Sony Cyber-shot HX100V Review

Sony HX100V

The Sony Cyber-shot HX100V is a 16.2-megapixel superzoom camera.  The optical zoom on the HX100V covers a 30x zoom range, equivalent to 27-810mm.

The HX100V has a tilting, 3-inch 920-k dot resolution LCD, which gives you the option to easily compose from high or low angles.

Sony HX100V

The HX100V has a very DSLR-ish feel to it with a rounded grip and nice, thick lens barrel.  The lens barrel as a zoom/focus ring on the front edge.  Flipping the switch on the side of the lens barrel changes to function between zoom operation and manual focusing.  It’s a pretty slick design that works quite well for this type of camera.

The rest of the controls work out quite nicely and are rather typical for point and shoot cameras.  The exception, however, is the jog dial.  While it is not immediately apparent how this little thumb-wheel dial works, pressing on the dial activates shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings when in PASM shooting modes and exposure compensation when in other.  By turning the jog dial, you can then adjust these settings up and down.

Sony HX100V

In addition to capturing high-res stills, the HX100V captures HD video at up to 1080p resolution and true 60p frame rates.  Thanks to a direct-record button on the back, starting and stopping movie capture is within easy reach of the thumb.

The camera is, in most respects, easy to simply pick up and start using.  Sony has included some pretty smart auto modes in the HX100V, as well as Sony’s signature Sweep Panorama mode, which allows you to move the camera as it captures multiple images and automatically stitches them together.  While it’s not quite perfect and several other cameras offer similar features, I haven’t come across another camera that does it better than how Sony has managed to do it.

Sony HX100V

A couple of other cool features include a built-in GPS that will automatically geotag your images.  As a word of warning though, if you are going to share these images online, consider which locations you are making available for the world to see. Additionally, the HX100V can capture up to 10fps in bursts of 10 images at full resolution.  While it takes several seconds for the buffer to clear after capturing a burst, it’s still a pretty impressive spec for a point and shoot camera.

The built-in image stabilization that we’ve come so accustomed to in cameras nowadays works great on the HX100V.  Additionally, the EVF is acceptable for shooting in bright sunlight; however, I found myself making almost exclusive use of the LCD for the casual shooting situations that most HX100V users will probably be in as well.

Sony HX100V

As point and shoot cameras go, the HX100V produces good quality images.  You are limited to JPEG capture with this camera; however, it manages to produce plenty of keepers – as do other Sony cameras making use of this 16.2MP sensor.

I’ve carried the HX100V around on a couple of outings now and feel like it does most of what I can ask of a point and shoot camera.  Here are a few images straight out of the camera to show you what the typical snapshot images will look like.  Feel free to right-click and choose “Save file as…” in order download the full size images for your personal inspection (not for republication).

Sony HX100V Sample Image

Sony HX100V Sample Image - ISO 100 - f/4.5 - 1/125s

Sony HX100V Sample Image

ISO 200 - f/4.5 - 1/60s - With forced flash turned on.

Sony HX100V Sample Image

ISO 800 - f/4.5 - 1/8s - No flash; however, it has little camera shake given the focal length and shutter speed.

Sony HX100V Sample Image

ISO 100 - f/3.5 - 1/200s - Forced fill flash turned on.

Sony HX100V Sample Image

ISO 800 - f/3.5 - 1/10s - Available light in dim room.

Sony HX100V Sample Image

ISO 100 - f/5 - 0.8s - AutoWB under tungsten light.

Sony HX100V Sample Image

ISO 200 - f/5 - 0.4s

Sony HX100V Sample Image

ISO 400 - f/5 - 1/5s

Sony HX100V Sample Image

ISO 800 - f/5 - 1/10s

Sony HX100V Sample Image

ISO 1600 - f/5 - 1/20s

Sony HX100V Sample Image

ISO 3200 - f/5 - 1/40s

While there is certainly some noise that starts to creep into images captured at ISO 800 and above, I think most point and shoot users will find the the HX100V delivers usable results for casual images throughout the ISO range – certainly good enough to make it into photo albums at 4×6 print sizes or on Facebook and the like.

As you can see from the above images, the HX100V has trouble (like most other cameras) under tungsten light.  However, you do have the ability to set WB presets, custom white balance or even make quick adjustments to shift the white balance through the menu system (the latter feature has a pretty slick implementation that reminds me of how software programs allow you to shift WB in post production).

Unfortunately, there is no direct WB button on the camera; however, the WB settings are just a couple of ticks down the menu once you hit the Menu button and you can see the adjustments in real time so you can pick what looks right to your eye based on the scene.

Sony HX100V

All in all, the Sony HX100V does exactly what a superzoom camera is supposed to do.  It provides good images and video that are ready to enjoy straight out of the camera.  And, it gives you a massive zoom range to capture images both far and near.

The HX100V is very easy to use, provided you take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the location of controls and mode dial features.  And, frankly, it offers a lot more functionality than I have taken the time to discuss in depth here.  If you are a casual shooter and want a camera that does it all, the HX100V comes pretty close to delivering across all fronts.

The Sony Cyber-shot HX100V is available from Photography Bay’s trusted retail partner, B&H Photo, at the following link:

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Comments

  1. forkboy1965 says

    While not in the market for such a camera, it does sound like it has everything the casual, everyday photographer might want and need.

    Can’t ask for much more than that.

    And I confess to being pretty surprised at the higher ISO shots. Not bad at all.

