Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700

      Photo Review 8.3

      In summary

      An ultra-slim digicam with a 4GB internal memory that provides a portable photo album with storage for up to 40,000 pictures.The metal body of Sony’s DSC-T700 Cyber-shot comes in four fashionable colours: grey, gold, red or silver. This stylish digicam replaces the DSC-T300 but has the same 10.1-megapixel, 6.16 x 4.62mm Super HAD CCD sensor, 3.5-inch touch-screen display and Optical Steady Shot stabilisation. Designed to double as a portable photo album, the T700 has a far larger 4GB internal memory that can store up to 40,000 images at a suitable size for display on the LCD. . . [more]

      Full review


      The metal body of Sony’s DSC-T700 Cyber-shot comes in four fashionable colours: grey, gold, red or silver. This stylish digicam replaces the DSC-T300 but has the same 10.1-megapixel, 6.16 x 4.62mm Super HAD CCD sensor, 3.5-inch touch-screen display and Optical Steady Shot stabilisation. Designed to double as a portable photo album, the T700 has a far larger 4GB internal memory that can store up to 40,000 images at a suitable size for display on the LCD.
      Like the T300, the new model sports a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens, although its zoom range has been reduced to 4x (instead of 5x on the T300), probably because the camera body on the T700 is 5mm slimmer. The lens uses folded optics to fit into this narrow space and, like the T300, it’s close to the top corner of the front panel, which means you must be careful where your fingers rest when taking shots.


      Designed to present a stylish appearance, the DSC-T700 is compact and super-slim.

      Aside from some minor cosmetic changes, the T700 looks very similar to its predecessor and the layout of the main controls is essentially unchanged. The grip moulding on the lens cover has been pared away to reduce overall camera thickness. This makes it slightly trickier to open the lens cover when you’re in a hurry to grab a shot but is otherwise irrelevant. Autofocusing is closer on the T700 with the lens at the tele position. The T700 is also 14 grams lighter than its predecessor.
      Both cameras’ controls rely heavily on the touch screen, which covers the entire rear panel. Some touch screen settings on the review camera were more difficult to adjust than others and required several dabs to adjust both shooting and playback settings. This can be frustrating for users – particularly those who aren’t tech savvy (the target market for cameras like the T700). It tends to drive them to setting the camera to auto and using it in point-and-press mode (which makes other modes irrelevant).


      Rear view of the T700 showing the large LCD touch-screen.

      Resolution has been increased on the T700’s LCD screen from 230,000 dots to an impressive 921,000 dots – equivalent to VGA resolution. This makes icons much clearer but doesn’t change overall functionality. However, it’s a real benefit for the ‘photo album’ facility, which relies on Sony’s Picture Motion Browser software (supplied). The only physical controls the camera has are the on/off and shutter buttons on the top panel and a tiny zoom rocker on the top right corner. A tiny black-on-black playback button is embedded in the top of the rear panel just behind the shutter button.
      Sliding the front panel down uncovers the lens, built-in flash and minuscule microphone grille and switches the camera on in shooting mode. The default setting is Auto but pressing the icon on the left side of the screen accesses other record mode settings, including Program AE, Scene pre-sets and an Easy mode for fully-automatic shooting with a simplified display.


      The Home menu display.

      In auto mode you can set flash and macro focus, although the only reason for using the macro control is to select the magnifying glass mode, which allows the camera to focus closer than the 8 cm normal limit. These settings disappear when Easy mode is selected. Other shooting modes include Landscape, Soft Snap, Twilight Portrait, Twilight and High Sensitivity.


      Colour mode options.


      Image size settings.

      Few adjustments are provided in Program AE mode. You can select the AF pattern from whole frame, centre biased on central spot and select focus settings of 1.0, 3.0 or 7.0 metres or infinity. Three metering modes are offered: multi, centre and spot. ISO sensitivity is adjustable from ISO 80 to ISO 3200 and you can apply + or -2EV of exposure compensation in 1/3EV steps.


      White balance settings.
      Dedicated Scene selections are pretty scanty, with only six pre-sets: Gourmet, Waterside, High Brightness, Fireworks, Underwater and Action. In addition, the automatic Scene Recognition function can identify the following scene types and switch to the optimal settings: twilight, twilight portrait, twilight using a tripod, backlight, backlit portrait sand portrait. (Scene Recognition is disabled in macro and burst shooting modes.)


