Sony DSC-T700 Review

 
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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700 Optics


Lens

Zoom
The DSC-T700's 4x optical zoom lens performs well overall, with moderate levels of distortion. Digital zoom performance is much better than average, with great detail.

35mm 140mm 2x Digital Zoom

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700's optical zoom range covers the equivalent of a 35-140mm zoom on a 35mm camera, a little better than the standard 3x optical zoom. Overall performance is pretty good at full wide angle, though coma distortion was moderately high in the top corners of the frame. There was also a moderate amount of blurring in the corners. At full telephoto, results were again pretty good, with a small amount of softening in the corners and a hint of pincushion distortion. Most impressive in this series was the camera's 2x digital zoom, which did an excellent job of maintaining fine detail and definition, despite the digital enlargement.

Macro
An unusually small macro area with very good detail and high resolution. Flash performed pretty well up close, though coverage was a bit uneven.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash
Super Macro Super Macro with Flash

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700's macro and Super macro settings performed well overall, with good detail. Normal macro mode captured a minimum area of only 1.11 x 0.84 inches (28 x 21 millimeters), while the Super setting captured an even smaller area of just 0.73 x 0.55 inches (19 x 14 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both good at the center of the frame, though there was a moderately high level of blurring in the corners, as well as some visible chromatic aberration. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The DSC-T700's flash throttled down pretty well for the macro area, though the exposure was a little uneven this close.

Distortion
High barrel distortion at wide angle, and strong pincushion at telephoto.

Barrel distortion at 35mm is 0.8%
Pincushion at 140mm is 0.6%

This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto). The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700's 0.8% barrel distortion at wide angle is actually close to average for a consumer digital camera, though really too high in our opinion. At the telephoto end, the DSC-T700's 0.6% pincushion distortion is quite a bit higher than average; most cameras we test show much lower levels of pincushion, although we do often see higher pincushion distortion in very thin cameras with "folded optics" like the T700.

Chromatic aberration
A fair bit of distortion at both zoom extremes, with bright pixels as well. Some exaggeration from blurring in the corners though.

Wide: Strong and bright,
top left @ 200%
Wide: Quite bright,
top right @ 200%
Tele: Less bright but more pixels,
top left @200%
Tele: Moderately high,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is moderately high at both wide angle and telephoto, enough that you'll be able to see colored fringes around high-contrast objects in the corners of the frame in prints 8x10 inches and larger. At smaller sizes, it won't be too noticeable, but if you have objects silhouetted against the sky, the effect will be increased. This distortion is unfortunately fairly common in ultra-compact cameras like the T700 with their "folded optic" lenses, so the T700 isn't too unusual in its class in this regard, but this limitation is something to keep in mind when weighing the pros and cons of an ultra-compact against a more conventional camera design. The T700 does better than some ultra-compacts with sharpness in the corners of its images, but worse than some in terms of chromatic aberration, and the CA extends pretty far into the frame.

Corner Sharpness
Noticeable blurring in the corners of the frame at both zoom settings, though not consistent from corner to corner.

Wide: Soft in the
corners (upper left).
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Very soft in the lower
corners (lower right).
Tele: Sharper at center.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700 produced soft corners of the frame at full wide angle and telephoto, though at both zoom settings, blurring was stronger in some corners than others. At wide angle, blurring was strongest in the upper left corner, and at full telephoto, blurring was strongest in the lower right. On a positive note, corner blurring didn't extend too far into the frame.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Good accuracy from the LCD monitor.

35mm eq., LCD 140mm eq., LCD

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700's LCD monitor showed about 96% coverage accuracy at wide angle, and about 99% at telephoto. Good results here, the lower coverage accuracy at wide angle is almost certainly due to the bowing of the target lines caused by the barrel distortion at that focal length.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700 Photo Gallery.

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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