That brings us to one of the more complained-about issues with the T10 -- from CNET readers, at least. The T10 and T20 can both occasionally capture an image without completing the autofocus process. According to readers' comments, Sony tech support has said that the cameras are designed to do this, though we don't know why. That means you have to be sure to press the shutter halfway and wait for focus lock (aka prefocus) before capturing your images if you want to be sure to capture an in-focus image.
We prefer to prefocus when we shoot to cut down on shutter lag, so this doesn't interfere with our normal shooting routine, but if you don't like to prefocus, this might not be the camera for you.
Performance results were pleasingly quick in our lab tests. The DSC-T20 took 1.3 seconds to start up and capture its first JPEG, and took 1.3 seconds between JPEGs thereafter with the flash turned off. When we turned the flash on, that wait increased to 2.9 seconds.
Shutter lag measured an impressive 0.4 seconds in our high-contrast test and 1.3 seconds in our low-contrast test, which mimic bright and dim shooting conditions, respectively. In our continuous shooting test, we were able to get about 2 frames per second regardless of image size.
Images looked good for a compact camera, and better in some ways than last year's model, but those benefits came with trade-offs of their own. While colours are more saturated overall in the T20 than the T10, the noise profile is completely different in the T20. This makes sense, given the increase in pixel count and Sony's switch to its new Bionz image processor, which was developed for its Alpha DSLR-A100 digital SLR.
We saw some -- albeit very minimal -- noise when viewing on our monitor even at the T20's lowest sensitivity setting of ISO 80, though you won't notice it much in prints. The same can be said for ISO 100, though ever so slightly more noise is visible. At ISO 200, however, noise between the two cameras evens out, which is to say that you'll definitely see some on your monitor, though it will be minimised greatly in printing. You still see some advantage in terms of the T20's extra saturation, which is pleasing and not overly saturated, per se. Also, while there is some loss of sharpness at ISO 200, you should still be able to make prints up to letter size that have an acceptable amount of fine detail.