Sony DSC-HX5V CMOS Digital Camera with 10x Wide Angle Zoom with Optical Steady Shot Image Stabilization and 3.0 inch LCD 10.2MP

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V 10.2MP CMOS Digital Camera with 10x Wide Angle Zoom with Optical Steady Shot Image Stabilization and 3.0 inch LCD

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V 10.2MP CMOS Digital Camera with 10x Wide Angle Zoom with Optical Steady Shot Image Stabilization and 3.0 inch LCD Rating:
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Product Description

Capture stunning low-light images and sweeping panoramic views with the DSC-HX5V featuring an “Exmor R” CMOS Sensor. Plus catch fast action shots with up to 10 frames per seconds shooting. Full HD Movie Mode9 records amazingly detailed video and a 25mm equivalent wide angle 10x high-zoom G Lens allows you to take captivating images. featuring an “Exmor R” CMOS Sensor. Plus catch fast action shots with up to 10 frames per seconds shooting. Full HD Movie Mode9 records amazingly detailed video and a 25mm equivalent wide angle 10x high-zoom G Lens allows you to take captivating images.

Details

  • "Exmor R" CMOS sensor for stunning low-light performance
  • iSweep Panorama Mode captures stunning panoramic images
  • Fast capture with 10fps at full 10.2-megapixel resolution
  • 10x optical zoom Sony G-Lens with 25mm wide angle; 1080i AVCHD Movie records high-quality HD movies
  • Recording Media : 45MB internal Flash Memory, optional Memory Stick Duo Media, optional Memory Stick PRO Duo Media, optional Memory Stick PRO Duo (High Speed), optional Memory Stick PRO HG-Duo, optional SD/SDHC media

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V 10.2MP CMOS Digital Camera with 10x Wide Angle Zoom with Optical Steady Shot Image Stabilization and 3.0 inch LCD out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 953 user reviews
Sony Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V 10.2MP CMOS Digital Camera with 10x Wide Angle Zoom with Optical Steady Shot Image Stabilization and 3.0 inch LCD Capture stunning low-light images and sweeping panoramic views with the DSC-HX5V featuring an “Exmor R” CMOS Sensor. Plus catch fast action shots with up to 10 frames per seconds shooting. Full HD Movie Mode9 records amazingly detailed video and a 25mm equivalent wide angle 10x high-zoom G Lens allows you to take captivating images. featuring an “Exmor R” CMOS Sensor. Plus catch fast action shots with up to 10 frames per seconds shooting. Full HD Movie Mode9 records amazingly detailed video and a 25mm equivalent wide angle 10x high-zoom G Lens allows you to take captivating images. http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41x6o5vDbAL._SL160_.jpg
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10 Responses to “Sony DSC-HX5V CMOS Digital Camera with 10x Wide Angle Zoom with Optical Steady Shot Image Stabilization and 3.0 inch LCD 10.2MP”

  1. Rick in Virginia Says:

    Rating

    I have been looking for a new P&S for a while and compared the Sony hx5v v. Canon sx210is v. Panasonic zs3 (as a prelude to the zs7). The most important consideration was image quality – followed closely by convenience, a well defined menu system, lens quality, fit and finish and pocketability. The Sony and Panny both had a gps function which was not important to me.

    The panny zs3 had poor low light performance and no manual controls. Several bona fide review sites stated that the IQ for the zs7 was inferior to the zs3 so I quickly made a decision that the zs7 was not in contention.

    For a comparison between the Sony and Canon I spent lunchtime on a couple of days walking around town – taking only photos with the Sony on the trip out…and with the Canon on the walk back to my office. With the same drill in the evening to compare low light performance. I accumulated several hundred photos. When taking the photos I would use whatever mode or camera setting was appropriate at the time. Specifically, I did not set the cameras on Auto and just shoot in that mode. I also took a fair amount of video. A couple of days later I loaded all photos and video onto my computer and began viewing and this is where the Sony fell down. The images were very soft. At a small size they looked fine – in fact they looked very good. However, with any magnification, the in-camera noise removal processing was evident and very heavy handed. Other review sites stated this, but I had to see it for myself, and even at ISO 125 (the lowest Sony allows) the images were soft. At pixel peeping levels it was very bad. Details were lost and it all looked like plastic. And if the details aren’t there, no amount of work in PS or LR will bring them back to life. The evidence of noise at magnification was low, but I’d rather have native noise and remove it with Neat Image than be stuck with an over processed image. Also, there is no manual mode at all…all auto function. There is no iris for f-stop control, so to limit light Sony has chosen to use a neutral density filter and you get only 2 f-stops. Therefore, you get one depth of field for all images. That is almost anti-camera to me.

