this time around is that the camera is just 15mm thick, making it one of the slimmest units we've ever looked at. It is a fantastic looking camera and the design is ideal for a purse or pocket unit.
The body is built entirely from metal and feels sturdy and relatively weighty. The only downside to the petite body is that it is quite difficult to hold and some controls, particularly the zoom switch, are difficult to access.
In our image quality tests, the T77 performed adequately but it wasn't outstanding. Its 10.1-megapixel sensor captured fairly crisp shots that will be fine for small and medium prints. However they had some noticeable sharpening aberrations which detracted from the quality a little. Chromatic aberration was also quite problematic, with some noticeable purple fringing on high-contrast edges and some minor detail loss towards the corners of the frame.
Noise performance was reasonable, but there were a few issues. Shots became somewhat blotchy even as low as ISO 400, but there wasn't significant detail loss until ISO 800. The unit does offer sensitivities up to ISO 3200, but at the top end shots just come out a blurry mess.
Colours were quite strongly saturated as usual. This doesn't necessarily make photos look bad, and it produces some very vibrant prints. We're beginning to sound like a broken record here, but if you want more accuracy you will probably need to do some tweaking in post processing or using the on-board colour modes. There is no custom white balance option but the presets do a good job in most lighting conditions.
The T77 performed well in our speed tests. It exhibited 0.08 seconds of shutter lag, had a start-up time of 1.9 seconds and it took two seconds between shots. The burst mode was also speedy, snapping 2.5 shots a second.
It sports a pretty standard feature set for a compact camera, with a few additions. Most notable is the 3in touch screen, which takes care of the bulk of the menu navigation. It felt a little more responsive than the screen on the Cyber-shot DSC-T500 but it still caused us a fair bit of a grief. It is also a bit smaller than the DSC-T500's screen, meaning the icons are harder to hit if you have large hands.
Also present is a 4x zoom lens complete with optical image stabilisation, which is impressive considering the lens doesn't protrude at all. There is also a smattering of scene modes, some focus and metering options and face detection (complete with smile shutter, which takes a picture when it detects a smile). It is missing the fancy manual modes of more advanced units but that is to be expected.
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