on June 11, 2011
I just spent 2.5 weeks traveling Ireland with this camera so I've had plenty of time to get my hands dirty. I can honestly say this camera is amazing! It's small and lightweight but still packs a 30x zoom and takes great photo and excellent video. I see tons of reviews already with lots of detail so let me try to convey quickly my impressions of this camera after some hands on time.
Camera is just about perfectly sized and shaped in my book. A nice big hand grip on the right with a rubberized feel gives it a professional, well made feel and makes it easy to handle. The rest of the camera is kind of a brushed matte black which also gives it a very professional look. Handling for photos is great as well as it's large enough to make it easy to take two handed photos with the left hand balancing the front of the camera and lens ring and the right on the hand grip. This gives great control over the camera while snapping shots. The focus ring on the lens is a great for fine tuning your zoom to perfectly compose that distant subject. I was surprised how much I used the lens ring instead of the zoom in/out toggle next to the shutter.
Brilliant high resolution display so images, menus and video are all clear and crisp on screen. The screen itself seems pretty fragile so I'm considering adding a little protective cover to the screen. I have a hx9v as well and the screen is similar if not the same and my hx9v got a deep scratch in it from just a day of carrying in my pocket. The articulating feature is surprisingly useful. I didn't think I'd need or want this but the ability to hold the camera up high or down low and tilt the display so you can still view the camera is a handy feature.
top notch video, 1080p video with something like 60 frames per second, how can you beat it! Video is very clear and smooth with little to no artifacting or blurring. You can even snap still images (i think they're 3-5 MP) while taking your video. I don't think another camera in it's class can compete with this camera from a video standpoint. The AVCHD format is something I'm still learning to work with though and I find it's not the easiest to work with on a Mac. There don't seem to be many readily available video players for AVCHD and the way the movies are stored isn't the most straight forward way to facilitate browsing through your movies. Basically, things get stored in a not so simple folder structure and you have to know what you're looking for to find your movies. And like I said, then getting them to play, at least on a Mac, isn't so straight forward either. This could very well be a "newbie" thing from my standpoint and it's this format that allows the camera to take such brilliant high resolution video in the first place so I'm willing to deal with some learning curve/hassle here until AVCHD is more widely used.
Photo quality is excellent when viewed at Large size or smaller and still very good at larger sizes. This is the only area where I wasn't floored by the performance of the camera. If you are looking for dSLR quality photos and/or are a big "pixel peeper" than this camera is not for you. Sony employs some pretty heavy noise reduction which results in noticeable artifacting when viewing images at full size. The hx100v allows from adjusting the level of noise reduction to "-" in the menus but even set to minus I found the NR heavier than I'd like. One of the downfalls to the megapixel race, unfortunately. Who needs 16 MPs crammed onto a tiny sensor like this? But that's a whole other discussion. The photo quality is still very good and more than satisfactory for me, especially with everything else the camera provides. Another feature of the Sony is the sweep panorama. This allows you to click the shutter and pan the camera across a landscape and the camera intelligently creates a panoramic photo in-camera. This is pretty remarkable and I used this a LOT on my trip! You have a few different size options from STD to WIDE to High Resolution. It's a lot of fun and provides for some very scenic photos that can range from a beautiful landscape to a "fisheye" still view of a crowd or a town. What's most incredible is how good the processing is at handling moving objects. I took panoramic photos of scenes with cars and people moving through the scene as I panned and it almost allows resolved them perfectly without any blurring or defects. I have noticed sometimes moving objects will be incorrectly "spliced" or solid lines such as lines on a basketball court or a fence or railing will be "spliced" a bit but this doesn't happen often and from research I've done this is more often the users inability to pan the camera smoothly than the camera processing something incorrectly.
Conclusion: The bottom line for me with this camera is it is just plain fun to use. Great video, sweep panorama, a 30x zoom and good photo quality makes for a wonderful package. I am incredibly happy with this camera and have zero regrets about not having my dSLR with me on my trip. The 30x zoom gives you incredible range for capturing the perfect photo, the photo quality is good, if not very good, and only pixel peepers and those printing poster size prints will be unhappy with the results. The video and sound are best in class and the camera now handles SDHC cards so you're not bound to Sony memory sticks any more, although it can use those too. Anyone looking for a "do it all" camera that packs a huge zoom in a small body and takes great photo and video will love this camera.
Articulating screen is great
Zoom/Focus ring on the lens is great for fine tuning your composition when zooming and also provides manual focus
Sweep panorama. I knew I'd like this feature but didn't realize how much.
