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Color: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Sony TX30 is a small, feature rich, and fun waterproof digital camera, so it's a shame the photo quality isn't better.

(I'd like to preface this review by saying that I've owned the predecessor to this camera, the TX20, and it has stayed waterproof through the many water adventures I took it on. I will also be bringing it up from time to time in this review to compare it to the TX30.)

The TX30 is a very stylish and modern looking camera. It's made of three different finishes - there's a matte plastic, a matte metal, and a textured glossy metal. Together they make even the black TX30 look rich and different. The materials and assembly quality are both high, and the TX30 feels solid and well assembled in the hand. On the back of the camera is a 3.3" OLED touch screen display that has a plastic cover. The plastic screen is similar to the TX20's and scratches fairly easily, so be sure to use a case with the camera if you want it to stay flawless. OLED screens tend to wash out in direct sunlight, and the TX30's is no exception, but you can raise the screen's brightness to fix that issue, as the default brightness is a bit dim. The camera is very small (a little shorter and slimmer than a deck of playing cards), but there is not much space to grip the camera so you end up holding it gingerly by the edges. Also, be sure to watch your fingers, as it's very easy to get them in the shot. One thing I'd like to point out is that the TX30 takes the slightly less popular Micro SD memory cards.

The TX30 is positively full of great and useful features. For those who want to let the camera do all the thinking for them there are two automatic modes. One is the normal automatic, and the other takes multiple photos in quick succession and combines them for the best shot. There is also a program mode than gives you control over ISO, metering, and white balance, amongst other things. There is a custom white balance setting, which is a nice touch, but the TX30 lacks any sort of control over shutter speed or aperture. Rounding out the shooting modes are a variety of scene modes, and art filters (pinhole, illustration, etc). My favorite scene mode is the HDR mode, which takes photos in quick succession and combines them so you get one photo where both the shadows and highlights are properly exposed. Another great feature is the sweep panorama. It lets you stand in one spot and rotate as the camera shoots photos and stitches them together into one long photo. It works perfectly about 90% of the time. One very unique feature is the LED lights around the lens used for taking extreme macro shots. They work well and light up your subject evenly. Lastly, in playback mode there is a beatification feature that lets you tan yourself, remove wrinkles, and whiten teeth. It's actually pretty effective when used subtly, but it won't tan your body, just your face.

The Sony is rated to be waterproof up to 33 feet, an improvement over the TX20, and indeed I had no problems when using the camera underwater. Just make sure that you clean the seal on the battery door of any debris, and rinse the camera in a dish of tap water for a few minutes after having it underwater. Additionally, if you get any sunscreen on the camera make sure to wipe it off immediately as it can stain the camera's finish.

Using the Sony is very simple. It has just a shutter button, power button, zoom rocker, and a movie record button. All of the other controls will be handled using the very responsive touch screen. The touch screen has been improved over the TX20, and now responds instantly to commands. You can also customize the functions that appear on the touchscreen and put those that you use most on the main screen. One thing to bear in mind is that the touch screen does not function while underwater, so choose your camera settings before you dive! Built into the camera is an interactive owner's manual if you need help.

Speed wise the Sony is blazing fast. When you slide down the lens cover, it's ready to take the first photo in about 3 seconds. It takes about 1 second to focus in good light, while in low light it may take just about a second longer. It's ready to take the next photo almost instantly. When continuous shooting you can shoot up to 10 full resolution photos at 10 frames per second, which is great for fast action. When recording movies the camera takes about 4 seconds to start recording. The only time the Sony makes you wait a bit is when zooming in to review photos in playback mode.

The one place where the Sony TX30 is an average performer is for its photo quality. While the photos are usually well exposed, have natural color, and proper focus, they lack fine details when viewed at 100% on screen, and look a bit "mushy" overall. The situation only gets worse as the ISO speeds rise. The good thing is that the TX30 goes down to ISO 80, while the TX20 only went down to ISO 125. Additionally, the TX30 does a better job with detail and color than the TX20. Despite the lack of detail, color saturation stays high all the way up through ISO 12,800! I'd consider up to ISO 400 as where I'd prefer to shoot, while up to ISO 1600 is acceptable, and anything over that is for emergency use only as photos look less like photos and more like water color paintings. If you don't look at your photos very closely, and usually print at 8' x 10' or smaller, you'll be very happy with the TX30's photos, but if you're critical you may be disappointed. The optically stabilized lens stays fairly sharp in the corners wide open at wide angle, but the extreme right hand side of the photos are softer than the rest, and there is a bit of purple fringing to be found.

