Sony HX5V Hands-On Review
While Sony released a ridiculous number of point and shoot cameras at CES 2010, a couple of the standout Cyber-shot cameras are the HX5V and the TX7. I spent a little while at Sony’s booth with both of these cameras and came away with an overall positive first impression.
The HX5V features a 10MP backlit Exmor R CMOS sensor, a 10x optical zoom G lens (25-250mm equivalent), optical image stabilization and 1080i AVCHD video capability. The HX5V also has an in-camera multi-shot HDR feature for combining 2 separate exposures into one image for a wider dynamic range and less noisy image. As with several of the prior Sony point and shoot models, the HX5V also features Sony’s cool Sweep Panorama mode.
The HX5V powers up quickly. It also features a quick and responsive zoom throughout the zoom range. It takes maybe 1-1.5 seconds to go from wide to full tele.
The HX5V offers a separate record button for starting and stopping the video recording, which is accessible via your right thumb on the rear of the camera. On the back of the 3-inch LCD, the video mode looks stunning. The quality is clearly a step above what you get out of the run of the mill point and shoot cameras. The HX5V allows you to zoom in and out while shooting video, and it continually autofocuses for you while filming.
Also, note that the HX5V will allow you to record video in MP4 format if you don’t want to work with the larger and sometimes more cumbersome AVCHD file format. You can record MP4 files up to 1080p at 30p. Obviously though, if you want to get the maximum quality out of the video files, you’ll need to work in the AVCHD format.
The autofocus system quickly locked onto targets, even in the low light portions of the exhibit floor at CES. The HX5 has a responsive shutter button with little delay once AF is obtained. The overall controls are pretty simple and intuitive to use. The menu button will get you where you need to go and then you can use the 4-way navigation button to work your way around once inside.
Here’s a couple of shots that show you the wide and telephoto ends of the 10x zoom:
Wide end of HX5V lens at 25mm equivalent.
Telephoto end of HX5V lens at 250mm equivalent.
Sony looks to be using a noise reduction method in the HX5V that is similar to what was used in the WX1 (which was bang-on good) and does fairly well at ISO 3200 for a point and shoot camera. While you won’t be shooting poster-sized masterpieces at ISO 3200, it will easily handle 4×6 prints for the family album and web sharing throughout the ISO range.
Sony HX5V Sample at ISO 3200
The HX5V also has a in-camera GPS + Compass for storing and sharing location data for integration with Google Earth. I didn’t use this feature on the HX5V; however, it is supposed to enable you to view the images from either a birds eye view or actually go into the map and view the image from the direction that the photo was taken.
The Sony HX5V is sure to be a hit with the resolution, high ISO potential and HD video options. Other features like the killer Sweep Panorama mode and in-camera HDR mode will just add icing on the cake. I think Sony has combined a feature set into an attractive price point with the HX5V. At an initial retail price of $350, this camera should do well in 2010. The HX5V is available at Amazon.com and B&H Photo.