Sony Cyber-shot HX50 Review
The Sony Cyber-shot HX50 is aimed at the discerning photographer, featuring a 24-720mm equivalent Sony G lens with optical image stabilization and a maximum aperture of f/3.5-6.3. Other headline features include a 20.4MP Exmor R CMOS sensor, Sony's premium imaging chip that boasts low noise performance, and a Bionz processor. The Sony HX50 can shoot up to ISO 3200 natively, or up to 12,800 using Sony's By Pixel Super Resolution" technology and overlay burst shooting.
The Sony Cyber-shot HX50 offers full manual control with a high degree of direct on-camera input, including a physical mode dial and exposure compensation dial on the top plate, as well as a user-definable custom function button on the back. A Memory Recall setting on the dial allows up to three sets of shooting data to be saved for future use, while a multi interface hotshoe enables the attachment of a compatible electronic viewfinder, microphone or flashgun, though there's also a built-in pop up flash.
The Cyber-shot HX50 also offers a slew of features for those happy to let the camera take control, including a range of scene modes and a selection of nine Picture Effects filters such as Partial Colour, Pop Colour, Miniature, Toy Camera, Watercolour and High Key.
The Sony HX50 shoots full HD 1920x1080/50p movies in the AVCHD format, as well as MP4, with Optical SteadyShot compensation for reduced camera shake. Wi-fi functionality is also provided, offering the ability to transfer images to a smartphone or control the camera remotely using Sony's PlayMemories Camera Apps.
Other features of the Sony Cyber-shot HX50 include Sweep Panorama, and an X-type lithium-ion battery that provides around 400 photos from a single charge.
Although somewhat larger than its 20x zoom cousin the WX300, the Sony Cyber-shot HX50 is remarkably small and light for a camera with a 30x optical zoom, especially since most other cameras offering this zoom range are bridge cameras. However it feels well made and the materials are of a high quality.
There's a decent sized handgrip and a shutter release button that falls easily to the hand. The inclusion of an exposure compensation dial is a welcome addition, and its positioning on the rear corner makes it easy to access. Both this dial and the mod dial are reassuringly stiff enough to not be knocked accidentally. The ability to attach third party flashguns is good, as is the option of an electronic viewfinder, though potential buyers should be aware that the EVF costs as much again as the camera.
The zoom lever wastes no time taking the lens from minimum to maximum focal length, though conversely this may make fine adjustments more difficult.
The Sony Cyber-shot HX50 is available in the UK from early May 2013 and will cost around £350. Check back for a full review in due course.
Watch our First Look Video