Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V

  • Category: Digital Cameras
Last Updated
August 30, 2011

Editor's Rating
4 Out of 5

  • Strong feature set
  • Full manual controls
  • Excellent image quality
  • Built-in GPS

  • Minor design flaws
  • No RAW shooting

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The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V is a feature-packed 16-megapixel camera that has a backside-illiminated CMOS sensor that leads to really great photo and video quality. While it might suffer from some design flaws, it has full HD video quality and a built-in GPS.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V measures 4.6 x 3.6 x 3.5-inches (wdh) and weighs 1 pound, 4 ounces, which puts it on the large and heavy side. It does feel a little bulky in the hands of its user, but it's nothing too horrible. On the back side, there's a large 3-inch display with a 921,000-dot resolution that has a good brightness level but it still has rather poor visibility in direct sunlight. There's also a four-way directional pad that doubles as the display, flash and timer model buttons. There are also dedicated buttons for the menu, trash/help, playback and video record. There's also a scroll wheel that lies under the user's right thumb. The electronic viewfinder has a proximity sensor that automatically turns on and shuts the display off when your eye is up against it, but it is a little slow to activate.

The top of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V has a mode dial with everything from manual mode to aperture-priority mode to shutter-priority mode. There's also a zoom toggle along with the shutter release button and directly below that are two buttons are bringing up focus settings and a custom preset. The lens barrel has a zoom control just like the older 35mm cameras for fine zoom adjustments. The front and back do have rubberized grips to help hold it comfortably and securely and they do a decent job at that.

There is also a GPS receiver and compass built-in to geotag your photos and videos. Since it does consume a lot of battery life it is turned off by default. Once activated, it will acquire a lock with the GPS satellites that orbit the earth and you can view the geotag information in supported photo viewers.

The HX100V camera is packed with lots of automatic modes besides a full manual mode and aperture- and shutter-priority modes. It offers lots of aperture settings from f2.8 to f8.0 and shutter speeds range from 1/4000 to 30 seconds. The automatic mode has three subsettings: Easy, Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto. Easy mode completely controls all of the camera's settings except for image size. Intelligent Auto makes use of 10 scene types that uses face detection and image stabilization to improve photos. Superior Auto uses more multishot modes, antimotion blur and HDR photos to increase quality.

There's also an Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode to capture horizontal and vertical panoramas by pressing the shutter button once and panning the camera slowly. This Sony camera automatically detects faces and moving objects and tries to keep them together in the panorama to avoid any awkward distortion and it does a good job at it too. This mode has an extra high resolution mode, which captures the panorama at an astounding 10480 x 4096-pixel resolution. Also, a 3D Sweep Panorama mode is available that captures the same panorama but in 3D mode to be viewed on a 3D-enabled HDTV.

Some of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V's specifications include a backside-illuminated CMOS sensor with a 16-megapixel resolution, a 30x optical zoom lens with a 27-810mm 35mm equivalent and optical and digital image stabilization. Images are captured at a maximum resolution of 4608 x 3456-pixels and images are 1080p full HD resolution at 60 frames per second at maximum. Supported storage media includes SD/SDHC/SDXC, Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo and Eye-Fi wireless cards. Images are not able to be shot in RAW format, which is a drawback for professionals who want that uncompressed quality.

In subjective images tests, the HX100V earned a rating of "excellent", especially if you use the manual modes. At very low ISO settings, you do lose some noticeable sharpness but at mid-range ISO speeds, images are crisp with no visible noise. Colors were also well-represented and full size prints looked fantastic, even pictures shot in dimly-lit conditions. Thanks to the pop-up flash on the top, it illuminates near objects quite well in dim settings.

Movie quality was rated "very good" and fast-moving objects recorded well thanks to image stabilization that cuts down on the usual blur and ghosting. You can zoom using the optical zoom but you do hear the motor on the audio track. The stereo microphone on the top of the camera does a good job of producing good quality audio.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V's shooting speeds are about average when compared to other similar CMOS cameras. Shot-to-shot time is about 1.4 seconds, but turning on the flash increases it to just over 3 seconds between shots. Shutter lag is almost non-existent, which is always a huge plus.

Battery life is also quite good at 410 shots according to the CIPA rating. This is, of course, without the GPS enabled, which dramatically reduces battery life.

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