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The Sony DSC-TX1 is an excellent slim line camera. It can easily fit into your trouser pocket and can be taken out and switched on ready to take a photo within 3 seconds. The Exmor R CMOS sensor has great sensitivity in low light conditions, meaning that you can take photos without the need of a flash (using the Twilight modes).
To turn the camera on, simply flick down the front cover, which then snaps to the bottom. Cyber-shot displaces on the touch screen for about a second, before the camera is ready to take a photo. The raised text of 'Sony' and 'Cyber-shot' on the front sliding cover provides grip to hold on to the camera when in operation.
There are four actual buttons on the camera - the power, the shutter, the zoom and a button to access playback. The power button can be a bit redundant - the only times you really need to use it is if you have turned the camera on using the playback button. Otherwise, opening the front cover turns the camera on and shutting it turns the camera off automatically. Zooming is done with a mechanism inside the camera, meaning that there are no moving parts on the outside - there is no lens that pops out when you turn the camera on, maintaining the slimline design of the camera. The shutter is like most modern cameras - push down halfway to focus and the full way to shoot.
Most of the operations of the camera is done with the touch screen, which can be operated by your finger or by the provided stylus. Icons are situated to the left and right sides of the camera - you can customise which icons appear there for fast use (the rest can be accessed in a side menu which you can display by dragging your finger from left to right). Playback is intuitive as well - drag your finger from left to right to go to an earlier photo, and from right to left to view the next photo. In playback mode you can also view multiple images at once and also view by date taken in calendar mode. If you are not keen on using gestures, you can still use the touch screen buttons that appear (eg left and right arrow to view photos).
Picture quality is great for such a compact camera. It particularly excels under low light, no flash conditions, something most other compact cameras would struggle with. On an 8GB Memory Stick, I can store over 1500 10.2MP photographs. There are a number of other file sizes to choose from, with varying picture dimensions. Finally there is also a panorama mode which is operated by pointing the camera at the starting position and sweeping it around in a circle - the camera then stitches the image together there and then. While it is perhaps ideal for landscapes, I have successfully done a panorama in a room before (although it is more likely that you will see errors in the stitching). Rotation can be done both horizontally and vertically. Other features the camera has is scene selection (for example there are specific modes such as: Snow, Gourmet, Fireworks, Twilight Portrait and Underwater) as well as the Intelligent Scene recognition in Auto mode (the camera tells in real time what type of show you are taking and adjusts its settings accordingly). In the last part of this section, I would like to discuss again the Twilight modes and the Anti motion modes - both involve the camera taking multiple photos in quick succession and then using these images to create the final image (which I have to say is generally better than using the automatic mode). Processing time takes a bit longer, but you do not need to use flash or hold the camera as steady.
There is also 720p video recording available as well (along with the option to shoot at lower qualities). Again, the sensor helps again in low light conditions, but perhaps to a less of an extent compared to the photos.
Some gripes I have about this product is that although you can use an 8GB Memory Stick Pro Duo, a message will appear on the screen every time you switch to photography mode. This is because the maximum file size on the Memory Stick is 4GB. In addition, the occasional file can become corrupted - there have been a few times in the past 8 months where halfway down the image everything gets shifted 8 pixels or so to the left or the right - perhaps this can occur when you take a photo and then immediately close the front shutter - not all the data is properly saved to the memory device. Finally, the zoom rocker is a bit temperamental - while I can zoom out OK all the time, but zooming in is a bit more difficult - I need to push down a bit harder and sometimes wait an extra second before the camera responds. It is a shame that one of the few moving parts on the camera has a slight issue with it.
Overall, this camera is highly portable and I have found it extremely useful in my first year at university. It is ideal when going on nights out, going abroad, when indoors, particularly in places where flash isn't permitted, and it is small enough that I can carry it about with me all the time.