Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V review

Ben Pitt
31 Oct 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

An impressive all-rounder but it fails to stand out over its rivals in any particular area



1/2.3in 15.9-megapixel sensor, 30.0x zoom (27-810mm equivalent), 577g

Its 30x zoom range isn't the biggest around but pretty much everything else about the HX100V follows the theme of bigger, faster and more, from its 16-megapixel sensor to its 1080/50p video recording. The 3in articulated screen is seriously sharp, there's a GPS radio for tagging photos and even an integrated neutral-density (ND) filter to reduce the amount of light hitting the sensor.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V top

There's a lens ring for zoom or manual focus and a dedicated button to move the focus point. Pressing the command dial toggles its function between the various exposure-related settings, depending on the selected shooting mode. However, the on-screen readout was very slow to update as the dial was rotated.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V rear

Autofocus was seriously fast, and we measured just 1.3 seconds between shots – a great result, but the Panasonic FZ48 and FZ150 are even faster. Full-power flash photographs were 12 seconds apart – most other cameras were between six and eight seconds in this test. Continuous mode was at either 10fps or 2fps, with both limited to 10 shots.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V left

Video capture is a highlight, with sharp details and smooth motion, thanks to the 50fps frame rate. Autofocus and zooming was smooth, fast and silent. However, unlike the Panasonic models, the HX100V doesn't allow manual exposure control for videos. Clicking the record button even overrides the white balance setting, although it still produced reasonably attractive colours as well as remarkably low noise in artificial light.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V sample 2

Even at ISO 100, noise reduction gives subtle details a slightly plastic appearance - click to enlarge

Photo quality was excellent but not without flaws. The 16-megapixel sensor and sharp lens captured impressive details, and excelled for telephoto photography. However, heavy-handed digital sharpening and noise reduction sometimes spoiled subtler details, even after we reined in these settings in the menu. Low-light photography was better than we expected, given the 16-megapixel resolution and the noise that usually comes with it, but it wasn't up to the standards of the Canon SX40 HS.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V sample 3

The zoom lens is superb but the HX100 tries too hard to sharpen images, resulting in over-processed details that look unnatural on close inspection - click to enlarge

The HX100V is a seriously impressive camera but there's nothing here that isn't bettered elsewhere. The Fujifilm HS20 EXR (review soon) has superior controls and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 has a better video mode and faster performance. Both these cameras broadly match the HX100V for image quality, and the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS squarely beats it.

Basic Specifications

CCD effective megapixels15.9 megapixels
CCD size1/2.3in
Viewfinder magnification, coverageN/A
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution921,600 pixels
Articulated screenYes
Live viewYes
Optical zoom30.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent27-810mm
Image stabilisationoptical, lens based
Maximum image resolution4,608x3,456
Maximum movie resolution1920x1080
Movie frame rate at max quality50fps
File formatsJPEG, RAW; AVCHD, MPEG-4


Memory slotSDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo
Mermory supplied19MB internal
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)303 shots
ConnectivityUSB, mini HDMI, DC in
HDMI output resolution1080i/1080p
Body materialplastic
Lens mountN/A
Focal length multiplierN/A
Kit lens model nameN/A
AccessoriesUSB cable

Buying Information

Warrantyone-year RTB

Camera Controls

Exposure modesprogram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed30 to 1/4,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/2.8-8 (wide), f/5.6-8 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution)100 to 3200
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 7 presets with fine tuning, manual
Additional image controlscontrast, saturation, sharpness, noise reduction, ND filter
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus1cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, flexible spot, face detect, tracking
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket, smile detect

Read more