Video quality is great on the TX30. It takes full high definition video in stereo sound. It also lets you use the optical zoom, and take a high-resolution photo without any interruption of the video.

Battery life is good. I was able to take a couple hundred photos, and handful of videos, and spend a lot of time reviewing photos and playing with the camera before the battery died. The battery is charged in camera via USB.

Two last things I'd like to mention is that this case fits the camera perfectly Case Logic UNZB-202 Compact Camera Case (Blue), and it's a good idea to buy this floater wristband so if you drop the camera while in the water it won't sink to the bottom Kodak Essential Floating Wrist Strap for Cameras - Orange.

All in all... a great waterproof digital camera.

P.S. If you have any questions leave me a comment and I'll reply as soon as I can.
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3636 comments315 of 332 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 28, 2013
I bought this for Vacation as an exclusive underwater camera hoping it would give good quality underwater pictures. For everyday I use a DSLR Canon 7D with many L lenses. I am impressed with this little camera.

The underwater pictures are very good considering how small this camera is. You can't change settings underwater although you can use the zoom underwater. The pictures are good quality considering the size and keeping in mind it is a tiny point and shoot. I "sometimes" got lens HAZE/Glare like most underwater cameras do out of water (not all the time but sometimes depending on the lighting and what I was shooting). Indoors the picture quality decreases unless you have good lighting, when you are desperate for lighting the flash works fine. You can also adjust ISO and EV to further help with lighting situations. There is an AF Illuminator which helps to focus in pitch dark. You do have the option to turn this great feature off or on. This camera is very good for snap shots, digital family photo books, documenting, website sales/auction photos, traveling around water and underwater. I haven't compared it to iphone 5 photos but the quality is definitely much better then iphone 4 photos.

I have one major complaint with this camera... the screen is ALL scratched up, thank goodness it still responses when touching it. This happened while snorkeling underwater, the camera was attached to my wrist. Maybe it floated across some coral or something. The front screen should be better protected then it is. Maybe a piece of magnetic plastic sheet over the screen would work underwater? I don't know.

As stated in the directions the cover can get jammed with sand if not careful. Yes that is true... using it underwater did get some sand in it but I was able to clear it out. Don't force it close it if it gets sand in the cover, just rinse it and try to loosen the sand first to get it out.

The rechargeable battery doesn't last as long as I would like, especially if you are constantly shooting so if you are taking it on a trip, boat or at the beach i highly suggest you get a "Portable" Travel USB External Battery Charger for it (these work well for charging anything USB with rechargeable batteries on the go) so when you are on a boat or at the beach and there is no where to charge it.... you can charge it again before the next Dive or Snorkel right on the spot. You don't want your camera to die right in the middle of those important shoots.

So you don't lose it in the water don't forget to buy the floating strap that Sony makes. The matching orange floating strap looks very nice with the orange camera and you could slip the camera in the strap sideways when not in use, which helps protect the camera in your bag or purse.
here it is Sony STPFSA High Grade Handycam Camcorder

All in all the camera suit my needs but I still debate rather the money I paid for it justifies. I guess it does since I got some AWESOME underwater pictures of my family with ocean and freshwater life. We swam with friendly Dolphins, Manatees, Stingrays and Tropical Fish at different locations. It was a vacation we will never forget so the pictures were very important to us to come out good underwater. The camera works well in Sea water and freshwater down to 33ft deep. I will upload some pictures and video of the picture quality so you can compare.

Hope this helps
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44 comments121 of 127 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 27, 2014
I purchased this camera after being sold on the durability aspect--"tough yet stylish," "Certified shockproof, dustproof, waterproof" etc knowing that it carried a year warrenty and cost $260 convinced me it was a high quality point and shoot product. It worked just fine (thought the .modd files were annoying), nothing spectacular.
A few months after I had the camera, I attempted to take the battery out to charge it and the small blue piece popped off. I contacted Sony regarding the repair and they directed me to send it in (had to pay for shipping) which I did as instructed. A few days later I received an email stating that the camera sustained physical damage not covered by the warrenty and that it would not be economical to replace it. I spoke with them explaining that it was simply during routine use of removal of the battery (I never challenged any of the durability claims) and they said they would not cover it. I asked what sort of thing the warrenty covered and they said, "if something is wrong with the camera we will fix it." .... ????....
I asked to speak with someone in customer relations who was no further help and became agitated and eventually appeald to the National Relations center and spoke with Frank (apparently the head of national relations) who stated that even though he admitted he would be upset if the same thing happened to him, they were still refusing to repair my camera or send me one that worked (they did offer to send me a comparable one for $200...???) stating that the physical damage voided the warrenty. I was accused of abusing or forcefully trying to remove it (I'm not even sure how one "forcefully" removes a battery, you pretty much just slide the blue piece open and it pops out...unless the blue piece snaps off when you try...)

