The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T10 packs optical image stabilization into a slim and
stylish pocket camera.
No Presets, No Problem
Surprisingly, the T10 doesn't have a huge supply of "scene" settings -- simply because the design of the camera is such that it really doesn't need them. The T10's ISO range goes up to 1000 and if you combine this with the optical image stabilization features built into the camera, the T10 can shoot in almost any situation without a lot of presets. Simply point and make your image and the camera does the rest. Almost without exception, the images made are amazingly sharp and very well exposed. I say amazing because some of the shots made were with exposures of as long as a full second hand-held. Add to this the legendary sharpness of the Zeiss lens, and you have an image that looks good even as a big enlargement. The Zeiss lens also enhances the sharpness of the NTSC quality video. The T10 converts video to an MPEG file that's ready for viewing either on camera, on the Internet or a workstation. Like many cameras in this class, the video will work at only one focal length and can not zoom while the video is running. The best work-around for this is to stop the video, change focal length and start the video once again.
The T10 also uses a Lithium-Ion "smart" battery that can tell the camera precisely how much of the battery power is available. I found this to be more accurate than similar cameras and shot for a full 12-14 hours with all of the photo-chimping in between on a full charge. The battery is rated at 250 shots using the CIPA standard testing method, but we think turning the instant review off will up this number.
Another surprise for the T10 is how quickly the shutter release worked. In many cameras similar to the T10, one chip is used instead of the more expensive multiple chip designs common in DSLR cameras. The result is typically a shutter lag. In the T10, there is little if any lag. The T10 incorporates a focus assist beam that's above average in brightness and keeps the quickness of the camera to near daylight levels even when the light isn't great.
Like many cameras in this category, designers realize that space is at a premium, so often times, the interface falls short. In the T10's case, this means making the user buttons smaller and harder to use. It would also be nice if Sony designed the lens to be more centered -- giving your fingers more working room. The problem with designing a lens location in the upper corner of the camera is that many people will place a finger into part of the image. Sony certainly isn't alone in this category, and the bar lowered down does help in relieving this problem, but it's not foolproof. The 38-114mm zoom is also becoming a standard lens for cameras such as the T10. While this is a useful range, it would be wonderful to have a camera of this size and quality that has a 5x or even 10x optical zoom that maintained the same image quality level. In the T10 and other Sony models, the menu is useful, but clunky. A thorough revamp of the menu design is needed to make this camera truly head-and-shoulders above the competition.
Most of these shortcomings are minor, and for many a casual shooter, may not matter at all. Ultimately, it's image quality that really matters and Sony has earned very high marks in this category with the T10. Using a Zeiss lens in tandem with the superior optical image stabilization makes for great picture taking in a slim, stylish package.
In The Box:
Sony DSC-T10 camera
USB/AV/DC-in multiconnector cable
NP-FT1 Info-Lithium battery pack and charger
Instruction manual and registration card
3 17/32" x 2 5/32" x 25/32" (89.7 x 54.9 x 20.6 mm)
4.93 oz (140 g) Body, 5.82 (165 g) including Battery and Memory Stick Media
CIPA Battery Estimate: 250 shots