AVCHD format for movies isn't the easiest to work with
Camera not widely available yet (I had to have family pick it up from a best buy in South Carolina and bring it with them on the trip to get it)
Screen seems very vulnerable to scratching
This may help people understand my wants/needs in a camera. I'm an avid enthusiast/hobbyist. I love taking photos and I'm very tech savvy and very discerning about my tech purchases. I want a camera that provides as close to a "do it all" package as I can find. That means I need a large zoom range, good video and photos and it has to be portable if not pocketable. I share 99% of my photos over the web so crystal clear photos and super size prints aren't much of a need for me. I do like an occasional large print to hang on the wall but that's rare. I bought and returned a nikon s9100, a canon sx230, a sony hx9v all in the process of picking out my new camera for this trip. The hx100v blows them all away, although the hx9v is close.
Hope this was a helpful review! Go get this camera and start having fun with it!
on May 24, 2011
Below are my thoughts on why I chose the HX100V:
1) I need a new camera with video. I wondered about getting a DSLR but then found a bridge camera to be more covenant (as far as size), flexible (as far as features, especially the zoom range) and more affordable.
2) I wanted a camera with tilt screen since I'll be taking angled pictures and video. This feature does make a difference for me.
3) I hate Sony's exclusivity to only their memory card. This camera did not have this problem; I can use non-Sony memory cards.
4) The 3-inch screen resolution on this camera was much greater than other bridge cameras. In my thinking, I'm using this screen all the time, so why not get the best resolution.
5) I didn't care much for the RAW feature. I take pictures and don't do much editing afterwards.
Now here are my thoughts after using the camera for one weekend, with the disclaimer that I'm not an ardent photographer. First, my positive thoughts so far:
1) I love the zoom on this camera. Wow! With smart zoom and image stabilizer turned on, it can zoom up to 216x's. Granted the picture gets a bit fuzzy around 50-60x's but it's still recognizable. The zoom makes it feel like a camera that the FBI would use!
2) The movie mode worked well. Clear to see on my TV and great sound. Again, the tilt screen-option helps tremendously.
3) I love the background defocus feature. Awesome! The pictures look professional. You do have to keep the right distance in order for it to work. But even if it doesn't work, it'll still take a normal picture with a message letting you know that it didn't work. Make sure you follow the instruction on the screen that tells you how far away from the subject you need to be. As you zoom in further, the distance from the subject increases. It takes some practice.
4) The size and weight are manageable. You can't fit it in your pocket, but at least you can carry it around all day without much hassle (plus you look like a better photographer since you have a bigger camera :)).
5) I used the camera for most of the day on Saturday. Battery needed to be recharged at night. Granted, I did not use the GPS feature at all. But with normal use, the battery holds its charge.
6) The smile detection feature is great! I turn on this feature and it automatically takes a shot when the subject smiles (the level of smile can be adjusted as well). This will especially be awesome for taking baby pictures. Plus, you can set up the timer on the camera to take a shot when one or two subjects are seen. It's great to take self portraits with my wife.
7) Panoramic view is useful at times. It's easy to use once you try it a couple of times.
8) Lower light shots are decent on this camera. It helps to set it to Superior Intelligent mode where it will take a few shots and combine them (note: file size is not much larger when doing this). The pictures are definitely brighter than my older cameras in low light. In addition, the back-light feature on Screen mode produces brighter pictures.
Below are my negative thoughts (after only one weekend of using it):
1) It's not a SLR camera. So don't expect SLR pictures. I've compared it to my old Sony point and shoot camera. The same pictures side-by-side shows some differences, but it's not major. The value of the HX100V is being able to tinker with setting to get a better picture (though I'm still learning this as I go). Plus, the intelligent mode does a better job in adjusting the settings. And most importantly, the zoom and extra features (defocus, smile detection, panoramic, video, etc.) sets it apart.
2) The manual ring in the front was hardly used. I admit, this feature was very attractive before buying. But after using it, I'm more comfortable using the regular zoom. The manual focus feature seems less useful since the camera already does an awesome job of focusing automatically.
Plus, if want to adjust the focus manually (when for instance shooting two subjects behind each other), I've found using the "tracking focus" easier. To do this, push the middle "control button", which will pull up a box where you place the object to focus on. Then push the middle button again and it locks this object in focus. Furthermore, you can use the dedicated "focus" button on the camera to do some manual focusing as well.
So in essence the manual focus ring is not as responsive when compared to SLR cameras, since it's electronic. But with other options available, it's not as a big deal.