So I'm out $260 for trying to remove the battery.

The camera itself works just fine, but Sony's Customer Relations is extremely poor and unprofessional. They obviously care very little about their reputation (and warrenty is completely meaningless) and I will not purchase products from them in the future.
1313 comments174 of 197 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 24, 2014
But I am not sure what some people are complaining about when you get a good point and shoot camera that also take great pics under water. This is not a "diving" camera, but one that works (and quite well mind you) when snorkeling or something similar.

Waiting to actually use it before reviewing and I think the picture qualities in water are very good and out of water, are simply amazing, again, for a point and shoot. For the money paid (under $200), the camera is a steal. Used it for a week in Orlando - salt water reef pool, fresh water, night time shots, family pics - all done very well. If you use in salt water - like anything else, make sure you rinse it well when done.

Again, if you are realistic about what this camera is intended for, it is hard to beat at this price. I feel bad for my larger SLR...this one is simply too easy to carry around and use....
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11 comment24 of 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 22, 2015
This is an awesome little camera. Very compact and takes great pictures. I haven't had any issues taking it in the water. We've used it in the ocean snorkeling many times and it takes clear underwater pictures. Definitely recommend this camera if you're looking for a waterproof camera.
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0Comment18 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 22, 2013
This camera is advertised as being rugged and waterproof and those were my top 2 reasons for buying it. The camera housing cracked because a 5'4" beauty dropped it from her pocket (approximately 2.5'). This was the 1st drop of any height in the 1.5 months of ownership. I sent it in for repair/replacement and the crack Sony Service Center promptly (5 weeks later) sent back the same camera with a new housing. I questioned them about the "waterproofness" of a new housing and was assured it was tested. Fast forward to a month later swimming with Whale Sharks in the Sea of Cortez and the waterproof camera lasted about 5 minutes before failing. Those would have been some nice pictures and video.
I paid $330 for it when it was first on the market because I was tired of cheap ($100 range) waterproof cameras acting glitchy with poor image quality. I would support a purchase of this camera if you seriously baby it. Tons of great features. Since telling this story to friends, I kept getting the same response, "why didn't you buy a gopro?".
55 comments45 of 53 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon June 18, 2013
Color: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This camera is small, ruggedized, stylish and very good looking. And that is basically why you pay a premium price for it. The picture quality is okay, and the features are useful and plenty, but that alone would not warrant the premium price - other cameras that cost less offer the same.

- Small and slim. Easy to carry in a shirt pocket, much smaller than the average smartphone.
- Nice set of features. I especially like the de-focus function that blurs the background and thus separates the object from it. It is a bit tricky to make it work though - you have to get really close to your object (appr. 1 foot) to get this effect. Also, I like the sweep Panorama function a lot - that works perfectly after a few tries and is a lot of fun.
- Quick start-up. You slide the cover down, and a second later the camera is ready to shoot.
- The lens cover. Finally, an outdoor camera that has a lens cover. But, there are two slightly annoying things here: First, it happens that the cover slides open inadvertently when put in a tight pocket. No big deal, since the camera will turn itself off after a couple of minutes of idle time. Second, there is no handle, groove, or knob on the cover - you have to grab the upper edge with your finger (or finger nail) and press the cover down. Also, no big deal - for a guy with strong fingers, but maybe a problem for a gal with press-on fingernails.
- Zooming. Quick and very precise.
- Movie button. At the right place - easy to reach (directly under the shutter button), but not located where it would be activated inadvertently all the time.
- Movie quality. Stunning. And the sound through the stereo microphone at the top of the camera is also very good.
- Separate On/Off button. Very helpful when you just want to check the last picture or need to adjust a setting - the button turns the camera on, but since the cover is not open you can't take pictures.
- Touch screen. Very responsive, customizable, bright and clear.
- Menu. Easy to find the settings you want to change, logical structure.
- Tough. Sealed against water intrusion for normal beach use, also shock proof against the normal bumps and bangs of daily life.

