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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300/BC 20.4 MP Digital Camera with 50x Optical Zoom and 3-Inch Xtra Fine LCD (Black)
|Price:||$499.99 & FREE Shipping. Details|
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- Capture breathtaking images
- Image stabilization reduces blur
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|Continuous Shooting Speed||10 fps|
|Display||Xtra Fine LCD|
|Display Fixture Type||Unknown|
|Display Resolution Maximum||921000|
|Display Size||3 inches|
|Effective Still Resolution||20.4 MP|
|Expanded ISO Maximum||3,200|
|Expanded ISO Minimum||80|
|External Memory Included||No|
|Flash Memory Type||MS Duo, SD, SDHC|
|Flash Type||Built-in Flash|
|Flash Type||Built-In Flash|
|Form Factor||SLR-like (bridge)|
|Item Dimensions||5.5 x 5.9 x 7.3 inches|
|Item Display Weight||2.4 pounds|
|Item Weight||2.1 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Energy Content||2 Watt Hours|
|Lithium Battery Voltage||2 Volts|
|Lithium Battery Weight||2 ounces|
|Maximum Aperture||6.3 mm|
|Maximum Aperture Range||F2.8 - F6.3|
|Maximum Focal Length||1,200 mm|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||30 seconds|
|Maximum horizontal resolution||1,920 Pixels|
|Minimum Focal Length||24 mm|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||20.4 MP|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CMOS|
|Photo Sensor Technology||BSI-CMOS|
|Shipping Weight||2.15 pounds|
|Video Capture Resolution||1920 x 1080 (60, 50 fps)|
|Water Resistance Level||Not Water Resistant|
Compare to similar items
This item Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300/BC 20.4 MP Digital Camera with 50x Optical Zoom and 3-Inch Xtra Fine LCD (Black)
|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||Click To Deal||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Hunts Photo and Video||Samy's Camera, Inc.||Amazon.com|
|Screen Size||3 in||3 in||3 in||3 in||3 in||3 in|
|Item Dimensions||5.9 x 7.3 x 5.5 in||4.06 x 5.1 x 3.67 in||4.81 x 5.1 x 3.74 in||4.81 x 5.1 x 3.74 in||5.13 x 4.69 x 3.71 in||4.49 x 5.04 x 3.66 in|
|Item Weight||2.1 lbs||1.46 lbs||1.3 lbs||1.38 lbs||1.36 lbs||1.43 lbs|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||20.4 megapixels||20.4 megapixels||20.1 megapixels||20 megapixels||18.1 megapixels||16.1 megapixels|
|Video Capture Resolution||1920 x 1080 (60, 50 fps)||1920 x 1080 (60p, 60i, 24p), 1440 x 1080 (30p), 640 x 480 (30p)||1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)||1280 x 720 (30fps)||4k||1920 x 1080 (60p, 30p), 1280 x 720 (30p), 640 x 480 (30p)|
Capture landscapes with one touch using Sweep Panorama, get that perfect portrait with Smile Shutter, snap wider scenes
From the Manufacturer
See details you never knew existed with an astoundingly clear 50x zoom, making close-ups more interesting. Imagine tight shots of the lead singer in concert, or the expression on your favorite athlete’s face at the game. Best of all, the action stays clear and stable even when you’re fully zoomed.
|50x optical zoom plus 100x Clear Image |
|Optical SteadyShot® image stabilization with 3-way active mode³||20.4MP images and |
high speed AF even
Intelligent Sweep Panorama™
Advanced Flash illuminates distant subjects for beautifully lit photos
1. Records in 29 minute segments
2. Requires HDTV and HDMI cable sold separately
3. Combined with electronic stabilization
© 2013 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sony, Cyber-shot, SteadyShot, Smile Shutter, Sweep Panorama, Exmor R and the Sony make.believe logo are trademarks of Sony. Microsoft, Windows, and Windows Vista are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Mac is a trademark of Apple, Inc. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners. Features and specifications subject to change without notice.
