"This gorgeous camera is so tiny and thin, your brain tells you it couldn't possibly be waterproof," says David Pogue of The New York Times about the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5. This is due in part to the fact that the TX5 doesn't carry the extra padding of the "porky" Canon PowerShot D10 (Discontinued), says Gavin Stoker at PhotographyBlog.com. The TX5 is about 0.7 of an inch thick and weighs 4.5 ounces, whereas the D10 measures 1.9 inches and tips the scales at 6.7 ounces. Despite its small size, the TX5 is a fairly rugged digital camera -- it withstands immersion in 10 feet of water for up to an hour, temperatures ranging from 14 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and being dropped from 5 feet, in addition to being dustproof. However, it's no match for the 33-foot underwater rating of the Canon D10 and the top-rated Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2 (Discontinued), and in Pogue's toss-and-kick tests, the Sony TX5's sliding lens cover "took some damage," whereas the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2 "still looked new." Leonard Goh at CNET Asia points out that the shockproof rating warranty is applicable under Sony's strict standards, which may not reflect real-world use, though he doesn't test the TX5's durability.
Editors at Imaging-Resource.com test Sony's claims; the TX5 survives blizzard conditions and a dunk in a fountain with no problem. While there's superficial damage after a drop, the camera continues to function. "This camera may be tough but it's not indestructible," Editor David Elrich concludes. The TX5 has a 3-inch touch-screen LCD, a 4x zoom lens and HD video (720p), although an HDMI cable is not included, nor is the required adaptor. Critics like Pogue praise the Sweep Panorama mode that produces a 270-degree panorama shot, and David Elrich at Imaging-Resource.com raves about the "blazingly fast" Burst mode, which is handy for fast-action shots. To boost low-light conditions, the TX5 has a function for reducing motion blur and a sensitive 10.2-megapixel CMOS sensor. Yet despite the top-notch features, several users at Amazon.com report variable image quality marred by unnatural colors, and Pogue gives the nod to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2 for better photos and video quality that "easily trounces" camcorders.
While a number of enthusiast sites test and evaluate the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5, the most extensive product comparison comes from a roundup of underwater cameras by New York Times tech guru David Pogue. Other useful reviews can be found at PhotographyBlog.com and Imaging-Resource.com. User postings at Amazon.com help to reveal potential problems that surface with real-life use.
1. The New York Times
In this round-up of rugged cameras, David Pogue discovers that the minimalist Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 can't match the Panasonic Lumix TS2 for toughness. Photos also suffer from severe edge distortion that makes people "look as if they're printed on stretched Silly Putty." Still, the TX5 garners praise for Sony's "much-adored" Sweep Panorama mode and tiny size.
Review: Tough Cameras Make Underwater Photography Easier, David Pogue, April 21, 2010
Despite its small stature, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 is "tougher than it looks," says Gavin Stoker, though he doesn't subject the camera to durability tests. The unique shooting features -- especially Sweep Panorama -- make the camera stand out from the crowd. It also delivers good performance and photo quality along with a high price tag.
Review: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 Review, Gavin Stoker, May 19, 2010
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 makes a solid choice for anyone wanting "a compact camera that can handle the rough and tumble of the outdoors and shoot good looking images at the same time," says Richard Baguley. However, he admits it's a bit awkward to hold onto, and the lens generates a lot of purple fringing at the widest end.
Review: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 Digital Camera Review, Richard Baguley, March 10, 2010
"The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 digital camera is a slim, stylish pocket digital camera that has a secret: It's waterproof," says David Elrich. And it stands up to a battery of endurance tests. The camera, which earns a Dave's Pick designation, also has one of the best touch-screen interfaces he's ever tested and good image quality.
Review: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5, David Elrich, March 24, 2010
5. CNET (Asia)
"The TX5's main draw is probably its stylish looks," says Leonard Goh. The camera also produces some of the best picture quality among rugged cameras. Nevertheless, Goh adds a word of caution: The shockproof rating warranty is valid only under Sony's rather strict standards for damage.
Review: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5, Leonard Goh, May 24, 2010
While users at Amazon.com are generally pleased with the features, ease of use and durability of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5, the camera isn't flawless. Several owners cite weak battery life, while others say the LCD is scratch-prone and impossible to see in bright sunlight. However, over-processed image quality marred by unreal colors is the most common complaint.
Review: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 10.2MP CMOS Digital Camera, Contributors to Amazon.com