The Sony Cyber-shot HX100V is the latest in a series of 'superzoom' cameras from Sony which are intended to combine the versatility and portability of compact cameras with a DSLR-like form factor and operational ergonomics. With the HX100V, Sony brings a host of new and updated features to its flagship superzoom model. The most obvious of these changes include a 16MP 'Exmor R' back-illuminated CMOS sensor, 30x optical zoom and full HD 1080p video capture. The HX100V mimics the form factor and handling of an entry-level DSLR in a package housing a 27-810mm equivalent zoom lens and a compact camera-sized 1/2.3" CMOS sensor.

An update to the Sony DSC-HX1, the HX100V stays true to its predecessor in terms of form and style. In fact, at first glance, it may be hard to tell the two cameras apart. The HX100V does, however, boast its share of changes, including a longer zoom range, more powerful flash, higher resolution LCD and a redesigned, though functionally similar menu interface. 'Under the hood', the HX100V shares a lot of features and functionality with the genuinely compact Sony DSC-HX9V, which we reviewed recently as part of our Compact Travel Zoom group test.

Sony DSC-HX100V key specifications:

  • 16MP 'Exmor R' CMOS sensor
  • 27-810mm (equivalent) zoom lens with optical image stabilization
  • ISO 100-3200
  • Built-in flash
  • 10fps continuous shooting (at 16MP)
  • 1080/60p movies in AVCHD format
  • 921,000 dot 3.0 inch tilting LCD screen
  • Built-in stereo Mic
  • Built-in GPS

Compared to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150

The most obvious immediate competitor to the HX100V is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150. Both cameras offer full manual exposure control, and record 1080p video with stereo sound (up to 60p in the case of the HX100V). Although the HX100V has a longer zoom range (30x versus 24x), it is slightly smaller in both width and depth. The FZ150 can capture raw files while the HX100V is limited to JPEG capture only.

Perhaps the most immediate physical distinction between the two cameras is the higher reach of the pop-up flash on the FZ150. The unit on the HX100V does have a higher flash guide rating (12.7m versus 9.5m at the wide end) than the FZ150.
From the top, we can see how similar the two cameras are in terms of operational ergonomics. The HX100V lacks a flash hotshoe mount, but includes both a focus selector button and custom button just behind the shutter release.

Although it has a longer telephoto range, the HX100V's zoom extends forwards slightly less than that of the FZ150.
The HX100V is a few millimeters taller than the FZ150, has a significantly larger 4-way controller, and a higher resolution LCD (921,000 versus 460,000 dots).
With the rear hinge design of the HX100V's LCD, you frame the composition while looking directly behind the lens, which may feel more intuitive for some users. The fold-out screen on the FZ150 offers more flexible viewing angles when holding the camera in a portrait orientation.

Compared to the Sony DSC-HX9V

Aside from the HX100V's EVF, articulating LCD screen and of course, 30x (versus 16x) optical zoom, it has a lot in common with the Cyber-shot HX9V. As the comparison below makes plain, the HX100V houses these features in a significantly larger package with a more spacious button layout and larger control points. More 'DSLR-like', in other words.

The HX100V and HX9V offer similar functionality (including the same 16MP sensor) and features but in dramatically different form factors, as you can see from this comparison image.