Read about our customers' top-rated cameras on our review page: Point-and-Shoot Cameras
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The two most import things about any camera are its image quality and its performance in actual shooting sessions. Image quality is, of course, a combination of many things including the camera's ability to resolve detail, to properly expose scenes shot under a variety of lighting conditions, color quality, absence of both chroma and luminance noise, etc. Performance is how responsive the camera is and includes such items as how quickly the camera is ready to take a picture after being turned on, the time delay between shots in single shot mode, the ability of the camera's autofocus to work quickly and accurately without "searching", and certainly in the case of a super zoom camera its ability to smoothly and rapidly zoom through its entire set of focal lengths. For a camera of its price and likely use, the Sony HX300 does a remarkably good job of providing high quality images and a very responsive camera.
My first test of image quality was to simply walk around my yard and the neighborhood taking images of a variety of flowers that were in early bloom as well as taking pictures of birds coming to the bird feeder in our backyard from about 75 feet away using the Sony HX300 at full zoom. In virtually every single situation the HX300's autofocus was very quick and very accurate, and the powered zoom using the lever on the shutter release was highly responsive and quite fast. The images produced had exquisite detail with good highlight detail retention, perfect color rendition, very good exposures in auto modes, and under these cloudy but bright daylight circumstances with the camera working at low ISO's very low noise. These images straight out of the camera with no post-processing looked very good to excellent. Using very small amounts of post processing mainly to slightly sharpen the images, I was able to obtain excellent large prints (13 X 19 in.) using my Epson 3800 Pro large format printer. The shots of birds on the feeder at the maximum optical zoom (1200 mm) of the HX300 were all hand held, in focus, and showed good detail, albeit not equal to the ISO 80 shots previously described. With one exception (vide infra), I had absolutely no problem hand-holding and autofocusing these 1200 mm maximum zoom shots. The one exception is when I happen to line up a tree in the shot that was about 50 feet behind the bird feeder. In that case, the HX300 always wanted to focus on the texture of the tree trunk behind the feeder. The feeder is plastic without high contrast. I was able to solve the problem completely by switching the focus mode from multi-autofocus to center auto-focus and placing the center focus frame in the EVF on the edge of the bird feeder where there was sufficient contrast for the focusing system to work properly. This initial collection of maximum zoom shots brought home an important lesson about super zoom lenses including the Carl Zeiss lens on the HX300. Remember that the HX300's lens has a maximum aperture of 6.3 at 1200 mm and therefore the ISO will be set at higher values (400-800) to provide a sufficiently fast shutter speed to allow the camera to be hand-held at such a zoom setting. Of course, the higher the ISO, the higher the visible chroma and luma noise in the captured image. I found that these outdoor shots at 1200 mm zoom on a cloudy but not overcast day came in at ISO 800 and a shutter speed of 1/160 - 1/250 sec. The maximum zoom shots were reasonably sharp, but benefitted from noise removal in post-processing which, of course, is always a compromise between detail and noise reduction. Nonetheless, these images gave quite good prints and beautiful images up to 11 X 14 in. I believe with experience I can hand-hold maximum zoom shots at shutter speeds even below 1/160 second and manually set ISO to 200 and achieve even better maximum zoom shots. I think it will be difficult and perhaps impossible to get good maximum zoom images with excellent detail on very cloudy and overcast days or in other low light level situations. The HX300 in such conditions will require ISO's higher than 800 in such situations for maximum zoom images and the result will be more image noise than I would find acceptable.
