233 of 240 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets even better!
Ever since the HX5V, the HX handheld series has seen improvement year after year. The HX50V is no exception. It now features 30X zoom, 400 battery shot life and retains the amazing video quality.
I am a gadget geek, so I like buying the new version when it gets released. This year I was waiting for the new HX series and usually Sony announces something in March...
Published 6 months ago by anonymous
58 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Change not always better
I recently upgraded from the HX20, which is certainly a great camera, to the HX50. The plus to the HX50 is certainly the Hot Shoe and why I changed. While both cameras take excellent photos, both cameras also have no viewfinder and in bright light it is impossible to see what you are shooting on the display, you are guessing. While quite expensive (its about the same...
Published 5 months ago by Traveln2
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233 of 240 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets even better!,
This review is from: Sony DSC-HX50V/B 20.4MP Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD Screen (Black) (Electronics)Ever since the HX5V, the HX handheld series has seen improvement year after year. The HX50V is no exception. It now features 30X zoom, 400 battery shot life and retains the amazing video quality.
I am a gadget geek, so I like buying the new version when it gets released. This year I was waiting for the new HX series and usually Sony announces something in March at the latest. But this year they announced the HX50V in late April. By that time I had already purchased the new Panasonic ZS30 which is the Panasonic's version of a compact long zoom camera which competes with the HX series. After receiving the HX50V and doing some comparisons, the ZS30 is no where near the image quality of the HX50V (Or even my older HX20V for that matter). IQ on the ZS30 looked out of focus and fuzzy when you compare the image of the HX50V. The HX50V images were sharp and more detailed.
I am definitely what you call a pixel peeper (Pixel peeper is someone who opens up images in full and looks for every pixel detail). I was worried with the increased pixel count that IQ would suffer. I can happily say the IQ on the HX50V has improved slightly when compared to the HX20V. The images on the HX50V are more sharp and less noise to them. While the improvement isn't earth shattering, its a step up in the right direction.
- Image quality. Image quality is still sharp and crisp. IQ has improved from last years model (HX20/30V). When I compared both the HX50V and HX20V images, the HX50V had more detail and less noise. I also compared the images to the Panasonic ZS30 and the HX50V images look WAY MORE sharper. You can also see more image details in the HX50V. Outdoor images look sharp and colorful (I would describe it as life like and not overly saturated). Indoor images look good also. With the improved SteadyShot, I was able to take less shaky indoor low light images.
- 30X zoom (720mm). The extra zoom does make a difference. I was able to zoom further away. With the older HX20V I was able to zoom to the farthest mail box down the street. Now I am able to read the numbers on the mail box with the 30X zoom!
- Video quality. The video on the HX50V shoots in HD camcorder quality. I have compared video with my Sony CX560V camcorder and the HX50V video is better because my videos look smoother with less shake in them. When I shot a video with the HX50V and walked around, their was minimal shake in the video. When I did the same test with my CX560V camcorder, lots of shaking occurred in the video (As I expected). Sound capture remains crisp and Hi-Fi just like the HX20V. I am still blown away at how good the video is on the HX50V. The HX50V captures video at 28Mbps 1080P/60p just like my CX560V camcorder. I will now leave my camcorder home and only take this when I'm on vacation for video. The only time I will bring the camcorder is when I need the "NightShot" feature.
- 360 Panorama. I probably won't be using this feature much, but it was fun taking a 360 panorama.
- Build quality. Not only does the HX50V look like an expensive camera, but it also feels like one. It feels solid and the black metal body looks great. When I took some shots, I felt like I was holding a real camera and not a plastic toy.
- No touch screen! I absolutely hate touchscreens on cameras. I especially hate it when you can't turn it off. When I had the Panasonic ZS30, it was very annoying when I accidently touch the LCD screen with my thumb while taking a shot. Touching the LCD screen would "focus" on to the subject (Just like on a smartphone). Touch screens on most cameras are a gimmick in my opinion and only add frustration. It made me take some bad shots unknowingly. I am happy to report the HX50V does not have a touchscreen. Sony if you are reading this, please please please DON'T EVER implement this feature!
- Pop-up flash. The flash pops up mechanically when you press the flash button. It pops up very fast in a blink of an eye. On the previous model (HX20V) the pop up flash was powered up and down by a motor. On the HX50V you have to press it down to lock it back down. I prefer the non-motor because its one less thing to break on me. The flash fills the room nicely (Perfect for indoor shots).
