Last year, we reviewed the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V and it was arguably one of the best travel compact cameras of the year. With the arrival of 2012, Sony has looked to up the ante and launch a successor to one of their hottest selling cameras of 2011, by unveiling the Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V. Like the predecessor, this camera too falls in the travel zoom category and this model boasts of a 16x optical zoom, as well. But with the latest generation, Sony has built up on the model by adding an 18.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor, giving a boost in ISO, making it better to shoot in low-light conditions. Read on to know if this model is worth the upgrade or if you should just hold on to your HX9V instead.
Check out the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V video review below
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V with 16x Optical Zoom reviewed
Design and Build Quality
When we reviewed the Sony Cyber-shot HX9V, we were pleased with the overall design of the camera. The body had a chunky exterior with a professional appeal to it. This year’s model, the Sony Cyber-shot HX10V has adopted a lot of styling from its predecessor, but the model has been given a bit of a modernized appearance, with it being a bit rounded in comparison to the HX9V. The camera is available in three colour options - red, silver and black. The review unit we received was the red option.
Sony has a knack for manufacturing stylish devices whether they are smartphones or cameras and this option is no different. The HX10V can appeal to those who want a professional looking camera as well as those interested in using it for night outs or picnics.
The hand grip of the HX10V assists in capturing images easily
The front of the camera features the lens and the brand has done well in housing such a large lens in a compact casing. The addition of a hand grip in the front assists with the handling and one can easily capture images using one hand. This feat is assisted by the addition of a thumb grip on the rear. Besides the lens at the front, you will also find the AF assist. The rear of the camera comprises a large 3-inch display featuring a resolution of 921k dots. The screen flushes along the body of the camera and this adds to the appearance of the model. Beside the screen, the buttons for the HX10V are located and they include a multifunction jog dial, a dedicated video recording button, a menu key and other buttons that are usually found on compact digital cameras. The build quality of the buttons at the rear are quite good overall, except for the jog dial, which seems a bit flimsy. This put us off a bit as when scrolled through, the desired option does not get selected accurately.
16x zoom lens found on this compact HX10V digicam
The top of the camera features a mode dial, comprising different modes, such as manual, scene, program, superior auto, intelligent auto, 3D and few others. The shutter release button and the zoom rocker are located at the side of the mode dial and next to it is the power button. The buttons at the top are built well and there are no real complaints here. The flash of the camera is housed in the body itself and it can be activated from the menu. There is no dedicated button to deploy it. Connectivity options for the camera are found at the side and bottom. The port at the side includes a mini HDMI port that is housed in a bay and the proprietary USB port is located at the bottom, next to the battery bay. The flap for the battery bay feels sturdy and it is spring loaded giving it a solid feel. The memory card slot is located in the battery bay and this is a feature found on most compact cameras.
The overall build quality of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V is good and though not a tough camera, it can certainly withstand a few accidental drops.
As far as features go, this camera is pretty nifty with an above average feature list. The main feature is the bump in the megapixel count - with it being increased from a modest 16.2MP on the HX9V to a decent 18.2MP. Since this is a compact digital camera and the sensor size is the same at 1/2.3-inches, one would not get DSLR quality images from this option, This is more a marketing maneuver by the brand. If one does happen to own the HX9V, then you are not missing out on too much, as far as this feature is concerned. Having an 18.2MP sensor, one can shoot still images at a resolution of 4,896 X 3,672. Sony have used a CMOS sensor on this camera and this sort of sensor is considered to be better than CCD sensors as it offers better low-light shots.
Being a travel compact camera, this model is fitted with an above average zoom lens as compared to other compact cameras. The HX10V comes equipped with a 16x zoom that spans 24 - 384mm telephoto. The camera features an inbuilt image stabilizer allowing one to shoot images that are relatively far off without any blur appearing in the photographs. This can be beneficial during travelling or for capturing wildlife without needing to venture too close.
Dressed in black as well for a professional look
The camera features several shooting modes including a manual mode, which allows one to tweak the settings of the camera before capturing a picture. The only thing lacking here are the designated modes for shutter or aperture priority, leaving a user with only a manual mode to adjust the settings. The program mode is also useful for playing around with settings, but it is not as comprehensive as the manual mode. If shooting solely in auto is your thing, then this camera will be great for you as it offers an Intelligent auto mode, along with a superior auto mode. These modes make shooting with this camera very simple and it will be a great asset for those who enjoy capturing images without the need for adjusting any settings. The low-light capabilities are one of the biggest marketed features of this point and shoot option with the ISO ranging from 100 to 12,800. But one should not be fooled by this, as this is not a DSLR and the higher ISO sensitivities will not make much of a difference when shooting images as the sensor size is that of a standard compact camera.
Sony has added a very simple interface to the camera and there is virtually no learning curve. This is what makes this brand appeal to the audience. As far as video recording is concerned, the camera can capture AVCHD Full HD 1080i videos at 60fps. This is a great feature that has been added to the camera. But we feel that since the brand has only added interlaced video recording, it falls a bit short when compared to offerings from Canon or Nikon. The ability to zoom in and out of subjects during video recording is a great addition, which we really liked.
Silver finish that can appeal to either gender
The HX10V can record images in a JPEG format only and not RAW. This is a common trait in most travel compacts. As far as storage is concerned, the camera can record content on a range of cards including SD, SDHC,SDXC and a host of others. Along with the aforementioned features, the HX10V also features modes such as 3D, panorama and a range of presets that allow one to capture content easily.
Rounding this section up, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V is packed with features, but if you do happen to own an HX9V, you are not missing out on too much.