- Picture quality is okay - for use with social media sites, small prints, and the like. At 100% magnification, there are visible blocks even at ISO 100.
- The Zoom button. That is some flimsy round knob at the right outer edge on the top of the camera. Not real big-finger-friendly. It hurts me. Hate it.
- Battery life. Well, half an hour of movies or about 150 pictures. Not quite a marathon runner ...
- No different compression ratios for JPGs (e.g. small, normal, high). There is nothing to chose here, only one JPG setting - the default one, which the camera does not tell you what it is.
- Micro-SD slot. You open the card slot cover, which also gives access to the battery, push the Micro-SD card and, whew, it comes flying out of the slot and lands ... well, where did it land? I can't see it on the dark carpet. Or maybe it jumped on the table, or under one of the chairs, or over the freakin' moon .... AAARGH! I absolutely hate it that they used this miniature format as the memory card. And then, they had the glorious idea to put a spring in the slot, that catapults it out of the slot like a bullet out of a gun.
- Position of the left channel of the stereo microphone. It is there where a normal person would probably park their left index finger. Either you hold the camera with your fingernail on the left side, or you try to grip it at the bottom - which will lead to a rather awkward shooting position. Also, be careful with your left fingers anyway - because the lens is at the upper left corner of the camera, fingers can get in the way rather easily.

In summary: This camera has some very nice features, an average picture quality, it is very small and looks very stylish, and it is water- and shock proof. It also has some annoying features and a short battery life. If they would fix the picture quality, it would be a great little camera. The way it is now, you should not expect too much from it.
22 comments27 of 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 27, 2014
I bought this camera expecting the quality of Sony that I have become accustomed to through other products such as their TVs, Surround Sound Systems, Receivers, and Portable Stereo Devices.
The Sony Cyber-Shot Digital Camera TX30 seemed to be the perfect camera for me and my life style. It is advertised as “certified waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, and freezeproof”. It is NOT!

Although the camera took wonderful pictures and video it is/was not waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, or anything proof. I used the camera exactly how it was advertised and when the camera became corroded after the third snorkeling trip; I sent it into the Sony customer service for its warranty coverage and received the below evaluation not once but twice. First, from the in-store customer service representative who warned me that it may have “suffered physical damage”, prior to any examination of the camera; and secondly, in an e-mail from the Sony Service Center, apparently after the examination.

“We have completed the evaluation necessary to repair your unit. During this evaluation, it has been determined that your unit has suffered physical damage. As a result of this damage, the repair costs make it uneconomical and inefficient to repair the unit.”

I have been a loyal customer for many years and have spent thousands of dollars on Sony products with great enjoyment; however now that I have had a piece of equipment stop working I have seen a different side of Sony. I am very disappointed with Sony and this will absolutely make me think twice before purchasing another Sony product. (This same complaint has surfaced many times in other reviews)
0Comment13 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 13, 2013
The in camera charging feature failed but SONY refused warranty service after three months accusing me of dropping the camera. I was able to charge the battery using a external charger (not provided when I purchased this device) and when I put the battery in the camera, the camera would drain the battery within 24 hours. SONY said the camera was dropped. This is 100% false. The camera had scratches on it from being rubbed against coral during a snorkeling trip. Customer service wanted $300+ to repair.

SONY repair facility refused to reevaluate the camera. It has only superficial scratches.

I have owned more than a six SONY cameras and I own many other products from them, but never again since they can't honor a simple warranty claim. Even if it was dropped, this camera is supposed to be shock proof.

What a waste of money! I like SONY but after this experience they'll never get one more red cent from me. Their asinine repair/warranty facility is the cause of another lost customer.
0Comment58 of 73 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 8, 2013
I owned a TX-5 (first offered in 2010)...then Sony's Laredo Repair Center messed it up.

After several back-and-forth exchanges, they sent me a TX-30. And I just had to get rid of it!

--Touch Screen does not work underwater (unlike the TX-5--THIS IS A HUGE DEAL BREAKER FOR ME!)
--Night photography often blurry and takes long to expose (unlike the TX-5)
--Annoying Recording Button (unlike the...well, you get it)
--Not a very bright flash
--LED ring around the lens: A great feature that is BY NO MEANS EASY TO ACCESS ON THE MENU!
--Menu options not very useful

I'm pretty sure those of you satisfied with your TX-30 WON'T BE, if/when you have to send it in for repairs at Sony's Laredo Repair Center! Very disappointed in the product.
11 comment24 of 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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