      Face detection options.

      In addition to automatic face detection, the T700 includes a Smile Shutter mode that automatically takes a shot when a smile is detected. The two modes work together but Smile Shutter is only available when the shooting mode is set to Auto. You can adjust the sensitivity of this setting to avoid false triggers but, overall, it’s pretty frustrating to use if you have any claim to photographic competence because you never know when the shot will be taken. It also triggers the flash in relatively bright lighting – which you may not want.


      Smile Shutter restriction.

      As in other Touchscreen Cyber-shots, you can focus on a specific part of the scene by touching that area on the LCD. The T700 supports seven image size settings – but only one JPEG compression level. Typical file sizes are shown in the table below.

      Image Size


      File Size


      3648 x 2736


      3:2 (8M)

      3648 x 2432



      2592 x 1944



      2048 x 1536



      640 x 480


      16:9 (7M)

      3648 x 2056


      16:9 (2M)

      1920 x 1080


      Video capture facilities are standard for T-series digicams 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.

      Movie setting

      Image size & frame rate

      Maximum recording

      (1GB memory card)

      640 Fine

      640 x 480 pixels at 30 fps

      12 min. 20 sec.

      640 Standard

      640 x 480 pixels at 16.6 fps

      44 min. 20 sec.


      320 x 240 pixels at 8.3 fps

      2 hours and 57 sec.

      Continuous video shooting cuts out after around 10 minutes and the 640 Fine setting is only supported when you record to a Memory Stick Duo Pro card. HD movie recording and playback are not supported.

      Pressing the playback button displays the last shot taken. Navigation bars down each side of the image allow you to select the various playback functions, including index, delete and slideshow.


      The playback screen.

      Touching the centre of the screen engages playback zoom and magnifies the centre of the screen to twice normal size. Touch pads on the right side of the screen provide further magnification and zoom out facilities. Up to 8x playback zoom is supported.


      Playback zoom. The arrows are used to move about in the picture.


      Touching the centre of the screen magnifies the image up to 8 times.

      You can also display images at full-screen size, engage auto rotation and play slideshows with background music clips chosen from the selection of eight samples in the camera’s memory or download your own music clips to use as slideshow backgrounds. Playback effects include Simple, Basic, Nostalgic, Stylish, Active and three Face playback settings (Basic, Nostalgic and Stylish).


      Playback effects.

      Most of these effects relate to the background music selected, although the Nostalgic setting transforms the images into sepia tone. There’s also a Scrapbook playback setting that presents up to four images in a ‘scrapbook’ layout.


      Scrapbook playback.

      You can search for specific images in playback mode by viewing index screens containing 12 or 20 thumbnails. You can also search for tagged shots via the Date View, Event View, Folder View or Favourites classifications. Images can be tagged for automated printing via DPOF tagging and shots can be deleted or protected individually or in folders. You can also password-protect the camera’s internal memory.


      In-camera retouching options.

      Ten editing functions are included in the in-camera retouching menu. They include trimming, red-eye correction, unsharp masking, soft focus and partial colour adjustment as well as fisheye lens, cross filter, radial blur, retro and happy faces effects. There’s nothing in the supplied user manual to explain what these effects do or how to use them so, we’re left wondering why they were provided. In fact, the entire user manual is challenging for even an experienced photography as many other features are porrly explained and no index is provided to locate specific functions.
      The supplied Picture Motion Browser (PMB) software is required for setting up the camera’s internal album. Users simply click on the desired folder and PMB will automatically resize the shots it contains and copy them to the album on the connected camera. Once copied, the images can be viewed as slideshows or scrapbook-style albums.

      Not surprisingly, the camera Photo Review tested delivered similar pictures to other T-series cameras from Sony we’ve reviewed. Exposures were generally well-balanced and metering was accurate in a wide variety of shooting conditions. The test camera seemed capable of covering a slightly wider dynamic range than many other small-sensor digicams we’ve reviewed.
      Imatest showed resolution to be close to expectations for a camera of this type but revealed some edge softening (which isn’t surprising with such a small lens). Centre resolution remained high right up to ISO 1600 but fell sharply at ISO 3200. Shots taken at ISO settings of 800 and above were visibly noise-affected and those taken at ISO 3200 were noticeably blotchy. However, the image stabilisation system enabled us to use shutter speeds as slow as 1/6 second without shots becoming blurred. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest tests at each ISO settings.


