Sony Cybershot TX5 Waterproof Camera Review

Camera Reviews Featured Sony Uncategorized Underwater Videos

Sony Cybershot TX5 Waterproof Camera ReviewThe TX5 is Sony’s first waterproof point-and-shoot camera. Actually, I’ve been told there was a 2-megapixel model a few years ago. That makes this their first modern, rugged camera, with really useable features and resolution. The Sony Web site calls the TX5, “So rugged, it’s practically everything-proof.” It’s waterproof to 10 feet (3m), shockproof from 5 feet (1.5m) and “freezeproof” to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. I put the word “freezeproof” in quotes for a reason – you’ll learn more about that later in the review. The TX5 has a 10-megapixel “Exmore R” CMOS sensor that captures 720p MP4 HD video as well as still photos. The lens is an internally zooming 4x 25-100mm (equivalent) Carl Zeiss zoom with Sony’s Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, a 3-inch touchscreen LCD display.

Sony Cybershot TX5 - Self-Portrait Bodysurfing

    Sony Cybershot TX5 Pros

  • Very compact – easily fits in a pants pocket
  • Waterproof and shockproof
  • CMOS sensor delivers better image quality than other waterproof point-and-shoot cameras
  • Touchscreen display is great for playing in the water and works with gloves on!
  • Customizable controls
  • 10 frames-per-second full resolution burst mode
  • 720p HD video
  • Sony’s excellent Optical SteadyShot image stabilization
  • iSweep Panorama mode
  • HDMI video output
  • SD memory card-compatibility
    Sony Cybershot TX5 Cons

  • Too easy to get finger in front of lens
  • Polished sliding cover easily scratched
  • Sony menus less intuitive than other makers
  • Image quality not as good as non-waterproof cameras
  • Touchscreen means greasy fingerprints on LCD display
Sony Cybershot TX5 Studio Test Images
Sony Cybershot TX5 Studio Sample Photos
    ISO 125 Sample >>
    ISO 200 Sample >>
    ISO 400 Sample >>
    ISO 800 Sample >>
    ISO 1600 Sample >>
    ISO 3200 Sample >>
    All Digital Camera Studio Sample Photos >>

Sony Cybershot TX5 waterproof, shockproof camera - front & back

Next – Sony Cybershot TX5 Camera Features >>


Introduction Features & Design Camera Experience Image Quality Conclusion

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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • Fred says:

    May I add that this camera is great for children?

    My 6 year old is taking fantastic pictures. He’s places I’m not and even when I am, he has his own perspective. Now his 3 year old brother borrows it as much as he can and I get yet another “personal photographer”.

    I recommend any family getting a camera for their children. Waterproof and drop-proof at this price may be overkill, but less tears from the young ones and less annoyance from the parents is worth something (plus the image quality of the TX5 is really pretty good, and I’m a DSLR user).

  • Photo-John says:

    Thanks for your comment, Fred. Rugged, waterproof point-and-shoot cameras like the TX5 are definitely a good choice for kids. Olympus even made a video for one of their Stylus Tough cameras where they called it “kidproof.” You don’t have to spend as much as the TX5, either. Both Olympus and Panasonic make less expensive waterproof and shockproof camera models. I’d get myself a TX5 but if I had a kid I’d be looking at something a lot cheaper :)

  • gregg says:

    Nice review, John! Do you have any samples of the HD video that this takes?

  • Photo-John says:

    Glad you like the review, Gregg. On page three of the review there’s a video that I shot with the TX5.

  • gregg says:

    Thanks, don’t know how I missed that vid the first time.

    The vid looks good, I like the ending! ;)

    One of the important features that I’m looking for in a new camera (besides being able to take a beating) is the ability to do HD video. Overall the video looks pretty good, but it really doesn’t look all that “HD” to me. ‘Course some of that could be due to the YouTube compression.

