The Sony DSC T5 is an ultra compact digital camera. This is the type of digital camera that is small enough to slip easily into a pocket. The DSC T5 has five megapixels and a three times optical zoom lens. It has a fairly typical specification for this type of camera and is really a pretty straightforward point and shoot camera. It is likely to appeal to someone who looks on photography as fun rather than a hobby and likes the convenience such a small camera offers.
93.5 x 60 x 20.3mm
Memory Stick Duo
This is the third ultra compact digital camera from Sony I have tested over the past few months. All in all the DSC T5 is my favourite one. Each of the cameras probably has more or less the same internal workings but for some reason I found myself more at home with this model than with the DSC T7 or the DSC T33. Looking through the test photos I was pleased with each one and apart from the red eye problem with the indoor photo I would say that in terms of picture quality this camera would be hard to beat in the ultra compact category.
Starting off with the indoor shots what really stood out for me is how sharp and bright the photos are. Indoors is a place where digital cameras tend to struggle. This camera managed to outperform the majority of its rivals. My test picture of beer bottles is taken in almost complete darkness. The focusing is accurate and the flash illuminates the shot almost perfectly. Likewise the indoor portrait shot is also well lit and extremely crisp considering the conditions. It is one of the best indoor portraits I have managed to take, but it is let down by the red eye that shows up all too clearly in the picture.
The outdoor landscape style shots come out well too. As is typical of ultra compact models the results produced are not quite as sharp as you would see from larger cameras, but the DSC T5 stands up well against other cameras in this class. One plus point worth mentioning is that the photos remain well focused all the way to the edge of the shot. With some other cameras there is a tendency for the shot to loose some of its clarity as you get towards the edges, but this is certainly not the case here and is highlighted especially well by the first outdoor test photos showing some boats.
The colour test produces a good result too. The colours are not quite as vivid as you might see with Canon IXUS models, but you could argue that the colours produced by this camera have a more natural feel.
Finally the macro test shot is good without being outstanding. The photo is bright and clear, but again you will find sharper images taken by larger cameras. If you are planning to take the occasional close up shot then this will probably not be very important to you, but if you are looking for a camera and one of your main photo interests is close up work then I would advise you to look elsewhere.
Shutter Lag and Recycling Times
I have grown used to seeing fast times recorded by Sony cameras and the DSC T5 is very quick indeed. I managed to take a single shot in 0.14 seconds. This is one of the fastest times so far. It took 4.78 seconds to take five consecutive shots. This works out at a rate of one photo every 0.95 seconds. This is the fastest time to date. Shutter lag should not be an issue at all with this camera and it beats many of its rivals hands down.
You can compare this camera to other models by taking a look at the Shutter Lag Comparison Table.
The three times optical zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 38 - 114mm in 35mm format. The maximum aperture of the lens is f3.5 - f4.4. The optical zoom is backed up by a 12x smart zoom feature and a 6x digital zoom. For close up photography the camera can focus from 1cm away from the subject.
To help you take the best possible pictures covering a number of different photo opportunities there are a number of preset scene modes. These are for Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Soft Snap, Landscape, Snow, Beach, High-speed shutter, Fireworks, Candle and Magnifying Glass. All you need to do is select the most appropriate scene before taking the picture.
The built in flash unit can be set to automatic, always on, always off and slow synchro. Red eye reduction is available too. The maximum range of the flash unit is 2.5m. This falls to 2m when the zoom lens is in use. To be honest even at its maximum distance the flash unit does not light up a very large area in comparison to other digital cameras.
For composing shots, reviewing photos and accessing the menu system there is a 2.5" LCD screen. This is made up of around 230,400 pixels. There is no viewfinder on the camera.
Short movies can be recorded. The maximum resolution is 640 x 480. The top speed is 30 frames per second. This is good enough to playback movies on a television set. The duration of each movie is only limited by the capacity of the memory card.
