Sony Cybershot DSC-HX100V Review - Digital Photography School

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX100V Review

About this time last year I fell upon a Sony DSC-HX5V compact digicam with great glee, buying one to use for my family picture making. It has since traveled with us on all our excursions, elegantly and easily recording our trips as HD movies.

Admittedly, there are a few hangups with it, mostly to do with the image stabiliser… it doesn’t like the camera to stay still!

So, it was with considerable interest that I wrapped my sticky fingers around this new model, eager to suss it out.

Sony HX100V-flash.jpg

The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX100V is quite a bit larger than the HX5V, in the guise of a faux DSLR, with a fixed 30x Carl Zeiss zoom, swing out 7.6cm LCD screen and a few other tricks.

QVB wide 2.JPG

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX100V Features

The CMOS sensor captures 16.2 million effective pixels, with a maximum still image of 4608×3456 pixels, enough to make a 39x29cm print.

Sony HX100V_3_L.JPG

Sony HX100v-3.jpg

But what makes the HX100V a dynamically powerful camera is its panorama function, able to capture vertical or horizontal sweeps of up to 10,480×4096 pixels, leading to a 89x34cm print. True!

Town hall chandelier.JPG

Like the HX5V, the HX100V shoots the sections of the panorama as you swing it up/down or across (in two directions), then stitches the sections in-camera.

Then there is the burst mode that shoots 10 full size images in a second. No excuses for missed action!

3D shooting.jpg

Then, if that’s not enough, you can shoot 3D in the MPO format, first seen in the Fujifilm 3D camera. The 3D is captured using the 3D Sweep Panorama mode or the 3D Still image mode. In this mode, the camera takes two consecutive shots and creates left- and right-eye images to produce a 3D effect. You can watch these on compatible 3D TV sets or you can view a simulated 3D on the camera’s LCD screen … but not very successfully, demanding you tilt the camera to get the stereo effect.

Movies

Full HD video capture of 1920×1080 pixels at 60 progressive frames is recorded in the AVCHD format. Select lower resolutions and it will write MPEG4 to the card.

Somehow, the HX100V seems able to capture video with less fuss than my earlier compact; something to do with the shape and weight of the former. The stabiliser arrangement appears to be the same.

What’s nice is that, as you shoot video and move around, the auto exposure and auto focus work well. You can also shoot stills mid-movie at the 2304×1296 size (with AVCHD video).

The GPS function (as indicated by the ‘V’ in the model number) will attract many and the feature, logged on the LCD screen, worked well in my location. Post-shoot, you can access the GPS data embedded in the image with the supplied PMB software (Picture Motion Browser), but only for Windows.

What’s interesting about the camera is the lens arrangement: you can work the zoom with the toggle, atop the camera; or you can move out to tele or back to wide by rolling the lens barrel itself, but, as the lens is servo operated, there is a lag that can be a little off-putting. Alternately, you can choose to use manual focus by switching a button on the lens itself, with an on-screen indication of your focus point is. Me? I’m happy with auto!

HDR.jpg
?There is an HDR feature in the HX100V that is in reality a way to handle heavily backlit subjects: three shots are taken at differing exposures, then the trio are stitched into a single, properly corrected image. Naturally, this is not a feature you can use if you use flash, hold the camera erratically or with subject movement.

ISO Settings

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V ISO 100.jpg

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V ISO 400.JPG

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V ISO 800.JPG

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V ISO 1600.JPG

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V ISO 3200.JPG

As expected, the ISO 100 shot is fine. By ISO 400 noise is on the rise, continuing with ISO 800 and 1600. IMHO the ISO 3200 could still be used with certain shots requiring the increased speed.

The odd thing is that, although indirect sunlight was the light source, the rendering of all these test shots tended towards blue.

Distortion

This is an unusually well-corrected lens, as it showed no sign of distortion at the wide or tele ends of the zoom. Does the name Zeiss mean anything to you?

Startup

In three seconds after power is tapped, the camera shot its first shot; follow-ons came in as fast as I could touch the shutter button.