      Colour reproduction was similar to other T-series cameras tested by Photo Review. Overall saturation was slightly elevated and Imatest revealed shifts in both light and dark skin tones as well as purple and olive green. Reds were a tad lurid in many shots, an affect confirmed by Imatest testing.
      Lateral chromatic aberration was moderate and we found evidence of both purple and green fringes when shots taken in contrasty lighting were enlarged to 100%. An example is reproduced below.


      Using the standard focusing range for close-ups produced fairly unexciting-looking results, although shots were generally sharp and reasonably colour-accurate. However, some dramatic close-ups were obtained with the Magnifying Glass mode, which allowed much closer focusing.
      White balance performance was identical to other T-series cameras we’ve reviewed; 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.
      Digital zoom shots taken with the camera set at its highest resolution were clean and relatively free of processing artefacts. The built-in flash tended to produce red eyes in close portraits and could only light up an average-sized room at ISO settings of 400 and above. The flash can’t be used at sensitivity settings above ISO 1600 and when the High ISO shooting mode is selected.
      The test camera powered up and shut down in approximately 1.5 seconds. We measured an average capture lag of 0.5 seconds, which reduced to less than 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing. It took 3.6 seconds on average to process one JPEG image. Shot-to-shot intervals averaged approximately 2.3 seconds without flash and roughly six seconds with.
      In the continuous shooting mode, the test camera recorded a sequence of five shots at 0.6 second intervals. It took three seconds to process this burst of shots.






      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.




      Magnifying Glass mode.


      Digital zoom.


      Red-eye in flash portraits.


      High-ISO mode: ISO 2000, 1/8 second at f/4.5.


      High-ISO mode: ISO 3200, 1/6 second at f/3.5.




      Image sensor: 6.16 x 4.62mm Super HAD CCD with 10.3 million photosites (10.1 megapixels effective)
      Lens: Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 6.18-24.7mm f/3.5-4.6 (35-140mm in 35mm format)
      Zoom ratio: 4x optical, up to 8x digital
      Image formats: Stills ““ JPEG (Exif 2.21); Movies ““ MPEG1 with monaural sound
      Image Sizes: Stills ““ 3648 x 2736, 3648 x 2432 (3:2), 3648 x 2056 (16:9), 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536, 1920 x 1080 (16:9), 640 x 480; Movies ““ 640 x 480 at 16.6 or 30 fps; 320 x 240 at 8 fps
      Shutter speed range: Auto: 1/4-1/1000 sec.; Program auto: 1-1/1000 sec.
      Image Stabilisation: Optical Steady Shot
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 2Ev in 1/3Ev steps
      Focus system/range: Single/monitoring AF with Multi Points (9 Points), Centre Weighted, Flexible Spot, Semi Manual (1m/3m/7m/Infinity) modes; range 8 cm to infinity
      Exposure metering/control: Multi Pattern, Centre Weighted, Spot metering; Program AE with Intelligent Scene Recognition (ISCN) plus Auto Adjustment, Easy Shooting, High Sensitivity, Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Soft Snap, Landscape, Beach, Snow, Fireworks, High Speed Shutter, Underwater and Gourmet modes
      ISO range: Auto, ISO80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
      White balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent 1 (White Fluorescent Lighting), Fluorescent 2 (Natural White Fluorescent Lighting), Fluorescent 3 (Day White Fluorescent), Incandescent, Flash
      Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, On, Slow Synchro, Off, Red Eye Reduction
      Sequence shooting: 1.6 frames/second ; range 0.5-3.4 metres (ISO auto)
      Storage Media: 4GB internal memory plus Memory Stick Duo expansion slot
      Viewfinder: n.a.
      LCD monitor: 3.5-inch TFT LCD
      Power supply: NP-BD1 rechargeable lithium-ion battery; CIPA rated for 200 shots/charge
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 95.0 x 58.4 x 16,4 mm
      Weight: 135 grams (without battery and card)





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