The superzoom market is expanding by leaps and bounds with every camera manufacturer out there launching their own point and shoot cameras with these zoom capabilities. This market is getting truly populated and giving consumers a plethora of options to choose from. These prosumer cameras are targeted at those who want an all-in-one camera featuring ultra zoom capabilities, HD video recording and stylish DSLR looks.
The rubberized handgrip makes it easy to carry this camera
Sony have launched the Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V superzoom camera, which possesses these features and have also thrown in a couple of additional ones such as a GPS compass and 3D sweep panorama. The camera is priced slightly higher than the likes of the Fujifilm FinePix S3300 and the Kodak Easyshare max Z990, but does possess more features than them. Read on to find out if this offering from Sony stacks up to the competition and if it is worth a shot.
Sony Cybershot DSC HX100V
Design and Build Quality
Like most superzooms available in the market, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V has the bridge camera look making it appear at first sight like a DSLR. The first thing noticeable on this camera is the large Carl Zeiss lens located at the front of the camera. The lens occupies most of the front of the camera making the design look good. The lens features an option which allows one to zoom in to objects using a ring featured on it. The camera is black and has a specked sort of textured design all over. The large hand grip features a rubber padding, which aids in the handling of this ultrazoom. Weighing at 577g, one can use this camera just with a right hand. However, it is advisable that a person uses both hands to capture images.
Flip out screen makes it easy to capture images at angles
The 3-inch flip out screen at the back can be tilted in a way that one can easily click images from either high or low angles. This is a similar to the feature found on the Nikon CoolPix P500. The buttons of this camera are located to the right of the screen. These buttons include a four-way navigational pad for display, continuous shooting, timer and flash. To the side of the camera are also buttons for accessing features like video recording, playback, menu and erase. There is a jog dial located on the top right side of the camera at the back, which can be clicked and used for adjusting various settings like ISO sensitivity, aperture priority, etc. This feature made it very easy for us to adjust the different settings.
On the top of the HX100V are buttons for accessing the electronic view finder (EVF) or LCD display, custom settings, focus and a mode dial, which helps in switching between the various modes of this camera. The on/off button is also located near the mode dial and has an LED backlighting to denote if the camera is on, off or on charging. The colour of the LED is yellow when on and orange when charging. This may not be a grand design implementation, but it surely can be a useful one. The zoom trigger is located next to the shutter release button and is a common design seen on most cameras.
The mode dial has various settings
The pop up flash is housed directly above the lens and feels sturdy. The EVF is featured directly at the back of it; making the camera retain its compact properties. A unique, but not uncommon feature of this camera is that it can be charged directly by plugging it to a power source. This removes the hassle of removing the battery every time it needs to be juiced up. Connectivity options are located to the left of the camera near the charging port. These include a mini HDMI and a proprietary USB port. The flaps of these ports are made of plastic and feel sturdy, as well. The battery bay is located underneath and it also houses a slot for the memory card. Though the flap does not have a locking mechanism, the flap is sturdy and it will not open unless intended. The overall design of this camera is really good and it feels sturdy as well.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V features a 16.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, which has Sony’s Exmor R technology. This technology allows users to capture images well in low-lit environments. The lens type featured on this camera is Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T featuring a 30x optical zoom. This translates to a focal length of 27 - 810mm, which is really good for a camera of its size. Besides the zoom, the HX100V has other interesting features, which make it stand out.
Pop up flash fires well
The interface of this camera is easy to use and one can get used to it within a matter of minutes. The button on the jog dial aids in the fluency of changing the settings. This all put together add to the ease of use of this camera. The screen by default is vibrant and can be toned down from the settings. The colour scheme of the interface can be changed, allowing one to view the page in two other colours - White and Pink. Out of the box, the menu is Black. The screen has an auto rotation function, which is a neat feature that is not seen in most cameras. The camera features a sensor, which detects when one is viewing through the EVF. This allows it to automatically switch between the EVF and the LCD display. Alternatively, one can manually set where they would like to view the content from - either the EVF or the LCD.
The flip out screen is another interesting feature included in this point and shoot. This feature is usually seen in DSLRs and more recently on this camera’s competitor, the Nikon CoolPix P500. Other features of this camera include full high-definition video recording at 1080p at 60 fps, 3D sweep panorama and a GPS compass. The HX100V supports SD cards, as well as Sony’s own MS card. Overall, Sony have fitted the camera with some pretty interesting features.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V was tested in a controlled setting and tests such as aperture priority, ISO sensitivity, flash, etc. were conducted. This camera also comes with various other features the main one being its superzoom capabilities. So, the tests were done accordingly.
Aperture priority test
When the aperture is at its largest, i.e. at f/2.8, a fair amount of depth of field was noticed. When the aperture is at its smallest, which is f/8, the depth of field noticed is less and the image is crisper.
ISO sensitivity test
The HX100V has a load of ISO sensitivities and one can use this at varied settings to get the most of the camera. The minimum ISO sensitivity found on this camera is ISO 100 and as expected there were no noise levels, whatsoever. A bit of noise was noticed at ISO 200, but it was only after ISO 800 did the noise levels rise. ISO 1600 and 3200 shot well, but the noise levels were really high. It is not recommended to use these higher sensitivities unless shooting in a low light area.
The flash is quite powerful on the HX100V and it illuminates an area of 12 feet. The colours looked a lot more natural when the flash was off but with the flash on the image appeared crisp.
The camera has a 30x zoom and when used outdoors, the image appeared very crisp. The image stabilization capability of this camera is pretty impressive and there was no blur whatsoever.
The camera records video at 1080p and the video playback rendered well. During video recording, there were no issues noticed and there was no lag in transition noticed between a dark area and a well lit one. The camera is able to record sound in stereo rather than mono and the sound captured well, too. The HX100V, out of the box has a vibrant display and while capturing images indoors, the pictures looked the same on a PC as they did on the display. The images that were shot indoors had a very minimum amount of grain and this was something that we really liked about this camera.
Outdoor images shot well
Outdoor images shot really well and there was minimal colour fringing. However, we did notice that the screen did take some time to focus and if facing a bright area, the camera did not adjust as quickly as expected. The camera automatically goes into macro mode when it is near a subject and when pictures were captured in this setting, a lot of detail as well as depth of field was noticed. The bundled lithium ion battery that comes along with this camera can last for approximately 244 minutes using iAuto mode, which is fairly decent for this sort of camera.
Stylish and compact superzoom
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V is priced at Rs. 21,000, and is targeted at the prosumer camera audience. While, the price may be steep, it does offer ease of use along with various other features. This camera is lightweight and compact making it an ideal camera for those looking to travel. The performance of this camera is pretty good and those who like vibrant colours will surely enjoy it. If this camera does not fall in your budget and you would not mind settling for a few less features, the Fujifilm FinePix S3300 or the Kodak Easyshare max Z990 are decent options. If not, one could not go wrong with this offering from Sony
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