    Sony claims their CMOS sensor is superior to a CCD sensor. That is apparent in the ability to shoot full resolution images for 10 fps bursts, as well as the hand held twilight and anti blur modes. But, to my eye, I don’t see any low light benefit of the CMOS over the CCD and image quality did not compare well, though I don’t think that had much to do with the sensor as much as Sony’s noise algorithm.

    The white balance is inconsistent indoors. You can get a custom WB by shooting a white object, but the native AWB will leave you disappointed. Outdoors the colors are warm – no problem there. And it is easy to use anti blur mode to get a quick snapshot anytime and have a good result.

    I did not give the video an adequate review since the stills were so disappointing. However, the microphones are situated in the exact wrong location. It is difficult to keep from covering one or both of them as you are filming. It is a very poor design. The flash is weak and poorly located – it is easy to block with your fingers. The light from the flash falls visibly off-centered in the image.

    The Sony has some great technology. The 10 fps burst is great, the hand held twilight and anti blur are clever and practical. The menu system is well designed and intuitive. It is a good point and shoot camera for someone that wants only that without the need for printing beyond 4×6 or only for casual viewing on the computer.

    The Sony was returned and the Canon sx210is won out. Far better image quality, it has a manual mode with up to 15 second exposure, very good HD video at 720p and good sound, superior low light performance, better flash power as well as being able to adjust the eV +/- for flash photography, better color gamut, the 14x optical on the Canon is nice – some vignetting at 14x, but that is fixable in post process. I do wish the Canon had a faster burst mode.

  2. vyruzreaper Says:

    Rating

    This camera is so much fun to use. Panoramic shots are awesome as stated in about every review. The low light shooting isnt DSLR quality but its better than most every other one in its class, although it can still be better. The amont of functions and specs you get are awesome for the price. The only big knock is Noise reduction. This camera is not for you if you want to print anything bigger than 8×10. Anything smaller or just computer/webshots is almost ideal. Then again if you want large prints you should be buying a DSLR

    Pro:

    GPS

    It has a gyroscope (insane! lol iphone 4 just added this)

    Good low light

    10FPS at full resolution! (some dslr dont even do this!!!)

    It accepts SD cards

    BEST HD movie recording 1080i at 60fps or 720p mp4 at 30 fps

    Awesome Panoramic shoots(perfect stitching)

    HDR mode(takes two shots and combines them together to get one perfect shot)

    Limited manual controls is nice

    No barrel distortion

    good flash

    no purple fringing

    good IQ up to 800 iso decent at 1600 and 3200 iso

    beautiful G lens 10x zoom

    Light and easy to handle with one hand

    Great focus locks times

    burst mode

    bracketing mode

    Twilight mode is great

    Ani blur is the most useful I have seen on any pns

    No noise while zooming while recording video and the ability to actually zoom is great

    Cons:

    Noise reduction is too aggressive and smudges some detail

    Mic could better and in a bad spot on the top left of camera

    Manual controls are very lacking – no aperture or shutter priority modes

    Only 2 aperture in manual modes

    Do yourself a favor and buy this camera. Dont listen to people about IQ. Those people are expecting IQ from DLSR. You wont get that but this is the best in point and shots minus the s90. Great buy!

  3. Mark Crandell Says:

    Rating

    This has loads of useful features and takes good looking photos.

    GPS + compass lets you see where you were and what direction you were pointing when taking photos. Works with the supplied photo browser software and others like Picasa 3. Only problem with GPS is that after you power on the camera some of you photos will be tagged with the previous location while the GPS tries to update the location. GPS can be as quick as 15 seconds, but depends on cloud coverage, the number of surrounding buildings, etc.

