As the superzoom market continues to hot up, Sony’s latest HX100V dips its oar into the 30x ultra-zoom sector. With unique features such as GPS (Global Positioning Satellite), does it have the goods to be the very best superzoom out there? The What Digital Camera Sony Cyber-shot HX100V review takes a look…
Sony Cyber-shot HX100V – Design
The HX100V is a rather sizeable camera (comparable to a small DSLR and larger than a Compact System Camera), but this is a given considering the ability of its zoom lens. The lens itself only protrudes a couple of inches from the camera body which makes it idea for storage, and this only extends further from the body when the camera is turned on.
Controlling the lens is the most rewarding element of using the HX100V, as it offers a unique switch to quickly toggle between manual focus and zoom. This means the well-located zoom ring around the lens also acts as the manual focus ring. It’s even possible to control the zoom using a rocker switch to the top right of the camera, so there are plenty of control possibilities. Working through the zoom isn’t as immediate or quite as accurate as, say, the Fujifilm HS20‘s hands-on zoom ring (which is truly manual), but the electronic-drive of the Sony still provides enough detail in control and the ‘step’ between each level of zoom is subtle rather than restricting.
Button layout follows a standard rear d-pad, with a one-touch ‘?’ button for the In-Camera Guide mode, a one-touch Movie button for quick recording and the usual Menu and Playback buttons also on the rear. The top sees a Finder/LCD button to toggle between the two, which is next to the main mode dial. Just behind the shutter are a pair of buttons – Focus and Custom – to quickly-adjust focus area and for user-assigned Function use respectively. Rather than individual exposure compensation and ISO control buttons, Sony has opted for a rear thumbwheel that doubles up as a button to jump between these various options – easy enough to use, but less immediate than having independent controls for these other major areas.
Elsewhere small details, such as the battery meter, also add bags extra to user experience: rather than just a simple four bar display, the Sony HX100V also estimates how long you have left to use the camera to the nearest minute, i.e. ‘90mins’. The rechargeable li-ion battery (no AAs here) lasts for a decent period of time and using the DC-IN charger it needn’t leave the camera’s body.