- While the IQ has improved from the previous model(HX20/30V), Sony should have not increased the Mega Pixel count. Had Sony not increase the MP, I bet the images would look even better. I think most consumers who purchase this type of camera are informed enough to know more MP doesn't equal increased IQ.
- The HX50V can not display battery life left in minutes. With the previous HX20/30V model you were able to view how much battery life you had left in minutes displayed on the screen (As long as you used the FG1 "InfoLITHIUM" batteries). The HX50V uses the BX1 batteries which do not have the "InfoLITHIUM" feature. All you get on the HX50V are 4 bar battery meters. I will miss that feature on my HX20V because I could always prepare to preserve battery life right down to the exact minute!
- It's a little on the pricey side but keep in mind it does include wi-fi picture transfer.
- Size. The HX50V is slightly bigger and heavier. I can definitely feel a difference when I use a camera neck strap. My HX20V felt lighter (As it should since it weighs slightly less than the HX50V).
- LCD screen is almost useless in bright sunlight. When I compare the LCD screen from the HX20V, they are identical.
- Battery door is still flimsy and cheap. If you don't handle the battery door like The Hulk, it should be fine though.
****Wishlist for next years HX series upgrade****
- NightShot for video. I wish Sony would add the NightShot feature on this camera. I know it probably won't happen since Sony has been removing the NightShot feature from its camcorder line up (Unless you fork over $$$$ to buy the top of the line model).
- Produce a "InfoLITHIUM" battery for the HX50V so that battery life can be viewed in minutes.
- Lower cost model. Sony could add a lower model and remove the wi-fi feature for those who don't need or want it and knock off $50-$100 bucks.
Overall this camera is a great improvement from last year's HX20/30V and a great upgrade for anyone who is a fan of the HX handheld series. Improved image quality, 30X zoom and longer battery life is what sold me and I'm glad I upgraded. This camera makes me feel confident I won't miss a shot and able to take a good shot no matter how far the subject is. A wonderful vacation camera. I have purchased the HX5V, HX9V and HX20V each year they came out. This is the best handheld zoom camera to buy. It takes sharp pictures and amazing video. I have since sold my Panasonic ZS30 and kept the HX50V as my main camera. The HX50V is the clear winner and takes the crown of best handheld zoom camera to date.
138 of 145 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HX50V is a winner,
This review is from: Sony DSC-HX50V/B 20.4MP Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD Screen (Black) (Electronics)I bought a Sony HX9V a few years ago and when I saw the announcement for the HX50V with its 30x zoom, I thought: "Upgrade time has arrived." The delivery van showed up yesterday and I gave the camera a thorough test drive today. There is good news and bad news. Let's get the bad news over first.
The first photo I tried to make was of a target about 70 cm (28") wide at a distance of about 1 m (39"). The camera wouldn't focus. I tried my HX9V and it focused perfectly. I called Sony and asked what was going on and the nice man suggested my camera must have a manufacturing defect and I should send it back to Sony for a new one. Eventually I figured out that this is complete nonsense. The compromises required to get a 30x zoom into such a small camera meant that the minimum distance at any given zoom just has to be more than the zoom on other cameras. Bummer, but in practice, you don't normally have to get very close with a high zoom.
The second piece of bad news is that after extensive testing (see below) I concluded that the only f-stops available are f/3.5, f/4, f/4.5, f/5, f/5.6, and f6.3. When there is plenty of light, I would have liked f/8, f/11, and f/16, but they aren't available. Also, the fastest shutter speed is 1/1600 sec.
The flash is not automatic, like on the HX9V. You have to manually release it. This is a real minus. The camera should figure out on its own when it needs the flash, pop it up, and use it.
The menu system is quite complicated and it is difficult to find things. For example, there is a MENU button, which when pushed, displays a column of icons, one of which is Settings. But not all the settings are under Settings. Some are in the column of icons. Furthermore, which items are available depends on the position of the mode wheel on top of the camera. All in all, it is confusing and poorly thought out. All the settings should be under Settings and the menu items should be identical no matter where the wheel is, even if some of them are not currently applicable (e.g., ISO in automatic mode).
There is no raw mode so you are stuck with the in-camera processing. In truth though, it is not bad. You can tweak some of the parameters if you want.
The layout of the buttons could be better. The button for shooting videos is in an awful place and can be pushed by accident much too easily. Also, unlike the HX9V, there is an exposure offset dial on top of the camera. Nobody is ever going to use this. It should have been a menu item and the video button placed at the top.