    Some of the other features I’ve found useful after only a few days.

    HDR mode – combines 2 back-to-back images and merges them giving you more dynamic range in the photo.

    Anti blur mode – merges 6 shots into 1 to help eliminate motion blur.

    Panorama stitch – great for cityscape/scenery. (Only works on the wide angle lens, no zooming allowed)

    25mm lens – great for indoor shots with lots of people.

    Face detection – easy to focus on people, smile detector makes capturing good shots automatic and helps when trying to take self portraits.

    1080i AVCHD capture. (Yes, you can zoom while taking video)

    SDHC/SD/Memory stick compatible, takes either of those memory cards.(Finally Sony!!)

    As far as the camera body goes, it is pocket-able. The lens does stick out a bit, too bad they couldn’t have made it flush with the body.

    Stereo microphone, unfortunately the placement of the microphone may be problematic if you hold the camera with 2 hands, holding with one hand is no problem.

    Flash is tiny, and I’ve covered it up a few times.

    For next generation of this product, I would hope they improve the GPS feature, make it quicker, give more feedback about the last GPS position that was locked and how old the location data is. Also the screen is hard to see at an angle, so trying to take shots above you head is difficult.

    I don’t have many gripes so far. I’m liking this camera

  4. Hugh Watkins Says:

    Rating

    I’ve been waiting a long time for someone to develop this camera and Sony finally did it.

    Pros: GPS, Compass, Picture Quality, AVCHD (1080i), Weight, Shutter Speed

    Cons:

    No GPS Coordinates on screen, just simple indication of GPS Lock

    Compass Bearing hard to decipher, just simple compass needle

    This camera is a winner, no it won’t replace your GPS or your DSLR (ok honestly it may replace my DSLR, the image quality is fantastic!), but for what I wanted which is a way to record life from the hiking trail this is the camera to buy.

    I run secretfalls dot com and I love to be out in the woods hiking, but lugging the DSLR, Camcorder and the GPS, then trying to Geocode after the trip was just time consuming and bulky. I really wanted a small, light weight camera that would geo tag and shoot high quality video and the Sony DSC-HX5V is it. I think the still image quality is as good as my Nikon DSLR, the video quality is not as high as my Sony Camcorder but is more than excellent for the web footage I shoot.

    The GPS once it has a lock appears very accurate, although it would be nice to have a screen to show actual coordinates to compare to my Garmin. You can turn on the camera and shoot a picture in 2-3 seconds which is much better than my previous Nikon.

    I ran through a couple of the shots I made looking at actual EXIF data for the GPS latitude and longitude, it looks to be accurate to around 15-20 feet when I have 3 satellite lock. My Garmin GPS 60CSx is my gold standard and it can typically get me to within 5 feet. The Sony apparently only locks onto 3 satellites and updates at 15 second intervals (I’m sure to save battery). I’m not complaining this is excellent for my use.

    *UPDATE Low light photography absolutely rocks on this camera, I’ve taken pictures while leaving work at dusk and the quality is still very good. Can’t wait to take some shots sitting around the campfire.

  5. gobears Says:

    Rating

    This camera does not have the same image quality as say the Canon S90 or the Panasonic LX3. Nevertheless, I would say the image quality is good for a point and shoot and the colors are definitely an improvement over the Sony WX1. If you want more in-depth analysis on pixels and IQ, I suggest doing a search on dpreview or look at images on flickr or picasa to draw your own conclusions. There are also a number of reviews online such as cameralabs and imaging-resource.

    With that being said, what makes this camera so great are its features. And there are a lot of them! I personally enjoy the panoramic shots and being able to capture expansive scenery in one swoop. The smile detection feature is also a lot of fun as I find my family and friends posing in front of the camera and trying to trigger the smile shutter. The anti-motion blur is useful to reduce camera shake. For instance, if you zoom in 10X optically or 20X digitally, it is difficult to keep your hands steady, but if you use anti-motion blur with its 6 superimposed images, the pictures come out clear. Nice!