Among the more advanced features are shutter speeds in the range of 1/8 seconds, exposure compensation (+/-2.0 EV, 1/3 EV step), ISO equivalents (Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400), white balance (Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Flash) and three types of metering (multi pattern, spot and centre weighted). There is also a selection of auto focus settings.
You can also adjust settings for sharpness, saturation and contrast. To add something different to a photo you can also shoot in black and white and sepia.
There is a burst mode that allows you to fire off a number of shots in quick succession. This lets you take a maximum of nine shots at a rate of one shot every 0.7 seconds. There is also a multi burst facility that lets you keep taking shots until the memory card is full. This shoots at a slower rate than the standard burst mode.
Sony supplies all the necessary cables and software to connect the DSC T5 to a computer, television set and a PictBridge compatible printer.
Ease of Use
As far as digital cameras go the DSC T5 is pretty easy to use. The main controls for zoom, macro, self timer and flash are all controlled by buttons on the back of the camera. The menu system should hold no fears for you and it is quite easy to find the item you are looking for.
You can pick up a Sony DSC T5 for around £225. This compares to around £225 for a Canon IXUS 55, £200 for a Fuji Finepix Z1 and £175 for a Pentax Optio S5z. This camera is one of the more expensive five megapixel ultra compact digital cameras. Whether it is worth the extra money depends on what you are looking for. It is probably one of the most attractive models you will find and the picture quality is very good as well. Therefore I would say it is worth considering paying the extra money if you are really taken with the design of this camera.
I like the style and design of the DSC T5. Although it is a typically shiny silver rectangle, the sliding lens adds to its appearance. It is not as slim as the incredibly slim DSC T7, but with dimensions of 93.5 x 60 x 20.3mm it is still a very slim camera. It is also a lightweight model weighing at 114g. The camera has a metal body.
Batteries and Memory Cards
A rechargeable lithium in battery is required to power the camera. Sony supplies both the battery and a charger with the DSC T5. In tests Sony were able to take 240 shots before the battery needed recharging.
The camera comes with 32mb of memory built into it. Therefore no memory card is supplied with the camera. I was able to take 14 shots before the memory was full. This test was carried out using the camera's default settings. It is advisable to pick up a high capacity card to go with the camera. The type of card you need is a Memory Stick Duo card. You can also use Memory Stick Duo Pro cards as well. The two important points to remember when buying a new card is to make sure it is a Memory Stick and that it has Duo in its name or description. Click here to save money on Memory Stick Duo.
Points I like:
Low shutter lag times
Where it is not so hot:
Red eye on indoor portraits
Short flash range
There is a lot to like about the Sony DSC T5. It is a very stylish ultra compact camera. Picture quality also stands up well against other digital cameras with a similar design. Although it is one of the more expensive models in its category it is well worth considering.
Sony DSC T5 Front View
Sony DSC T5 Back View
Sony DSC T5 Top View
Top Rated Cameras in this Category
Sony DSC TX55 Rating 85/100
If the touch screen was perfect then the Sony Cybershot DSC TX55 would be a truly outstanding digital camera. As it is picture quality is hard to beat for such a small camera. Style and design is very impressive and the features on offer give you more or less everything you are likely to want in a point and shoot pocket camera and a bit more on top. It can be very hard to find the perfect touch screen so if touch control is important to you then this camera is well worth a place on your short list.
Read Review: Sony DSC TX55 Review
Panasonic DMC FX90 Rating 79/100
Panasonic offers some excellent digital cameras and can normally be replied upon to produce crystal clear photos. As with previous reviews of cameras in the FX part of the range the Panasonic Lumix DMC FX90 just does not match up to those usual high standards. Focusing is softer than it should be and you are likely to see the results of this even with relatively small sized prints.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX90 Review
Panasonic DMC FX70 Rating 79/100
The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX70 does not quite match up to the picture quality I am used to seeing from Panasonic digital cameras. It does have a lot of other plus points, but if you are looking for true clarity in your photos there are better pocket cameras around.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX70 Review