Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100 Digital Camera Review
Read a review of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100 point-and-shoot digital camera on DigitalCameraInfo.com
Testing / Performance
We tested the Sony Cyber-shot T100’s ability to reproduce colors realistically. We did this by photographing an industry standard color chart in optimal studio lighting and then uploading the pictures to Imatest imaging software. The program sorted through the images and selected the one that presented the most accurate colors. It modified the image to show the color error. The chart below shows the original colors of the chart in the vertical rectangle of each tile, the Sony T100’s color in the outer frame of each square, and the ideal colors corrected for luminance in the inner squares.
The colors are also depicted below in a graph that makes it easier to see the error. The squares represent the ideal colors from the original chart and the circles represent what the Sony T100’s colors look like. The length of the line connecting the two shows how erroneous the colors are; the longer it is, the more the color is off.
The blue colors tend to be the most exaggerated and the reds come in a close second. Still, most of the colors are near where they should be. The mean color error came out to 6.68, which is excellent especially when compared to other ultra-slim models. Colors were nicely saturated too, at 104.1 percent. The overall 8.89 color score reflects accurate colors from the Sony T100.
The automatic white balance setting is best avoided, although it is accurate when firing the flash – but so is the flash preset. If in doubt, it’s still probably better to opt for the white balance presets. The automatic setting just wasn’t reliable.
Because of the unreliable automatic white balance, the preset modes should be more frequently used. The flash white balance setting was the most accurate and the shade setting was the most inaccurate.
**Still Life Sequences
**Click the images below to view the high-resolution files.
The Sony Cyber-shot T100 comes with 8.1 megapixels on its image sensor. We tested its effectiveness by photographing an industry standard resolution chart and uploading the images to Imatest imaging software. We varied the exposure settings to ensure the absolute sharpest shot. After Imatest sorted through the photos, it selected a shot that had an aperture of f/4 and a focal length of 16mm. It is shown below.
The image is nicely detailed, although there is some barrel distortion seen from the bowed black lines on the top and bottom edges and just a touch of purple fringing in the corners of the frame. Imatest output some numbers to help us understand how detailed the picture is. The numbers come as units of line widths per picture height (lw/ph), which represents how many alternating black and white lines of equal thickness could fit across the frame without blurring. In the horizontal direction, the Sony T100 resolved 1856 lw/ph with 4 percent undersharpening. Vertically, it read 1864 lw/ph with 5.74 percent oversharpening.
By way of comparison, the 8.3-megapixel Fujifilm FinePix F40fd resolved 2212 lw/ph horizontally and 1909 lw/ph vertically. Fujifilm F-series cameras have typically performed well in this test, so the F40 is a rare case of a compact digital camera producing such good resolution. More typical point-and-shoot results come from cameras like the Casio Exilim EX-Z1000, which advertises 10 megapixels but only resolved 1606 lw/ph horizontally and 1577 lw/ph vertically.
The T100 performed similarly to the 8.1-megapixel ultra-zoom Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H7 though. That camera read 1878 lw/ph horizontally and 1957 lw/ph vertically. For its ultra-slim genre of digital cameras, the 8.1-megapixel Sony T100 produces sharp and detailed images.
Noise**– Auto ISO***(2.35)
*Under brightstudio lighting, we set the camera so that it would automatically choose an ISO itself. Most digital cameras choose their lowest setting, but the Sony T100 opted for an ISO 400 setting. This resulted in too much noise and a disappointing 2.35 overall auto ISO noise score.
Noise**– Manual ISO***(10.06)*
The Sony T100 has 7 manual ISO settings from 80 to 3200, all available in full resolution. We tested the noise level at each setting under bright studio lighting. The results can be seen below with the ISO settings on the horizontal axis and the percentage of the image affected by noise on the vertical axis.
