on July 18, 2012
This is an awesome little point and shoot; I am tempted to call it the best, but for a few design details which I will get to.
The upsides (for me) are:
~18 megapixels! Shoot first, zoom and crop later! Works wonderfully. There is lots of room for high res photos after major zoomage. With the right photo editing software, it's the equiviant of a huge, strong zoom lens but without the weight or bulk!
~In-camera color saturation and exposure controls!
~Waterproof, dustproof & freezeproof!
~Fast boot-up, and quick focusing.
~Quick boot up of your shots for review
~User friendly - in camera help menus even with keyword search
~Larger (3.3 inch), bright, high resolution screen
The downsides (for me)
~Not shockproof - a serious design omission. I hike, scramble on rocks a bit, take pictures of rock formations, insects, mountain summit views, creek ice crystals--nature stuff (as well as portraiture, and family and friends). I do not treat my beloved equipment roughly, but don't want to have to treat them like little soap bubbles either! I own (and love) the TX-200's predecessor, the TX-10, (16 megapixels) which is shock-proof (waterproof etc) and sturdy.
~Expensive. At $500, it's above & beyond all the other point and shoots, ruggedized and otherwise.
~Has okay but not great macro capability. Again, I am comparing it to my trusty TX-10 which focuses down to an awesome 1 centimeter (about 5/8 inch), and the TX-200 only goes down to 3 centimeters. But if you are not into serious macro close ups, of course this will not be an issue for you! :-)
~You can NOT tuck in into a back pocket of your favorite jeans (Cargo pockets, or belt cases only!) It does flex and bend, and does not like this.
I am not interested in a "sleek and stylish" poolside / party camera. Is this a creative tool, a viewer into magical worlds, a documenter of cherished events, or a stylish pendant? For me, it is the first three.
I very carefully wrapped and glued my TX-200 in neoprene (spongy wetsuit materal), on all the non-functional surfaces. Now it is not pretty at all, and way more sturdy and shockproof. (So much for the stylish fragile glass front!) For $500, I wish Sony had done this for me.
So to summarize this bit--I wouild love for Sony to have made it heavier, bigger, more durable and sturdy, more an adventure camera like the Nikon AW-100, or the Canon. --- What good is a full featured, creative, user friendly tool (especially one as pricey as this) if it's going to die in six months from a two foot drop?
Okay, enough preaching from the pulpit. I do appreciate this little camera immensely. It has wonderful instructions and explanations built in, even a keyword search function, it has background defocus, and it has HD movies at 60 frames per second, and it has a bigger (3.3 inch diagonal) screen with top-end resolution, which you can brighten as is your wont. It has a terrific picture review zoom function (onscreen) where you can get a tantalizing fortaste of fun on the computer, with photo editing (which I love!) And it (like all little point and shoots) is a camera you DO take with you. If you don't take the camera, you don't get the shot!
I have Sony's flagship smaller camera, the NX-7 (24 MP, interchangeable lenses, DSLR functions, etc) ....and my little TX's still get used plenty --- they are not mothballed or eclipsed by any stretch!
It (the TX-200) has almost all functions as touch screen buttons, which has its upsides and downsides for me. Some people go crazy about touch screen functionality (try it in the winter with gloves on, at 8500 feet and a 15 mph wind chill! :-) ) so I will note it as a positive and negative with a sum total of a slight plus.
So to summarize --- if you can afford the hefty price tag, and if you don't mind a (comparitively) fragile, nonrugged camera, this is an awesome little friend -- spectacular photos, ease of use, waterproof, full functions. I will give this little buddy 4.8 stars!