3) I wish the "custom" button on the camera would have more options. For me, it would have been great to program the "defocus" feature to this button. This way I can activate it with a push of a button instead of going to Screen mode and choosing it, or the MR mode.
4) It's very easy to leave your fingerprints on the screen. I'd probably have to do some research on finding some protective sticky that won't leave fingerprint marks (if it even exists).
5) The lag time when I move the "mode dial ring" is a bit slower since it also shows which mode I'm moving it to on the screen. I don't see why the 3-inch screen shows these changes since I'm already looking at the dial. Plus, I don't think there's a way to de-activate the screen showing this info.
It's a small complaint since I have to wait for the screen to go "live". But I did find that you can start taking the next picture while the review screen is coming up.
6) I don't see myself using the 3D feature since I don't plan to get a 3D TV. Plus, unless someone can give a great reason to use the GPS on this camera, I don't see it being used much. The cost of battery life seems to overweight its benefits. But, GPS may come in handy if I'm on a traveling tour and I buy an extra battery.
7) The file sizes of the pictures are around 5MB when it's set on the 16MP mode. I shot the same picture with 16MP and 5MP (the 5MP picture makes the file size around 2MB). I couldn't see any major differences in these two pictures side-by-side. Since the maximum size I'll print these pictures will probably be 8x10, I'll be keeping the camera on the 5MP mode. Plus, this mode gives greater zoom than 16MP (with smart zoom turned on).
8) The video file sizes are large. A few seconds of video takes around 20-30MB's. So I'm thinking I'll keep the video mode lower (and not in the maximum-HD option) since I plan to burn my videos to DVD for storage. Even in these lower modes, the videos are still great.
These are my overall thoughts so far. I hope you find it useful in making your decision. And thank you again for all those who have posted before me on this camera.
on June 8, 2011
Over the years I have owned different 35 mm SLR cameras plus early model digital cameras. I purchased the DSC-HX100v about a month ago. Prior to that, I owned the previous Sony model, the DSC-HX1. I tend to judge digital cameras by how closely they can mimic the speed and ease of shooting of a traditional SLR. And with the expectation that they will also offer new smart features.
In this review I'll try to touch on a few of my likes, and one concern now resolved for the DSC-HX100v
Overall I would say the DSC-HX100v is a nice upgrade from the DSC-HX1, which I also considered a good camera.
Face detection: These days I take a lot of family pictures. I very much like the face detection feature of the camera. The camera can detect several faces in a scene, and then balance lighting across all. A rather complex function to do with a traditional SLR.
Built in GPS: I like the built in GPS. I use Adobe Photoshop Elements to organize my photos. That software can read the GPS information on each photo. It will show the location of photos on a map. Or will show all pictures taken near a specific location. This makes it useful to record GPS data on all photos. With the DSC-HX1, I had used an external Sony GPS, the GPS-CS3KA to track my route, then mark location on the pictures. That worked well. But you had to be careful to ensure that the clock of both units were correctly set. It was easy when traveling to make a setting error on either the GPS or camera when you changed to a new time zone. With the clocks out of sync, the GPS would have trouble matching your travel locations to the photos. The clock sync problem is now resolved with the built in GPS. In the limited testing I've done, the sensitivity of the built in GPS seems acceptable. It seems comparable to the external hand held GPS-CS3KA.
Viewfinder / display screen coordination: Due to my SLR background, I have a strong preference for composing pictures using the viewfinder rather than the large format screen. The Sony viewfinder image resolution is good. Time lag is minimal. One nice touch on this new model. The camera has a mode that will turn off the large screen, and turn on the viewfinder when you hold the camera up to your eye. The camera has a sensor next to the viewfinder. When you move the camera away from your eye, the large format screen turns on again. A nice bit of human engineering.
Video plus pics: The video on the DSC-HX1 was good. But video on the new camera is much better. Full HD 1080. A nice touch with the new camera is that you can simultaneous take still pictures while recording video. The camera has two separate shutter buttons, one for video and one for photos. You can start recording video, then press the photo shutter when you would also like to simultaneously capture a still photo. With the DSC-HX1, if I wanted to take a still photo, I first had to stop recording video.
Lag between pictures: A basic criteria I use for judging camera performance is how quickly I can compose and shoot a sequence of pictures. The default on the DSC-HX1 was to display the picture after shooting. Before the view finder would became live again, you had to wait for the displayed picture to time out. This created a time lag between pictures. But there was a work around on the DSX-HX1. It had a menu option that allowed you to turn off the photo "display after shooting" function. This allowed you to compose and shoot pictures in fairly rapid sequence. Approaching the speed of a traditional SLR. Sony eliminated this menu option with the new camera. The new camera defaults to forcing you to look at each resulting picture for a fixed time period after shooting.