There are several features that warm the cockles of marketeers' hearts, but are useless to photographers, like smile and blink management. Sony: no doubt you are working on automatic detection of people blowing their noses. Please don't include it in the next model and get rid of the rest of it. Just make the shutter lag short and let the photographer decide when to take the photo.
The camera has WiFi to transfer photos to a computer, but WiFi is much slower than USB, so why bother?
Completely inexcusable is that there is no manual in PDF form on Sony's Website. There is a very abbreviated and largely useless manual in the box. Sony did, however, build an extensive Website telling all about the camera, in over 200 pages of HTML. Unfortunately, you have to click on them one at a time to see everything. I bit the bullet, downloaded all of them, and created a PDF manual for other people. I put it at www.cs.vu.nl/~ast/photos/hx50v/manual.pdf for you to download.
Now the good news. The camera is small and light and handles very well, just like the other HX... cameras. The screen is clear and bright. The 30x zoom is smooth and the images at 30x are amazing. Some people who reviewed the camera before it was released were whining about the large number of pixels (20 M) on the small (1/2.3) sensor. These people should buy a Nikon D4. It has a full frame sensor and really big pixels. It is also very expensive, heavy, and doesn't fit in your pocket.
To test the HX50V, I shot a series of photos first using automatic (Superior) and then in programmed mode, at ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600, at different focal lengths. The test shots are at www.cs.vu.nl/~ast/photos/hx50/series-1.zip. These were made in Amsterdam on a bright but windy day. From the EXIF data, you can see all the settings. However, note that the focal length in the EXIF data is the true focal length from the point of view of the camera's optics. To get the 35mm equivalent focal length, multiply the focal length shown by 5.58. For example, 129 mm has the field of view of a 720 mm lens on a (D)SLR.
Also note that holding a camera with a 720 mm lens steady requires some care, even with Steady Shot. In my test shots, I tried hard, but you might detect a bit of blurring in some of the shots.
As mentioned above, the smallest f-stop is f/6.3 and the fastest shutter speed is 1/1600 sec. When I forced the ISO to 1600, the little microprocessor inside the camera was probably sweating bullets, thinking: "Why 1600? Even at 1/1600 sec and f/6.3, there is far too much light coming in; what is this guy thinking? That he is at the North Pole at midnight in December? As you can see, the ISO 1600 photos are way overexposed. Fortunately, in automatic mode, the camera defaults to ISO 80 when there is enough light. The photos in the zip file have names like 101A-ISO=0400.jpg, where the first number is a sequence number which is the same for all the shots at the same location. The A photos are at 24 mm, the C photos are at 720 mm, and the B photos are in somewhere in between.
My conclusion is that there is no visible noise up to ISO 400 and surprisingly little above it. The zoom is great and you can see tremendous detail at 30x. There doesn't appear to be much barrel or pincushion distortion although no doubt if you shoot targets in a lab, you'll find some. In practice, despite the long zoom, distortion isn't an issue.
After making the above tests, I made more tests of the zoom in automatic (Superior) mode. In www.cs.vu.nl/~ast/photos/hx50v/series-2.zip, you will see photos made from 24 different places, again at 24 mm, some intermediate zoom, and 720 mm. These shots show the power and clarity of the 30x zoom.
I also tested the macro capabilities. You can get subjects in focus at a distance of 2 cm from the lens. A shot of a 25 mm x 35 mm stamp is at www.cs.vu.nl/~ast/photos/hx50v/stamp.jpg . Observe how clear the hairs on the monkey's chin are.
I gave the video a short test. It seems OK. For decent HD, be sure to choose AVCHD and not MP4 in the menus though, and set the bit rate to 28 Mbps. Having both AVCHD and MP4 seems redundant though, since both are containers that can hold any codec, any frame size, and any bit rate.
To conclude, despite a few design flaws, the HX50V is a great choice for someone who wants a pocket camera with a long zoom and excellent image quality.
