Customer Review

316 of 322 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very versatile camera/video recorder, has DSLR like shutter performance, robust automatic settings., May 28, 2012
This review is from: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
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I have had many digital cameras over the years both point and shoot and DSLR. Mostly from the names you would expect: Nikon, Canon, Pentax, and Olympus. I hadn't frankly ever thought of Sony for a camera although I have had Sony camcorders that were very good. I have quite enjoyed using the DSC-HX30V as it has provided vibrant photos in a variety of settings. The 30V really shines in the automatic settings. Although you can set shutter speed and aperture, the 30V was intended to be a high-quality point and shoot that uses the built in powerful software to produce good, well-balanced and saturated shots both indoors and out.

There are two automated modes: superior auto and intelligent auto. Superior auto gives you the fewest options. There was a learning curve to what is available with each type of shooting. The best thing to do is press the menu button. Depending upon the shooting mode more or fewer options show up both in the menu and for options chosen by the 4 way wheel button. For instance I was interested in trying out the burst continuous photo option. That is not available in the superior auto. But it is available under intelligent auto. The smile detect which does actually work (pretty cool you can focus on a subject and the camera will just wait till it detects a smile then fire a shot) was available in intelligent auto not superior auto. Another example: you can't select an ISO until you are either in program auto or manual exposure shooting modes.There is a built in product manual where you can search by keywords and subjects. This is handy but it was only by trial and error that I found what features were available in which modes. The written manual (fairly sparse overall) and the on-camera version don't list which modes which features work in.

Wifi: Obviously Wifi use with this camera is going to be something many people are interested in. I know I was. So far it has been a mixed bag. Wifi to the computer has worked very well. It located my computer and then I had to one time connect to the access point (my Wifi router) and put in the network password. Decent speed in downloads and it will download pictures and video. Downloading to a smartphone. I was very interested to use this feature as you could be out and about say at a child's ballgame and take a great action photo zoomed in way more than a smartphone could and want to share it. I have an iPhone. You need to download the app Playmemories mobile. There is another app Playmemories online but you want the mobile one for sharing with your smartphone. The camera sets up its own network with password. Connect to that network in settings (with an iPhone) and then fairly quickly start the app. Although I get an error message every time that says cannot connect to device it has reliably been connecting and then allowing me to copy photos to my iPhone photo folder. What I have not got to work is video. There are 4 video resolutions and I tried them all. On both the iPhone and iPad. It simply will not download video onto the phone. I am sure Sony is working on this and I expect it to get fixed. It is a nice feature to get to download the photos at least onto a smartphone when out and about.

There is so much else going on with the 30V I am going to summarize the pros and cons below.

Pros:

Extremely fast shooting. I have the Nikon P7000 which I really like but the 30V rivals a DSLR with how fast it shoots when you press the shutter button, especially in Superior auto. You are much less likely to miss a shot.

Very nice, well balanced and nicely color saturated shots in the auto modes. I like my DSLR but with a soon to be 2 year old I have daddy duty when out and about. It is often just too much work to be part of the families day AND have a DSLR and have to change lenses.

Zoom. I love having a 20X optical zoom. It also has a very good digital zoom. I went all the way to 4OX and shot a small wren or warbler across our backyard. There was still a good amount of light in the photo and you could pick out the individual feathers and veins in the leaves. So I would say yes Sony did make a very good digital zoom once you go past 20X.

Size. I held it against an iPhone 4. It is about a quarter of an inch less in length and around the same in width. Much thicker though. Still very impressive.

Video. The great thing about digital cameras nowadays is their ability to act as video cameras as well. I have gotten good video indoor and out with extremely smooth zooming (very impressed with zooming while shooting video) and good audio. Just be aware AVCHD is not the best format for social media sharing or even burning onto DVDs. The two 1080p modes warn you that you need a Blu-ray burner to create a disc. So I have been shooting in 1080i mode. It is still very good. I also have software that allows me to change the AVCHD to a variety of other media formats.

Good interface. A lot of information is presented to you and changing settings is very simple once you play around with the camera for a bit. You get a variety of options for deleting photos for instance. Delete one, delete a range, delete by day. The interface was well thought out and the playback and screen quality is very good and I haven't even used the highest screen resolution.

Decent software. Not the most powerful software but I LOVE that playmemories home allows you to view all of your photos in a calendar format. It is fantastic to be able to go by year or month and see the photos displayed on the day they were taken. And the software quickly found all my photos going back years and added them to the calendar listing. Small amount of editing features but all the basics are included.

