20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
, May 19, 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)
Upfront I'm gonna tell the truth; I returned this camera. Not because it's not great; just because it's not great for me. I tend to shoot more close up, indoor and low light stuff with my point and shoot and my S95 with its 10MP sensor so completely outperforms this new Sony in those situations that it didn't make sense to make the switch. This is mostly because the S95 and S100 have much, much better lenses in low light (f/2.0), and they can output a RAW file. The Sony is a bit noisy, so that it is acceptable only in situations with pretty good light. Once you have to bump up ISO the noise (typical in P$S cams) gets so pronounced that Lightroom can't do much with it. Plus, although Lightroom can do a little to denoise and sharpen a .jpg file, it can't get it to look as good as a RAW file. So if you post-process using Photoshop or Lightroom, you're probably not looking at this camera.
Now, to those daylight situations:
White balance, aperture and speed decisions in the semi-auto modes are really, really good. Sony's barrel distortion algorithm seems to be perfect--I can see no artifacts of the long, long zoom in image distortion. Image stabilization is very good--my carry cam doesn't have anywhere near this zoom reach and will once in a while kick out a soft photo. This Sony, as long as you are doing your job, will give you tons of sharp pictures. If you lean toward capturing distant subjects, the telescope on the front of this camera is very nice, and in good light its limited aperture is obviously a non-issue. It outputs quite beautiful color. Long zoom means you need image stabilization, and this one does a remarkable job at full extension.
My bottom line was that I'd really like to keep this camera; it does a lot my S95 will never do. But the things the S95 can do better just happen to be the things I do the most. I can't afford two point-and-shoots of this quality, so this fine camera goes on to another happy user. If you're reading these reviews then chances are you're looking for a small cam with a big zoom, and don't fool around with post processing.
If that's you, then this little Sony is state of the art and I can't imagine being unhappy with it. Just know that for this amount of money you will not get big zoom and big low light performance out of the same lens. That's not a complaint but a nod to optic reality. Sony's done a good job with its in-camera .jpg encoding, and you get all-purpose sharpening and denoising that is as good as any other $400 camera currently on the market.
If you're a point and shooter who wants a pocketable long zoomer that outputs really beautiful .jpg images, this camera is one of the best, if not the best out there. It's kind of expensive, but to get a 20x optical zoom to fit in your pocket requires a certain amount of somewhat costly miniaturization. I'm glad Sony made this camera. It should find a great following.
Now, if I were looking for a super zoom (and didn't need it to fit in a pocket) I'd probably go with the Canon SX40 HS with its 35x zoom lens. The thing's got a mini Hubble telescope hung on it out there; the very definition of 'stalker cam.' Out of the box, the SX40 HS doesn't shoot RAW. But since it's a Canon, you have the CHDK (Canon Hack Developers Kit) community. With CHDK for the SX40 HS installed, you can shoot RAW and do a bunch of other things Canon usually makes you buy a more expensive camera to get. It's $70 or so cheaper than this Sony and with CHDK installed it's a much more advanced machine, ready for full Adobe post processing of its images. Yep, it's bigger and bulkier, and doesn't feel as...fancy...as the nifty Sony. But it can take some incredible long distance shots, in RAW. Try doing what the SX40 HS can do with any other $350 camera, and you'll be back to buy the SX40 HS. Everybody makes a superzoom P&S, but only the Canon has CHDK.
It's a killer setup, especially in daylight. Once again, I'd buy one of these cameras but I can't justify two different P&S cams in my possession.
The Canon is a good all-around camera if you install CHDK, and if you can handle the bulk. Sony still has the edge in pocketability of this much zoom range.
Bravo, Sony, wish I could use ya.
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