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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700

>> Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The T700 replaces the DSC-T300 in Sony's lineup. Like that camera, the T700 has a 10 megapixel, 1/2.3 inch Super HAD CCD sensor, wide 3.5 inch touch screen display, f3.5-f10 35-140mm equivalent Carl Zeiss lens (though the zoom range drops from 5x to 4x), Super SteadyShot optical image stabilization, and shooting features like Smile Shutter, face detection with child and adult priority control, and iSCN Intelligent Scene Recognition.

However, along with improvements made to the LCD's picture quality (921,000 pixels up from 230,000) the T700's internal memory jumps from 15MB to 4GB 3.7GB available for photo storage as well as support for up to a 16GB Memory Stick DUO PRO card. The internal storage combined with the 3.5 inch touch screen LCD and the bundled Sony Picture Motion Browser software is what turns the camera into a digital photo album.

Measuring a little more than 0.6 inch and weighing 5.6 ounces, the T700 is ultra slim and light. We tested a brushed silver version, but it's available in gray, red, pink, and gold, too.

The camera has an elegant feel with a full metal body up front and sides, and nothing but screen on the back. In fact, the only physical controls are the power and shutter buttons on top and the well positioned zoom rocker at the right corner.

The only other button is a small Playback mode button at the top right of the display. On the bottom is the battery Memory Stick compartment, a proprietary connector for use with the included USB or AV cable, and a tripod mount. To take a picture you simply slide down the flat, metal lens cover and click away. You'll want to be careful of errant fingers getting in shots and touching the lens, however, as the lens is positioned at the far left.

Sony's high contrast Xtra Fine display is quite good. At its Normal brightness setting, I had no problem seeing the screen in direct sunlight. Well, no problem after wiping away fingerprints the T700 seems to collect more than most. If having to wipe off fingerprints is a deal breaker, you'll want to skip this camera and probably all touch screen models for that matter of which there are more and more.

Aside from fingerprints, you might take issue with the touch screen's responsiveness. I found the T700's to be fine with fingers, but better with the included stylus (or "Paint Pen" as Sony calls it) likely because I could be more precise with it. It clips onto the wrist strap and allows you to quickly poke around the three on screen menus (Home, Menu, and Display) along with the in camera retouching and painting tools (you can add stamps, frames, or draw on pictures) all while keeping the screen free of fingerprints.

Navigating the camera settings is easy enough. The Home menu gives you access to all the main features and options, while the Menu screen provides context sensitive options; for instance, if you're taking still pictures, you get all the shooting choices like scene modes and resolutions. The DSC-T700 offers 10 scene modes including a new Gourmet option for shooting food as well as the typical auto features.

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