Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500 Review

3.5
March 4, 2009 | Gavin Stoker |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10M JPEG mode, which gives an average image size of around 3.5Mb.

As we noted back in our reviews of the Cyber-shot T100 and T300, the bugbear of producing a camera like the T500 that has its lens located at the top far right hand side of its front plate means that it's very easy for fingertips to creep into shot when the camera is held in both hands for a steadier shot. When using the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500 over the course of our review period I found myself sometimes overlooking those stray digits, though a quick review on the LCD does at least signal telltale shadows at the edge of the frame. Of course, when viewing in daylight this isn't always that easy to spot and images on screen generally appear sharper at first glance than when eventually downloaded. Even in the dullish conditions of late winter the T500 impresses however with the well-saturated colours we've come to expect from the Cyber-shot range. The combination of its 10 megapixel sensor and Carl Zeiss lens also delivers a pleasingly high degree of sharpness and detail – if both your camera and subject are fairly static. With its auto everything tendency to make every image as bright as possible when conditions are fairly drab there's inevitably some burnt-out highlight detail, while purple pixel fringing makes an appearance with a darkened foreground and a background of featureless skies. But so has it ever been with Sony Cyber-shots, so the above comes as no major shock. Edge-to-edge sharpness is well maintained even at maximum wideangle, though our white wall shots do display a very slight barrel distortion and corner shading. While none of this should necessarily sway your purchase decision either way, ISO performance may prove more of a decider, noise making an appearance from ISO 400, although ISO 800 is still perfectly usable. Quality and detail has noticeably deteriorated by ISO 1600 however, and at ISO 3200 the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500's shots are beginning to resemble a fuzzy grab from a security camera.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
 

Sharpening

Here are two 100% Crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. Unfortunately you can't change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look, so you will have to edit the images later.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500 did suffer from chromatic aberrations during the review, but it was generally very well controlled. Limited purple fringing was mainly present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)
Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 8cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

Macro Shot (100% Crop)

Flash

The flash settings on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500 are Auto, Forced On, Slow Syncro and Forced Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (33mm)

Auto Flash - Wide Angle (33mm)

   

Flash Off - Telephoto (165mm)

Auto Flash - Telephoto (165mm)

And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Auto setting or the Red-eye option caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Flash - Red-eye Flash

Flash - Red-eye Flash (100% Crop)

Night Shot

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500's maximum shutter speed is 2 seconds in the Twilight scene mode, which isn't good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/4 second, f3.5 at ISO 800. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, compact, 5x zoom, 10 megapixel, 3.5 inch LCD

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