Customer Review

90 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good camera. Not all features well documented., June 8, 2011
This review is from: Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX100V 16.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Still Camera with Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 30x Optical Zoom Lens and Full HD 1080 Video (Camera)
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.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 14, 2011 7:01:22 AM PDT
Photo-Am says:
In HX9V if during that "display after shooting" interval you half-press the sutter button the camera immediately returns back to the shooting mode. Try it on your camera.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2011 11:42:58 PM PDT
Arthur Black says:
Thanks for pointing this out! Your suggestion of a half-press of the shutter to force return to live view also works for the HX100V. Much appreciate the input. By designing it this way, Sony actually made an improvement over the HX1. Now have the option, on a shot by shot basis, to display after shooting or immediately go back to shooting mode.

The Sony manual does not mention this feature. And neither the Sony chat line person, nor the clerk I spoke with at the Sony Style store was able to come up with this solution. But fortunately the team who designed the camera got it right.

Again, thanks for passing along this info.

Posted on Jun 16, 2011 7:47:38 PM PDT
kman says:
awsum thanks for this pointer! i was hestitant about purchasing this after reading this at first...

so theoretically, u can take as many pictures as u want in short time frame by half depressing shutter button? what's the delay when using this method? thanx!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2011 11:58:34 PM PDT
Arthur Black says:
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.

Posted on Jun 18, 2011 10:30:37 PM PDT
LadyEclipse says:
Could you please tell me if the LCD screen is the exact same size as the HX1? I just purchased the HX100, and I want to purchase a screen protector for it... but since this camera is so new, there are not many people selling protectors specifically made for the HX100. Hoping the ones made for HX1 can fit on the HX100.

Thank you in advance for your help!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2011 12:41:08 AM PDT
Arthur Black says:
Unfortunately I can't tell you the screen size on my HX1. I no longer have the camera. They appear similar, but I don't know if they are an exact match.

Posted on Sep 17, 2013 8:43:49 PM PDT
Gary says:
Enormous thanks for the three-second-display fix!!! Quite a travesty that Sony doesn't point this out, let alone fix it!
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