Sony’s T Series Cyber-shots are renowned for mixing slimline profiles with cutting-edge tech, and the T900 isn’t about to dispense with the premium range’s tradition.
But despite all this, it’s the T900’s touchscreen that got us salivating. It’s beautifully engineered and provides framing and playback options, as well as a way to access the fully stocked menu. It also means there’s very few buttons, helping to retain those supermodel-slim looks.
Another reason for the gaunt appearance is Sony’s inclusion of a docking station, which leaves the camera sporting just a zoom lever, shutter release and power button. The dock houses an AV out, USB and a full-size HDMI connection, resulting in a camera gloriously bereft of covers and ports.
Not that the T900 has put style before usability – it’s comfortable to hold and a joy to shoot with. The touchscreen lies at the heart of everything with a short learning curve in finding out where settings can be found, but in the long run none of this will baffle you.
There are a couple of surprising omissions from the features list: notably manual focus and white balance. But this is indicative of the T900 – it’s a camera that wants to do the hard work for you, so you’ll find Intelligent Scene Recognition chooses the best settings and the D-Range Optimizer corrects exposure and contrast in backlit scenes.
Face detection tech comes with an adult or child priority option, but the auto mode we like best is the Smile Shutter. Once activated it snaps a photo whenever your subject cracks a grin. Note: it doesn’t work on bankers, only their pension-toting bosses.
Hit me with your Memory Stick
Like its predecessors, the T900 doesn’t record to SD cards, preferring Sony’s own Memory Sticks. While these are more expensive than SD cards, it pays to invest in a large capacity Stick – at least 4GB – as the camera also records video in HD. There’s a range of movie settings and the maximum is a healthy 1280x720 at 30fps.
These movies get the thumbs-up with punchy audio and bags of sharpness, and photo performance is similarly strong with excellent detail and accuracy. The autofocus is also reliably quick, with the only concern being that reds can be a little too warm and the zoom isn’t quite as smooth as it should be.
But these are minor niggles – the T900 is pretty much the complete compact camera, mixing cool design with stunning images. All you need to do now is find a way to justify spending the asking price of a Canon EOS 1000D on a compact.