Digital Camera Home > Digital Camera Reviews > Sony Digital Cameras > Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T1

Digital Cameras - Sony DSC-T1 Test Images

 

I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for the test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISOsetting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all*that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested inthe information need wade through it!

 

Outdoor Portrait:

High resolution with good detail, though contrast is high, and there's evidence of some fairly aggressive noise-suppression.

The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why I set it up this way, and why I shoot it with no fill flash or reflector to open the shadows. The object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the DSC-T1 performed pretty well, albeit with a rather high-contrast image.

The shot at right was taken with no exposure compensation adjustment at all, very unusual for this shot among the cameras I've tested. Midtone values are about where they should be, but the strongest highlights are pretty blown out, and the shadows are still somewhat dark, a result of the harsh lighting and what appears to be a rather contrasty tone curve. I chose the Auto white balance as the most accurate overall, though the Daylight setting also produced good results.

Skin tones are pretty good, though slightly yellow, and the blue flowers in the bouquet are just about right. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue, but the T1 gets the hue about right.) Color looks good throughout the rest of the frame as well, although the red flowers look a little oversaturated.

Resolution is very high, with a lot of fine detail visible in regions of high contrast and surprisingly good sharpness from the tiny lens. Unfortunately though, it looks like the T1 is applying some pretty heavy-handed noise suppression, as details in Marti's hair and other areas of subtle contrast are flattened out to a uniform blur.

To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +0.7 EV, see files T1OUTAM1.HTM through T1OUTAP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.




 

Closer Portrait:

Excellent resolution and detail, though once again high contrast.

Overall results are similar to the wider shot above in terms of color and exposure, again with rather high contrast. Midtone detail is good, though the highlights are a bit bright. The shot at right was taken with -0.3 EV of exposure compensation, as the default exposure left the highlights on Marti's face much too bright. The T1's 3x zoom lens helps prevent strong distortion of Marti's features, a valuable asset in close-up shots like this. Resolution and detail are much higher in this shot, with stronger definition in Marti's face and hair, but they're not as crisp as you might find on a full-sized 5-megapixel camera, and the noise suppression still causes some loss of detail in Marti's hair.

To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +0.7 EV, see files T1FACAM1.HTM through T1FACAP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
Slow-Sync Mode
Night Portrait Mode

Good intensity and coverage with the built-in flash, but high intensity setting was needed to deliver a proper exposure.

The T1's built-in flash illuminated the subject well, but required the High intensity setting for the best results. Color is good, though just slightly washed out from the high flash setting. (Here are sample images at the Normal and Low intensity settings.) I also snapped images with the Slow-Sync and Night Portrait modes, which both produced warmer results, due to the warm-hued room lighting. (Again, the High intensity setting produced the best results.) The Night Portrait mode did a fairly good job of blending the light from the flash and the room lights, producing less yellow cast than the basic slow-sync flash mode did.



 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance

A too-warm color balance, but good overall exposure.

This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting. The T1's Auto white balance had just a little trouble here, and produced a strong, warm color cast. The Incandescent setting produced better results, though it too was just a little warmer looking than I'd personally prefer. Despite the warm cast, color is pretty good, although the blue flowers of the bouquet are dark and purplish. (Not uncommon in this shot, due to the very warm-hued room lighting.) The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files T1INTP0.HTM through T1INTP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

ISO Series:
Noise on the T1 is a little hard to characterize. When you look at the individual color channels for this subject, there's a fair bit of noise there, particularly in the blue channel. Visually though, the noise in its full-color images doesn't seem as objectionable as I'd expect it to be, given how much is present in the blue channel here. While it does tend to lose detail in areas of the image with subtle contrast, Sony's noise-suppression in the T1 is very effective at delivering final images that look pretty "clean" to the eye.

ISO Series
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

High resolution and detail, but a slightly warm color balance.