The good news is that there is an undocumented solution to this problem. (Thanks to another reviewer for pointing this out to me.) After taking the picture, during the "display after shooting" period, you can over ride the display time by pressing the shutter button half way down. When you do this, the camera returns to the live view mode almost immediately. I did not find this feature documented in the manual. And neither the Sony chat line person nor the Sony Style store clerk I dealt with was able to offer a solution. But the feature is built into the camera. It now actually works better than the HX1 since you can set the camera to display all pictures, but then quickly stop the display on a shot by shot basis if you are in a hurry to take the next picture. Very nice.
Delay between pictures when using the half-press of the shutter is minimal. I did one quick test and was able to shoot 10 pictures in 30 sec, or one picture per three sec. This included doing a brief pause, perhaps a second, each time the viewfinder became live to simulate framing each new picture before shooting it. If you wanted to shoot faster than this, you would have the option of using the burst modes.
Documentation: Sony provides a CD with the camera that contains a pdf copy of the intro manual. And an html version of the full manual. The html only format makes it very difficult to print out the full manual. The search ability of the html manual is also limited. I really wish they would provide the full manual in pdf format. It's a bit silly to force me to lug along a laptop if I want to check the full manual. They do have an abbreviated version of the manual built into the camera.
Conclusion: Some challenges with the documentation. But an excellent camera. Based on the tip from the other reviewer, I've changed my rating from four stars to five stars.
on October 31, 2011
My quest for the perfect camera began 1 year ago. I had a simple Canon SD750, which I thought was a good digital camera. I didn't know anything about DSLRs or super zooms - I thought those big cameras were 35mm. Anyway, I was at party where someone had a Panasonic FZ28. I really liked it. I didn't know there were cameras that had such high zoom. And so my camera education began....
After A LOT of research, I bought a Panasonic FZ35. I had this camera for 10 months. It took razor sharp pictures in daylight, the zoom was fun, but it lacked low light performance. After much more research, it appeared that the Sony HX100V had great low light performance, so I decided to sell my FZ35 for the HX100V. I justified the $$, and bought it. Here is what I liked and disliked....
Likes: The camera is solid, has great features, great picture quality with sunlight, good high ISO up to about 800, SD card compatible, great zoom, good portrait low light pictures, great burst shooting, excellent video.
Dislikes: SLOW shot to shot times, SLOW start up, SLOW zoom, poor low light action shooting (burst - no flash), slow movie starting. I ended up missing many photo opportunities while waiting for the camera to write the last set of pictures to the card. The slowness of even changing modes was very frustrating. This is my biggest complaint, and I even tried to rectify it and purchased a Scandisk Extreme Pro. The camera was quicker, but not quick enough for me. As for picture quality - indoor portraits with flash - very good. Outdoors - good, although my FZ35 was sharper outdoors (sucked indoors).
What I have come to realize is that there is no perfect camera for everyone, you must first define your priorities and make sacrifices. In the beginning of my quest for the perfect camera, I ranked cost and portability as my number (1) priority, followed by HD video, and than features. After almost a year of shooting with the FZ35, and 2 months with the HX100V, I realized that most of the pictures I am taking are of my son's TaeKwonDo tournaments. The FZ35 could not handle the indoor lighting, and the video was average. The HX100V did better if shooting with flash or using video, but not so good trying to capture action shots indoors (burst mode). I tried using it at a tournament, but ended up having to use video (which turned out great). The shutter lag and low shutter speeds needed caused missed shots or blurry pictures. I tried using it at an airshow, but the tracking focus had trouble keeping up even in good light. I tried using it to take pictures at a birthday party at an indoor roller skating rink - useless, I put it back in the car. I was left wanting more.
I determined that my priorities had changed to indoor action picture quality as number (1), with portability and video not as important anymore (as I rarely used the video on the HX100V, and I was already carrying a bag to hold the camera stuff). I decided to try a DSLR, and ordered the Pentax K-R.
I am a lot happier with the DSLR as it's low light action shot is amazing, gorgeous portraits, start up and shot to shot times are speedy. Yes, it cost me more money, but the picture quality is worth it for me. No, it's not as portable, but it is the smallest DSLR and lenses are cheap for this camera. It isn't much bigger than the Sony HX100V.
So, if you've gotten this far in my review, please know your camera priorities first so you don't end up going through what I did.
