Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100

      Photo Review 8.5

      In summary

      A stylish slimline digicam with a large LCD, 5x optical zoom lens and easy user interface.Available with a silver, black or red brushed aluminium body, Sony’s new DSC-T100 Cyber-shot sports a high-quality 5x optical zoom lens and 3.0-inch LCD. A step up from the cheaper T20 model it has the same (rather small) 8.1-megapixel CCD imager and the new graphical user interface (GUI) that makes Sony’s latest digicams easier for novice photographers to operate. The BIONZ image processor that was developed for the A100 DSLR has been adapted for the new digicams, providing Face Detection and Double Anti-Blur capabilities. . . [more]

      Full review


      Available with a silver, black or red brushed aluminium body, Sony’s new DSC-T100 Cyber-shot sports a high-quality 5x optical zoom lens and 3.0-inch LCD. A step up from the cheaper T20 model it has the same (rather small) 8.1-megapixel CCD imager and the new graphical user interface (GUI) that makes Sony’s latest digicams easier for novice photographers to operate. The BIONZ image processor that was developed for the A100 DSLR has been adapted for the new digicams, providing Face Detection and Double Anti-Blur capabilities.

      The T100’s face detection function is more limited than similar modes in digicams from other manufacturers. It only works in the Auto Adjustment mode and with the Soft Snap scene setting and must first be turned on via the menu. Up to eight faces can be picked out in a shot in the Auto Adjustment mode but only two with Soft Snap. The face detection frame changes to green when the main subject (determined by the camera) is in focus ““ unless there’s another subject at the same distance.


      Double Anti-Blur was introduced with the Cyber-shot T50 in September last year. It couples the camera’s optical image stabilisation system with ISO boosting to reduce unsharpness due to camera shake and subject movement. There’s no defined setting for engaging this mode but, going by our test shots, it appears that engaging the Steady Shot function also activates the ISO boost in the Program Auto mode. (Steady Shot is not included in the Auto Adjustment menu.) A top limit of ISO 1600 appears to apply with this system.


      Steady Shot allows users to shoot while holding the camera in one hand and Sony’s new GUI is easy to read and provides quick access to the controls most point-and-shoot photographers use on a regular basis. Pressing the Home button below the arrow pad calls up settings that can be accessed regardless of the shooting or viewing mode. Heading the home page is a Category selection containing Shooting, View Images, Printing, Manage Memory and Settings icons. Each icon opens different sub-menus.


      The Shooting sub-menu contains the following shooting modes: Auto Adjustment (full auto), Scene Selection, Program Auto and Movie Mode. The View Images sub-menu has Single Image, Index Display and Slide Show, while the Printing sub-menu contains Print plus a Music Tool for downloading MP3 music files to the camera. The Manage Memory sub-menu is used for selecting where images will be stored (internal memory or memory card), formatting memory and copying files between the internal memory and a card.
      Although the Settings sub-menu contains a lot of entries, they’re all fairly basic. Four sub-menus are provided: Main Settings (covering beep, initialise and the USB and video connections); Shooting Settings (which include the AF illuminator, AF mode, grid lines, digital zoom, auto orientation and auto review); Clock Settings and Language Setting.

      Pressing the Menu button above the arrow pad accesses all the functions related to shooting. Available items vary according to the selected shooting mode. The Program Auto mode is the only setting to allow adjustments to ISO and flash output level, while both Program Auto and Movie modes access the Colour, Metering and Focus settings. White balance and Steady Shot stabilisation can also be used in these modes, as well as the Scene Selection setting. Image size, burst and bracketing, exposure compensation and red-eye reduction flash are the only adjustments permitted in the auto mode ““ apart from Face Detection.

      Two digital zoom settings are provided: Smart Zoom and Precision Zoom. The former enlarges the image by cropping it and is not available when the image size is set to 8M or 3:2. At VGA resolution you can achieve up to 25x digital magnification. The Precision Zoom enlarges all image sizes up to a maximum of 10x but quality deteriorates as magnification increases. Neither mode can be used with Face Detection.

      Compatibility with HD (High Definition) TV sets has been made much of in advertisements for the latest cameras. Unfortunately, the camera is not supplied with the required component video cable (VMCMHC1) and a search of Sony Australia’s website yielded no results so we weren’t able to test this facility (although Sony did demonstrate it at the product’s launch in April).

      Sony has produced an excellent ““ and very informative ““ user manual for the T100. Unfortunately it’s only provided on the bundled CD, requiring users to view it on their computer or print out the 119 pages. You could reduce paper wastage by duplexing and printing two pages on each side of the sheet but, even then, you’d end up using 30 sheets of paper!