    Features:

    - iSweep Panoramic: improved version over the Sony WX1. You do get a “ghosting” effect with fast moving objects. However, for people that are walking, the subject appears only once.

    - Anti-Motion Blur: takes 6 shots with one press of the shutter and superimposes the images to create one image with no blur. I find this feature useful when you can’t keep your hands still such as in a crowded stadium/concert/bar or when you’re zoomed in on a distant subject.

    - Handheld Twilight: same thing as Anti-Motion Blur but the colors are warmer. Use this setting for low-light or night pictures for good results.

    - 1080i/720p HD Movie: Video appears smooth with the new Active Mode stabilization and you can optically zoom 10X while recording. It also has stereo sound but the left and right microphones are located on top of the camera, so you have to be careful when holding it to not cover the mic.

    - HDMI Output: the camera comes with an HDMI adaptor to hook up to your HD TV. It does not come with the cable, so I bought this one and it works Mediabridge Ultra Series – 6ft High Speed HDMI Cable – Version 1.3 Category 2 Certified – 1080p – Blu-Ray – PS3.

    - Slideshows: seems very minor, but I particularly enjoy being able to upload your own music onto the camera. So with the HDMI adaptor and cable, you can instantly play your own slideshows for friends and family. If you do not have an HD TV, the camera also comes with a standard A/V cable bundle

    - GPS and compass: From my experience, it locks on in about 10-15 seconds. It varies depending on climate and location. And I have been able to have the GPS lock on indoors as well. However, I do not use it and I have it turned off. I can see it being useful for travel or hiking.

    - High Dynamic Range: Takes two shots at two different exposures and superimposes them to capture detail that would be lost in shadows. It works but I wish it took 3 shots from bracketing instead of just two shots.

    - 10 fps: It does take 10 pictures in one second in full resolution. However, it takes about 15 seconds to store those 10 shots and in that time you cannot take another picture. You can change the burst mode to 5 fps and 2 fps which is a nice option.

    - Smile Shutter: camera has face detection and smile detection as it will automatically take a picture whenever it detects a smile. I find it pretty accurate and it’s fun for the kids to test if the camera can read their smirk or joker-like smile.

    - Manual Mode: allows you to pick a shutter speed between 30 seconds to 1/1600th of a second. but only allows two aperture settings – at wide angle at f3.5 and f8 and at telephoto it is at f5.6 and f13. the shutter speed is useful if you have a tripod and you want to capture more light. but the camera is lacking in shutter and aperture priority.

    Overall, a great camera and a lot of FUN to use. It has a ton of features to accommodate almost any setting. Whether or not this is the right camera for you..well you have to evaluate your priorities, do you want better image quality and portability then look at the Canon S90 or Panasonic LX3. If you want high zoom and HD video in a small package, then also take a look at the Panasonic ZS7 and Canon SX210IS in addition to this camera.

    If you already bought the camera, I suggest the Case Logic TBC-302 Camera Case. It fits it perfectly and the front zipper pocket allows you to store 2 extra batteries or 1 battery and extra memory card. You can let it hang off of your belt loop or you can take the carabiner off and just stick it in your pocket (which I do). It’s small enough to fit in loose fitting jeans/slacks or cargo shorts.

    Caselogic TBC-302 Ultra Compact Camera Case with Storage (Black)

    I also bought the ZAGG Invisible Screen Protector for the Sony DSC-H20. It’s not listed for this model but both cameras have 3 inch LCD screens and it fits.

  6. T. Pinsonneault Says:

    Rating

    I’m usually a digital SLR user, but I’ve been waiting for a camera like this to come out so I have something to put in my pocket. The features that really made me decide to buy this camera were:

    1. AVCHD 1080i FULL QUALITY video. Check the bitrate — it’s the same as the camcorders. Better than the flip or handheld ‘HD’ bitrates

    2. Wide Picture Stitching. I am astounded by the quality of these pictures. Dumbfounded. Check out the ones I’ve posted.

    3. GPS Tagging. Yep- been waiting for this since iPhoto introduced the feature into its software.

    4. Low-light performance. For a point-and-shoot, you’re not going to beat this. Sure, it’s no DSLR, but it’s pretty great for the price.