This is a great camera if your priorities are:
- portraits (indoor or outdoor)
- outdoor (action, stills, wildlife)
- HD movie making
This is not a camera for:
- Indoor action
- fast moving subjects (such as an F/A18 going 700 mph)
- needing to change settings quickly
I thought I would miss the zoom, but my 300mm lens gets me almost as close. Cropping the picture gives almost as good picture quality as the HX100V did without cropping. Now I understand all the fuss around larger sensor cameras (DSLRs). It makes a HUGE difference.
If you pan on taking pictures of landscapes, indoor stills, outdoor anything, movies, than this camera will do it beautifully. If you have kids with a lot of indoor sport activities - you'll need a DSLR, unless you are just making a video. Hope this helps. :)
on May 6, 2011
Just a quick review...
I've had the camera for 3 days now, and I'm really enjoying using it for just about everything.
The zoom/focus on this is very impressive. 30x optical zoom, and then after taking the picture, you can even zoom in an additional 8x on the image itself (from the camera). The image stays crisp, even when zoomed in as far as it goes.
The 3D is a nice touch, but since there is no 3D screen on the camera itself, you can only view your 3D images/panoramas by connecting the camera via HDMI to a 3D-ready television/monitor. The 3D is extremely nice though, when it is hooked up to a TV.
After a little configuration, you can get the camera setup to essentially run how you want, all the time with minimal changes being done.
I'm using a 16GB Class-10 SD-card, and there is very little processing time, even after recording 3D panorama.
On the body of the camera itself, there are small raised areas that are slightly textured. These areas make the camera extremely easy to grip, and you almost have to try to drop this thing. The camera is a decent physical size, so don't be afraid of crushing it if you have big hands (like those tiny point and shoot cameras).
You can also adjust the LCD screen, so you can angle the camera without having to worry about not being able to see, or turn yourself into a strange position.
on May 29, 2011
I would give this 4 1/2 stars as no camera is perfect. The 1080p/60p footage is some of the best I have seen in a compact camera like this and even better than some camcorders. Does very well shooting in low light and
the image stabilization is among some of the best I have seen in a Camera at this price. Menu is very easy to use and you can navigate through it with ease.
Great in lowlight
Great Still shots
1080p/60p is sure sweet in a camera at this price.
Still shots are very good.
Price, you can find them for under $400
Zoom is pretty amazing
Length of video doesn't seem to be a problem
Nice Bright LCD and Electronic view finder on those bright days.
Auto Focusing can be an issue in very dark scenes
Manual Focusing should work in every mode.
LCD would be nice if you could flip it to the side and or close it off.
For the Money it is really hard to complain about it's faults as I have seen people comparing this unit to
very expensive camcorders.
on June 17, 2011
I finally got this camera when it became available here in Montreal, Canada and picked it up yesterday. It's pretty obvious even after one day, how superior it is to any other camera in this sensor size class. I am posting this review here because the camera is not even showing up in my searches on Amazon.ca...
Firstly, the videos are amazingly smooth at 60 frames per second PROGRESSIVE (or 60p; not interlaced like some competitors) at full HD (1920x1080). I have tried panning quickly (quicker than one would normally pan if one doesn't want to tire the eyes of the audience) and filming cars - both of which produced no choppiness as it did with the Canon PowerShot SX220 HS (which I returned due to its choppy videos at only 24p). I have tried low-light photos indoors with tungsten or halogen lighting and at night with just the street lights and car headlights and both come out quite beautiful with a minimal of graininess. This graininess is actually only evident if you enlarge the photo to full size or more than, I estimate, a 21x28 inch print size. And these would have to be taken with 1600 ISO or 3200 ISO in order to be "bothered" by the grain. When I view the photos on my 24 inch wide-screen Samsung monitor and also on my 40 inch Sony LCD HDTV and they look formidably sharp and beautifully exposed, with good colours and pixel sharpness/definition.
I would like to point out that I am a former owner of a DSLR - the Canon EOS 50D, which I sold, to change my photo habits for a more affordable camera which could also do excellent full HD videos. I have also done SLR photography as an amateur since 1981 and even took some photography courses in a degree program, so I'm quite familiar with camera features and how to take photos. This Sony HX100V hits the spot RIGHT ON! It has an astounding lens range from 27mm - 810mm at 4:3 photo format and today, I took a video of some pigeons grazing on a field at maximum zoom, hand held and they were as sharp as at any other lens zoom setting, and with very little camera shake and this is amazing for me!