Cons:

Battery is so-so. Just a decent battery. You might want to invest in a spare.

Video: Overall this is a pro but right now at least for me I can't get video to share to a smartphone or tablet with playmemories mobile. Also I am not a huge fan of AVCHD for sharing or burning discs. But there are work arounds for this.

No shoulder strap option. For cameras that are also going to be used for video, there should be a shoulder strap option. There is just a wrist option.

The 30V does not shoot in RAW but there are an impressive variety of options for DSLR enthusiasts and people who like to expriment with their photography. The 30v is intended to be an advanced point and shoot not DSLR like. That being said it shoots fast which is the one best DSLR feature (aside from a big sensor) I would want in a point and shoot. And the sensor is pretty impressive. I have not noticed a lot of noise indoors and I get around 7.5 MEG photos in the highest quality setting. One thing to note is that you change EV setting easily in ALL modes including Superior auto. And for the DSLR users thinking of a point and shoot Program auto mode gives you a lot to play with including changing metering, changing focus points, changing white balance, ISO control, color saturation level, and contrast control.

Overall the 30V is an impressive technological package. It continues to surprise me. For instance I was shooting video and focusing on my daughter and up on the screen it started flashing infant. It knew I was shooting an infant. In the auto modes it identifies the best scene very well. I have taken many great shots in the auto modes and I suspect most people will use these modes the most: the 30V does not disappoint here. I love my DSLR but I frankly use point and shoots more. I know many people don't but I like having a 500mm lens in my pocket and a good video camera to boot. What has really impressed me is how fast you get a shot. This was the missing link for me to really enjoy a point and shoot. Sony did a great job here and I am not missing shots anymore. Even though this is a long review there are many features I left out. Sony/Amazon did a good job though explaining them. From a user perspective this is an enjoyable camera producing well-balanced, well-lit, crisp photos and good video. Add the speed of shooting and I highly recommend the 30V.

Update August 23, 2012. The camera continues to operate great. But I wanted to update that I have taken video in many more lighting situations than before. The video is VERY impressive. Crystal clear and fantastic colors outdoors and also very well balanced colors and impressive quality indoors. In fact it is better than any stand alone video camera I have used previously. I shoot video in what Sony calls FH mode. It is 1920 by 1080 at 60i. It is the 3rd out of 4 video quality options and still quite good. Outdoor video played on my TV looks like an HD TV broadcast. And, the HX30V produces the best indoor video quality of any video camera I have used.
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Comments

Tracked by 8 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 10, 2012 4:48:13 AM PDT
HC says:
Just a quick question... Would you say you found the WiFi feature very useful at all? What I mean is, you say it's good to quickly send photos to your iphone or ipad on the go to post to facebook etc. But then you say that you have to get your ipad to switch to the camera's connection point etc. So does this mean that the camera itself acts as a wifi hotspot?

What I mean is, judging by the many reviews I've read, they say in order to use the wifi sharing feature, you not only have to have network sharing enabled and set up on your home networks, but for mobile devices, you also have to download Sony's app for those devices as well?

Also, what is the speeds of transfer to devices or your pc? And have you noticed a large drop in battery life if the wifi is turned on?

I'm curious because wouldn't it be easier, simple and faster to just pop out your SD card at home, insert it into your pc? I mean 18 megapixel images and 1080p video is a lot of data to transmit.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 1:39:30 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 1:43:34 PM PDT
austin_Larry says:
I will answer the smart phone, iPad question first. Yes the camera acts as a Wifi hotspot. It is not very hard to do once you do it a few times. You have to go to settings to choose the correct Wifi network. Then you start the app and copy the photos to camera roll and they are like any photo you took with the iPhone or iPad at that point for sharing.

And yes you need to download Sony playmemories mobile to get it to work. Be sure to download the one ending in mobile not playmemories online, although that is an app I have as well. It is just not the one you use to transfer to iPhone or iPad or android.

As for Wifi downloads to computer, it is not as fast as putting the card in BUT so easy and nice. It will only download new items, puts them in a dated folder. Just say transfer, walk away, and it gets done. No USB cables, no messing with memory cards.

Not sure about WiFi drain on the battery. The battery is definitely ok. You can also pick up a spare on Amazon for the next gen one that estimates time of use left pretty cheap. Even cheaper on EBay if you can wait for shipment from China.