  • Photo-John says:

    Gregg – HD is just resolution. It doesn’t really say anything about the actual image quality of the video. Spec-wise, the 720p video on the TX5 is HD and it’s as good as you’re going to get from a waterproof, shockproof camera right now. Here’s a link to another TX5 sample video I made. This one is all mountain bike stuff. I’m actually colllecting more footage and I’m going to update this video soon:

  • Bill says:

    Great review, great camera. I’ve had the TX-5 for a couple of months; I think iI bought it from Best Buy the day it arrived. Everyone who sees me doing the panorama sweep asks about it, very cool. Low light mode good too. This is my 6th Sony camera (I started with a 1.2mp Mavica that used 3.5 inch floppies and have had successively higher resolution cameras since, including Alpha 350 DSLR), so Sony controls logic not an issue. I rather like the touch screen control. Caution on the drop resistance factor; I believe the fine print reads: impact resistance tested from 5 feet on plywood surface. I’ve dropped my several times, usually over something harder than plywood and have always managed to get my foot under it to soften the impact. A lot of scratches, but otherwise no damage. I like the slidable front cover that functions as of on/off switch also, should resist damage/hang ups of leaf shutter type lens covers I have on some of my other Sony’s. I take ithe TX-5 everywhere, including kayak trips, but have not used it under water yet. I love the image quality, the best of any camera I have owned.

  • Kim says:


    Did you take any under-water with TX-5? I am look for a compact camera which we can use for under-water like swimming, diving at pool, snokelling (no deep diving involve here). Wondering how the TX-5 rating for this purpose.

  • Mike says:

    Has anyone used this with thicker gloves on (i.e. ski gloves)? I’d like to take this mountaineering, but also be able to use it in the water/dust, etc. I’m mostly concerned with being able to operate the touch screen with thick gloves.


  • Photo-John says:

    I skied with it last week. The touchscreen does work with thicker gloves, although it’s next to impossible to press the buttons accurately. It’s not heat sensitive like the iPhone screen, though. In the end, with ski gloves, I think you’re gonna have to take them off to really get full use of the camera. I haven’t found a pocket camera where that isn’t the case, though. Using glove liners might be the solution if it’s really cold. I do that when I’m doing serious shooting with the DSLR.

  • Igor says:

    I’m really looking for the smallest/ best picture/ best picture at night camera. I have a brave canon ixus7, that I love because its so small and just fits in my pocket as a dream, but now, after many concerts, rain, sand and trips it takes very pool pictures at night and the audio always gets disturbed in a concert for example.
    I’m between the Sony TX5, Panasonic TS2 and the Fujifilm XP10, specially by the size of it, looks to be the smallest.
    Ive been told that this Sony TX5 have some issues when some sand from the beach stuck between the lens and the slide cover scratchin the lens.
    Everyone talks about these Laica lens from panasonic that are amazing and I really noticed it too on my gf camera, but its the bigest.
    And the Fujifilm I dont have any good feedback and never heard or tried a Fujifilm camera.

    What do you recommend for me!?
    Many thanks John

  • aris says:

    this is the best review i’ve read about tx5! seems like you really used it well! thank you! i am loving to purchase a tx5 even more!

  • Eric says:

    I just purchased the Sony TX5 from Fry’s Electronics for $272. I can’t comment on the picture quality yet, but I found that water gets endlessly trapped under the sliding lens cover. After 25 open/closes and wipe downs in between each and several attempts to blow the water out there is still water trapped under the cover. I plan to return it for this reason. If the water was dirty, sandy, or salty this would be a major issue. I used the Olympus Stylus for years before loosing it and I loved it. I plan to exchange the Sony for the Olympus immediately.

  • Photo-John says:

    I understand your concern and I shared it while I was reviewing the camera. However, I had the review camera in the pocket of my swim trunks in salty surf for a long time. I turned it on and off multiple times over multiple days, in and out of the water. My pockets got sand in them, even. Because of the way I was treating the camera I fully expected it to fail. But it never did. Of course, that’s just experience with one camera and you’ve got every right to be nervous about the water. But I basically had the same experience and it never led to any sort of camera failure. That’s part of why I gave this camera so much praise and why I’m still calling it my favorite underwater point-and-shoot camera.

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