Despite the high price, the TX7 isn’t what you’d call prime enthusiast material. There are no manual exposure controls or RAW capture, and the lens is gloomy with its f/3.5-f/4.6 aperture. Instead, Sony has blown the budget on 1080i video and a 3.5in touchscreen.
Admittedly, the screen is a corker. Its 921kpixel resolution is as sharp as the eye can see, and the touchscreen interface is polished, with a friendly layout and slick animated menus. A touch for spot focus function is available, although it doesn’t track moving subjects. As with the TX5, various scene modes provide novel ways to capture panoramic and low-light photos.
The downside of the huge screen is that there isn’t much camera left to hold on to. We had to grip the body in a four-finger double pincer position to avoid accidentally touching the screen. The zoom control is fiddly too.
Performance and photo quality are the same as the Sony TX5, placing it a little behind the best compacts but ahead of the other touchscreen cameras. But the TX7’s main selling point is its 1080i video mode, which is recorded in AVCHD format with stereo audio in Dolby Digital. Exposure is entirely automatic but the zoom can be adjusted during capture, and continuous autofocus works as well.
Picture and sound quality was excellent, with more detail and less noise than video from the TX5. The only weakness was heavy barrel distortion at the wide-angle setting. HDMI output is available via the supplied dock.
All impressive stuff, and although stills aren’t quite top class, the video quality and novel features make the TX7 a great all-round package.