Posted on Jun 24, 2012 1:16:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 25, 2012 11:46:46 AM PDT
DavidCayuga says:
I'm trying to set my new HX30 to transfer images to my iPhone. I have installed the Playmemories Mobile app. So you turn on the HX30. Then you go to the network menu. Then you choose Access Point Settings? or WPS Push? View on Smartphone? Thanks for your help in advance.

Over the weekend I figured out how to transfer pics from my HX30 to my iPhone 4. I was in the wrong menu at first. It was simple when I found the right menu. It works great!

Posted on Aug 17, 2012 5:05:42 AM PDT
S. McIntyre says:
You mention that you have a software to change the AVCHD to other formats, are you not able to mention the software? It would be nice for a person who wants to buy this camera to be able to do the same and know how to do it. This is holding me back from buying this camera.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2012 10:56:26 AM PDT
austin_Larry says:
Sorry I am using Roxio Creator software (at best 2010, not at my computer right now), might even be older than that. I thought there would be a lot of different software that would accomplish changing to other formats, which is why I didn't mention it specificallly. I think Roxio Easy might also work and that is less expesnive.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2012 4:55:57 AM PDT
S. McIntyre says:
Thanks for the reply, I have another question for you since you own the camera. My brother tells me to be weary of Sony because they don't like to play with other children, meaning they are proprietary and I may not be able to play back the video on anything but Sony products. Have you found this to be true? That may be a deal breaker for me as well. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2012 9:38:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 18, 2012 9:43:54 PM PDT
I just want to mention one thing and point out that you may lose 60fps with most converters, especially if you have to edit the video. I tried bunch of them, and the moment you make any changes, add titles, fade, etc. it will convert the project to 30fps and there is no way to save it as 60fps. It totally defeats the purpose.
I have found only Windows Movie Maker can save the edited videos in 60fps. You may want to check it out, I know WMM is very simple, but I find it very useful.

As for WiFi, I have been unlucky. What do you use to send the pictures to PC? When I select send this picture to PC, I always get Auto Play pop up on my PC, and then when I click import pictures using windows I get No new pictures found. Do you set up something so that when you send WiFi to PC it saves the image in a directory automatically? Or do you have to do something on the PC? Does Playmemories have to be running?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 5:58:06 PM PDT
austin_Larry says:
Regarding wireless transfer. I do not have Playmemories Home software running, but I do have it installed. Here is what happens, Autoplay does come up first. But shortly thereafter a black box comes up in the lower right of the computer screen. It has the Playmemories icon on it. So it is probably the Playmemories import dialogue box. It says Import from DSC-HX30V. Once it goes through the preparing to import phase it will list the number of new pictures it is importing.

The software knows if it has uploaded pics already. It also puts pics in folders by date taken, not date imported. So if you went on vaction from July 1 to July 5 and took pictures each day you would have 5 folders titled 7-1-2012, etc. It puts the folders in my main Pictures folder under users. I do not recall ever setting that. You do have to be a bit patient to get through the preparing to import phase but it does work. And it imports video and pictures.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 29, 2012 10:17:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 29, 2012 10:21:09 PM PDT
WilliWu says:
You can avoid AVCHD completely by changing the Movie Format to MP4. It takes up a little more disk space but the quality looks about the same to me. You will find Movie Format under the suitcase icon after pressing the menu button. I like this camera but the instructions are dreadful.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 30, 2012 7:12:10 PM PDT
Austin Larry, thanks for your help but I don't think I can get it to work. I am running Win 7 Professional. I cannot find the icon in my taskbar or tasktray. I ran PlayMemories to see if it will create a new icon in my tray but it still did not.
When I run pm there is an import icon on it, but even that dialogue does not show the camera.

When I hit Send to Computer on the camera it shows searching... [PC NAME] and SSD:.... after it connects, I see that GPS Assist icon show up on my computer but still there is no import icon. Then I restarted both camera annd PC and this time it finally showed "Connected" on the camera, and I get the AutoPlay window, and I chose "Import using Windows" I think this is what you are getting. Maybe yours is set to AutoPlay automatically import to My Pictures. The settings are all available in the import settings screen, including creating folder name with Date Taken Range. This is all built into windows.

I will play around with this a bit more and find a way to automatically import the picture to a certain folder. I was hoping we could actually send the picture to a computer automatically without any import dialogue. The way it is now, it only imports because Send To PC just connects to the PC and identifies itself as a storage device, therefore allows windows to import. There is no "single picture send-to computer" function.
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austin_Larry
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Location: Austin, TX USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 578