A pricey compact camera, the 10.1Mp Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77 is a slip of a thing. It has a slide down metal front cover that conceals its lens and flash.

Physical buttons on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77's camera body are limited. The power button and camera shutter release and small, hard controller you push left or right to switch from wideangle to telescopic zoom are all that populate the top. Just below these on the angled ridge above the T77's widescreen display is a separate rocker switch to invoke gallery playback.

The reason for the minimalist button arrangement is that most functions are accessed onscreen: the 3in widescreen display is a touchscreen. A Home button at the top left gives access to menus for Shooting, Playback and image viewing, a music tool, the print dialog box and memory card tools.

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Finally, a suitcase that opens to reveal miscellaneous tools such as the language, clock and general items such as whether the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77 gives an audible confirmation of a selection.

It also lets you at alternative shooting modes, so you can switch from autofocus, switch on grids to help composition and the like. This can be helpful as the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77's touchscreen can be used to pinpoint with unexpected accuracy when the camera should concentrate its focus. It can also be used to zoom in to specific areas of an image, saving the battery-drain associated with using the motor do scroll around a shot you've taken.

Given the rate at which the battery drained, no doubt because of its touchscreen interface, this is just as well. This should have been offset by the fact the zoom doesn't physically pop out of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77 or require much 'travel'.

So what of the images the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77 produces? Its auto settings are rather good and it is able to produce some impressive indoor shots even when we challenged it to make sense of bright furnishings in a gloomy, sidelit room. It doesn't fare so well with reflections, but is able to reproduce fine detail on a lamp shot from the other side of a room. Its 4x digital zoom glides smoothly with no obvious 'stepping' between zoom levels.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77 also coped well with the sort of everyday snapshots we expect most people will use this camera for. There's an optical steady shot feature to minimise blur, along with the now expected face recognition capability It made a fair fist of compensating for shadows in our bright winter scene, deftly focusing on the detail and texture of the tree we'd positioned mid-image.

More general shots we took during the same session tended towards overexposure, so we switched to the semi-automatic mode and specified the scene type before selecting our own white balance and ISO levels from the menu list on the left of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77's touchscreen.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77: Specs

  • 10.1Mp compact camera
  • 15MB internal Memory, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo
  • 3in LCD
  • 4x optical zoom
  • 8x digital zoom
  • 3.5 1/f
  • USB, Video - Out (Unspecified)
  • Built-in Flash
  • 640 x 480 (VGA) video
  • 936x15x57.2mm
  • 151g
  • 10.1Mp compact camera
  • 15MB internal Memory, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo
  • 3in LCD
  • 4x optical zoom
  • 8x digital zoom
  • 3.5 1/f
  • USB, Video - Out (Unspecified)
  • Built-in Flash
  • 640 x 480 (VGA) video
  • 936x15x57.2mm
  • 151g

OUR VERDICT

The gorgeous slim lines of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77 will win over many fans, as will the 10.1Mp capability. However, it's the priciest of the models in our test and while its automatic functions are adept, we couldn't quickly get to our desired manual settings. We also found battery drain an issue.

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