    5. Price- a zillion features and a totally reasonable price!!!

    Mac Compatibility:

    I tried out the camera with iMovie, and it worked seamlessly!!! I imported 2 minutes of low-light video footage AVCHD in about 30 seconds from an SDHC Class-6 card. Also used the camera with iPhoto and Aperture, and everything worked great.

    Update: I’ve had time to play around with the different settings — you can see some of my results in the customer uploaded images. The panoramas today came out great! I am still awed by this feature (amazon’s tiny photos don’t do it justice). Shooting inside in the MOMA was excellent. Outside, I tried the HDR mode, with limited success (still need to experiment, but see what I got). The handheld twilight mode does what it is supposed to, impressively.

  7. D. Pierce Says:

    Rating

    I’ve had the HX5V since I replaced my Canon SD800IS in March, ’10 and have been very pleased with what it has to offer. It captures great images but with a caveat. It is not, strictly, a point and shoot. It has features such as the hand-held twilight, anti motion blur and iPanorama that take some knowledge and practice to make the most of. Most of the complaints I have read here relate to a misunderstanding of the camera features and not a failure in design. I’ll address some of the the issues and how I have avoided or dealt with them.

    Colors: Most compact digital cameras come with auto-ISO and auto white-balance as the defaults. I always over-ride the auto-ISO with the lowest ISO setting and adjust manually from there if needed. Auto WB is left on, but virtually no current camera will decipher the odd mix of light that compact fluorescent lighting puts out. That’s why there is a custom WB setting. When custom white-balance is used properly, colors are rendered nicely. In daylight, I have had no problems and under incandescent outdoor lighting it seems to render colors quite well.

    Distortion: Most P&S cameras don’t start out at 24mm equivalent on the wide end (one of the reasons that I bought the camera). If you are not used to composing using a wider-angle lens, your shots can produce some perspective distortion. Buildings and interiors need to be shot carefully at wide angles to minimize the “leaning walls” effect caused by the exaggerated perspective of wide angle lenses that is often mistaken for lens distortion. The lens itself is remarkably free of distortion at both the wide and long end of the zoom range. BTW, people shot up close with a wide-angle lens will NOT like how they look!

    Lack of detail: The HX5V is not a DSLR. Its 10MP files will never support the detail that you can get with a large APS-C sensor. If you are obsessed with detail and like to view your pictures in minute detail at 100% zoom with your nose 12 inches away from your monitor, this is not the camera for you. That said, it will fit in your pocket and produce sharp, detailed images suitable for 8×10 prints or even larger…if used properly. Auto-ISO will automatically boost ISO in low-light conditions. As stated before, this camera is a compact, not a DSLR. Though it does better at ISO 800 than most, it still has a tiny sensor that is susceptible to noise and the accompanying loss of detail from noise reduction processing at higher ISO. In low light, I have used the hand-held twilight function with excellent results. This mode isn’t magic and if the camera moves too much during the multiple exposures, it won’t do the job. If you choose your subject well and keep the camera steady, the images in this mode can be very impressive. Digital zoom can cause problems at the long end. Since this feature simply takes a smaller center section of the image and blows it up, resolution suffers. I’m happy with the 10x optical zoom and turning off the “digital zoom” option prevents its use and accidental image degradation.

    iPanorama doesn’t work: Nonsense. It is actually one of the best in-camera panorama solutions out there. Like everything else, there is no free lunch. You have to practice moving the camera steadily and smoothly across the scene and keep in mind that since it is using the video mode to capture the 100 or so image slices, you are limited to a 1080 pixel tall image (unless you trick it and use the vertical mode sideways to get a 1920 tall panorama).

    In general, the HX5V will function as a point and shoot camera but to get the most out of its remarkable feature set, you need to take the time to learn the functions and how to best take advantage of what they have to offer. It is not a camera for everyone but it can be a great 24×7, take-anywhere tool with some class-leading features if use it well.

    I have posted some images on my share site with examples of low-light, indoor, outdoor, panorama and extremes of the zoom range.