Flute player 2.JPG

Comment

The review was conducted under less than ideal circumstances; getting the camera with no manual, after a day or two eventually tracking down a small PDF guide on the Net. This was a far from ideal publication, in English and Spanish, with only 33 pages in my mother tongue. Olé!

The camera is a reasonably complex one, so you may have difficulty in figuring out its options in the tiny manual!

Narrabeen backlit trees 3.JPG

Quality: top class images with fine resolution and good colour saturation.
Why you would buy it: Full HD capture; 10 fps burst; 30x zoom.
Why you wouldn’t: the camera is not truly pocketable.

For me, this is a honey of a camera and could handle all the photographic chores most amateurs face. The image critical will come down heavily on the small sensor; fewer and larger pixels could mean improved picture quality.

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX100V Specifications

Image Sensor: 16.2 million effective pixels.
Metering: Multi zones, centre-weighted, spot.
Sensor Size: 11mm CMOS.
Lens: Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar f2.8-5.6/4.8-144mm (27-810mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Shutter Speed: 30 to 1/4000 second.
Memory: Memory Stick PRO Duo/PRO-HG Duo/SD/SDHC/SDXC cards plus 19MB internal memory.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4608×3456 to 1920×1080. Panorama: 10,480×4096 to 1920×1080.
Movies (pixels): 1920×1080, 1440×1080, 1280×720, 640×480 at 60p.
Viewfinder: 5mm EVF/FLC (201,600 pixels).
Rear LCD Screen: 7.6cm LCD (921,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, AVCHD, MPEG4.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 3200.
Interface: USB 2.0, AV, HDMI, DC.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 122x87x93 WHDmm.
Weight: 577 g (with battery and card).
Price: Get a price on the Sony Cybershot DSC-HX100V at Amazon.

Summary
Reviewer
Barrie Smith
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX100V
Author Rating
3

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Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

  • Tom

    just ordered it from amazon, so should have a new camera in 1-3 months :( .
    Upgrade from the Hx1.

    i thought the manual was mean’t to be built in to the camera?

  • Luna

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’m wondering if the sample photos were taken with the zoom fully extended then cropped? They look pixelized in some places, and the color isn’t as bright as the review says it is.

  • http://www.KellymanPhotography.com Chris Kellyman

    Is it just me or are the tires on that Monster Truck/Bus mounted backwardz? Maybe it’s purposeful, I don’t know. Educate me.

  • Barrie Smith

    To Luna

    how perceptive! Yes some of the shots are cropped. Zoom partially extended.

  • Barrie Smith

    To Chris

    again, how perceptive! My guess is that when Sony chose the truck pic for this display they flipped it. Or sumfin.

  • http://n/a John Snider

    I’m a beginner and have seen the reviews but no mention of water blur shots. Could this camera do this well?

  • http://justmightbejess.deviantart.com/ Jessica

    Hey… Silly question: Is that a touch screen?

  • Barrie Smith

    Another note to Luna:
    the original shot began as a 4608×3456 pixel JPEG. The colour balance was corrected in Photoshop Levels: it was a greyish morning.
    The shot was taken at ISO 400 with the zoom at 22mm.
    It was cropped and resized to 1000×750 pixels, given to DPS, then it was resized to 600×450 pixels (as it appears in this review).
    So, as you can se it travels a long way from the original!

  • Rachel

    Hey, can this camera take pictures sort of like this?

    http://www.deviantart.com/#/d1pulwh

  • shashi

    i have got this camera 1 month before. with intelligent auto u have many scenes to select from . if not satisfied with the auto setting u can use manual setting too. i am really loving thi camera

  • http://flickr.com/happymichael Michael

    Been thinking to get this camera for a while now… My only concern is that on the official spec it says the battery will only last ” 150min (CIPA standard with LCD screen on)” – what is your view on the battery life? Thanks :)

  • Jose Luis

    I wonder if in the fully extended zoom, vignetting shows up. I have a DSC-H20 with a 10x optical Carl Zeiss zoom that has this “problem”. Sometimes, I have to crop. I noticed also some dificulty in focusing depending on zoom extent, which makes hard to compose properly. Did you noticed any of this issues in this new camera?

