Sony HX5V Hands-On Review

Sony HX5

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.

 

Comments

  1. Bob says

    Are you sure about this? “You can record MP4 files up to 1080p at 30p”, the Sony website does not list this as an option.

  2. Vik says

    It can shoot 1080p. 1440×1080 @ 30fps, much like last year’s HX1. The real question is, what Bit rate will the AVCHD files be recorded at vs. the ones in MP4. Less resolution is tolerable, more compression is not.

    • says

      @huliodellopenio – The HX5V does both – 1080i and 1080p. The 1080i is at 59.94fps, interlaced, in AVCHD format, while the 1080p recording is at 29.97fps, progressive, in MP4 format. If you wanted, you could also drop down to VGA resolution at 30p as well.

  3. Viswanathan,INDIA says

    is sony’s DSC-HX5 MORE better than PANASONIC’S-ZS3/TZ7? OR MORE BETTER THAN CANON’S SX-200, SAMSUNG-WB550,OLYMPUS mju-9000,FIJIFILM-F70EXR,NIKON L-100 ?PLS LEAVE A FAVOURABLE REPLY SOON & I HOPE SO.

  4. Viswanathan,INDIA says

    WHAT ABOUT “IMAGE QUALITY & RESOLUTON” OF HX5?GOOD? I NEED A TRUTHFULL REPLY. LAST I THOUGHT TO BUY PANA’S TZ7,BUT BEFORE THAT BYCHANCE I CAME TO KNOW ABOUT HX5 THROUGH NET.SO NOW AM MORE EAGER TO KNOE ABOUT IT.I NEED A GOOD CAMERA WITH GOOD ZOOM[MUST ZOOM IN VIDEO MODE ALSO],GOOD PIXEL,”FINE & NATURAL” PICTURE QUALITY.BEFORE I DON’T LIKE TO BUY SONY’S ANY CAMERA.BUT WHEN I CAME TO KNOW ABOUT HX5,NOW I THINK THIS IS THE RIGHT CAMERA FOR MY NEED.IS IT AVAILABLE IN KUWAIT & INDIA?WHY SONY COULDN’T MAKE IT WITH 12MEGAPIXEL & 12x OPTICAL ZOOM SAME AS CANON’S SX-200?WHY THEY DELAYED MUCH TO MAKE A COMPACT CAMERA WITH MORE ZOOM?

  5. Anonymous says

    In reply to Visvanathan,

    This camera is coming out in March so there are no professional tests on it yet. We don’t know if it’s better than any of the cameras you mentioned but judging by the specs it should be competitive. Having 10MP is good enough on a point and shoot. If you add more MP it will likely look worst because the sensors in point and shoot compacts are so small. IMO, they shouldn’t even be going above 8MP.

  6. Ben says

    It does NOT shoot video at 1080p. It does 1080i AVCHD, or 720p MP4. Read the specs and you will see that the 1920 x 1080 is interlaced…

  7. Ray says

    Is this not 1080p as quoted on sony website. Moving Image Size (MP4/AVI 1440 x 1080 Approx.25fps Progressive) Approx.12Mbps

  8. Peg says

    Are you familar with the Sony DSC-H50? I love this camera but it’s kind of big. Is the HX5V similar to this as far as quick pictures without delays?

  9. nick says

    this will be very compact; but the hx1 didnot meet the required presicion in taking clear and high quality pics even after featuring a cmos sensor; hope this stays upto the expextation
    as some one said; 10m is max limit even 6m or 7m would give good pics if the sensor and lens can combine to show the magic

  10. nick1 says

    all required is low noise while shooting in low light and stable imaging
    the hs-2 does it the best ; ohpe this keeps up the expextation

  11. hawkeni says

    If you want to watch all your pictures and videos at your 16:9 TV, you ll have disappointing with Sony HX5V. The highest resolutions as video and pictures doesn’t support 16:9 format but only 4:3 format . Though if you prefer lover resolutions then you have chance to capture 16:9 format. I believe it is the biggest handicap of this camera!

    I own Sony HX5V, One of the handicap of this camera is that cannot capture 16:9 format video as full HD. So you will end up only capturing and seeing your full HD videos as 4:3 format when using mp4 .That is very inconvenience.

    Besides when you capturing picture at 10MP, then you have only 4:3 size format to choose, however if you can lover resolution to 7MP then you may get 16:9 size format.That sucks!

  12. maxh says

    re hawkeni:

    7MP still photo is more than enough for your 1080p HDTV, which is equivalent to a 2MP. I do agree with it would be nicer if it record 1920*1080 progressive video.

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