Reasonably compact with amazing zoom range

Started Jun 18, 2013 | User reviews thread
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Ali
Ali
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Reasonably compact with amazing zoom range
Jun 18, 2013

I am primarily a DSLR user. The Sony HX50V is the compact alternative to my DSLR. But beyond just being an alternative, the HX50V provides an amazing zoom range of 24-720mm in a compact body that is pretty hard to match on a DSLR and in fact most other cameras.

I occasionally go to rock concerts, and I like shooting photos there. Since DSLRs are almost never allowed, I usually take a compact camera with me. And since I almost always end up far from the stage, I go for a camera with a reach. I moved from the Canon TX1 with 10x zoom to the Panasonic ZS7 with 12x zoom. Both were hit-and-miss. Then I moved to a Sony HX30V with its 20x zoom, which served me much better. And now I exchanged that for the HX50V.

Although I haven't yet had a chance to use the HX50V in a concert situation, the 30x looks real good in my tests so far. In addition, don't discount that dedicated exposure dial!  It's great for concert settings where compensation is often needed to avoid blown out highlights.

The image quality is pretty good unless you're looking at the photos at 100%. There the camera is no match for a DSLR, but, the results are no worse than what I had with other compacts such as the ZS7 or the HX30V.  Going up from ISO100 to ISO800 Sony seems to avoid ugly noise artifacts thru increased smearing.  ISO800 is acceptable in most cases.

I do wish the HX50V had RAW file support. Sometimes one may choose noise over smearing during post-processing.

The HX50V is a bit larger than its predecessors HX20V and HX30V, not much but enough that I couldn't fit it into the same admittedly tight pouch. It fits in most of my pockets though and should not be a problem at most concerts.

The camera has GPS. So did my HX30V, but frankly I never used it. It also has WiFi.  That works reasonably well for sending photos to a phone (I tried with iPhone), but it's a cumbersome process: First get the phone to hook up to the camera acting as a hot-spot; then run the PlayMemories app on the phone; and send the photo from the camera. It seems like Sony could have streamlined the process a bit.

Movie mode is pretty nice, although iMovie on the Mac can't import movies in the highest quality mode, AVCHD 1080/60p. The AVCHD 1080/60i mode does import into iMovie just fine and movies look great.

Some of the other features (panorama for instance) work well, while others are a bit gimmicky (3D).

The overall response time of the camera (turning on, zoom response, shutter lag) seems average.

As someone looking for a long zoom (and actually big range) in a compact body and a rich feature set, I am definitely happy with the HX50V.

 Ali's gear list:Ali's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX50V Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Ali's score
4.0
Average community score
4.1
bad for good for
Kids / pets
good
Action / sports
good
Landscapes / scenery
great
Portraits
great
Low light (without flash)
okay
Flash photography (social)
good
Studio / still life
great
= community average
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