Sony Cybershot DSC-T5
Price: $549 RRP

Digital CCDs in cameras are subject to similar commercial forces as Moore’s Law (which says that computer chips get exponentially faster and cheaper). A 5-megapixel camera would have cost a small fortune a couple of years ago. In a couple of years it’ll be too small for practical uses.

So as with all technology, you have to pick your moment. And if you’re in the market for a no-nonsense, attractive and simple digital camera that doesn’t need an electrical engineering degree, right now might be the best time. Sony’s Cybershot series (particularly the T5) gives you a satisfying amount of resolution power in a very slickly designed package that’s easy to use.

The first thing you notice is that it’s only as big as a stack of credit cards in your hand. If you haven’t had much to do with digital cameras in awhile it’ll amaze you that they can fit so many megapixels into such a tiny package.

The Cybershot is much more a beginner than a pro device, although there’s nothing stopping you from taking professional shots — it puts high-end quality into your hands even if you have no knowledge or interest in the jargon and science of just pointing and clicking.

The only in-depth functions you’ll need to seek out are red-eye reduction and changing the resolution of your shots. Everything else can be reached by flicking the little lever into one of three positions; take photos, take video or review what you’ve taken.

Don’t bother turning it off, just flick the cover screen up or down to bring it back to life or put it back to sleep. You can have the Cybershot out of your pocket, take the perfect shot and stash it away again in the blink of an eye.

One point of difference from the competition is the connectivity cable. The USB connector, which plugs into your computer shares the cord with audio and video plugs that you hook up to your TV to view your pics on screen. It’s not as simple as plugging and playing, but then neither is your DVD player (or anything else you set up through your TV).

Very much the product of Sony’s consumer arm, where user-friendliness is the order of the day, the Cybershot DSC T5 is the camera for you if you’re entering the fray, you don’t mind spending a bit for quality, and you just want to point and shoot.

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