    You can find them at: [...] (copy and paste into address bar then replace the leading “x” with an “h”)

    You can run a full-screen slide show of the images there as well.

    If you want a great compact camera with a load of useful features and are willing to do some of the homework necessary to get the most out of it, the HX5V is an excellent choice. Get one and enjoy it!

    Happy shooting!

    Dave

  8. C. Pak Says:

    Rating

    I’m comparing this camera to my most recent camera: Canon SD1000 and Sony TX1. I’m just a casual photographer. The most surprising thing about this camera is the weight. If you’ve owned some high end Sony or Canon PowerShot cameras then holding this camera doesn’t “feel” normal, it’s way too light for it’s size…but that’s a good thing….sort of. They achieve this weight reduction by using plastic for many of the body parts (the SD1000 and TX1 are mostly, if not all metal). The back is definitely plastic, I’m not quite sure about the front. The mode dial (although very welcome) feels cheap.

    That’s about it for the bad news. The good news is the GPS locks FAST out of the box and the picture quality is very good, on par with 10-12 mega-pixel cameras. The Sony “extra” features such as panorama and 1080 HD video work as advertised and add value to the Sony versus the only current competitor (with GPS and a mega-zoom) the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 which has not been released yet. You can compare images between the two cameras on the Imaging Resource site as well as some others.

    I’m was going to purchase both this camera and the Panasonic to see which one I liked better, however I’m going to be keeping the Sony. I’m very happy with the ease of use, picture quality and the Sony extra features (such as panorama).

    For a case, I’m using the Case Logic TBC302. It fits the camera perfectly with barely enough room in the front pocket to hold a spare battery. The Case Logic TBC303 is much larger but not too useful, for example you can’t put the battery charger with the camera. It could hold some credit cards or papers, though.

    Update: Software

    I usually never install the included software because it’s so bloated or just not very good to use. However, the Sony PMB (which is on a CDROM or on the internal camera memory when plugged into your computer) is VERY good. Good in that it’s not bloated and it just works. You can do everything you expect such as organize and edit your photos or even update/assign GPS data. Also you can download updated GPS data (which helps the camera lock to GPS faster). I would dare say the software is nicer than Picasa or iPhoto due to the speed and built in GPS features. Some other things you can do but I have not tried yet: you can burn a video DVD (either a normal DVD or a AVCHD DVD with 1080i quality, but you need a PS3 or compatible player to watch those).

    Update: GPS

    I’m happy to report the GPS function works very well. I took a drive while snapping pictures as a test and then examined the recorded locations. The location was being actively updated because it was able to differentiate my position between shots taken seconds apart going about 40 MPH. Very pleased.

    Update: Picture Quality

    On closer inspection, the picture quality is a bit soft..I wish I could have the camera automatically adjust the sharpening inside the camera (make it more sharp) but this is not a big deal as the PMB software has easy edit controls. You can also manually unsharp after you take the photograph. The low light performance is remarkable, especially the low-light modes that actively combine multiple images (hand-held twilight and back-light HDR modes do this). As long as you’re steady and you’re not shooting a moving subject you can get some pretty remarkable, low-noise images at night.

    Other final comment: when you turn the camera off, there is a slight delay (fraction of a second) before the lens retracts. Not really an issue but just something I’m not used to with my previous cameras and something I just noticed as I’m usually taking quick impromptu photos, on..photo…off. The interface, although totally functional, is not as “refined” as on my Sony TX1 (with touch screen), the LCD resolution is noticeably lower but, again, totally functional.

    The mode dial is still bugging me, I feel it’s the first thing on this camera that will go…But only time will tell.

  9. G. Dada Says:

    Rating

    Not too long ago cameras in the “point and shoot” category were considered toys for most advanced amateur photographers. The difference in picture quality and control between a point and shoot and an SLR camera was enormous. That gap has been closing especially in the last two years. With this new Sony HX5V that gap does not exist anymore.

    I am an advanced amateur photographer. Photography is my passion and has been for many years. My “main” camera is a Nikon D5000 with a Nikkor 18-200 VR II lens. This is a new, high-end model with an amazing lens, worth probably $1500. After using the Sony HX5V for a week, I am seriously considering selling my Nikon simply because it is hard to justify the price difference.

