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PMA 2010: Hands-on with Sony Cyber-shot TX5 and H55
by Allison Johnson -  2/21/2010

Sony announced the rugged Cyber-shot TX5 and the compact high-zoom Cyber-shot H55 a few days before PMA kicked off. Both cameras are on display at Sony's show floor real estate and we snagged some hands-on time with the latest Cyber-shot models.


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55

Sony Cyber-shot H55
The H55 is Sony's pocketable high-zoom offering. It sports a 10x optical zoom lens, a manual exposure mode, and a wide angle 25mm Sony G lens. Extending the lens to its full telephoto reach revelead it to be fairly large for the compact size of the camera.

The LCD is a nice, large 3.0 inches. The controls, however, feel just a little bit cramped on the right side of the screen. The camera feels sturdy in the right hand with a smooth thumbrest carved out of the back.

All in all, it's pretty light for the relatively big zoom lens it houses. The mode dial offers access to manual exposure mode. Once you're in this mode, aperture and shutter speed are adjusted by pressing the center OK button and then using up/down and left/right controls. The effects of your settings are displayed live on-screen; Watch a short demo video below to see this function in action.

Sony Cyber-shot TX5
Sony's first waterproof and rugged Cyber-shot comes in the form of the touch screen TX5. It's sealed to resist dust, shockproof to a five foot fall, waterproof to ten feet, and freezeproof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Out of the water, it looks about like every other skinny T-series Cyber-shot we've seen.

The freezeproof capability is demonstrated with the camera in a block of ice, a stunt that Sony also used in their press conference yesterday morning. The touch screen, in my own brief hands-on, was responsive - even covered in beads of water. The screen is bright, and touching the menu icon in the corner will call up a screen of shooting settings like ISO and white balance.

A member of the Sony team kindly offered his hands for our demo video below to give an idea of the touch screen's usability. The camera looks somewhat small in his hands, but he was able to navigate the menus without much trouble, getting caught up only once trying to push an icon.

The Cyber-shot TX5 seems like an interesting offering, filling a gap in the rugged camera market for the styl-driven consumer who doesn't want to worry about dropping an expensive camera into a pool. If functionality is seamless and image quality is good, it could be a nice option for rugged camera consumers. We've got more footage and hands-on photos on the way from the show floor, so stay tuned for more from Anaheim.