An attractive 8-megapixel slimline digicam with a touch-screen interface and 5x optical zoom lens.An update to the DSC-T100 Cyber-shot, the DSC-T200 is similar in size and styling to its predecessor but the button controls on the rear panel have been replaced by a huge 3.5-inch touch-panel TFT LCD with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The entire screen is only used for viewing when the 16:9 aspect ratio setting - which reduces resolution to 1920 x 1080 pixels - is selected. At the 4:3 and 3:2 aspect ratios, black bars appear at each side of the screen. . . [more]
An update to the DSC-T100 Cyber-shot, the DSC-T200 is similar in size and styling to its predecessor but the button controls on the rear panel have been replaced by a huge 3.5-inch touch-panel TFT LCD with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The entire screen is only used for viewing when the 16:9 aspect ratio setting – which reduces resolution to 1920 x 1080 pixels – is selected. At the 4:3 and 3:2 aspect ratios, black bars appear at each side of the screen.
The T200 shares many features with the T70 model, which was released at the same time, but has a longer 5x optical zoom lens and larger LCD. Apart from some minor differences in styling and body size, these models are functionally identical – to the extent of sharing the same instruction manual. Unlike most other manufacturers, Sony provides only the briefest of printed instructions for buyers. The detailed handbook is only available in PDF form on the supplied software disk.
Front view with the camera switched on.
Front view as the camera is designed to be carried with the strap loop at the top and the lens cover closed.
Fortunately, the T200 (and its sister the T70) are easy to operate, as befits their target market: point-and-shoot picture-takers. Sliding the lens cover down turns the camera on. This large panel is solidly-built and moves smoothly, providing good protection for the lens, flash and microphone when it is closed. The metal bodies of both cameras are as solidly built as their predecessor but, unfortunately, the remaining button controls are very tiny and can be difficult to operate with precision.
Rwar view showing the huge LCD screen.
The touch-screen covers the entire rear panel and is used for setting all camera functions. 'Buttons' labelled Home, Menu and Display occupy three corners of the screen while the fourth corner left blank until a sub-menu is accessed.
The main menu screen.
Quick access 'buttons' on the left of the screen cover the resolution and self-timer settings plus the Record modes. The Record sub-menu includes Auto, Scene, Program AE and Movie settings.
The shooting menu.
The white balance menu contains pre-sets for Sunny, Cloudy, Incandescent and Flash photography plus three Fluorescent settings. No manual measurement is available.
The white balance menu.
Under the Scene button are pre-sets for High ISO, Smile Shutter, Soft Snap, Twilight Portrait, Twilight, Landscape, Hi-speed Shutter, Beach, Snow and Fireworks.Battery and memory card slot into place in a dual-purpose compartment in the base panel, which also carries the tripod socket and multi-connector port. The latter combines USB connection to a computer or printer with audio/video jacks for TV connection.
The design of the camera, which positions the lens in the top corner of the front panel, increases the risk of getting a fingertip included in shots, as shown in the illustration below. (This is a common problem with slimline cameras that rely on a similar design.)
We've covered the problem we had with the Smile Shutter setting, which links shutter triggering to detection of a smiling face, in the review of the T70, which was posted on the Photo Review website recently. This feature is more of a gimmick that a real benefit because smiles vary from one person to another, making it difficult to set the right detection level. Things get complicated with group shots because one person smiling can trigger the shutter before the others are ready. With both situations, you may need to keep re-shooting until you and the camera get it right – which is no real improvement on cameras without smile detection.
Still images are recorded as JPEGs and compression levels are significantly lower than we found with the T100 model - and also identical with the T70. Theoretically, this should result in better image quality, particularly when the digital zoom is used. Typical file sizes are shown in the table below.
3264 x 2448
3264 x 2176
2592 x 1944
2048 x 1536
640 x 480
1920 x 1080
Video capture facilities are also the same as the T70. They're relatively sparse and include neither widescreen nor time-lapse recording. Two video sizes are provided: VGA and QVGA, with three frame rates< 30, 16.6 and 8.3 frames/second. Recording options and times are shown in the table below.
