PROS / The touchscreen is super responsive and the menu layout is easy to navigate.
CONS / The dry-land photo quality isn't as sharp as top-rated cameras in our comparison.
VERDICT / This camera is sleek, portable and easy to use, but other cameras in our review take better images.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX30 is perhaps the sleekest of the waterproof cameras in our comparison. The model we reviewed is all black, with a black metal slider that protects the lens. It's arguably the smallest camera out of the bunch and the smoothest with rounded edges and no buttons on either the back or front of the camera. The design makes it easy to get in and out of your pocket.
This small device doesn't look at all rugged. Many waterproof cameras have some bulk to them – rubber grips or hard rubber corners to add protection. The Sony looks like a typical digital camera that would short out in a light drizzling-rain. However, Sony claims this underwater digital camera can be submerged into 33 feet of water and can withstand a drop from 5 feet. It can also function in temperatures down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The best cameras in our lineup can be submerged more than 50 feet and withstand drops from 7 feet. The Cyber-shot isn't as durable, but still can some punishment.
Our testing included an underwater photoshoot. We placed each camera on a tripod and submerged them to capture underwater images of our test scene. We used the underwater mode on every camera that has one. The Cyber-shot DSC-TX30 has a touchscreen on the back of the camera – no additional buttons. The touchscreen worked as well underwater as it did dry, which was a pleasant surprise. Most touchscreens struggle if your fingertips are even slightly moist.
The underwater picture quality was above average. The color saturation was good, displaying vibrant pinks, blues, yellows and whites on our floral testing scene. The picture doesn't quite pop when compared to the best underwater images, and images lose sharpness when you zoom in. The best underwater cameras bring the focus of the image (the target of the picture) through the water – upfront, in a sense. The Sony, although it took good underwater pictures, leaves the target image fighting the water for clarity.
Color saturation and accuracy were issues in our dry-land testing. The Cyber-shot misrepresented some of the darker colors like blues and purples. Black squares became more gray, and when we zoomed in, the colors began to blur and bleed into one another. This camera performs better under water than above it.
The Cyber-shot has many features beyond being waterproof. It records video in 1080p. The touchscreen on the back of the camera displays menu options in an organized way that even novice users can navigate easily. You can add picture effects to your photos and take panoramic photos, and you can use burst mode to take multiple pictures quickly for action shots. Face detection keeps human subjects in focus, which is a useful feature.
Unlike any other underwater camera, the Sony Cyber-shot uses a micro SD card for photo storage instead of a standard-size SD. Most micro SD cards come with a full-sized adapter, which is good for uploading those photos on your computer, but be aware that this camera doesn't use a full-sized SD card.
This camera can take up to 250 photos on a single battery charge. This is decent, but the best cameras can take over 300 on a single charge.
Sony covers this camera by a one-year warranty. This is standard for underwater cameras.
At first glance, you'd never expect the compact Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX30 to be waterproof. It’s a sleek underwater digital camera with a touchscreen display that is highly responsive even when you're shooting in water. The underwater image quality is good, but the dry-land image quality leaves something to be desired. Portability, design and ease of use are big pluses, but image quality is somewhat lacking.