Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1 review

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1 is one of the new hybrid digital still cameras that can be used to shoot good-quality video. It has a massive 20x zoom lens and lots of manual features.

It’s a 9-megapixel camera with a 28-560mm zoom lens, and unlike most compact cameras it has a CMOS-based sensor. The sensor supports full-resolution shooting at 10 frames per second using a mechanical shutter, which is more likely to be found on more professional DSLR cameras.

Its LCD screen pops out and tilts down, but it won’t flip downward or swivel, so you can’t use it for self-portraits. The viewfinder is handy for shooting in bright sunlight, and saves battery life.

Because the camera’s zoom is so long, the DSX-HX1 is not very comfortable to use; it just doesn’t feel wide enough in the hands. Holding the camera when it’s at full zoom is particularly difficult, and even tiny amounts of shake will show. Built-in image stabilisation helps, however, you’d need a tripod for decent full-zoom shots.

Image quality is a mixed bag: colours are good and vivid, and there is no chromatic aberration in high-contrast areas. However, photos lack crispness, and tend to be blotchy and ill-defined when viewed at full size.

On pictures of trees and plants, for example, leaves blend into each other – meaning this isn’t the camera for you if you plan to crop photos closely to focus on fine details. Low-light performance is another problem: images show noise even from ISO 400.

The Cyber-shot DSC-HX1 shoots video at Full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 and footage looks clear and vibrant at this resolution. Fast motion exposes tearing and blurring though: it’s better suited to tripod usage for interviews, or shots in which the camera doesn’t have to pan.

OUR VERDICT

All in all, the camera has some useful features, but feels underdone, and manages to be both bulky and cramped to use.

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