81 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT Camera,
This review is from: Sony DSC-HX50V/B 20.4MP Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD Screen (Black) (Electronics)This camera is great. I can not describe all of the features, but for this price you do not have to go any further. I had one problem with the speed between taking pictures if the camera was on auto mode. This mode fixes any errors, blurs, etc and it gives you a clean sharp great image. It was a class 10 high speed 32 GB SDHC card I was using. I ordered the SanDisk Extreme 64 GB SDXC Class 10 UHS-1 Flash Memory Card 45MB/s SDSDX-064G-X46 card and this fixed the problems. I can take pictures almost instantly after each other and I get over 1000 shots. Put this card with this camera and you could not ask for better. Now I have not had this combination long, but I love it. I've had multiple cameras for 50 years, I used to teach the old film photo at a community college. Read the features you get with this camera, but I also recommend putting the faster card in. Before I had to wait a few seconds between shots. With the faster card, almost 0 waiting.
47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best pocket camera I have purchased, but could be better,
Excellent picture quality for such a small camera. Great resolution and brightness; zoom in on a photo and the detail is very fine.
The image stabilization works really well and is a must for a handheld camera with a large telephoto zoom lens. The stabilization works well in low light too. Love the flexibility the large zoom ratio affords. Max optical zoom, handheld and no blur. Best stabilization I have seen in a small camera.
The bright and clear display provides the operator with a wealth of information with good presentation / navigation. It is not a touch screen which I much prefer.
Functionally the camera worked very well. A myriad of features. Haven't used all the different functions yet. Buttons and rotary switches have good feel and are logically placed.
Very light and small size considering the size of the lens and all the electronics they have to cram inside.
PC connection fine. GPS locates quickly (obviously outside only), haven't tested its accuracy.
The movie quality is very good. I took a few short clips at the highest resolution and they displayed well. Haven't tried the 3D feature.
I always carry a pocket camera, currently this Sony or a Canon Power Shot ELPH. There are times when the smaller and lighter camera (Canon) is more appropriate; hate giving up the power of the Sony.
Excellent value for the money if you want high quality pictures in a small package.
I have already taken some great pictures. Ordered camera from Amazon on April 30.
1. The battery compartment is poorly designed. It is not obvious which way to insert the batteries especially in low light. Even in the correct orientation some pressure is needed to enable it to slot home. The battery can be wobbled side to side in the slot and it drags on the sides when inserting. The battery catch engages with a small wiggle of the battery; doesn't feel positive. The worst issue is the battery compartment cover. The latch is sloppy and feels like it could release if bumped. It is difficult to know when it is closed fully. The cover itself hinges straight out (90 degrees) on the short side exposing the narrow hinge to easy damage. The cover when closed is not tightly held; a fingernail can be slipped underneath the lip. It sticks up enough that it will snag on clothing and is not dust tight. In the last week I have had the cover come open twice. I'm being more careful to ensure it is latched; may have to use a small piece of tape on the latch.
2. I didn't like the lack of a comprehensive paper user's manual. The supplied sparse documentation is inadequate to be able to operate the camera except the basic functions. This camera is highly sophisticated and the supplied guide is suitable for a cheap snap camera. The built-in on-screen "In Camera Guide" is hard to read except in a darkened room. It is not the same as reading and flipping pages in a book or on a PC screen. Too little information is displayed per screen and navigation that works well for adjusting the camera settings, functions poorly for reading the guide. I checked on line for a better version and none exists. The available video tutorials are for other Sony cameras. Why can't the "In Camera" guide be provided in PDF?
3. I didn't like the manual pop up flash design. I could see the mechanism being easily damaged and the cavity will become a dirt trap. There appeared to be plenty of space for it to be built-in as on other small cameras. The added height can't make that much difference. It does work well but I don't see it lasting long in the great outdoors. It is also where I place my left forefinger to steady the camera; so my natural grip has to change when using the flash. The camera has such good low light capability that I don't see much need for the flash.
4. Battery life is not the greatest and charging with the supplied USB charger is slow. Definitely invest in a second battery and a regular type charger.
5. The HDMI socket in exposed on the bottom of the camera. Dirt will enter and it will be easily damaged.
6. This camera is not dustproof or water resistant (Sony states this quite clearly). Not a good choice for desert or marine environments. A case is a must for this camera in all environments. Not sure why Sony doesn't supply a soft case with the camera. The jacket case (not dust proof) optional accessory enlarges the camera so it is no longer a pocket carry and it's better suited for a larger camera. Sony's soft cases are bulky also, and are designed to be worn on the belt (which is fine too). I am using a fabric lined felt bag with a draw string and it works well in the pocket (3x5in). Sony provides these with some of their accessories.
