Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100 Digital Camera Review
Read a review of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100 point-and-shoot digital camera on DigitalCameraInfo.com
Design / Layout
**Model Design / Appearance ***(8.5)*
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100 is a sexy camera, ideal for stashing in pockets and heading to trendy clubs and charity balls. It comes in three colors – red, black, and silver – that have a sophisticated and glittery look. The ultra-compact digital camera is built from metal and has a sliding door to protect the lens – a design concept that is functional and looks good, too. However, the T100 doesn’t seamlessly blend function and form; users definitely sacrifice comfortable handling for a pocket-sized and trendy camera.
Size / Portability*(8.25)*
The Sony T100 measures 3.61 x 2.33 x 0.88 inches (91.8 x 59.2 x 22.3 mm), with the right side ever-so-slightly thicker than the left side. It weighs 5 ounces unloaded and 6.1 ounces with the memory card and battery. The camera’s small size is what qualifies it for the ultra-slim market and sets it up to compete with models in the Casio Exilim Card series and Nikon S-series, for example. The Sony Cyber-shot T100 can fit in a pocket or dangle from a wrist with the included wrist strap and the eyelet on the right side of the camera.
Because of its slim size, there isn’t much room for great handling features, but the T100 manages to squeeze in a few new ones. The camera’s panels are flat and its edges are sharp. The front of the camera has a chrome rectangle that protrudes from the left side where the right hand grips the camera. Although the rectangle is chrome and not leather or rubber, which provide more grip, it still helps in handling.
On the back of the camera, the zoom control has a bowl in its center to cradle the thumb. This makes it more comfortable to hold and use, and it differentiates the wide side from the telephoto. Below the zoom control is a circle, perhaps meant to be another bowl for the thumb, but it’s very shallow and doesn’t help much. These handling features are better than having a completely flat camera, but comfortable handling is inhibited because of the camera’s small size.
**Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size ***(6.0)*
Once again, the size of the camera limits the space in which the buttons can fit. Thus, most of the buttons are undersized. The power, playback, and shutter release buttons are on the top of the camera and all other buttons are crammed on the right side of the back in less than a half-inch of space. The zoom control sits at the top of this space. It rocks from 'W' on the left to 'T' on the right and is very sensitive to touch. The center of the rocker is hollowed so that it is more comfortable for the thumb. The center of the multi-selector is also hollowed out like a bowl, except for the central selection button. There is a new button on the T100 labeled 'Home,' which, when pressed, leads users to a user-friendly computer desktop-like interface. The Home menu is all text and even provides explanations of the modes and settings. This new button took some getting used to for me because I’m used to the older models’ setup, but the new layout is growing on me. The Home button accesses all the exposure modes so it will be a frequently accessed button; its placement at the very bottom of the camera wasn’t a very comfortable reach for the thumb though.
The menus are shown on a 3-inch LCD screen. The text is large and the font is very readable. There is a help guide that explains all the modes and settings in about 10 words or less. The "function guide" can be turned on and off in the setup menu. Below is the recording menu from the program auto mode.
|Image Size||8M, 3:2, 5M, 3M, VGA, 16:9|
|Recording Mode||Normal, Burst, +/- 0.3 BKT, +/- 0.7 BKT, +/- 1.0 BKT|
|Color Mode||Normal, Vivid, Natural, Sepia, Black & White|
|ISO||Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200|
|EV Compensation||+/- 2 in 1/3 steps|
|Metering Mode||Multi, Center, Spot|
|Focus||Multi, Center, Spot, 1m, 3m, 7m, ∞|
|White Balance||Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2, Fluorescent 3, Incandescent, Flash|
|Flash Level||-, Normal, +|
|Red-Eye Reduction||Auto, On, Off|
|SteadyShot||Shooting, Continuous, Off|
|Setup||(portal to setup menu)|
The setup menu portal from the recording menu leads to the shooting settings, which are also accessible from the setup portion of the Home menu. The Home menu is similar to Playstation menus with 5 icons at the top and options below the highlighted icon. From left to right, the icons are Shooting, View Images, Printing/Other, Manage Memory, and Settings. The Shooting portion of the menu chooses only the exposure mode. This will be accessed very frequently. The View Images icon has three playback options: single image, index display, and slide show. Printing/Other has an option to print and also is home to the music tool that lets users upload and format music soundtracks. The Manage Memory icon allows users to format, create and change folders, and copy images from the internal memory to a card and vice versa. The Settings menu is lengthy, but is organized into neat tabs.
|Main Settings 1|
|Beep||On, Off, Shutter|
|Function Guide||On, Off|
|Main Settings 2|
|USB Connect||Auto, Mass Storage, PictBridge|
|Component||HD (1080i), SD|
|Video Out||NTSC, PAL|
|Shooting Settings 1|
|AF Illuminator||Off, Auto|
|Grid Lines||On, Off|
|AF Mode||Single, Monitor|
|Digital Zoom||Smart, Precision, Off|
|Shooting Settings 2|
|Auto Orientation||On, Off|
|Auto Review||On, Off|
|Date/Time||Set date and time|
|Language||English, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional)|
All in all, the menu system isn’t the most intuitive for digital camera junkies like us. However, it probably appeals to Sony die-hards who’ve been staring at PlayStation menus for years. It certainly wouldn’t work for computer-illiterate consumers. The T100 is designed for tweens and trendsetters, though, who spend time on the computer and also like to tout their fashion accessories and the menus reflect that.
Ease of Use*(6.5)*
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100 isn’t the most intuitive camera. It has a bevy of menus that appear when the menu and home buttons are pushed. The handling is complicated by the tiny size of the buttons and the flat, sharp edges of the body. All in all, the T100 isn’t the easiest-to-use digital camera – although if familiar with computers and other electronics like Blackberrys, then the learning curve on the T100 won’t be as steep.
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