Sony DSC-HX1 Review
2009 is already shaping up to be another bumper year for the superzoom 'bridge' camera. Since the publication of our superzoom test at the start of this year there have been a number of new models released with new features such as bigger zooms, better video and fast burst modes. Sony's entry in this category, the HX1, features a 20x lens (that extends from 28mm at the wide end all the way to 560mm at the telephoto end), HD video recording, a large 3' tilting LCD screen, up to 10 frames per second continuous shooting speeds, and special shooting modes that help you get better pictures easier. All this built around an all-new CMOS sensor.
Until recently, almost all compact (small sensored) cameras were built around CCD sensors. This is because CMOS sensors have more circuitry built into the chip than CCD sensors and, with less room for actually capturing light, noise and noise reduction issues will have a detrimental effect on image quality.
Manufacturers have been working on these problems with CMOS sensors for a number of years in DSLR cameras, where all but the cheapest models feature CMOS sensors. Canon, which has been at the forefront of this CMOS sensor development, released the CMOS-sensored SX1 IS which we reviewed last month. Given Sony's heavy involvement in the sensor design and fabrication industry it is not surprising that it has followed suit with the CMOS based HX1.
While the Canon PowerShot SX1 IS utilizes its CMOS sensor to record 1080p (30fps) HD video, a fast 4fps continuous shooting speed, and offers RAW file recording, the HX1 uses its CMOS technology in some less conventional ways. The first of these is a super fast (as fast as the top end professional sports cameras) 10 fps continuous shooting. This relies not only on the sensor's speedy processing but also on a fast physical shutter, which in turn enables three unique shooting modes: Sweeping panorama (which stitches panoramas together as you shoot), Anti Motion Blur (which takes 6 images, and combines them to try and minimise the amount of blur in an image) and Twilight mode (which uses 6 stacked images to reduce the noise produced in images shot in low light situations).
While the HX1 may not feature RAW file recording, there are many manual settings such as three noise reduction settings, many white balance settings, a full range of manual modes, and many others for the photographer who wants ultimate control. Does this combine to make a compelling package that should command your money? Lets find out in our review.
Sony DSC-HX1 vs DSC-H50- key changes
- New 28 - 560 mm equiv 'G' lens
- Ultra fast 10 fps continuous shooting speed
- HD movie recording at up to 1440x1080 at 30 fps
- Intelligent Auto mode
- Unique sweeping panorama, twilight, and anti-shake modes
- A revised menu system (Home menu is gone)
- HDMI port
• 1/2.4 " Type CMOS
• 1/2.3 " Type CCD
|Maximum Image Size||3456 x 2592||3456 x 2592|
|Lens||• 28-560mm equiv.(4:3), 31-620mm (16:9)
• 20x Optical zoom
• 31-465mm equiv.
|Video Recording||HD Up to 1440x1080 30fps||Up to VGA (640x480) 30 fps|
• ISO 80-3200
|Special Scene Modes||Sweeping Panorama, Twilight, Anti-Shake,||None|
• 230,000 pixels
• 3.0 inch TFT LCD
|Continuous shooting||max 10 fps||max 1.6 fps|
|Weight (no batteries)||514g (18.1oz.)||547g (19.3 oz)|
Sony DSC-HX1 specifications
|Price|| UK: £429.99
1/2.4" Exmor CMOS Sensor
• 3456 x 2592
|• 7152 x 1080
• 4912 x 1080
• 4912 x 1920
• 3424 x 1920
|Movie clips||• 1440 x 1080 (30fps)
• 1280 x 720 (30fps)
• 640x480 (30fps)
• Still Image : JPEG (EXIF 2.2), DPOF v1.1, DCF v2.0, MPF baseline
• Sony G lens
|Conversion lenses||Yes, Tele:VCL-HD1757 (Optional)|
|Digital zoom||Approx. 40x|
|Image Stabilization||Optical SteadyShot|
9 points / Center Weighted AF / Flexible Spot / Semi-Manual / Manual
|AF area modes||Intelligent|
|Focus Mode||• Multi
• Flexible Spot
• Normal :W:Approx.1cm(0.03') to Infinity, T:Approx.150cm(4.92') to Infinity
|Metering modes||• Multi
|Shutter speed||• Auto(2 sec- 1/4,000)
• Program Auto(1 sec- 1/4,000)
• Aperture Priority(8 sec- 1/2,000)
• Manual(30" - 1/4,000)
|Aperture||• Auto (F2.8./F8.0(W),
• Program auto (F2.8/F8.0(W)
• Manual( F2.8/F8.0(W)
• Mode dial: Intelligent Auto, P Auto, easy, SCN, movie, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual
|Self timer||• Off
|Continuous Shooting||10.0 fps / 5 fps / 2 fps (10 shots max)|
• Modes :Auto, Flash On, Slow Sync, Flash Off
|Viewfinder||• 0.2 inch
• approx. 201K pixels
• 3.0 inch TFT LCD
• USB 2.0 High Speed
|Microphone / Speaker||Stereo / Mono|
|Video output||• HD(1080i) - HDMI
• NTSC/ PAL
|Storage|| Internal memory (Approx. 11 MB)
• Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/ Pro HG Duo
|Power||InfoLITHIUM H type 6.8V|
|Weight (no batt)||Approx. 514g (18.1oz.)|
|Dimensions||115mm x 83mm x 92mm
(4 5/8" x 3 3/8" x 3 5/8")
If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).
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