7. The display is excellent indoors but almost useless in bright sunlight. Which is a great pity, because without access to the display information you might as well just set the camera to "Auto". It also makes framing the picture very difficult. This is of course true of just about any modern digital camera. Sony does offer a viewfinder attachment. Otherwise, sunglasses and a large brimmed hat. The screen is polarized so don't wear polarized sunglasses if you want to take portrait pictures..
58 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Change not always better,
To me, the big downside is the flash & the WiFi. If you set the camera to either of the auto modes, the flash is not automatic as it is on the HX20. It is only automatic if you manually pop up the flash. To me this is not automatic. As for the WiFi, I cannot say that it is the quickest thing to use. Make a WiFi that is easy to connect in any WiFi area and that you can upload directly to Facebook or other social media sites and then you will have a decent WiFi. As it stands not, it is easier to just either connect the camera with a cable or insert the media card directly into your computer to upload pictures or take a picture with your phone.
If you are not or cannot go the price of the digital viewfinder and have a previous version of the camera, I would not recommend changing. If this is your first camera in this series, although it is not inexpensive, you might not be bothered by the lack of automatic flash and the lack of a viewfinder would be the same no matter what brand you purchase. As stated previously, this camera, like its predecessors takes excellent photos.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Camera,
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Zoom, Good Wide Angle, Good Value,
The pop-up flash is out of the way enough that redeye is very rare. Image quality in normal lighting is excellent up to ISO 1600. Low light shooting is quite acceptable, but grain starts becoming more and more apparent with higher ISOs. Still for a P&S the low light image quality is quite good. Prices for the HX50 have been dropping since it was first released and one can do much worse than this little camera for your point and shoot needs.
Sony firmware is easy to navigate, and easy to learn. Features are relatively easy to find, except it did take me a while to find white balance, in fact I was not crazy about the fact that I had to look for white balance in full auto mode. I expected the intelligent auto mode to compensate for lower Kelvins with more realistic skin tones.
Sure there are some drawbacks commensurate with this camera's price point, this is still a great value and gives you something small to tote around when you don't want to lug an SLR.
Update - seems I originally missed the auto White Balance settings in the menu, it is actually easily accessible, just depends on the shooting mode you're using.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Camera,
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really nice!!,
This camera is fabulous. I love the 30:1 zoom. I bought it for NBA games because they won't let me bring in my NEX-5N (it has an interchangable lens). The DSC-HX50 has many of the same features but it has added GPS and WI-FI. It seem reliable and feels great. I love that I can download Sony's Playmemories software (stupid name) and use my smart phone or iPad as a remote for the DSC-HX50. I am going to set it up on a tripod and take photos of the hummingbirds at the feeders. There are a million applications for a photographer with an imagination and this software!
I still love my NEX-5N and will continue to use it but the DSC-HX50V/B will go with me everywhere.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overall the best digital camera I've owned,
With all of that said, I have a few suggestions and I listed some of them under Cons. I take a lot of pictures with my new Samsung Galaxy S4 (smart phone) and I have to say, sometimes my pictures on my phone come out better than my Sony camera. This is frustrating to me because you would think a dedicated camera would ALWAYS outperform a phone, but apparently the software on a phone can do a better job in many cases. The most obvious for me were A) photos taken with odd lighting like sunbeams from the sky through the clouds and B) panoramic photos, which I explain below. The obvious reason I still use a camera is because phones do not have a 30x optical zoom. Also they are not 20MP.
Fantastic Zoom especially for such a small camera. Quick startup. Super easy to use. Great battery life. Has some great "intelligent auto" features that makes difficult shots a lot easier.
1) I had a couple issues with panoramic shots cutting off before I was done and leaving a grey space to the right, instead of cropping it correctly. I actually prefer my Samsung Galaxy S4 for panoramic shots because I can turn the phone upright and get a taller field of vision before moving right to left. Sony should really catch up to others on the panoramic software features.
2) When it's bright outside the screen is very hard to see. This was particularly annoying when I used it for video recording because the "REC" symbol is dark red and small, so I had a hard time knowing whether I was recording or not. To confuse matters more, when you want to stop recording, you press the REC button again and the word "Recording..." flashes on screen for a couple of seconds. I think it's trying to tell you that it's "Writing to SD..." but I kept getting confused thinking that I was "Recording" when really I was "Done Recording".
3) There are MANY scene selection options but for some reason, there was not one optimized for "Sunsets". I love sunset photos and my other cameras have all had scene setting for sunsets that make them simple. I did not have time to test all of my scene settings to see which one took better sunset photos.
Regardless, this is still my favorite ever digital camera.
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