25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Fast fun super zoom with disappointing omissions.
, June 7, 2012
This review is from: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera with 30x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
I'm enjoying this camera for it's insane optical zoom coverage and incredible speed. It's easy to use, has some fun features and feels great in hand. My NEX-5N feels like a pocket camera after getting used to holding this thing. I'm a very experienced photography/camera geek, so I don't fool around with manuals and I don't need them. Did not miss the printed manual. Just spend an hour with your camera and see what all the options are.
- Huge zoom range in a cheap, small, and light package.
- LIGHTNING FAST focusing. Really makes my 5N feel kind of sluggish by comparison. And actually some DSLRs for that matter.
- Huge grip. This thing feels so nice to hold.
- Articulating LCD and thumb dial on the back. I love how you just click the thumb dial to switch between ISO, aperture and shutter speed (or exposure compensation).
- The viewfinder helps when shooting outdoors.
- GPS is an awesome feature for a camera like this. Sony really understands the kind of people who will be using this camera.
- No way to disable noise reduction. At moderate ISOs, aggressive noise reduction destroys image sharpness. If you're spoiled by your DSLR and a sharp lens, you'll want to stick around base ISO with this camera (and even ISO 100 looses detail to noise reduction).
- Along the same lines, no RAW. The previous issue would be forgivable if I had some way of still retaining all the data so that I may run my own noise reduction (or none at all). Why not, really?
- No way to disable auto review. Every time you snap a shot, the screen goes black for a moment and then your last shot appears. You can interrupt this by pressing the shutter button half way. I'm not interested auto review since I can see what the shot is going to look like before I even take the picture. This means a half shutter press in between each photo for me. it often causes me to loose track of my subject. I can't remember the last camera I used that didn't allow you to disable auto review.
- No focus lock by holding the shutter halfway between shots I also can't remember using a camera that didn't have this feature. Pretty much every camera from the cheapest point and shoot to the most expensive camera with keep focus (and sometimes exposure) locked between shots as long as you keep the shutter pressed half way between shots. This is definitely an intentional omission. Why? I have no idea.
- I can't even set my own white balance in video? Yup, if you want to shoot video with this camera, it's auto white balance or nothing. Which will mean the occaiosonal blue video that could have been easily prevented with a selection from the menu.
- SLUGGISH image zoom in review mode. If you want to check your focus, it takes a while for the camera to zoom in on your picture or some strange reason. Not so on my NEX. On the 5N, I can just tap the screen to magnify the picture and check sharpness.
- Image quality at about ISO 400 and above. Do not get this camera if you're looking for low light performance. That is not what it's for. This camera is for taking photos in broad daylight. This is a great camera for sight seeing and takng wide shots and panoramas of tourist attractions. It's a great camera to take on a hike or to the zoo. Zoom in and capture the shot, IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. My advice is to use this camera in the sunlight or with the flash unless you're noti concerned with image quality and sharpness or are just going to post your photos on Facebook of Instagram.
- All the feature omissions for no other conceivable purpose than to torture enthusiasts. No raw, no disabling auto review, no focus lock, and no white balance in video.
Do you ever use your cell phone to take pictures? This is WAY better than a cell phone and in some ways, better than any DSLR setup that YOU could afford. The image quality is about point and shoot level... Better than cell phone quality, but closer to that than DSLR quality.
However, what this camera is all about is the lens. The image quality of your DSLR doesn't matter if you can't afford an 800mm lens. In many cases the HX200V can simply capture images that would take a multi-thousand dollar DSLR rig to capture. And when you've got your DSLR sitting there with it's stunning low light abilities and raw files, you're still limited by the reach of your lens. If you're at the zoo with a d7000 and kit lens, trying to get a photo of a far off animal, you're not going to have a very sharp and detailed picture once you crop it down to what you had in mind.
It's in these cases that the HX200V is going to kill medium zooms on SLRs. Even with it's lack of RAW and destructive noise supression, it's optical ability to get into the subject is going to insure you have way more "data" of your subject than you would with a shorter lens.
It should also be mentioned that this camera is obviously geared towards gadget freaks more than photographers. There are so many fun and gimmicky features like panorama, picture effects, and even 3D that it's obvious this camera is being marketed towards the iPad crowd.
For what it is, it's a great camera. I think I'll have a lot of fun hiking with it and taking it to the zoo. It could never replace my 5N when it comes to image quality though and I do have to emphasize that the intentional handicapping of this camera by omitting enthusiast features is a disappointment. It does deserve at least four stars for what it does at this price.
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