While there's rarely any method in the product-naming madness, it's tempting to believe that the 'T' in T7 stands for 'thin'. Measuring just 9.8mm thick at the thinnest point, and only 14.7mm across its bulging belly, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T7 is an anorexic supermodel on a lettuce-leaf diet. It's far thinner than your wallet, even on the day before payday. If you're too shy to flaunt it round your neck, it'll slide easily into your pocket.
The slim design is married to a lean feature set. The macro and magnifying glass modes and the 30fps VGA movie mode are excellent, but it lags behind the competition on user-friendliness, with cryptic menus and relatively few scene modes. Snapshots are detailed, colourful and generally well-exposed.
The T7 measures 92 by 60 by 15mm and weighs 136g, including the battery pack and neck strap. Those figures are deceptive, though, because most of the body is only around 10mm thick. The extra girth comes from the lens cover, a 61 by 31 by 5mm slab that slides down to reveal the lens and activate the camera. Flicking the lens cover with your thumb is quicker and easier than pressing the tiny power button on the end, but the camera would be slimmer and look neater with a recessed lens cover.
The body is made of stainless steel and feels very solid, but the lens cover is silver plastic and is prone to chipping and scratching around the edges, spoiling the look of the camera. A protruding lug on one end provides an attachment hole for the lanyard and resting place for your thumb. The sleek design means there's very little to get hold of and you'll need to use both hands -- it's impossible to hold it steady with one. You also need to keep your fingers away from the lens, which sits very close to the top of the camera. A big orange blur on the viewfinder is a good clue that you need to change your grip.
Most of the controls are on the top and the back of the camera. On the top you'll find the microphone, an orange light that blinks when the flash is charging (and is difficult to see when you're looking at the back of the camera), a minuscule zoom controller, a spongy shutter button and a green power light. On the back there's a small slider for choosing between playback, still and movie modes, a menu button, a five-way controller for navigating the menus, a couple of small buttons for deleting files and turning off the display, and a speaker. The direction buttons on the five-way controller double as short-cut buttons for selecting the flash mode, activating macro mode, activating the self-timer and reviewing the last image. All the controls are small, so if you have large hands, you should test drive the T7 before you decide to buy.
The one big thing on the camera is the LCD, which measures 62mm (2.5 inches) across the diagonal. It's bright and sharp and functions reasonably well even in bright sunlight, making it easy to frame your images and show them to your friends. There's no optical viewfinder.
The T7 takes the smaller Memory Stick Pro Duo cards, currently available in capacities up to 2GB. The card slots into the bottom of the camera, and the dinky square NP-FE1 battery hides behind a door in the right-hand end. If you want to transfer images via USB or connect the T7 to a television, you'll need to use the supplied adaptor, which slots onto the end to provide USB, AV-out and DC-in ports. If you want to mount it on a tripod, you'll need to screw it to the supplied stand, which has a tripod socket in the bottom. You also get a battery charger that plugs directly into the wall. Although they are all small and light, it's annoying that you need to carry three separate accessories to make full use of the camera.