Image size & frame rate
(1GB memory card)
640 x 480 pixels at 30 fps
12 min. 30 sec.
640 x 480 pixels at 16.6 fps
45 min. 00 sec.
320 x 240 pixels at 8.3 fps
3 hours and 20 sec.
Image playback is accessed through the Home menu and essentially the same as in the T70. Tapping the Playback tab lets you view recorded shots as single images, index thumbnails or as a slideshow. You can mark shots for automatic printing via the sub-menu within the Print tab, which also contains a Music tool that lets you download MP3 files and add them as background music to a slideshow.
Not surprisingly, the test camera delivered similar pictures to the T70 we reviewed at the same time – although its zoom range was somewhat longer, providing greater potential for camera shake. However, the built-in image stabiliser appeared to work well in a wide variety of situations and few of our test shots showed noticeable blurring.
Exposures were slightly better balanced than test shots from the T70 and the test camera seemed capable of covering a slightly wider dynamic range. Image resolution was also slightly higher in our Imatest assessments, although we still found a similar severe decline at ISO 3200.
The dynamic range was slightly wider than average for a digicam.
Imatest showed colour reproduction to be very similar to the T70 we reviewed. However, lateral chromatic aberration was much less and coloured fringing was only visible with high magnification. The T200 was able to focus closer than the T70 – although still not as close as many digicams. Consequently, close-ups had more impact, although the Magnifying Glass mode delivered identical results in both cameras.
Coloured fringes were only visible with high magnification.
White balance performance was identical to the T70; neither incandescent nor fluorescent lighting was fully corrected with the auto setting and the pre-sets tended to over-correct. No manual measurement facility is provided. The flash was slightly more powerful than the T70, but required ISO 400 to illuminate an average-sized room. Digital zoom shots taken with the camera set at its highest resolution were clean and relatively free of processing artefacts.
The test camera powered up and shut down in approximately 1.5 seconds. We measured an average capture lag of 0.2 seconds, which reduced to less than 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing. Shot-to-shot intervals averaged approximately 1.3 seconds without flash and roughly six seconds with. In the continuous shooting mode, the test camera recorded a sequence of shots at 0.4 second intervals, slowing slightly after 15 shots. It took 2.8 second to process a burst of 15 shots.
Resolution at low ISO settings.
Resolution at ISO 3200.
Auto white balance under incandescent lighting.
Auto white balance under fluorescent lighting.
Image sensor: 5.76 x 4.29mm Super HAD CCD with 8.286 million photosites (8.1-megapixels effective)
Lens: Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 5.8-29.0mm f/3.5-4.4 zoom (35-175mm in 35mm format)
Zoom ratio: 5x optical, up to 10x digital
Image formats: Stills – JPEG (Exif 2.21); Movies – MPEG1
Image Sizes: Stills - 3264 x 2448, 3264 x 2176 (3:2), 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536, 1920 x 1080 (16:9), 640 x 480: Movies – VGA at 30/16.6 fps; QVGA at 8.3 fps; QQVGA at 8.3 fps
Shutter speed range: 1-1/1000 second
Image Stabilisation: Optical (Super Steady Shot)
Face detection: Yes: touch /continuous
Exposure Compensation: +/- 2.0EV, 1/3EV steps
Focus system/range: Single, Monitoring AF; range 50 cm to infinity; macro to 8cm; magnifying glass mode 1-20cm
Exposure metering/control: Multi Pattern, Centre Weighted, Spot metering; Program AE plus 9 scene presets
ISO range: Auto, ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
White balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent (x 3), Incandescent, Flash
Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, Forced-Flash, Slow Synchro, No Flash; range 0.1-3.7 metres
Sequence shooting: 100 shots at 2 fps (all resolutions)
Storage Media: 31MB internal memory plus Memory Stick Duo expansion slot
LCD monitor: 3.5-inch touch-panel TFT LCD with 16:9 aspect ratio and 230,000 pixels
Power supply: NP-BD1 rechargeable lithium-ion battery (C.I.P.A rated for 250 shots/charge)
Dimensions (wxhxd): 93.5 x 59.3 x 20.4 mm
Weight: 160 grams (without battery and card)
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