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As mentioned elsewhere, I bought this camera’s predecessor — the HX5V — about a year ago for family use. And enjoyed every still and video pixel it shot!
So what do we get with the new boy?
We can now enjoy a 16x optical zoom, (24-384mm on a 35 SLR). In 16:9 HD movie mode the zoom range resembles 25-400mm.
The 10fps burst rate continues in this model and, frankly, 10 full size JPEGs should keep everybody happy — but note this gives you a total of only 10 shots in each burst. No more.
Sweep panorama is an amazing feature and possibly limited by the choice of ideal subject matter, your own shooting skill and access to a large format printer.
The specs indicate that a sweep pano of 42.9MB can be captured with the final image size running to 10,480×4096 pixels. As a print: 88.7×34.6cm at 300 dpi.
This parking station shot was taken by panning in the direction of the car, which shows some of the genius in the pano mode. I count 30 plus segments.
You can shoot vertical or horizontal panoramas, tilting or panning in up/down or left to right/right to left directions.
As an adjunct to this function you can also shoot 3D image pairs, captured in 15 images at different angles and then compiled into one image, viewable on compatible TV sets. The PR blurb claims you can view these images “in simulated 3D on the camera’s LCD screen” by tilting the camera back and forth. I failed miserably to see 3D!
Full HD resolution of 1920×1080 is maintained in AVCHD capture and video capture is vastly improved in the bit rate figures: top rate (PS) is 28 Mbps, moving down to 9 Mbps (HQ).
MPEG4 capture at 1440×1080/1280×720/640480 pixels, rendered at rates of 12/6/3 Mbps.
The new camera can also capture smallish stills (2304×1296) while shooting video.
Maximum image size is 4608×3456 pixels, or 39x29cm as a print.
The HX9V has GPS and a compass feature inbuilt so you can log your position after shooting an image or even find true North if you are trudging through the bush!
Newbies will like the in-camera guide. Sure helps when you’re on the road and need a hand up!
I had an issue with the instruction manual: too brief at 30 pages. There is an HTML guide but this is not searchable and, with the HX9V’s many complex features, the camera deserves better.
There is one factor missing from the HX9V. The HX5V had 45MB of internal memory … the new feller has none.
I had high hopes in this department.
To begin with, the new camera’s movie mode has fixed one of my major objections to the HX5V: the zoom’s wide angle end no longer has pronounced barrel distortion.
I then ran a comparison of the HX5V and HX9V, strapping the cameras together and shooting a walk through. Frankly, I could not pick a distinct advantage with either in smoothness; it depended on your own movement, with the stabiliser cushioning any violent movement.
However, the highest bit rate setting (PS) produced considerably less image noise.
When importing the clips into editing software the story became more interesting …
I could import all four quality levels (PS/FX/FH/HQ) into Adobe Premiere 5.0. However, my attempts to import the clips into Mac’s iMovie software were slightly less successful … all except the PS clip could be imported.
My advice? Go into the editing situation carefully before you buy the camera.
To see some incredibly good, professionally captured footage with this camera go to:
I was frankly surprised to find the camera’s rendition: quite good in resolution and noise all the way up to ISO 1600. Only at ISO 3200 was there was any (slight) sign of a problem … but in fact this setting could quite satisfactorily be used for non-critical photography IMHO. A very good performance.
The HX9V has been slightly redesigned and some control points moved around. For me, there was not a lot of difference, as I had found the HX5V’s layout to be quite OK.
The 10 position mode dial gives access to auto camera operation as well as Program AE, manual exposure, scene modes, movie mode, iSweep plus a High Dynamic Range mode that relies on two identical exposures to maximise image quality. There is a mysterious one called MR for Memory Recall which gives a status display. A useful one if you shoot a lot portraits may be Background Defocus, but I couldn’t get it to work for me.
The flash is now a pop up job but still gives about the same output power as the predecessor.
Now there’s a new comfort pad on the camera’s back just beneath the shutter button; the speed grip is also textured.
Two seconds after I hit the power button I took my first picture, with follow-ons coming in at about a second each.
The still image and video modes showed no distortion at the zoom’s wide or tele end.
Quality: excellent in all my shots. This one of the skateboarder is an enlargement from about a quarter of the full image. Not bad!
Why you would buy this camera: biggish zoom; fast burst rate; sweep panorama function; Full HD with high bit rates; GPS feature.
Why you wouldn’t: you want a simpler, de-featured camera!
For me — a phenomenal camera.
Image Sensor: 16.2 million effective pixels.
Sensor Type: CMOS.
Metering: Multi-zone, centre-weighted; spot.
Sensor Size: 11mm.
Lens: Sony G f3.3-5.9/4.28-68.48mm (31-496mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Shutter Speed: 30 to 1/1600 second.
Continuous: 10 fps.
Memory: MemoryStick Duo/Pro Duo/PRO-HG, SD, SDHC, SDXC.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4608×3456 to 640×480. Movies: AVCHD 1920×1080, 1440×1080 at 50/60i + 50/60p. MPEG4 1440×1080, 1280×720, 640×480.
File Formats: JPEG, AVCHD, MPEG4.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 3200.
LCD Screen: 7.5cm (921,600 pixels)
Interface: USB 2.0, AV, mini HDMI, and DC input.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery.
Dimensions: 104.8x59x33.9 WHDmm.
Weight: Approx. 245 g (inc battery, card).
Price: Get a price on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V at Amazon or at B&H Photo and Video.
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