The GPS is also pretty good at picking up signals. It had problems when I was in the balcony of my solid concrete and brick apartment (9 floors) which has other high buildings around it and a high-voltage hydro transformer next to it, but after walking about 100 feet to the other side of my building on the sidewalk of my street, the GPS picked up the signal faultlessly and kept it.
The flash is also quite versatile. It has a "slow synchro" setting which makes the background and the subject much more natural-looking and more evenly illuminated compared to the normal direct flash setting.
This camera is a wonder because you have control over everything and can adjust anything from white-balance, to exposure during videos, to flash exposure compensation, manual (user controlled) focus point selection and even manual focus!
The camera's auto-focus is very good and can track subjects really quickly. It is probably best to use the multi-focus setting if you are filming in busy places with lots of people or other subjects (like team sports) and you have the option of even selecting your own focus point.
The menus are also intuitive and quite easy to navigate and even have a built-in "help" feature right in the camera menus themselves, whereby, when you press the button on the lower right of the LCD screen with the " delete / ? " symbol, you can check some basic instructions on many features.
The LCD screen is at the same high-quality resolution as most DSLRs and as my old Canon 50D - at 921,000 pixels! It was bright and very sharp, making photo composition very easy. The electronic viewfinder is also very easy to use and sharp enough to use comfortably. The viewfinder also has a dioptric adjustment so that you can vary its focus/sharpness according to your eyes, adding yet another feature to this camera from the higher-end DSLRs, which again delighted me! However, Sony could consider having a fully reversable (180 degree) LCD screen which one can flip to face you when taking self-portraits or when not behind the camera. This feature would help save time in composing your shots.
The ergonomic fit of the camera in my hand was also perfect with that right-handed protrusion serving as a grip, making me miss my old DSLR even LESS! In fact, I don't miss my Canon 50D at all with this amazing HX100Vs quality and versatility and perhaps most importantly, the amount of control it gives the photographer over changing settings and consequently, over his/her photos.
The only gripe I have is a gripe that many people probably already have is that the instructions are not printable in one shot. You have to literally navigate to each page you want to print and print them. Though this can be adapted to in a way, since we can then only print the pages and sections we need, while leaving out the obvious and basic sections which we already know about. But still, a PDF Acrobat format instruction manual is definitely called for.
This camera puts all the cameras in its class to shame since it does things which no others can do yet - 60p video combined with an optical amazing zoom range (I have not even tested the digital zoom yet which would magnify even more), an intelligent and quick auto-focus, flash and overall excellent picture and video quality and all this, while still giving full manual control over all the settings that even professional photographers would be impressed with and many thought would only be found on higher-end cameras.
Way to go Sony! You've done your homework and brought out a great camera which beats the competition hands down!
on May 21, 2011
I got this camera from Best Buy for approximately $100 less than what Amazon (and others) would be selling this camera if they had it in stock. It's very much in demand and apparently Sony has had manufacturing problems because of the earthquake in Japan. After ordering it a few weeks ago I picked it up two days ago. Went out for my first shooting today and happy with the photos I took. If you're expecting the same quality as a $1,000 camera then look elsewhere - if you're looking for a camera that stands at the top of the list for bridge cameras then you have found your camera. I would suspect that prints up to 10x8 would be fine - small prints of 4x6: I doubt there would be loss in quality compared to most $1,000 cameras. I sold my Sony A55 so I could have a bridge camera that came all in one package. By the way, the review above this with 1* - the person obviously has no idea how to rate a product if he hasn't even tested out the camera yet and is giving it a low rating because there was no battery charger - just do what I did: go on e-bay and buy one for $5.00. The two ratings above this with 5* ratings (IMO) are very accurate.
Edit: a week later - first, the person who only gave it one star because there was no battery charger has pulled their review (as they should have). This camera comes under the heading of a P&S - but it is so close to a DSLR that the only thing missing is a better quality sensor (Xbut then that is why this is a sub-$400 camera and a good DSLR with a decent lens is $1,000 (and more). The video on this camera is clear and bright and HD quality - you don't get a photo camera because it has great video - but I guarantee you could not tell the difference in video quality between this camera and a top-of-the-line video camera. Not all photos I have taken would be considered great but there are some good ones - that is for sure. I am still learning what works best (so many different controls and settings) - but the bottom line is you won't be sorry (in fact, you'll be thrilled) that you purchased this camera (because it is in short supply some people are paying over $500 on E-bay)!
on August 19, 2011
I was skeptical about this camera from the get-go. 16 million pixels in a 1/2.3" sensor is just a depressing thought. Even though this has the Exmor rear-illuminated sensor (which is supposed to deliver more light to each pixel), 16 million pixels on a tiny, tiny sensor is just an insurmountable challenge in terms of noise.
