To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-TX7 review

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-TX7
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £300
inc VAT

Luxury like this doesn’t come cheap, but if dependable photo quality is good enough, the TX7’s other talents are worth splashing out on.


1/2.4in 10.0-megapixel sensor, 4.0x zoom (25-100mm equivalent), 133g

It seems that buttons are facing extinction, with almost every major camera manufacturer now offering at least one touchscreen model. Most seem to be aimed at gadget lovers more than photographers, though, with daft 14-megapixel sensors and gloomy small-aperture lenses.

The Sony TX7 is the first touchscreen camera we’ve seen that doesn’t seem compromised in other areas. Its gadget appeal is beyond repute. The 3.5in touchscreen fills the back of the camera and the 910,000-dot resolution is incredibly sharp. It’s no less handsome from the front with its sliding metal panel in place of a normal lens cover.

The screen is extremely sensitive to touches, and the interface capitalises on it with a touch-for-spot focus option and menu options arranged in grid formation across the entire screen for easy prodding. It’s also possible to customise which options appear to the left of the preview image in the space created by the screen’s wide aspect ratio.

There are some impressive features among the mode options. iSweep Panorama lets the user capture panoramic photos simply by rotating the camera. Handheld Twilight captures six frames in quick succession, aligns them digitally and merges them to reduce noise. Anti Motion Blur takes the same concept even further: for areas where the subject moved, only one frame is used, thereby giving a sophisticated hybrid of fast shutter and low ISO speed shooting.

The video mode is important enough to have its own button. Pressing it switches to record-ready mode, with its widescreen preview filling the screen. However, it also disables lens distortion correction. While photos are geometrically straight, wide-angle videos suffer heavy barrel distortion. It’s not a disaster, though, and otherwise, video quality is fantastic. With 1080i capture in AVCHD format, high quality stereo sound, smooth autofocus, sharp details and remarkably little noise, this is the best video mode we’ve seen from an ultra-compact camera. Dedicated AVCHD camcorders are more versatile with extensive shooting options and bigger zooms, but the TX7 competes with them for quality.

The results of our photo tests were less dramatic, with the lens failing to capture pixel-sharp images, but the automatic mode gave reliably solid results. The back-illuminated 10-megapixel sensor produced significantly less noise than 14-megapixel sensors at high ISO speeds, helping to offset the disadvantage of the dark f/3.5-4.6 aperture.

The biggest drawback – and this seems to be a common trait among back-illuminated sensors – was that the slowest ISO speed exhibited more noise than we’d hope for, disrupting subtle textures even when shooting in bright light. Even so, as a point-and-shoot camera the TX7 is unlikely to disappoint.

It’s disappointing that the TX7’s photos are no better than from cameras costing half as much. Ergonomics could be better too, as the enormous screen leaves little space to hold onto. However, the video mode alone is worth the asking price, and it’s great to get both quality photos and videos from such a compact package.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
CCD effective megapixels 10.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.4in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.5in
LCD screen resolution 921,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 4.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 25-100mm
Image stabilisation optical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution 3,648×2,736
Maximum movie resolution 1,920×1,080
Movie frame rate at max quality 25fps
File formats JPEG; AVCHD, MP4 (AVC)


Memory slot SDHC and Memory Stick Pro Duo
Mermory supplied 45MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 230 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, HDMI Type A, DC in (all via dock)
HDMI output resolution 1080i
Body material aluminium
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables, dock, stylus
Weight 133g
Size 60x98x18mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £300

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed auto
Aperture range f/3.5 (wide), f/4.6 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 125 to 3200
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 7 presets, manual
Additional image controls none
Manual focus No
Closest macro focus 1cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, spot, face detect
Metering modes multi, centre, spot, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, smile detect