      Pictures taken with the test camera were bright and colourful and contained plenty of detail. Exposures were biased slightly in favour of shadows so highlights tended to block up in outdoor shots. Compression levels were relatively high for an 8-megapixel digicam, as shown in the table below.

      Resolution setting

      Pixel dimensions

      File size



      3264 x 2448



      3264 x 2176



      2592 x 1944



      2048 x 1536



      640 x 480



      1920 x 1080


      Imatest showed the test camera’s resolution to be slightly below expectations for an 8-megapixel digicam and revealed some edge softening. It also showed differences in resolution between horizontal and vertical resolution, along with a sharp decline in resolution above ISO 400. This became obvious in shots taken at ISO 800 and was very noticeable at ISO 3200, where noise was also obvious.

      Lateral chromatic aberration was moderate at all focal lengths we tested and we found noticeable barrel distortion at the widest angle of view and slight pincushioning at the tele end of the zoom range. We found obvious purple and green fringing in outdoor shots taken in bright conditions. Relatively high colour saturation made the fringes more apparent. The flash required ISO 800 to illuminate an average-sized room but delivered good results with close-ups.

      Close-up performance was actually enhanced by the elevated saturation, particularly with the ‘magnifying glass’ (super macro) mode. Digital zoom performance was very good with both settings, largely because they kept within the limits of the sensor’s performance. The auto white balance setting had the usual problems with incandescent lighting but delivered reasonably good results with fluorescent light. We were able to obtain natural looking colours with one of the fluorescent pre-sets but the incandescent pre-set failed to correct the orange cast (although further correction in editing software delivered good results). No measurement mode is provided.

      The T100 took just over two seconds to power-up ready for shooting. On our test set-up we measured an average capture lag of 0.35 seconds, which changed to instantaneous capture with pre-focusing. However, in actual shooting conditions, lag times of around five seconds were common in dim lighting, even when the AF illuminator was active. The camera powered up within a second and shot-to-shot times averaged just under two seconds without flash and around five seconds with. The continuous shooting mode recorded high-resolution shots at 0.45 second intervals up to 18 shots, after which the burst rate slowed to 0.5 seconds/shot. Shots were processed as they were captured.

      The DSC-T100 Cyber-shot is an attractive-looking digicam with a pocketable body and, as such, is likely to gain numerous admirers, most of whom will not be concerned by the minor defects our tests have identified. Its compact size makes it suitable for travellers; its large LCD and readable GUI will endear it to photographers who want a portable photo album as well as anybody with poor vision and its styling will delight fashion-conscious buyers. Whether it’s worth $150 more than the T20 (which has a slightly smaller LCD and shorter zoom range) is something only buyers can decide.



      Centre resolution.


      Edge resolution


      High ISO resolution







      Magnifying glass mode



      Smart zoom



      Precision zoom



      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting



      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting



      ISO 80



      ISO 400



      ISO 3200




      Image sensor: 5.76 x 4.29 mm CCD with 8.286 million photosites (8.08 megapixels effective)
      Lens: Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 5.8-29.0 mm 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, 2502 x 1944, 2048 x 1536, 1920 x 1080, 640 x 480; Movies ““ 640 x 480 at 30 or 16.6 fps, 320 x 240 at 8.3 fps
      Shutter speed range: Auto ““ 1/4-1/1000; Program auto ““ 1-1/1000 sec.
      Image Stabilisation: Super Steady Shot (Optical)
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV steps
      Focus system/range: Single/Monitoring AF, range 50 cm to infinity; macro ““ 8 cm to infinity; magnifying glass mode ““ 1-20 cm
      Exposure metering/control: Multi Pattern, Centre Weighted, Spot metering; Program AE plus 9 scene modes and 4 colour modes
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
      White balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent (x3), Incandescent, Flash
      Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, Forced-Flash, Slow Synchro, No Flash; range – 0.1-3.0 m
      Sequence shooting: 8MP (fine) 100 shots at approx. 0.46sec intervals
      Storage Media: 31MB internal memory plus Memory Stick Duo expansion slot
      Viewfinder: n.a.
      LCD monitor: 3.0-inch Hybrid, Clear Photo LCD Plus display with 230,000 pixels
      Power supply: NP-BG1 rechargeable lithium-ion battery; CIPA rating: 340 shots / 170 minutes per charge
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 91.8 x 59.2 x 22.3 mm
      Weight: 141 grams (body only)





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