I was sorely disappointed with my first shots and considered returning the camera. As always, even at the lowest (-) settings, Sony applies heavy-handed noise reduction and sharpening. At 100% (pixel-peeping), there were sharpening artifacts on many edges and yet the pictures didn't look all that sharp at normal viewing resolution.
So I took the camera to the local botanical gardens to give it a good test compared to my more professional kit (I also shoot with a Nikon D7000 and a bag full of lenses). Just like my reaction to the early H-series cameras, I was amazed at the quality and detail and sharpness of these nature shots, some of which were quite difficult (red flowers, for example). They post-processed well in Photoshop CS5, and I printed as large as 9X12 and showed them at an outdoor exhibit and sale - where they were much admired and sold well.
I decided to keep the camera. The more photos I take with it, the more fun I have and the more I have come to respect it. I just stopped pixel-peeping and got happy!
As for low light, this is not a very effective low-light camera. Like all of its predecessors, anything over ISO 400 shows either noise or heavy noise-reduction. Usable, but not particularly good (I'm spoiled by the Nikon D7000, which is excellent at higher ISOs). On the other hand, the hand-held twilight mode can produce some really remarkable results in low light.
What can I say about the video? It's world-class. In fact, I decided not to buy a relatively expensive separate camcorder after viewing video I took on this camera. I don't use the highest resolution (though it's nice to have it), because I burn my videos to standard DVDs, which don't support 1080i. So, I use the 720p, which looks gorgeous, rich and clean on my 52" LCD TV, even from a DVD (as opposed to direct-connect through the Hx100's HDMI cable).
Brilliant, well-exposed, saturated shots with beautiful dense and accurate colors.
Incomparable zoom range with incredible accuracy and sharpness thanks to the Carl Zeiss design.
Fast focus, fast shooting, big buffer.
Takes SD cards!
Battery life is excellent. To date, I have never run a battery completely out.
Video is nothing less than superb.
Flash is not only excellent, but it color-balances to the original non-flash image, meaning your flash shots look natural instead of cold and overlit.
Panorama is positively amazing.
Price is excellent compared to the rich feature set.
Long zoom means that, at telephoto, minimum focus range is 8 feet.
Heavy-handed noise reduction and sharpening. They should offer RAW on this camera series.
They should let you turn off AutoReview for faster shooting.
iAuto is not as "intelligent" as it should be. I got a fair share of under-exposed, over-exposed and blurry shots in that mode. Aperture-Priority and Manual modes are excellent.
Conclusion: If you want a camera with huge capabilities that lets you concentrate on your subjects instead of the camera, this camera should be at the top of your list. If nothing else, it's huge fun to use!
on February 6, 2012
I went through camera H3LL before buying this camera. I started with an Olympus, then Cannon, then Nikon, and each one I knew within 10min - 24hours they were going back. I really hated the Olympus - not the same as it used to be.. picture quality was the worst of all 4. The Cannon was already giving me problems with not turning on after a few hours (went though the same thing with my Cannon camera two years ago), and then there was the Nikon. I really wanted to like the Nikon, I mean it was my favorite appearance wise (went with red) but the picture quality was just bad. The Cannon took better photos! So I finally bought this camera, and within 12 hours I knew I was no parting with this camera for anything!
You should know - I am not a professional photographer in any form. I use my camera mainly to take pictures of my kids. This is important because kids are not the easiest subjects to get.. they are constantly moving and you have to have a camera that takes multiple shots in a row at high speeds otherwise you will never get a photo of a smile :)
I love -
1. The looks - it looks awesome. I pull it out and people always say "wow, that's a nice camera"
2. The form of the camera. All the right indention, grips, and such to make holding it easy on the hands.
3. I love the ability to move the screen up, down, and extent in and out. When my kids are down low I just move the screen facing up to me and lower my arms, no getting down on the ground.
4. I love the photo edit options built in such as red eye reduction. Very few camera's have this now days and of all the ones I have used Sony is by far the best.
5. I have never had a camera do this... it is fantastic.... but you can take a regular photo and then have the camera zoom in and crop out all area you zoomed out of the frame. This is fantastic because it does not affect the pixels. If I did this on my computer it would lessen the pixels and prevent me from blowing the photo up to larger formats.
6. Any edit you make to a photo is saved, but also the original is saved as well. So if you see the photo on your computer and do not like the edit then you still have the original.
