DigitalCameraReview.com
Sony targets "innovation enthusiasts" with Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500
by David Rasnake -  8/28/2008

Sony's latest touch screen ultracompact, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500, takes aim at sophisticated shooters seeking high-quality still image and video capture in a single, ultra-portable device.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500

Building on the foundation laid by Sony's long line of touch screen Cyber-shot T models, the T500 brings more advanced shooting features, 720p video recording, HDMI connectivity, and a more businesslike appearance to Sony's popular pocket cams.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500

Slightly more performance focused than some of its T-series forerunners, the T500 appears to primarily target the "innovation enthusiasts" segment, to borrow a turn of phrase from Sony. At the heart of this performance focus is Sony's 10.1 megapixel, 1/2.3-inch SuperHAD CCD sensor, coupled with a 5x, 33-165mm Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar zoom lens.

Sony's market research for the new Cyber-shot T models has also suggested that while optical image stabilization wasn't among the most requested features for potential new camera buyers, a majority of actual users found it useful in practice; hence, it's hardly surprisingly that a top-tier model would receive the manufacturer's Optical SteadyShot technology. High-sensitivity shooting to ISO 3200 further expands the T500's capabilities when light is scarce or action is fast.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500

The T500's touch panel is a wide-format (16:9 aspect ratio) 3.5-inch variant with 230,000 dots resolution. The screen is designed to allow for easy viewing, even in adverse lighting conditions.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500

As noted, the T500 offers high-def video capture at up to 1280x720 (720p) at 30 fps for clips of up to ten minutes in length. Unlike most digital still cameras, movie audio is captured in stereo via the T500's front-mounted stereo microphone; from this capture, the T500 generates MPEG-4 video files utilizing the AVC/H.264 codec, which combines small file sizes with support for high-quality video and stereo audio.

All of this emphasis on advanced video capture systems is well placed for a camera in the T500's market segment, according to Sony director of digital camera marketing Phil Lubell. "Our research revealed that people like to shoot video with their point-and-shoot cameras, but were very dissatisfied with the video quality and the resulting large files.

."Our new T500 fulfills this customer need for a digital camera that delivers high-quality movies in a small form factor."

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500

Other key features include a face detection system capable of locking onto up to eight faces, Sony's advanced in-camera slide show tools that allow the addition of sophisticated shot-to-shot transitions and the incorporation of background music, and HDMI connectivity for easily getting playback to an HDTV.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500

The T500 carries a suggested retail price of around $400. Sony will begin accepting pre-orders for the new Cyber-shot on August 29, with actual retail delivery slated for September.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500 Specifications:

Sensor 10.1 megapixel, 1/2.3" Super HAD CCD
Zoom 5x (33-165mm) Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar, f/3.5-4.4
LCD/Viewfinder 3.5", 230K-dot touch sensitive hybrid TFT LCD
Sensitivity ISO 80-3200
Shutter Speed 1-1/1000 seconds
Shooting Modes Auto, Easy Auto, Program, Scene, Movie
Scene Presets

High Sensitivity, Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Soft Snap, Landscape, Beach, Snow, Fireworks, Hi-speed Shutter, Smile Shutter, Gourmet, Auto Adjustment, Underwater

White Balance Settings Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2, Fluorescent 3, Incandescent, Flash, Underwater
Metering Modes Multi, Center, Spot
Focus Modes Multi AF, Center AF, Spot AF, Flexible Spot AF, Focus Presets, Macro
Drive Modes Normal, Burst, Self Timer
Flash Modes Auto, Forced On, Slow Synchro, Forced Off
Self Timer Settings
10 seconds, 2 seconds, Off
Memory Formats Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro Duo
Internal Memory
4 GB
File Formats JPEG, MPEG
Max. Image Size 3648x2736
Max. Video Size
1280x720, 30 fps
Zoom During Video Yes
Battery Rechargeable lithium-ion
Connections USB 2.0, AV output (includes HDMI output), DC input
Additional Features Face Detection, Smile Shutter, Bionz processor, touch screen interface, HD Slide Show with music, Optical SteadyShot