Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700 Digital Camera Review$400.00
Sony\'s Cyber-shot DSC-T700 is the beautiful new addition to their pocket sized T line. Armed with a 3.5\" 921,000 pixel LCD touch screen, 4x optical zoom, and an impressive 4GB of internal memory, the T700 costs $399.99, and is an impressive camera on pa
The Sony DSC-T700 is a thing of beauty. It's small and sleek, with a brushed-metal front plate that catches the eye. It has a minimalist profile and design that screams 'look at me, I read GQ'. The use of a sliding front panel lens cap adds a visual accent that differentiates it from most other cameras on the market, and the large touch screen is beautiful to behold. On the downside, gripping the camera can be problematic, especially when the entire back is taken up by the LCD. The T700 is available in gray, silver, pink, red and gold.
The T700's front is a tribute to the minimalist aesthetic that dominates the design of the camera. Rather than having a traditional lens cover, the T700 has a large sliding plate that masks the flash, AF assist illuminator, microphone and lens. When the door is raised, and everything covered, the only visible marking on the camera's front is the silver Sony logo set against the horizontal striations of the metal. When the guard is lowered, and all the functional areas exposed, the camera automatically turns on. The lens is placed quite far to the right of the camera's front, surrounded by a metal ring. To its left is the auto focus assist LED, and then the flash with a microphone set below it. The upper left corner has the Cyber-shot logo engraved, and beneath that the lens details (Carl Zeiss, Vario-Tessar 3,5-4,6/6,18-24,7 optical 4x).
The T700's front plate slides down to expose the lens
The DSC-T700's rear is almost featureless, except for the 3.5', 921,000-pixel touch screen LCD that replaces traditional buttons and dials. Since the camera isn't much bigger than 3.5' diagonal anyway, the only other functional area of the back is the grip area on the far right, which has an extremely narrow set of raised vertical lines. The Sony logo is placed dead center of the camera, flush with the bottom. The entire rear of the T700 is beveled, and set back from the front of the body by approximately 1/4'. This is more obviously seen in the top and side sections below.
The rear is entirely screen
Left Side* (6.00) Functionally, the left of the T700 doesn't have much going on. The front 1/4' is the metal of the camera's fore, and has two screws and a warning label. The rear is the beveled housing for the LCD, and is made of matte black plastic.
The camera's rear is beveled*
The right side has slightly more to hold our attention. In terms of form, it's almost identical to the left, with the beveled black rear and hard front. Similarly again are the two screws holding it in place. What is different is that the right side has a wrist strap ring of chromed plastic half way up the body, and the speaker opening is at the very bottom of the beveled area. At the top of the right side's front you can just see the zoom control peeping over.
*The wrist strap connection and speaker cover are both on the right side
*All the camera controls that are not run via the touch screen are handily placed on top of the camera. On the far right is the zoom control, which curves down the body of the camera's right side somewhat. The letters W and T are engraved on either side of slider, so you know which direction pulls in and which pushes out. To the left of the zoom is the shutter release button. Even though it's the largest of these controls, it's still quite small. One trouble we found while shooting with the T700 is that there's no clear differentiation between half pressing and fully pressing the shutter. Unless you have extraordinarily dainty and light fingers, there's a pretty good chance you'll take photos instead of focusing a couple of times while getting used to it.
To the left of the shutter is the Power button, which has a small green LED which indicates if the camera is powered up or not. Both the shutter control and power button are set in small recesses. On the beveled area of the camera's top is the Playback button, which launches the camera into its namesakes mode. Interestingly, the Power buttons function has been almost entirely replaced by the Playback button and the camera cover. If the camera is off and you slide the cover down, the camera turns on in shooting mode. Raising the cover turns it off again. If it's off and you press the Playback button, then you enter playback mode. The Power button itself seems to serve no independent purpose.
On the front section of the top of the T700, the labels are all engraved into the metal. on the far left is the camera name (DSC-T700) and the Power button has a sign indicating its function. On the rear section are the white labels giving additional info about the camera, with the legend '10.1 megapixels, Optical SteadyShot'.
All of the camera's buttons are on the top
The bottom of the T700 has some of the more utilitarian features of the camera. The metal area has been extended back slightly further to give it a natural platform to sit on. The tripod mount is approximately 1/3 of the way in from the left side. It's an odd location, one probably necessitated by lack of internal space. It's not centered under the lens or the camera body. The location also blocks access to the memory card and battery while the camera is mounted on a tripod. On the plus side, the socket seems quite sturdy. The battery and memory card are both beneath the same latch that takes up most of the camera bottom. Strangely, the door to these features isn't sprung, so it only opens about 1mm on its own, after which you have to pry it. Finally, on the right is the proprietary USB/AV port provided by Sony. Unfortunately, this port has no cover or protection, which is just asking for trouble. Sand, dust and other small annoying particles could potentially gum up the works.
The proprietary port is entirely uncovered