Sony HX90V Review First Look - The HX90V succeeds the HX60V and looks set to offer new competition to the travel compact market
Sony has today announced its latest travel compact in the shape of the Sony HX90V.
The travel zoom category has been one of the success stories in the compact cameras market over recent times, with the combination of a large focal range and compact body – at a competitive price-point – offering strong competition to the ubiquitous smartphone.
The HX90V should therefore be greeted with great interest, however it will take a lot to overturn the TZ70 and other impressive travel compacts.
We met up with Sony ahead of today’s launch to get our hands on an early sample of the HX90V and see how well set the camera is to excel in a crowded and competitive marketplace.
Sony HX90V Hands-On
One of the most welcome features the HX90V inherits from the more advanced RX100 III is pop-up EVF. The EVF is the very same as that on the RX100 III, although it does feature one welcome modification – when you pop the viewfinder back down it doesn’t switch the camera off, unlike on the RX100 III.
The addition of an electronic viewfinder is welcome as while the model’s predecessor – the HX60V – did support a viewfinder, it came as an expensive and bulky added extra.
Another benefit of the pop-up viewfinder is that it allows for the bulk of the rear of the camera to be taken up by an LCD screen. The screen itself measures in at 3in and 921k-dots, although the real benefit of the unit is that it can be rotated around 180-degrees on a horizontal axis and can thus face the subject in front of the lens.
The statistics with the model’s optical zoom remain the same as previously – a 30x optical zoom covering a focal range of 24-720mm and featuring a maximum aperture range of f/3.5-6.4.
The lens itself is, however, an all-new Zeiss T* Sonnar unit which the engineering bods at Sony have managed to make some 30% smaller than its predecessor.
This reduction of lens size, as well as several other engineering tweaks, has resulted in the HX90V being noticeably smaller than its predecessor. In fact, the new model is also noticeably smaller than its direct rival – the TZ70 – and it’s certainly a much more pocketable camera.
Despite the smaller, more pocketable size the HX90V still feels comfortable in the hand. You could argue that the HX90V actually feels more comfortable in the hand thanks to this handgrip than the RX100 III, and owners of the latter may well cast envious glances at this design feature.
Other controls are largely transplanted from the RX100 III, including a host on control buttons and a control ring housed around the lens. Much like the RX100 III, the control ring rotates smoothly rather than with a click like some competitors, and as such might not be to everyone’s taste.
The only real criticism of the camera on first look is that it’s lacking Raw image capture. This is a feature which is heavily requested by the travel compact market, and one which is provided by the competitors such as the TZ70.
Sony HX90V Final Thoughts
The first impressions of the HX90V are roundly positive. The camera is notably more compact than some competitors and boasts some highly attractive features including the pop-up viewfinder and 180-degree vari-angle screen.
The only real disappointment is the lack of Raw capture, although for some the fact that Raw capture is missing might not be a huge issue.
The HX90V will be priced at £340 on launch, with the HX90 (the same camera minus GPS functionality) available for £330