June 7, 2011
- Strong 16x zoom lens
- Excellent 1080p 60-fps video
- Very good image quality
- In-camera GPS & compass
- Mediocre performance in automatic mode
- Flash is too strong
- No RAW shooting
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V is a 16x optical zoom, 16-megapixel digital camera that has a built-in GPS and 3D image shooting. It records excellent quality 1080p HD videos and has good image quality too, but no RAW shooting.
In terms of size, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V measures 4.3 x 1.4 x 2.4-inches (wdh) and weighs 0.48-pounds, so it's a little larger than most compact cameras, but it's not too large to be considered portable. The ergonomics of the camera are great and the parts of the body where your hands rest are rubberized and textured for a comfortable, secure hold.
On the camera's backside, you'll find a 3-inch LCD screen that is very bright and colors are extremely vibrant on it. However, be warned, the colors are quite brighter on the screen than the tend to be in reality.
Next to the screen, you'll find a four way scroll wheel and navigation pad and a menu, trash and playback button. There's also a dedicated video record button to provide one-touch access. The buttons are adequately sized and are comfortable to use. The camera includes an In-Camera Guide, which provides photography tips and guidance in using almost every feature included in the camera.
The top of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V has a mode dial, zoom toggle, power button and stereo microphone. There's also a pop-up flash on this camera, but you have to go through the camera's menu to get it to pop-up. This camera accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC cards and Memory Stick Duo cards. It also supports TransferJet Memory Stick cards, which lets you transfer images and videos wirelessly to other TransferJet devices.
Some of the specifications include a 16.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, a 32-512mm lens with a 16x optical sensor and aperture range of f5.9-3.3. ISO speeds range from 100 to 3200 and the maximum shutter speed is 1/1600 second. The maximum video resolution of 1920 x 1080-pixels and is saved in AVCHD format. HDMI and USB connections are also included.
The built-in GPS is pretty basic as it's only limited to geotagging images for placing them on a map once on your computer. There's no in-camera mapping or tagging with real-world location names. However, there is a digital compass, which shows you the direction the image was taken in addition to the latitude and longitude. It can take a little while for the GPS to connect to available satellites and using this feature also decreases battery life, so it's a good idea to turn it off while not using it.
There is a fully automatic mode, but also a sort-of manual mode, but you don't get things like shutter- or aperture-priority modes or RAW shooting capabilities. There are many scene modes and some added extras, like a 10-fps burst mode for fast-moving subjects.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V includes a 3D Sweep Panorama mode, which lets you take 3D panoramic images by just pressing the shutter once and slowly sweeping the camera. A 3D HDTV must be used to view these images, but they look pretty good in the end.
In subjective image testing, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V in auto mode had a little bit of trouble with color saturation, but the manual adjustments that the camera allows really improve the situation. The pop-up flash is quite strong in our opinion, so make sure to use it only when necessary and quite a distance from your subject. Images were rated at either Good or Very Good for overall quality.
Video quality was also subjectively tested and was rated Excellent, especially the 1080p HD video quality. The 60-fps mode offers more frames than the traditional 30-fps mode and it really shows. Low lighting situations even produced good quality videos. The audio that is recorded through the top stereo microphone was also very good. Overall the video quality is probably the best we've seen from a compact digital camera.
The battery is CIPA rated to last for 300 shots, which is quite good for these type of cameras. However, the battery has to be charged inside the camera by plugging the camera into a wall outlet via a proprietary USB connector.