  • Angel

    Just got this same camera and so far I absolutely love it! We took family portraits and landscape shots in the mountains last weekend for over two hours and still had plenty of battery life. Love the panoramic shots I was able to capture! In my opinion, this camera is awesome!

  • Andre

    Got my HX100V two months ago. Very happy with it. Probably the best an amature can do at the price.
    Great features. Very impressive to use on manual. Picture quality is very good if you are not going to try and use it to make posters (remember to use it for what it was designed to do). An all round camera to be used by amatures looking for sharp images within reasonable limits. Take low light images hand held at 1/4 sec. Zoom in and take portraits of people without them noticing. Macro is great at 1cm from lens. Will recommend to any amature with limited budget.

  • globefan

    Really need some advice from the people out there.
    I’m looking at buying the Sony HX100V or the Nikon P500.
    The price of both is quite similar just that the salesman at the store was too non commital either at which one he should recommend and as if i would have blamed him for a decision to choose between a beamer or a merc.
    Please help me make my decision!
    Thanks

  • Annie

    We bought this camera a few months ago and I am a bit frustrated with it. The pictures it takes are great, but when I print them, there isn’t good definition in the faces and we look pixcelated. I called Sony directly, but they weren’t very much help. Then I uploaded the pics without the software and had the same problem. Any ideas? Thanks!

  • Shashi Aitla

    I got this camera recently (01-FEB-2012) through online store (Sathya Bazaar) from Chennai. I got it on COD (cash on Delivery) method of payment. It is really a good camera, but the production was stopped few months ago. Sathya Bazaar, where I got it even after the product manufacturing stopped. Please goto Sathya Bazaar if anybody still wants to buy this one, No doubt I got an original original product.

  • Andres

    I need a little help here.. i have this camera and i want to use it for a 2 week time lapse on a construction site…What gadgets must i use? where can i get them? Thank you!

  • kim

    i have one and it is an awesome camera….i am actually needing something with more photography options and would like to sell mine

  • kim

    i have only had it 3 months and it is great for about anything….jst need a lil bit more for professional photography

  • kim

    to shashi, mine does the same thing

  • Sourabh

    Hi,

    Can we attach additional lanses to this camera?
    It’s 30X zoom is pretty impressive… I’m lovin it!

    -Sourabh

  • Barrie Smith

    There are add-on lenses (not made by Sony) for this camera on eBay.

    Take a look at

    http://compare.ebay.com.au/like/271113311782?ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes

  • Guest

    Can i add filters for sony hx-100v ? Any idea about it..

  • Nithin Urs

    Even i too need help on this.. Is it possible to use any extra filters or lens hoods on sony hx-100v ?

Some older comments

  • Barrie Smith

    April 11, 2013 09:50 am

    There are add-on lenses (not made by Sony) for this camera on eBay.

    Take a look at

    http://compare.ebay.com.au/like/271113311782?ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes

  • Sourabh

    April 11, 2013 01:29 am

    Hi,

    Can we attach additional lanses to this camera?
    It's 30X zoom is pretty impressive... I'm lovin it!

    -Sourabh

  • kim

    April 28, 2012 04:04 pm

    to shashi, mine does the same thing

  • kim

    April 28, 2012 04:02 pm

    i have only had it 3 months and it is great for about anything....jst need a lil bit more for professional photography

  • kim

    April 28, 2012 04:01 pm

    i have one and it is an awesome camera....i am actually needing something with more photography options and would like to sell mine

  • Andres

    February 11, 2012 10:07 am

    I need a little help here.. i have this camera and i want to use it for a 2 week time lapse on a construction site...What gadgets must i use? where can i get them? Thank you!

  • Shashi Aitla

    February 3, 2012 07:59 pm

    I got this camera recently (01-FEB-2012) through online store (Sathya Bazaar) from Chennai. I got it on COD (cash on Delivery) method of payment. It is really a good camera, but the production was stopped few months ago. Sathya Bazaar, where I got it even after the product manufacturing stopped. Please goto Sathya Bazaar if anybody still wants to buy this one, No doubt I got an original original product.

