The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T110 is a very powerful compact (3.5 by 2 by 0.6-inch) camera. I have not owned a point and shoot in some years and was impressed by the versatility of this nearly palm sized device. However, it also became apparent that the diminutive size might be better suited for people with much smaller hands than mine. I found myself fumbling with it while turning it over and trying to search through the menu. Regardless, the T110 comes packed with quality, including a 16.1MP CCD sensor, a 25-100mm wide-angle lens, a 3.0” touch screen panel and 720p HD videos. This feature rich camera is actually the less expensive of Sony’s point and shoot offerings.
A Sweet Design
This sleek Cyber-shot comes in silver, black, red, pink and violet. I reviewed the violet option, which would not be my color choice but was nonetheless an attractive look. Its curved corners and finely contoured design makes it a visually appealing and modern camera. Three of the four buttons along the top sit flush with the surface, with the zoom toggle only sticking up a bit from the curve of the camera. Aside from the zoom and shutter button there is also an on/off button and a forward arrow button that serves several purposes, including turning the camera on and switching from shooting mode to image review mode. Three-quarters of the front features a reflective casing that you can quickly and easily slide down to turn on the camera and reveal the lens. However, I wonder how long that panel will last with repeated up and down sliding.
Nearly the entire button-less back of the T110 is the 3.0” Clear Photo LCD touch screen. The screen sits behind a glass pane with a black border around it, creating a nifty display depth illusion. However, keep in mind that only 2.5” of the screen is used for the image capture space, which may not be large enough for some. The screen offers an average 230k-dot resolution with a different aspect ratio (16:9) than the Cyber-shot’s sensor (4:3). This reality coupled with the shrunken 2.5” display screen means the images are a tad squashed in viewing mode.
As previously mentioned, this camera is very small and at 4.3 ounces was barely noticeable in my pocket. It also seems to be built for compactness and style, not durability. Within three days of receiving the camera there was already a scratch on the touch screen. I would not be a happy paying customer, especially considering how vital the screen is to the camera’s functionality. I could not put the camera through drop testing but the outer casing does look sturdy enough to withstand at least a few drops. However, the touch screen’s durability is suspect. For instance, how would the screen handle being smacked against a hard surface or worse, which is bound to happen?
In comparison to the latest touch screen phones, the DSC-T110 is worlds apart, but in camera land it holds its own, and then some. The screen responded quickly to my touch, although there can be a split second delay when switching between screens. The UI is intuitive; with the big screen icons lined up along the right and left side of the screen. There is a detailed help section that outlines every feature of the camera and each screen has a question mark icon you can click on to reveal brief related descriptions. However, switching between shooting modes is not the most efficient, as it takes more time than I would like when needing to quickly shoot something.
Shooting Options and Features
There are five shooting modes: the default Intelligent Auto, Sweep Panorama, Movie Mode, Program Auto, which allows you to tinker with the settings during shooting and Scene Selection, which has 13 different scene options. The average user will likely stick with Auto mode for most still images, but may use some of the scene options for various situations, such as Soft Skin, Landscape, Twilight, Pet, Beach or Hi-Speed Shutter. The Sweep Panorama is a nice feature that does not require a perfectly steady hand to produce non-blurry images. This shooting mode has both standard and wide options up to 248 degrees. Choose the direction you want to take the panorama and then push and hold down the shutter button until you have swept the entire length of the shot, which is indicated with arrows on the screen.
If you need to take multiple pictures quickly then use the Burst feature, which allows up to three successive shots without the flash. There is also a useful Face Detection feature that when left to auto will find the face in the photo. This feature also has a child or adult priority option, or you can switch it to only happen when you touch the screen. In Auto shooting mode, you can always touch the screen to focus on a certain area of the shot.
While the Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 4x optical zoom lens takes quality pictures, there are other point and shoot cameras on the market with a bit wider zooms. The f3.5-6.3 aperture lens is decent but not top of the line for a shooter. Low light conditions will not produce the highest quality shots with this camera either.
Battery Life and Memory Card Compatibility
The battery life hovered around two hours for continuous use. However, if you are going to be using the camera sporadically the battery will likely last days or weeks. A full battery charge took about four hours. Also, be careful not to force the battery into the slot or you might break the plastic latch that holds it in place. For still images the camera takes Memory Stick Duo, SD, SDHC and SDXC. The Memory Stick PRO Duo can be used for movies.
From power up to shooting a photo the T110 takes around 3 seconds, a tad too slow for my taste. Even worse, the time between each shot is a long 3 seconds plus, with the photo barely flashing on the screen and leaving no time to look at it. The shutter lag is a not so inspiring 0.6 seconds.
Photos are generally very crisp, even applying the 4x zoom. The built in image stabilization gyro sensor certainly helps to avoid blurry images as well. However, as mentioned before, low light, specifically indoors at night is not the best situation for producing good images. The flash does help in these situations but it is not powerful enough to light up more than what the camera is focusing on. See the sample images below shot in a variety of modes and situations.
The hi-def 720p30 video shot by the T110 looks amazing for such a small point-and-shoot camera. You can zoom in silently while recording, which is a rarity among these types of pocket cameras. Videos are .MOV files that can be easily posted online or edited in your favorite video editor.
Connectivity stinks for this Sony Cyber-shot due to its proprietary port and cable. There are no mini-USB or HDMI ports, which come standard on many of today’s digital cameras. However, you can put your chosen memory card into a card reader, or connect the USB end of the Sony cable into your computer for uploading.
There are few touch screen shooters that have as many features for such a low price. It’s the ideal camera for a family vacation, quick photos while on the go or even short videos. For aesthetics, simplicity, variety and day-to-day use you can’t beat this nifty point-and-shoot camera.
- Very stylish and compact with multiple camera color options
- Takes sharp images, even using the 4x zoom
- HD videos are impressive, especially using the zoom feature while recording
- Simple and functional user interface with receptive touch screen
- Poor low light shooting
- Takes too much time between each photo
- Connectivity choices are dismal