DPInterface Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 Review
Brad Soo - October 26th, 2005 (Updated January 31st, 2006)

The Sony Cyber-shot T5 sports the same features as the T7, T33 and T3 such as 5 megapixels, 3x optical zoom, a 2.5 inch LCD, unlimited VGA movies and a thin, stylish design. So let's just move along and see how the T5 fares.

Size and Weight

Let's compare the T5's size and weight to other cameras of its class:

86.0 x 53.0 x 20.7 mm (130 g) - Canon Digital Ixus 50
90.0 x 55.0 x 18.6 mm (130 g) - Fujifilm Finepix Z1
109.0 x 52.0 x 36.0 mm (149 g) - HP Photosmart M517
83.5 x 56.0 x 22.0 mm (115 g) - Konica Minolta Dimage X60
89.9 x 57.5 x 19.7 mm (118 g) - Nikon Coolpix S1
95.0 x 55.5 x 27.5 mm (115 g) - Olympus Stylus Verve S
94.1 x 50.5 x 24.2 mm (127 g) - Panasonic Lumix FX8
91.0 x 60.0 x 21.0 mm (180 g) - Sony Cyber-shot T1
99.4 x 60.9 x 20.7 mm (125 g) - Sony Cyber-shot T33
93.6 x 60.0 x 20.3 mm (113 g) - Sony Cyber-shot T5

91.6 x 60.0 x 14.8 mm (115 g) - Sony Cyber-shot T7

The Sony Cyber-shot T5 is the lightest camera in the list above - Quite surprising since it's larger than most of the others.

Open up the Box

In the box, you'll find the T5 plus:

  • Rechargeable NP-FT1 InfoLithium battery
  • Battery charger
  • Wrist strap
  • USB and A/V cables
  • User's manual
  • CD-ROM

Storage and Power

As with other Sony cameras, the Cyber-shot T5 uses Memory Stick Duo cards. I would recommend getting at least a 256 MB card. And as with other Sony cameras (again), Memory Stick Pro Duo cards are required for recording VGA 30 FPS movies. So get a 512 MB Pro card if you intend to utilize that.

240 shots (CIPA standard) is what you'll get out of the T5's fully charged battery. The InfoLithium battery shows the remaining time it can last. The Cyber-shot T5's battery life is above average, so unless you're planning to use it for extended periods at one go, you probably won't need an extra battery pack.

Extras

A marine pack, dock, power adapters and several camera cases are the accessories available to the Sony T5.

Camera Tour

Like most cameras of its class, the Sony Cyber-shot T5 has 4 color variations - Silver, black, gold and red. The T5 you see below is a gold one, though it's not quite clear (I was having some white balance issues).

Like the other T-series cameras, the Cyber-shot T5 has 5 effective megapixels on a 1/2.5 inch CCD and the same 38 - 114 mm, F3.5 - F4.4 Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens. The lens also uses the same concept - It zooms internally and never protrudes outwards.

The built-in flash has an improved range of 0.1 - 2.5 m at wide-angle and 0.5 - 2.0 m at telephoto, which is still not as good as other cameras of its class. The AF-assist beam/self-timer lamp is right next to the lens.

The 2.5 inch Hybrid LCD has 230,000 pixels and has great outdoor visibility but when it comes to indoor visibility, it's the opposite.

The zoom controller on the top right fits your thumb perfectly, which makes the T5 ideal for single-handed shooting. There's a speaker under the zoom controller. With the 5 way controller, you can customize:

  • Up - Flash setting
  • Down - Self-timer
  • Left - Quick review
  • Right - Macro

The display button changes the amount of info on the LCD while the MENU button shows a menu which allows you to set:

  • Exposure compensation (-2 till +2 in 1/3 increments)
  • Metering method (Multi, center, spot)
  • Manual focus (Preset, infinity)
  • White balance (Auto, 5 preset modes)
  • ISO speed (Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400)
  • Drive (Normal, burst, bracketing, multi burst)
  • Photo effects (Off, black-and-white, sepia)
  • Quality (Fine, normal)

At the very bottom is the image size selection (Available in 6 resolutions: 5 MP, 5 MP 3:2, 3 MP, 2 MP 16:9, 1 MP, VGA) which is also a delete photo button.