  2. Phiroze B. Javeri says

    The limitation suffered by all super-zooms results from the use of a small sensor, which cannot be enlarged because no one as yet has been able to produce a super-zoom lens which can throw a respectable image to cover a larger area. This barrier is unlikely to be breached, so long as it entails creation of suitable optics, rather than advanced electronics. Alternatively, a break-through in the efficiency of sensors can achieve the same purpose, without requiring them to be larger. Until then, those aspiring for top-quality results will have to fall back upon DSLRs or Micro Four-thirds.

    • dan atlas says

      to say it is unlikely to become reality is like saying in the 50’s that a man can not reach the moon…

      It has been shown that nearly anything mankind is able to think about has become a reality.

      Probably the Sony NEX-5 concept was thought of as impossible until it became a reality.

  3. Caisemo says

    Could you please provide some information about its prices ? And where can I buy it at lowest price in Boston MA ? Thank you.

  4. says

    I had the HX1 (20X zoom) with a 1.7X teleconverter. Unfortunately, Sony discontinued the converter and did not include the screw-on grooves on the HX100V.
    So I slide the 1.7X converter over the HX100V and get amazing X51 optical zoom shots without a tripod.

    I also get wonderful on-stage performance shots by freezing video frames.

    Both work well in daylight, and leave alot to be desired in a low light setting. The professionals in Israel use Nikon and Canon DSLRs and for some reason avoid Sony DSLRs.
    I wonder if the NEX series offers image quality like the Nikon and Canon DSLRs – did anyone shoot abd compare?

    Dan

  5. Lila Maxwell says

    I love the Sony camera. I have the point and shoot ….NEX3 (the only thing I do not like about this one is the fact you have to change lenes) and I did have the HX 1 but replaced with the HX 100. I loved the HX 1 but since owning the HX100 I would own nothing else. Of course that is how I felt about the HX1 but time moves on and technology gets better. My only complaint on the HX100 is the location of the record button…I keep pressing it without knowing. I just have to learn to hold the camera different. The HX100 does have the feel of a DSLR and is heavier than the HX1. I recommend the HX series to all my friends who are just stepping up from the small point and shoot cameras. My husband owns the Nikon cameras and has switched to Sony A series…..way to go….Sony Rock!

  6. laith says

    I like Sony cameras , i have S700 and H55 , im thinking of getting Hx100V but i have Panasonic FZ35 and wish to replace it by Sony.

  7. Steve says

    I bought an HX100V and returned it after one day of shooting. I wanted it for the reach for the light weight, but the image quality was just too disappointing. I’m probably making unfair comparisons with my D90, but even highly cropped images from the D90 are vastly better than the zoomed HX100V.

    • says

      Yeah, it’s hard to compare a superzoom to a DSLR. I can see myself using one for casual snapshots, but still, I’d rather use a G12 or the likes and just deal with the zoom limitation. And even then, we’re a long ways off from DSLR-quality.

  8. Dan Atlas says

    Re HX100v: yes-the video record is hard to find in the dark. So when I video a stage performance, I just keep my finger over the button and start/stop the video without further searching. I will receive the NEX-5 (and it 2 kit lenses) this week and use it mainly indoors/low light. I got used to optical zoom of 30 and 51 (X1.7 lense) and will keep finding use for it, like bird shots photography. If anyone has both of these (or NEX-3), I would like to share experiences.
    Bottom line: I have a small bag for my wallet, keys, and… 2 cameras and 2 lenses without backache.

  9. Lee says

    Re: Steve’s comments about picture quality: Yes Steve, your comparisons are “unfair” but understandable. I have yet to read a review of any point and shoot or bridge camera whose picture quality can compare with a DSLR. Given that Sony uses Zeiss lenses on the HX100, the picture quality is very good for a non-DSLR with this amount of zoom, IMHO. Admittedly, there are many things that I would add, feature-wise: faster start-up, articulating LCD instead of Tilt-only, RAW capability, hot-shoe, faster processing speed (the i-, or intelligent-mode, Scene-mode, and burst-mode, take additional processing time before a subsequent pic can be taken), better low-light sensitivity, longer battery life. Things I really like: burst-mode, dedicated movie button, panoramic mode, 30X zoom, better image-stabilization, auto-adjust of pic during viewing (like smart-phones), size. I purchased my Sony HX100V for $400 (retail is $450) then bought extra non-OEM batteries, wall charger, carrying case, and extra 16Gb-Class 10 SDHC memory for another $100 on various other websites. Before purchasing the Sony HX100V, I looked really hard at the Panasonic FZ100– pricey. I also looked at the Nikon P500– less expensive, equally rated depending on which website you go to, but eventually chose the Sony because it had faster burst-speed (10fps), better shutter speed range, and higher movie resolution (true 1080p), plus a GPS-feature. For fairness sake, the Nikon had a better zoom range starting wider at 23mm, greater zoom (36X), and neat hi-speed movie feature (240fps). One website changed its recommendation from Nikon (before my purchase) to Sony (post-purchase and after my vacation)… funny. In any case, my new Sony is a far cry from my old, pocket-size Sony, and Minolta (remember them?). My main reason for purchasing this camera was for an upcoming, family vacation. Shot about 1600 pictures at 10Mp, and a few movies– only consumed about 4Gb on my 16Gb SDHC card. Battery power on the FH-NP50 is ok, but who wouldn’t want a battery that lasted longer. Well, those are my two-cents. I like it a lot.

    • dan atlas says

      I now have both NEX-5 and HX100V, and it seems that BOTH TOGETHER are a useful compact kit to have for various needs. Their operation is quite similar so learning curve is fast. The Sony support is fast and professional. I had Nikons and Canons.

      If Sony came up with a car- I would probably buy one…

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