My next photo expedition with the Sony HX300 had the objective of comparing image quality under controlled conditions (tripod mounted camera with timed release of the shutter to avoid vibrations that would lower image detail) of the HX300 with my Canon 5D Mark II and the 24-70 Canon L zoom lens as well as with the Canon 100-400 L lens. I went to a nearby park which has a lake that affords a 1.5 mile unobstructed view to a wooden bridge and homes across the lake. Lots of trees surrounding the lake provided added detail. It was a sunny bright day with no clouds in the sky. I shot a series of shots with the Sony HX300 in IQ mode and in Scene Select Landscape Mode at focal lengths ranging from 24 mm (maximum wide angle) to 1200 mm (maximum optical zoom). I matched the shooting conditions and scene with my Canon 5D Mark II on a tripod using the two L lenses up to the maximum 400 mm of the Canon L zoom lens. Upon arriving home and comparing the images, I was truly amazed at how well the Sony HX300 had performed. In fact, until I got to 100% image size (pixel peeping!), I was very hard pressed to see any difference in the detail or overall quality of these two cameras. I found this to be very surprising since the Sony system is $500 and the Canon 5D Mark II with its L lenses is in the $3500-$4500 range! At 100% image size I was definitely able to see a difference in the quality of the images and it always favored the Canon 5D Mark II which, not surprisingly, showed greater detail and less image noise than the HX300 especially when comparing the 400mm shots made by the two cameras. With that said, the difference is best described as noticeable but not overwhelming as I might have expected. I have shown these comparison images to several photographic friends and all have expressed amazement at how well the Sony HX300 image quality holds up in comparison to the much more expensive Canon equipment.
While at the lake I also had the opportunity to try out the Sony on some real "action" situations. A blue heron flew past and landed about 150 yards from me. I was able to get some terrific shots at full 1200 mm optical zoom (ISO 125) that I have printed at 16X20 size. I had the opportunity to try the burst mode of 10 images on a group of ducks in flight. I found that it was going to take some additional practice to master the art of zooming, tracking, and setting off the shutter for pictures of this type, but the camera did track and focus fairly well on this difficult scene. In another instance, a bird was circling high over the water and I was able to zoom to 1200 mm and get a nice detailed shot.
While at the lake, I had the opportunity to try out the movie mode of the HX300. I found that it tracked focus on my subjects beautifully, allowed me to smoothly zoom during movie making, recorded the sound nicely, and performed in every way in movie mode as well as I could have desired to produce excellent 1080i AVCHD movies.
Just a few final comments. Build quality on the Sony HX300 is quite good. Yes, it is made of composite (plastic), but it feels solid, has a nice textured grip that makes the camera easy to hand hold, and is so wonderfully light compared to my Canon 5D Mark II. I was using a 32 GB ultra high speed San Disk SDHC card, and I had no problem taking single images rapidly in virtually any mode, and even the burst of 10 shots previously described were recorded to the card in about 5-7 seconds which seems quite acceptable to me.
The HX300 is not a perfect camera (nor have I yet found one that is!), and here are some things that I would like to see changed. A button press is required to switch between the EVF and the LCD. On the older HX200 there was a sensor which automatically went to the EVF upon sensing the eye. I wish Sony had not removed this feature. The button turning on the EVF is flush with the camera body and quite small making it difficult to find by touch. The same is true for the Focus button, although the latter is only required when changing focus modes. Of course I would like to see a larger aperture than 6.3 when at full optical zoom, but this would likely require a much much larger lens with all the weight and expense that would entail.
My bottom line is that if you are in the market for a super zoom camera and you understand that under low light situations you may not find the 1200 mm zoomed images to be acceptable in their level of detail and sharpness, then I would highly recommend the Sony HX300. If you are printing huge images (larger than 16X20), this is probably not the camera for you. If you want a camera that will be great for vacation pictures, pictures of the family, bird photography, wildlife photography, etc. and you are willing to invest some time to learn to properly utilize the camera, then the HX300 may well be the perfect camera for you.
Note Added: I I have now posted the images referred to in the above review of the Sony HX300 including the comparison images with the Canon 5D Mark II on the dPreview.com Sony Cybershot Forum. The images, as per Forum requirements were posted at 1/2 the original image size. You can view the post at [...].
