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Friday 21 May 2004

Sony DCS-T1 - 5MP in your palm [lurks]

When I was over the States, one of the journos handed me a digicam to take a look at. A Sony DSC-T1. Here's some reviews. It's somewhat similar to my old Casio EX-Z3 - a superslim compact digital camera with a large LCD on the back. The only thing is, the T1 is 5 megapixels and has a 2.5 inch screen on the back, that's bloody huge. For some reason I don't quite fathom, Sony have included 3X optical and gotten away without the elaborate telescoping lens which the Casio needed. The lens is all internal.
I was impressed and when I found the thing for sub $400 in a CompUSA, I thought I'd grab one since I can hardly lose with the exchange rate. God Bless eBay! I virtually filled the card on my Casio with shots from E3 and San Francisco etc, only to have it nicked from my baggage on the way back to the UK. Joy. So anyway, today I took the T1 out for a spin in Hertford town at lunch. It's overcast but enough light to get the job done. Here's the gallery. These were all taken with regular auto mode rather than using the specific scene settings. Some of them are flybys with the camera moving. The keyboard shot is obviously a macro test.
Instant thoughts: The resolution is amazing and the thing really seems to be much more intelligent and faster with regards to focus and exposure than the Casio. The large display is fantastic, no two ways about it. The settings system is pretty straight forward too. Macro mode is almost as good as the Casio and every other aspect of image quality is superior with the exception of in-doors noise. I guess that tiny lens on the Sony isn't very fast.
It only comes with a 32MB Memory Stick Duo. Memory Stick, groan. Why do Sony do this? Basically the Duo is a card format similar to SD and it goes in an adaptor. Just as well my Sony TR1MP notebook has a Memory Stick port or it would really annoy me. I leave the adaptor in the notebook. Also, the T1 records 640x480 proper MPEG videos. It'll do it on the regular 'Duo' card in normal mode, which seems to be highly compressed and 16fps. 32MB is tiny for five MP shots so I ordered a 256MB Duo Pro. The Pro means it's faster and equipped with one of these, the T1 will record 640x480 at 30fps at a bitrate which is in excess of a megabyte a second. Gosh and it's really very good too. I'll up a clip later when I find something decent to video.
It comes with a cradle and there's no way to USB it without the cradle, which is annoying, so I'm forever having to take the card out of it (which is a bit of a faff and the battery doesn't clip in so it falls out when you open the hatch) to get shots out when I'm not at home. Yet all said and done, it basically does what my Casio did but better and faster. An amazing amount of spec and quite a workable video recorder all contained in an ultra portable camera. It's enough to make me put up with the Memory Stick rubbish. Big thumbs up.
There's also a Neat Image profile available on their web site. Very handy to clean up the noise.


  1. noise aint that bad, not when you consider the 5mp. bring the image down to 1600 (quite enough for A4 prints) and it magically disapears. ive been looking at those small cams for a while now and there is always something wrong, media, batteries etc etc. hope you do an update in some months time when/if youre REALLY annoyed with some small sony things :)

  2. Noise is good when it has plenty of light. It gets really bad inside in lower light. That said, I've taken some indoors shots, run them through neat image and you lose a bit of detail but with 5mp to play with, there's still plenty left. A scale down to 3.2 or so MP and you've got seriously amazing looking pictures ready to go for professional print.

  3. got one myself when i was in japan, the movie mode was what really sold it to me. $400 is a killer price as well!. the only thing i am worried about is that the lcd screen might get cracked as it doesnt have any real protection.

  4. Never had a problem with the LCD on the Casio but it marked really easily - just with finger prints. Screen on the Sony wipes clean much better in comparison but yeah, you really want to keep it in a pocket by itself and be paranoid about that. Actually some keys in my pocket when I had the Casio damaged the magnesium cass before the LCD but better to be safe than sorry eh.

  5. lol I've had one of these for ages - its excellent! I'm just working out the cheapest way to buy enough memory to be able to record a reasonable amount of MPEG stuff.
    p.s. When I bought this I gave my Casio to Di who, in the first week ,while trolleyed, dropped it on the dancefloor at Turnmills and when she did find it someone had accidently pogoed on it making a really interesting pattern of cracks on the viewing screen and totally fucking it.
    Bugger loved ones - next one goes on Ebay hehe

  6. Heh, fucker, you kept that quiet. Too much sense to take it to Malaga? I know what you're saying about the loved ones thing. Also, they just can't really tell what spec shit you throw at them. It's a waste giving them your upgrade shit. Give them something really old and manky instead and they're still grateful!