Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX100V: Video and Image Quality

July 11, 2011 by Howard Creech Reads (8,883)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 8
    • Features
    • 9
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 6
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Expandability
    • 0
    • Total Score:
    • 6.00
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Video Quality
I often point out that the video modes of compact cameras can’t compete with a full featured camcorder, but I certainly can’t say that about the TX100V which generates HD video at 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps in the AVCHD format at a 28 Mbps compression rate – only a few full sized camcorders offer better video capabilities – and you can’t slip any of those bad-boys in the back pocket of your Levi’s. The sample video was shot at a local farmer’s market on a beautiful blue sky day. Absolutely amazing video quality from a device that’s smaller than an Altoids tin.

Download Sample Video

Image Quality
Every digital camera manufacturer manages color interpolation slightly differently and experts can often guess with decent accuracy which brand of camera captured a specific (un-manipulated) image. I’ve felt for a long time that Sonys default color interpolation was the most saturated of any of the other major camera manufacturers, sort of like the Velvia slide film of digicams – with very intense colors.

The TX100V actually seems to buck the classic Sony “wet paint” colors look. Images from this little camera show the most accurate and neutral colors I’ve seen so far from the newest generation of CMOS sensor driven digicams. What this means for consumers is that the TX100V’s images will look closer to what you actually saw. Punched up colors are great and many people love them, but sometimes you don’t want ruddy cheeks and Ronald McDonald reds and yellows.

Image quality is reliably very good to excellent and exposures are generally accurate, but lots of sky in an image often results in slight overexposure with the sky fading from blue to white. Highlights are sometimes burned out in brightly lit outdoor scenes and fine detail is often missing in shadow areas. Indoors, the TX100V manages noise fairly well and captures high contrast detail nicely, but 16 megapixel images from a senor that’s the same size as the sensors in place in the 8 and 10 megapixel digicams of a few years back. Noise is managed better these days than it was in the past, but there is a lot more of it now – so the cumulative gains in noise management have been pretty much wiped out by the cumulative gains in noise levels. My indoor images were a bit flat and noticeably darker than I would have liked.

The TX100V’s Auto White Balance mode is dependably accurate over a wide range of lighting conditions. The Auto White Balance mode did a predictably good job outside, but it struggled a bit to get enough contrast indoors. In addition to the auto WB setting there are user selected Daylight, Cloudy, three Fluorescent settings, Incandescent, Flash and manual One Push options available.

Sony TX100 Sample Image
Auto White Balance, 5500k fluorescent light

The TX100V provides an acceptable range of sensitivity options, including Auto and user-set options for ISO 125 to 3200. Low ISO images show neutral colors, slightly softer than average native contrast, and very low noise levels. At the ISO 400 setting, noise levels are noticeably higher and there’s a perceptible loss of minor detail.

Indoor image quality is on par with competing digicams, but as sensitivity (automatically) rises to overcome lower levels of ambient lighting, noise levels rise exponentially and color accuracy suffers a bit. Noise levels are quite reasonable up to ISO 400, but they increase substantially after ISO 800.

Sony TX100 Sample Image
ISO 125
Sony TX100 Sample Image
ISO 125, 100% crop
Sony TX100 Sample Image
ISO 200
Sony TX100 Sample Image
ISO 200, 100% crop
Sony TX100 Sample Image
ISO 400
Sony TX100 Sample Image
ISO 400, 100% crop
Sony TX100 Sample Image
ISO 800
Sony TX100 Sample Image
ISO 800, 100% crop
Sony TX100 Sample Image
ISO 1600
Sony TX100 Sample Image
ISO 1600, 100% crop
Sony TX100 Sample Image
ISO 3200

ISO 3200, 100% crop

Additional Sample Images

Sony TX100 Sample Image Sony TX100 Sample Image
Sony TX100 Sample Image Sony TX100 Sample Image
Sony TX100 Sample Image Sony TX100 Sample Image
Sony TX100 Sample Image Sony TX100 Sample Image
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