  • Annie

    December 29, 2011 10:35 am

    We bought this camera a few months ago and I am a bit frustrated with it. The pictures it takes are great, but when I print them, there isn't good definition in the faces and we look pixcelated. I called Sony directly, but they weren't very much help. Then I uploaded the pics without the software and had the same problem. Any ideas? Thanks!

  • globefan

    November 8, 2011 06:22 pm

    Really need some advice from the people out there.
    I'm looking at buying the Sony HX100V or the Nikon P500.
    The price of both is quite similar just that the salesman at the store was too non commital either at which one he should recommend and as if i would have blamed him for a decision to choose between a beamer or a merc.
    Please help me make my decision!
    Thanks

  • Andre

    November 7, 2011 07:05 pm

    Got my HX100V two months ago. Very happy with it. Probably the best an amature can do at the price.
    Great features. Very impressive to use on manual. Picture quality is very good if you are not going to try and use it to make posters (remember to use it for what it was designed to do). An all round camera to be used by amatures looking for sharp images within reasonable limits. Take low light images hand held at 1/4 sec. Zoom in and take portraits of people without them noticing. Macro is great at 1cm from lens. Will recommend to any amature with limited budget.

  • Angel

    November 7, 2011 03:25 am

    Just got this same camera and so far I absolutely love it! We took family portraits and landscape shots in the mountains last weekend for over two hours and still had plenty of battery life. Love the panoramic shots I was able to capture! In my opinion, this camera is awesome!

  • Jose Luis

    September 5, 2011 08:21 am

    I wonder if in the fully extended zoom, vignetting shows up. I have a DSC-H20 with a 10x optical Carl Zeiss zoom that has this "problem". Sometimes, I have to crop. I noticed also some dificulty in focusing depending on zoom extent, which makes hard to compose properly. Did you noticed any of this issues in this new camera?

  • Michael

    August 15, 2011 11:50 pm

    Been thinking to get this camera for a while now... My only concern is that on the official spec it says the battery will only last " 150min (CIPA standard with LCD screen on)" - what is your view on the battery life? Thanks :)

  • shashi

    August 9, 2011 11:20 pm

    i have got this camera 1 month before. with intelligent auto u have many scenes to select from . if not satisfied with the auto setting u can use manual setting too. i am really loving thi camera

  • Rachel

    August 9, 2011 01:50 am

    Hey, can this camera take pictures sort of like this?

    http://www.deviantart.com/#/d1pulwh

  • Barrie Smith

    August 8, 2011 08:35 am

    Another note to Luna:
    the original shot began as a 4608x3456 pixel JPEG. The colour balance was corrected in Photoshop Levels: it was a greyish morning.
    The shot was taken at ISO 400 with the zoom at 22mm.
    It was cropped and resized to 1000x750 pixels, given to DPS, then it was resized to 600x450 pixels (as it appears in this review).
    So, as you can se it travels a long way from the original!

  • Jessica

    August 8, 2011 02:45 am

    Hey... Silly question: Is that a touch screen?

  • John Snider

    August 5, 2011 10:42 pm

    I'm a beginner and have seen the reviews but no mention of water blur shots. Could this camera do this well?

  • Barrie Smith

    August 5, 2011 07:11 am

    To Chris

    again, how perceptive! My guess is that when Sony chose the truck pic for this display they flipped it. Or sumfin.

  • Barrie Smith

    August 5, 2011 07:10 am

    To Luna

    how perceptive! Yes some of the shots are cropped. Zoom partially extended.

  • Chris Kellyman

    August 4, 2011 10:56 pm

    Is it just me or are the tires on that Monster Truck/Bus mounted backwardz? Maybe it's purposeful, I don't know. Educate me.

  • Luna

    August 4, 2011 10:44 am

    Maybe it's just me, but I'm wondering if the sample photos were taken with the zoom fully extended then cropped? They look pixelized in some places, and the color isn't as bright as the review says it is.

  • Tom

    August 4, 2011 06:11 am

    just ordered it from amazon, so should have a new camera in 1-3 months :( .
    Upgrade from the Hx1.

    i thought the manual was mean't to be built in to the camera?

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