27 April 2009

Sony Cybershot DSC HX1 - Review

Ok, so i've had the camera for a couple of days now and would like to share some thoughts about it. First off, let me tell you that all photos in this post are taken by the Intelligent Auto Scene Mode. Also, this review doesn't include any specs, as you can find these at Sony's official website. I got the camera from Sony Style store in Columbus, OH for $499.99 (Plus around $30 tax).

I really like the design of the camera. The grip is very tight and comfortable. The nice thing about this mega-zoom, is it is actually smaller than you would expect. Now I'm not saying you can carry it in your pocket, but it is considerably smaller than regular mega-zooms and dSLR's.

Panoramic Mode
Now here is the interesting part. Panoramic mode is STUNNING. It is amazing. Unfortunately, its brilliance is hindered a little under low light conditions. None-the-less, this feature delivers stunning photos. I imagine taking panoramic photos in different stadiums and arenas. The photos will be breath-taking. Here is an example of a panoramic photo.

(Click on HERE for bigger view)

Zooming is amazing on this camera. With the autofocus button (half shutter down), a 20x zoomed photo is as clear as a 4x zoomed photo. The zoom range is very long at 20x max. Really neat for a mega-zoom.

4x Zoom

12x Zoom

20x Zoom

I really like the speed of the HX1. It is very fast between shots. My only concern is that it takes around 3 seconds to start up once you open the camera. Other than that, it is very snappy. I'm not sure if it's because of the "mechanical shutter", but it's really done a good job. I always felt that speed between shots was an aspect Sony should work on, and thankfully they did.

Now I know that macro is a setting that is usually made manually, but I'm not a pro, and so I continued using the intelligent scene mode. The camera does take pretty good macro shots. You can also tweak the contrast so you would get excellent flower shots.

Overall, I would highly recommend this camera. I definitely like the Intelligent Scene mode, as it will automatically detect the type of shot and accommodate to the conditions in a split second in order to ensure that you take those fast shots before they're gone. I like the build of this camera. It feels rugged, yet comfortable in the hand. The mechanical shutter does deliver exceptional speed. HD Video mode, which I didn't cover, is as good as it sounds at 1080 HD. Minor things: Love the articulating screen on the back, package surprisingly doesn't come with a memory stick, optical view finder is a very nice touch.