    Let’s start with picture quality. The two main elements in a digital camera are the lens and the sensor. Up until now, point and shoot cameras have used CCD sensors, which are inferior to CMOS sensors, used in most DSLRs. The difference is especially noticeable in low-light conditions. CMOS sensors produce much less noise and higher picture quality at high sensitivity (ISO setting). The Sony HX5V is one of the first compact cameras to use a CMOS sensor. 10 megapixels is more than what 99.99% of people will ever need.

    The lens is very versatile: unlike most zooms, this one starts at 25mm wide angle, which means you can take great pictures indoors when you are close to your subject. It has a 10X optical zoom, enough for most purposes. It is one of Sony’s “G” lenses, which means it is made with the same quality standards as their lenses for DSLRs costing hundreds of dollars. The zoom is controlled with a button (like with most compact cameras) as opposed to manually (as with most DSLRs) which is a drawback of this format. The Sony would sometimes guess I wanted to go full zoom and go all the way – similar to electric car windows that roll all the way down after pressing the button for a second.

    After looking at the specs and the online photos I expected the camera to be bigger, but it is actually smaller than my smart phone and smaller than the Lumix TZ4 camera it replaces. It fits in my jeans pocket comfortably and I can carry it in my portfolio at all times, which is a huge advantage over any DSLR. The camera is light, the battery lasts a long time and the screen is very bright.

    The Flash is surprisingly good. It took some pictures of people indoors, a couple pictures in bright light where I used the flash to fill-in the shadows and then I took a picture of our kitchen (like the ones you see in a realtor ad) and was surprised by the even illumination and sharpness of the picture. Surely beats my Nikon’s built-in flash.

    On Saturday I took a picture of my daughter’s Birthday cake with ISO 3200 setting. The Sony has a cool feature where it takes a couple low-light pictures and combines them to produce a better image. The results are absolutely amazing. I rival any DSLR short of $5,000 to top the quality.

    At the Austin Rodeo this weekend, I tried the burst shooting mode at the pig races (really). The ability to take 10 shots per second means you won’t lose the action. Yesterday at a park downtown I used the panorama feature to pan across the landscape and the Sony took care of building and stitching multiple images into one, it looked perfect!

    Some people will enjoy the ability to shoot movies at full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 @ 60 frames per second. I is really nice to be able to zoom while shooting video. Movie mode is only a button away, so it is very convenient.

    The camera includes a GPS sensor and a compass, which means every photo (outdoors, where the camera can get a satellite signal) will be tagged with the precise location and orientation where it was shot.

    Face detection and smile detection will ensure you get all your people in focus and that you will capture the smile you are looking for. There is a full manual mode and an easy mode – making both me (the advanced photographer) and my wife (novice photographer) happy with the same camera.

    Last, but not least, the camera includes a HDR function that takes three pictures with different light settings and combines them into one, providing the best image possible for high-contrast scenarios. I plan to test this feature in the next few days.

    Essentially, the Sony HX5V gives you the same quality sensor (CMOS) and lens (G-class) as you would get with a DSLR with a powerful 10X zoom and tons of cool features. For $350 (list) it is an absolute steal. If you can afford it, it is a no brainer. If you are thinking about buying a DSLR, this Sony could give you a better camera at a fraction of the cost.

    Sample photos available at: http://sonyhx5v.myphotoalbum.com/

  10. John R. St John Says:

    Rating

    I was interested in both the TX7 and the HX5V because of the HDR and low-light features. I couldn’t make up my mind from the specs alone so I bought both, with the intent of giving one of them to my son as a graduation present.

    I have separately reviewed the TX7, and there I give my take on these two features, which are identical for the two cameras. In this review I’ll just focus on the differences between the two. There are three major ones: size, interface, and zoom range.

    Curiously, despite the vastly different lens design, I could see no difference in the optical performance. You can check this out yourself by visiting [...] and taking a look at the full-size samples of the HX5V and the TX5 (the TX7 has not been yet reviewed as I write this, but the lens is the same as that on the TX5). Both are at the top of the compact class , especially at higher ISOs.

