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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V
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.
The Sony Cyber-shot HX10V is a great camera when it comes to casual photography and has a decent feature set, which includes the ability to capture images in manual mode, program mode, et al. Starting off with this section of the review, the handling of the camera is great as a hand grip in the front and the thumb grip on the back allow one to easily shoot images with a single hand. However, we feel that Sony could have increased the size of the buttons a tad bit, thereby allowing one to easily operate the menu or for the purpose of altering settings. The scroll dial at the back is really sensitive and this can make scrolling through the different options a bit difficult, as one may overshoot the desired option.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V Macro Test
As far as image quality goes, the display of the camera does well to reproduce the images onscreen and the 921,600 dot screen plays a vital role in this. Sony, in the past were known for their vibrant images that had high contrast, but in this case, the images do not appear over saturated but instead quite natural. This is a welcome feature and would certainly please most users. As far as colour fringing is concerned, the camera features quite a lot of it which is a bit disappointing as it does take great images otherwise.
In indoor shots, we observed that the image did not feature a vast amount of grain and the camera is great for capturing low-light images. Shooting indoor pictures can be great while using the auto modes as they keep the noise levels down to a minimum. Indoor images appeared natural and all skin tones and colours appeared accurately. The camera is really quick to focus and this helps in capturing images quickly without any hassle. Macro images shot with this camera had a lot of detail and there was no reason to complain about anything in these sample images.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V ISO Sensitivity Test
ISO Sensitivity Test
The ISO range of this camera is from ISO 100 to ISO 12,800. As expected at an ISO setting of 100, the image quality was perfect, but as the ISO level rose, the image started to feature a lot of noise. This was present from ISO 1600 onwards and at a setting of ISO 6400, we noticed that the image was unusable and the same was the case with the maximum ISO - 12,800.
Zoom being one of the main features of the camera, we shot images with the lens barrel extended till it was at its maximum of 16x and we observed that at maximum zoom, the image appeared devoid of any blur and there was a lot of detail in the shot.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V Zoom Test
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V can record videos in AVCHD Full HD. While shooting videos in this resolution, we observed that it had really great playback and there were no anomalies appearing onscreen. There were no transition issues faced as well while panning the camera from a dark area to a bright one and the overall video recording performance was good. The flash of the camera is good and it can light up a dark room and will be great during night outs. Sony bundles a 960mAh battery with the camera and the brand rates it at approximately 340 shots. But the life of the battery does also depend on how much video recording one is doing as well as the amount of flash being fired.
The HX10V can be a trendy option for night outs
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V is available in India at an MRP of Rs. 17,990. The camera offers really great outdoor and indoor images and the overall performance of the camera is on par with the model launched by Sony last year. The camera looks really stylish as well, which can definitely appeal to most people and will be an ideal option for those looking for a camera for casual photography. The lens of the camera is really good and one can capture blur free shots effortlessly as well. This adds to the camera being a great overall performer. If one is in the market looking out for a great travel compact camera, then this model is definitely worth the audition or else, the HX9V is a model that fares as well and is available in the market for Rs. 15,990.