The T1's Auto white balance option produced the best overall color here, though the Daylight setting resulted in a similar image (just a bit warmer still). Overall color is good, though a bit warm, even with the Auto white balance. Resolution is high, with a lot of fine detail visible in the tree limbs and front shrubbery. Details are slightly soft overall, but consistent from corner to corner, with little of the softness in the corners that I've come to expect from digicam lenses, particularly those on subcompact models like the T1.



 

Far-Field Test

Excellent resolution and detail, with a moderate dynamic range.

This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.

This is my ultimate "resolution shot," given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this, and the DSC-T1 performed fairly well. The tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage in front of the house show a lot of fine detail, with pretty good definition, but there's clearly not as much detail present here as you'd find with the bet full-sized 5-megapixel cameras. Details are surprisingly sharp across the frame, although there's just a little blurring in the upper left corner. The camera lost most of the detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a trouble spot for many digicams, but does hold onto a fair bit of detail in the shadow area above the front door, with relatively low noise as well. Overall color looks good, despite the slightly bright exposure. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, contrast, saturation, and sharpness series.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
2,592 x 1,944
T1FARLF
T1FARLN
2,048 x 1,536
T1FARMF
-
1,280 x 960
T1FARSF
-
640 x 480
T1FARTF
-


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400

Contrast Series:

Contrast Series
Low

Normal

High

Saturation Series:

Saturation Series
Low

Normal

High

Sharpness Series:

Sharpness Series
Soft
Normal
Sharp



 

Lens Zoom Range

A typical 3x zoom range.

I routinely shoot this series of images to show the field of view for each camera, with the lens at full wide angle, at maximum telephoto (3x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The DSC-T1's lens is equivalent to a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a pretty good telephoto, and is just slightly biased toward the telephoto end relative to the 35-105mm range that is most common on consumer digicams. Following are the results at each zoom setting.

Wide Angle
3x Telephoto
Digital Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Slightly warm color, but excellent detail.

This shot is often a tough test for digicams, as the abundance of blue in the composition frequently tricks white balance systems into producing a warm color balance. Both the T1's Auto and Daylight settings produced slightly warm color balances, though the Auto setting was the most neutral, and the color overall was better than most cameras manage on this test. The slight color cast produces purplish tints in the blue background, as well as in the shadow areas of the blue robe. Resolution is very high, with great detail in the embroidery of the blue robe and on the red vest. (The original data file for this poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the T1 are definitely capable of showing more detail than the poster has in it.)



 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

A small macro area, but with soft details and softer corners. Flash has trouble throttling down.

The T1 performed pretty well in the macro category, capturing a very small minimum area of only 1.82 x 1.36 inches (46 x 35 millimeters). Resolution was high, with a lot of fine detail in the dollar bill, but details were rather soft throughout the frame, especially in the corners. Color looks good though, and the exposure is about right. The T1's flash had a little trouble throttling down for the macro area, and overexposed the shot. - Plan on using external illumination for the closest macro shots.



 

"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Good overall exposure, good color, but a slightly warm color balance.

The T1's Auto and Daylight settings produced similar, warm images, so I chose the Auto setting for the main shot as it had a slightly lesser cast. Exposure is just a hint bright, but the T1 still distinguishes the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target well. The large color blocks are a bit warm, and slightly oversaturated, but otherwise hue-accurate. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes has moderate detail, with moderate noise.

ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

Low-Light Tests

Limited low-light capabilities, enough for city street scenes at night (just), but fairly clean-looking images.

The T1 operates under automatic exposure control, though you can manually adjust the ISO setting. Still, low-light shooting is a bit limited. The T1 produced usable images only down to the 1 foot-candle (11 lux) light level at ISO 400, and in Twilight mode, the images at that level were darker than I'd consider acceptable. Color balance was pretty good though, just slightly blue. Sony's noise-suppression processing works hard here, but generally does a good job, with the final images a fair bit less noisy than I suspect the original sensor data was. (The flat tint blocks of the MacBeth(tm) target are pretty clean-looking, but you can see a lot of noise around their edges, and in areas where there's a lot of higher-contrast detail, such as the min-res target.) The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all my sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.