There are 10 Scene Modes on the T5:

  • Twilight
  • Twilight portrait
  • Soft snap
  • Landscape
  • Beach
  • Snow
  • Fireworks
  • High-speed shutter
  • Candle
  • Magnifying glass

The power button, mode switch, shutter button and microphone are all at the top of the T5. One side of the camera has nothing while the other has a wrist strap mount and battery/card slot with a cover which feels flimsy. At the bottom, you'll find a tripod mount and dock connector. Once again, the T5 is the first Cyber-shot "T" series camera to have a tripod mount built right into the camera.

Shooting

In burst mode, the T5 took 9 photos (Full resolution), according to my tests, at a rather slow 1 FPS. But on the other hand, the T5 can take 16 (1 megapixel) photos in a row at a tremendously fast pace. The ISO speeds selectable on the Sony T5 are ISO 100, ISO 200 and ISO 400.

The T5 has the average digital zoom and, unlike other cameras (And like most other Sony cameras), the Sony Cyber-shot T5 has Smart Zoom which avoids image quality loss with the catch being it only can benefit from small-sized photos. You get the full potential of Smart Zoom when taking VGA sized stills. The T5 has 4x Smart Zoom. The Sony Cyber-shot T5has an advanced battery indicator, showing the approximate time (In minutes) till the battery depletes. There's a preset manual focus feature on the T5.

Using the Magnifying Glass function (Found under Scene Modes), you can go as close as 1 cm. The lens is locked at wide-angle and cannot zoom at this time.

The Sony Cyber-shot T5 is plain point-and-shoot. That means you have no control over aperture values and shutter speeds, though you can attempt to do so by using the scene modes. Scene modes may fulfill your wish of using a fast shutter speed or small aperture but don't expect the camera to choose the exact shutter speed you want (ie. If you're using the "High-speed shutter" scene mode and thinking "I want to use 1/1000th second!", the camera may choose a shutter speed just fast enough to freeze action such as 1/500th of a second).

Recording

The Sony Cyber-shot T5 can take VGA movies at 30 FPS with the catch that you must use a Memory Stick Pro Duo card. If you wish, there's another VGA movie setting which records at 17 FPS or the tiny 160 x 112 option which records at a snail's pace of 8 FPS. Movies are recorded in MPEG format. You cannot use zoom, neither optical or digital, while recording.

Movie and audio quality were both very good.

Performance

The Sony Cyber-shot T5 is ready to go the minute you slide down the front cover. Focus time is about a second and shot to shot speed took also about 1 second, slightly longer if the flash is used. Flash recycling time was average - about 5 seconds. The lens goes from wide-angle to telephoto in 2 seconds. The T5 powers down instantly thanks to the non-protruding lens.

Image Quality

The Sony Cyber-shot T5 takes sharp photos with low levels of chromatic aberration (Color fringing), noise and barrel distortion. Red-eye is still terrible though I think that the T5's photo quality is better than the T7's. Image quality is average.

Playback

In playback, the T5 can playback stills and movies (With sound) as well as perform these functions: Protect image, print marking, direct printing (The T5 is PictBridge enabled), slideshow, rotate, crop, resize and simple movie editing. You can also zoom up to 5x into still photos taken and take a look around using the 4 arrow buttons. You can even crop your photos. Choose to see no info, basic info or lots of info (With both shutter speed and aperture value shown) about your photos. When it comes to histograms, the T5 displays a histogram both in shooting and playback mode.

Conclusion

The Sony Cyber-shot T5 looks great and has a large, high-resolution LCD. Photo quality seems to have improved over the T7 and the T5 still maintains the excellent movie mode. Despite that, the Sony T5 has a weak flash, close to no manual controls and has a rather limited burst mode. I'm not going to complain much about red-eye since not much can be done with most cameras of this class but the soft edges in photos have to go.

What's hot:

  • Above average battery life
  • Great LCD outdoor performance
  • Fast
  • Photos are less noisy
  • Excellent movie mode
  • Overall sharp photos

What's not:

  • Weak flash
  • Terrible LCD low-light performance
  • Limited manual controls
  • Slow, limited continuous shooting
  • Red-eye
  • Some soft edges

Recommended Accessories

~Extra NP-FT1 battery
~256 MB Memory Stick Pro Duo card
~Camera case

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