Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V Overview
A replacement for 2009's HX1V model, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V is based around a high-speed 1/2.3"-type, 16.2 effective megapixel, backside-illuminated, EXMOR R CMOS image sensor. In place of the Sony G-branded 20x lens from the HX1V, the Sony HX100V has a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* branded 30x optical zoom. As well as offering a brighter, slightly more generous wide angle, the HX100V's lens offers a lot more telephoto reach, although even with the included Optical SteadyShot stabilization with Active mode, you'll likely need good lighting for blur-free photos at the telephoto end of the range. For 4:3 aspect still image shooting, 35mm-equivalent focal lengths available from the HX100 include everything from a useful 27mm wide angle to a stunning 810mm telephoto equivalent. A slightly stronger focal length crop for 16:9 aspect movies and stills gives a range of 29-870mm equivalents, while 4:3 aspect movies make wide-angle shooting harder, with a range of 36-1080mm equivalents. If you enable the movie-only Active stabilization mode, the crop increases even more, for a range of 30-900mm equivalents in 16:9 aspect, and 37-1,110mm equivalent in 4:3 aspect. Macro shooting is possible to as close as just 0.4 inches (one centimeter) at wide angle, or 6.6 feet (2 meters) at telephoto. The Sony HX100V offers ISO sensitivities from 100 to 3,200 equivalents at full resolution. Around the lens barrel is a fly-by-wire ring that can be assigned to adjust either focus or lens zoom.
Like the HX1V before it, the big story of the Sony DSC-HX100V's imager is its speed: It's capable of of shooting as many as ten full resolution frames in a single second. As well as outright shooting rate, the Sony HX100's burst shooting capability is also used to good effect in several shooting modes that overlay multiple captures into a single image. Both the hand-held twilight mode and anti-motion blur mode aim to reduce blur in images, by capturing a number of images in a short burst and then combining them into a single image with the maximum possible sharpness and reduced noise. The difference between the two is that the latter mode creates the background from the entire group of images, and then overlays the main subject from one image only onto this background. Several Sweep modes combine panned image bursts into panoramic or 3D images, including a new Intelligent Sweep Panorama HR (High Resolution) mode allowing resolution up to 10,480 x 4,096 pixels, plus 3D Sweep Panorama, and Sweep Multi Angle. Intelligent and 3D Sweep Panorama modes capture up to 183-degree panoramas, while Sweep Multi Angle captures 15 Full HD frames with slightly differing perspective, which can then be viewed by tilting the camera from side to side, with the camera gradually switching between frames as it's tilted back and forth.
The Sony HX100V features a 9-point contrast detection autofocus system, and provides a selection of three metering modes -- Multi-Pattern, Center-weighted, or Spot. For photographers wanting maximum ease of use, the Sony Cybershot HX100V offers a selection of thirteen scene modes, while the Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto modes can recognize a variety of scene types automatically, and then configure the camera appropriately. (Superior Auto will also enable more advanced features such as multi-shot modes automatically, while Intelligent Auto won't use these.) If you desire a little more control over the creative process, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100 also offers both Aperture- and Shutter-priority modes as well as the ability to shoot completely manually, specifying your own choice of shutter speed and aperture. Fans of travel photography will be pleased to hear that the HX100 includes a built-in GPS receiver and compass, allowing for geotagging of images with the location and orientation at which they were captured.
As you'd expect given the huge zoom reach available, the Sony HX100V doesn't offer a true optical viewfinder, instead providing an electronic viewfinder. The HX100's EVF has 201,600-dot (67,200 pixel) resolution, while the tiltable 3.0-inch rear panel LCD display has a much higher 921,000 dot resolution, equating to an approximate 640 x 480 pixel array, with each pixel comprising adjacent red, green, and blue dots. The Sony HX100 can record high definition movies at up to 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution with stereo sound, with a choice of both 60i and 60p modes. Compression types include AVCHD and MPEG-4 AVC / H.264. Data is stored on Secure Digital cards including the newer SDHC and SDXC types, or on Memory Stick Duo cards. Power is provided by a proprietary NP-FH50 lithium ion rechargeable battery.
The Sony HX100V goes on sale in the USA from April 2011, priced at about US$450.