If you ever get fed up of taking all the photos at parties and never being in any of them, you can get an optional Party-shot gadget that lets the camera take pictures on its own, firing off frames automatically using its face-detection system.
Yes, amid all these good ideas there's an element of strangeness. Sony's fixation with face detection extends to a 'smile shutter' mode with customisable sensitivity and a choice between adult- and child-priority modes. Is anyone really going to bother?
There's also a 'paint pen' in the box which you can use for drawing and writing on your photos, and you can add stamps and frames and do other fun stuff with them too. This seems out of place given all the more serious cutting-edge tech built into this camera.
There are other things which aren't quite as they should be. By today's standards, the 4x zoom is pretty weak. It's not a wideangle zoom (it's equivalent to 35-140mm), and, while the definition's not bad, there's some pretty serious barrel distortion at the wideangle end of the range. Also, the use of a 16:9 ratio display on the back of the camera means that, when you're shooting ordinary 4:3 ratio stills, much of the screen area is lost to thick black bars on either side, and the touchscreen interface has a few too many layers and sections to be truly intuitive.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX1 is a clever camera, and many of its abilities, including the sweep-panorama mode, 10fps shooting and multi-shot twilight mode, are genuinely impressive. But it's not without its gimmicks, it's tricky to hold, the interface can be confusing and the lens is pretty ordinary.
Edited by Charles Kloet