7. The zoom... yea enough said there! WOW 30X and they mean it.
8. The zoom is fast in and out but not insane fast. This is important I learned from owning the Nikon. It would zoom so dang fast that I would loose my object immediately. I would spend another minute lightly tapping the zoom back out to find the subject and then tap tap tap tap tap zoom back in to get the photo withe my subject in it. FREAKING ANNOYING!
9. The auto intelligent photo really works! Out of all 4 cameras the only auto intelligent photo that worked was the Cannon. The Sony by far has a much better working intelligent photo though and even a super auto intelligent photo option. I like both but the super one takes a while in between photos since it is actually editing and fine tuning your photo after it takes it.
10. The pixels are perfect. They are clear and accurate in color and tones.
11. The HD video is great. It is fast, clear, and the sound is good.
12. Panoramic shots are superb and print out perfect.
13. 3D option is super cool but I have not used it.
14. The face detection is always spot on... I mean it never gets it wrong.
15. The background de-focus is AMAZING! I love this feature!
16. I very rarely get blurred photos. Even when the kids are riding bikes are playing around the photos still come out clear. I did not have this with any of the other camera's I went through.
17. The smile shutter is great and works perfectly! You can even adjust it to the size smile from grin to big teeth showing smile. I captures the photo perfectly every time.
18. Face softening feature is nice but honestly I do not use it very often.
19. Anti blink feature really works - I had two cameras that boasted about this feature and it did not work. With this camera.. it works and works perfectly. I even tried it would several faces together and not one closed eye in any of the photos!
20. Transfer jet is an incredible feature but I do not have anything to try it on yet.
21. I love how you can either zoom with the zoom button on top of the camera or you can zoom with twisting your hand around the actual lens..
22. All of the buttons are perfectly placed.
23. The continues shooting mode is really nice and you get like 10 photos in the blink of an eye.
24. I hate not having the view finder but this camera surpasses that! It is electronic and has everything the big screen has.
25. HUGE screen. I love the big screen...
26. The time that laps between photos is the shorted of all the camera's I tried. It was really fast, I am talking like 4.5 seconds between snapping a photo and being able to snap another... I just timed it myself to be 100% accurate. Now this is using (yes this is very important) a SanDisk SDHC Card #4. Those who are complaining about slow shutter speed are most likely using a cheap class level 2 card or off brand card (I SAID MOST SO DON'T GO ALL CRAZY IF YOU THINK THE SPEED IS SLOW AND YOU HAVE A HIGH PERFORMANCE CARD!)When I used my friends class level 10 SDXC card and OMGosh... the shutter speed was like 2 seconds or something! Crazy speed but expensive SD Card! For those who want to learn more about SC card classification just Google it... there is tons of info on the web.
27. My husband loves the GPS feature but I have not used it and don't plan on it being that I do not want anyone having info of my kids whereabouts... overprotective like that... or so I have been told :). My husband uses it to take shot of his kill when he is out hunting, x marks the spot I guess.. I dunno? LOL
28. The battery last a long time to me... I take on average 200-400 photos before I recharge it. Another plus is that the battery is a Sony common one, meaning all of our Sony products (camcorder, camera) both have the same batteries so that is helpful when it comes to charging them and buying an added external charger which I feel was a must.
29. Great low light photos. I have tons of the kids asleep looking like angels and they all have come out clear and there was no blur or darkening of the pictures.
The Cons -
1. It is heavy after a while holding it with one hand while getting the kids to act right for the shot.
2. I hate that it pops off the lens cover but I fixed this by tying the lens cover tether to the actual carry strap to the camera. So now I just turn it on and let it pop the cover off itself. It just hangs there until I power the camera down and put it back on.
3. This is stupid to complain about but I am being totally honest here... I do not like how previewing photos with the camera off is set up. If you press the play button to JUST preview your photos on the screen, (not turn the camera on) everything works great and goes as it should BUT if you use logic and press the play button again to turn the preview off it actually turns the camera on! The way to turn off the preview without turning the camera on (this is so stupid to me) is by literally pressing the power button for the camera. That turns off the photo preview and does not power up the actual camera. So CraZy to me!
4. Another minor... I wish you just push the shutter button to record a movie instead of finding the movie record button with is on the back of the camera by the play button. I like shooting movies with the view finder but it is too awkward to find and press the button with the camera up to my eye, and I do not want to set the dial and then press record while I am not even focused on my shot.
So as you can see... from a Mom's point of view... I think this camera is a huge part of our family and I could not imagine having any other camera in it's place. I love this camera.