From ISO 80-200, less than 1 percent of the image was affected by noise. There is a substantial jump to ISO 400. In the more sensitive settings, the T100 kept noise relatively low and the slope of noise under control. Overall, the Sony T100 has an extensive ISO range and can handle it too: something that can’t be said of all compact digital cameras.
We used the T100 to photograph a sequence of the color chart in diminishing light. The first test was at 60 lux, which is a common shooting situation in a softly lit living room. The next test was done at 30 lux, which is about the amount of light at most pubs and bars. The last two tests were done at 15 and 5 lux, which is extremely dark but helps us understand any limitations the image sensor may have.
The biggest obstacle the T100 has in lower light is that its longest shutter speed is only two seconds. Despite that, the luminance remained in tact. It was the colors that suffered. The mean color error in bright light nearly doubled to 12.5 in the 15 lux test.
In case you plan to use the T100 to snap a few photos at a wedding, check out this test. The dynamic range test measures the T100’s ability to show details in bright and dark sections of the same image – helpful when there is a black suit and a white dress next to each other. We photographed a backlit Stouffer step chart that shows a row of rectangles that are completely transparent and bright on one end and totally dark on the other. The chart represents 13 exposure values, which is far above what almost all digital cameras can handle. We photographed the chart at all of the manual ISO settings to see how the sensitivity affected the dynamic range.
Imatest software determined how many exposure values could be captured in a single image using the manual ISO settings. The exposure values are shown on the vertical axis and the manual ISO settings on the horizontal axis.
The dynamic range actually improves from 80 to 200, which is a little surprising. From there, however, it drops. The biggest drop comes between 400 and 800, where a full two exposure values are lost. Nevertheless, the T100’s 7.35 overall dynamic range score is fantastic perhaps due to the low noise.
Speed/Timing (Tested with a 2GB Memory Stick Pro Duo)
Startup to First Shot*(8.0) *
The Sony Cyber-shot T100 took 2 seconds to start up and take its first picture. This is about average for compact digital cameras - nothing special.
Sony advertises a 2.2 fps burst mode, and it nearly lived up to that standard. The T100 consistently took a shot every half-second for a total of 100 shots in 50 seconds. There are also three 3 shot-bracketing modes that are even faster at 3 fps or 0.3 seconds each shot.
The Sony T100 is one of the fastest ultra-slim digital cameras we’ve ever tested. It was hard to measure the shutter lag whether the camera was prefocused or not.
In the burst mode, the T100 simultaneously processed and recorded images. It took a half-second to process one picture.
Video Performance *(5.68)*
Bright Indoor Light - 3000 lux
The T100’s video isn’t nearly as good as its still images. The mean color error rocketed to 10 and the saturation to 116.7 percent. Surprisingly, the blues that were so inaccurate in still pictures are nearly perfect in video - it’s the warmer end of the spectrum that is problematic while shooting movies. The average noise level remained fairly low, at an average of 0.275 percent of the image.
Low Light - 30 lux*
In low light, just about every color is horrifically erroneous. The mean color error jumped to 21.6 and the saturation plummeted to 73.86 percent resulting in really odd, dull colors. The average amount of noise jumped too: 2.64 percent of each video frame.
After recording a video of a standardized movie test chart, Imatest analyzed the clip and output results in the same line widths per picture height (lw/ph) unit that the still shots were measured at. The Sony T100’s movie mode read 253 lw/ph horizontally with 19.7 percent undersharpening and 436 lw/ph vertically with 8.6 percent undersharpening. The video of the resolution chart was clipped because some areas of the frame were too dark, so the camera can perform much better.
*The Sony T100 tended to overexpose a bit when shooting moving subjects outdoors. Motion looked pretty good except when subjects exited the frame. There is a jerky movement that happens when subjects exit the frame: this phenomenon also occurs on the Sony H7. Strangely though, the H7 tended to underexpose rather than overexpose. Overall, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100’s ability to capture motion in great lighting is above average compared to other ultra-slim digital cameras’ movie modes.