    As to size, the HX5V appears bulky next to the slim TX7. The real difference is in the thickness. It’s quite noticeable when the cameras are sitting side-by-side. The HX5V is heavier, but in actual use this isn’t very noticeable. Both cameras fit easily into your pants pocket. The TX7 will also fit into your shirt pocket.

    Interestingly, I found that the HX5V’s greater thickness is an asset while shooting. It feels more comfortable in the hands. I hold the camera in my left hand with the thumb and index finger. When shooting with the TX7 it’s very easy for my left middle finger to drift over the lens, ruining the shot if I’m not paying attention to the screen (easy to do in bright sunlight). Not so for the HX5V, since the protruding lens in the shooting mode prevents this.

    In my TX7 review I say how much I like the touchscreen in that camera. The HX5V has the traditional button navigation. I much prefer the touchscreen. It’s a lot quicker. However, the navigation on the HX5V is definitely better than on my previous compact, a Canon SD700IS. Also, as with the TX7, the text and icons are clean and very readable, even with my poor eyesight.

    The TX7 has a 920MP screen, while the HX5V’s screen has only 230MP. You’d think there would be a noticeable difference between the two, but even looking at them side-by-side I don’t see much of any.

    Another difference is the shutter release. In the HX5V it’s a round button, which is much better than the tiny thin bar on the TX7. However, the button is located next to the control wheel, which is also round. In fact, the wheel is on the right, where you’d normally expect to find the shutter release. I found myself pressing on this a few times, vainly trying to take a shot.

    It’s the zoom where the HX5V really shines. The 25mm-250mm range is a great range (though with Samsung’s HZ35W and HZ30W you get a whopping 24mm-360mm). What’s more, the HX5V’s resolution is sharp at all focal lengths. My SD700IS is a little soft at its maximum.

    To really test the HX5V at its maximum 250mm focal length I compared it to my DSLR (a Canon 20D, circa 2004) with a Canon 300mm EF 4.0 L lens. The L-series Canon lenses are the white-bodied lenses you see professional sports photographers using. They are top-of-the-line. Many years ago I foolishly spent nearly $1000 to buy a used one on e-Bay. It’s very, very sharp.

    I took shots with both cameras mounted on a tripod, using the self-timer to minimize shake. Compared to the Canon combo the HX5V looked like a rowboat sitting next to a battleship. In taking the shots I adjusted the camera-to-target position to account for the different focal lengths (the effective focal length of the 300mm lens with the 20D’s sensor is huge) so that the image in the viewfinder or on the screen was roughly the same. The target was a box of fertilizer, with lots of fine print. Both cameras were set to their lowest ISO settings.

    On the monitor they looked the same, even at large magnifications, but the proof is in the printing. So I first made a moderately cropped 8×10 print of the image produced by each camera (the uncropped prints would have been about 11×14). I could see no difference between the two. I then did severely cropped 8x10s, where the uncropped prints would have been roughly 16×20. Again, no difference.

    I kept at it, making prints at huge magnifications. I was feeling like the guy in Antonioni’s Blow Up. I made 8x10s of a tiny portion of the image, where the uncropped print would be a giant 32×40–essentially a poster. At this level the HX5V showed some haloing around the details, but the sharpness was the same.

    I was amazed by this. I would have bet money that at some point the Canon combo would have been sharper, but the facts are the facts.

    Which leads me to give some advice. If you’re reading this review you’ve probably already settled on a compact camera, but if you’re considering a DSLR I think you should stick with the compact. I wouldn’t have said this a few years ago. I’ve had a couple of film compacts over my life, but rarely used them because the quality was not as good as the bigger camera. That’s not true anymore. Yes, a DSLR has certain advantages over a compact, but to me they pale next to the one fundamental truism in photography: a camera in your pocket is worth a lot more than a camera sitting at home on the shelf. We should all get into the habit of slipping a little camera like the HX5V or the TX7 into our pocket or purse each day, just like a wallet or car keys.

    So, which camera am I going to keep? I’m embarrassed to say that I can’t seem to part with either. I guess I’ll get my son something else for graduation.

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