Unlike many other reviewers (but most probably like the majority of shoppers), I do not own several high end cameras and am therefore not going to be comparing this one to my other high end camera that I bought last year. So, in my comparison, all I can say is if you have an older bridge camera that seems to be losing a bit of steam and you are looking to replace it, look no further. You don't have to spend hours fretting over this spec and that, when you get this camera and take a few pictures you will feel like you did as a kid when you replaced that brownie camera with your first 35mm! The improvements made over that past half decade make the experience like night and day!
Every problem that I had with my old one is gone (or at least vastly improved) with this new one. That purply fringe line you sometimes got on the edges of your subject, or that white glare that seemed almost neon in brightness on a sunny day? Gone. That problem with focusing on a fast moving object? Gone. The blurry images from moving objects in anything but bright sunlight? Vastly improved. The issue of losing all definition of dark areas if anything was remotely back-lit? There is a setting called HDR on this camera that makes it possible to take those pictures you just didn't even bother trying before. That problem with taking indoor shots without flash where the quality was so low you never shared the pictures with anyone? Oh my God, what a difference.
Like my old camera, this one has a fully automatic setting, settings that allow you to over-ride some of the auto settings and others to completely over-ride the auto settings. It also has a large variety of other specialized settings, like "pet" or "portrait" that adjusts things for certain scenarios. In the cases of "landscape", "hdr", and "background de-focus", the camera's auto setting seems to do this for you. The macro setting is also automatic, coming on when your lens gets close enough. Over time, I will learn all these new settings, because I know that sometimes, the auto setting will misread the situation and I will want to be able to adjust. However, I am really impressed with this cameras ability to auto adjust well.
The quality of my pictures are stunning. If I crop in to a ridiculous, unreal point and compare it to a picture taken by a $2000.00 DSLR, would I notice a difference in crispness? Probably, but I will leave that debate to the spec snobs. While they are busy fretting over such things, I will be in the mountains taking awesome pictures of my grandkids in the snow, and enjoying my camera. Color, composition, saturation, detail, contrast, etc. are all outstanding with this camera. Details that my older camera could not pick up just stand out like crazy with this one. The camera is not magic, my black lab running in the white snow on a back-lit landscape still comes out as just a pure black shadow, but in less extreme situations, this camera is doing an awesome job.
And that crazy, insane 50X lens! First off, on the wide end, 24mm is much wider than my old 36mm and the difference is phenomenal. But when you go off the other end, I just cannot describe what happens. I have pictures of a building on a hill where you can see people on a deck, then you zoom out and that building is just the tiniest spec on your picture. I love birds, and am really looking forward to taking this out and getting details I never could before.
Played a bit with the video, and frankly I have a lot of homework to do on it. One thing I did notice though, is that the anti-shake technology on this camera made some of my video shots look like a pro took them with a tripod.
Bottom line, this camera is awesome. I have three situations where I took a picture and was stunned by the results. 1. A pigeon flew quickly over my head in a blue sky. The camera was on auto. I whipped around, got the bird in the frame, zoomed in a bit, and held the button half-way down to focus. The auto focus caught the bird quickly, and then the bird was instantly tracked by the auto focus. I took the picture, and the bird had no movement or blur in the photo. This was all done in under a couple seconds. 2. At around 5 pm, with the sun setting behind it, I took a picture of a mountain during a trip in the Cascades. The mountain had some snow, and some dark patches where there were trees and/or rocks. This photo would have been impossible in the past. Camera was on auto, and it immediately went into the "HDR" setting. (Read about this if you do not know what it is, I recommend making it a "need" spec to shop for.) The photo showed all the detail of the mountain instead of my usual too dark mountain that I would have got in the past. 3. I tested the camera in low light indoor settings, against my old camera. WOW! Where my old camera could only take an almost black dark shadow picture, this one picked everything up. I am talking at a light level far below what you would see in a family gathering, and I can hardly WAIT for the next time our family gets together!
Did I mention that awesome, sick, crazy zoom?
I love this camera!
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