  1fc
11lux
1/2fc
5.5lux
1/4fc
2.7lux
1/8fc
1.3lux
1/16fc
0.67lx
ISO
100
Click to see T1LL1003.JPG
1 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LL1004.JPG
1 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LL1005.JPG
1 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LL1006.JPG
1 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LL1007.JPG
1 secs
F3.5
ISO
200
Click to see T1LL2003.JPG
1 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LL2004.JPG
1 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LL2005.JPG
1 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LL2006.JPG
1 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LL2007.JPG
1 secs
F3.5
ISO
400
Click to see T1LL4003.JPG
1 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LL4004.JPG
1 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LL4005.JPG
1 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LL4006.JPG
1 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LL4007.JPG
1 secs
F3.5
"Twilight"
Mode
Click to see T1LLTW03.JPG
2 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LLTW04.JPG
2 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LLTW05.JPG
2 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LLTW06.JPG
2 secs
F3.5
Click to see T1LLTW07.JPG
2 secs
F3.5



 

Flash Range Test

A tendency to underexpose flash shots, with limited range as well.

In my testing, the T1's flash started out rather dim, and decreased steadily out to the 14 feet limit of this test. (Not the camera to use, if you need to shoot large groups of people at moderate distances at night, but fine for indoor shooting at close range, or for a fill-flash with a subject in the foreground.) Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.

8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see T1FL08.JPG
1/ 40 secs
F4.4
Click to see T1FL09.JPG
1/ 40 secs
F4.4
Click to see T1FL10.JPG
1/ 40 secs
F4.4
Click to see T1FL11.JPG
1/ 40 secs
F4.4
Click to see T1FL12.JPG
1/ 40 secs
F4.4
Click to see T1FL13.JPG
1/ 40 secs
F4.4
Click to see T1FL14.JPG
1/ 40 secs
F4.4



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Very high resolution, 1,350 lines of "strong detail." Average barrel distortion, higher than average pincushion.

The T1 performed well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 1,000 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to about 1,350 lines. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,600-1,650 lines.

Optical distortion on the T1 is average at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 0.8 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end did only slightly better, as I measured 0.6 percent pincushion distortion there. The 0.8% barrel distortion at wide angle is average among the cameras I've tested, although I personally feel that that level is too high. At the telephoto end, 0.6% pincushion is quite a bit higher than average. Chromatic aberration is moderate, showing about six pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) Although I saw a little softening in some images, most of my shots from the T1 showed relatively little of the softness in their corners that I've come to expect from subcompact digicam models.

Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
2,592 x 1,944
T1RESWLF
T1RESWLN
2,048 x 1,536
T1RESWMF
-
1,280 x 960
T1RESWSF
-
640 x 480
T1RESWTF
-

 

Resolution Test, Telephoto
2,592 x 1,944
(Fine, Tele)
T1RESTLF

Sharpness Series
Sharpness Series
Soft
Normal
Sharp



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

Very good accuracy from the LCD monitor.

The T1 offers an unusually large, 2.5-inch LCD monitor for framing, which proved to be nearly 100 percent accurate at both wide angle and telephoto settings. In both shots, the measurement lines were just barely out of frame (particularly at the bottom), so I'd add a little extra space when framing is important. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the T1's LCD monitor does very well. Flash distribution is a little uneven at wide angle, with some falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform, though still with slight falloff in the corners.




T1 Review
T1 Test Images
T1 Specifications
T1 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

Reader Comments!
Questions, comments or controversy on this article? Click this link to see what other Imaging Resource readers have had to say about Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T1, or add comments of your own!


Follow Imaging Resource:

Purchase memory card for Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS3 digital camera
Top 3 photos this month win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate