Sony cameras feature innovative technology such as Sweep Panorama and 3D image capture. The H-series is the most advanced in Sony’s prosumer segment, and the 18.2-megapixel Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V is the latest on the block.
Design and Build Quality
Sony’s HX10V is designed, keeping visual appeal in perspective, which has been the hallmark of Sony cameras. The outer body of the camera is made up of a combination of metal and engineering plastic. It appears sturdy. The lens has a two-segment construction; the tripod mount is metal. Embedded on the top panel, the built-in flash pops up when activated.
The 18.2-megapixel Sony DSC-HX10V uses a 1/2.3-inch Type (6.16 x 4.62mm) Exmor R CMOS sensor for imaging and a BIONZ engine for processing the images. The camera features a Sony G 24-384mm equivalent f/3.3-5.9 lens. The lens has a total aperture range of f/3.3 to 8.0 (at the wide-angle end) and features an Optical Steady Shot stabilisation system. At the wide-angle end, it focusses from approximately 5 cm to infinity, while at the telephoto end, it focusses from approximately 120cm to infinity. Focus modes available are Multi-point, Centre, Spot, and Flexible Spot. Metering modes are Multi-pattern, Centre-weighted, and Spot. Exposure can be compensated up to +/-2 EV in 1/3EV steps. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 12800 and shutter speed can be varied from 30 to 1/1600 sec. White Balance options are Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Flash, One Push, and One Push Set. The built-in flash has a range of approximately 0.25 to 5.3m at the wide-angle end and approximately 1.2 to 2.9m at the telephoto end when ISO is set to Auto. Flash modes are Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, and Slow Synchro. The HX10V features Face Detection with options of Auto, Off, Child Priority, and Adult Priority. This feature can detect up to 8 faces in a frame. Shooting modes of the camera are Superior Auto, Intelligent Auto, Easy Shooting, Program, Movie Mode, Panorama, Scene Selection, Picture Effect, 3D, Background Defocus, Intelligent Sweep Panorama, and Manual Exposure. Scene Selection Mode allows you to select between High Sensitivity, Night Scene, Night Portrait, Soft Snap, Landscape, Beach, Snow, Fireworks, Advanced Sports Shooting, Gourmet, Pet, Soft Skin, Handheld Twilight, Anti Motion Blur, Backlight Correction, HDR, and 3D
The HX10V records still images in JPEG format with a maximum size of 4896 x 3672 pixels while movies are recorded in AVCHD format with the best quality of 1920 x 1080 at 24 fps. The camera has an internal memory and uses a Memory Stick Duo/SD/Memory Stick Micro/Micro SD memory card for external storage. Though Sony does not specify the capacity of internal memory, it is sufficient to record three still images at full resolution. The camera uses a 3.0-inch, 921,600-dot XtraFine LCD. The unit is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery pack NP-BG1. It weighs approximately 234g with battery and Memory Stick, and has dimensions of 104.7 x 59.7 x 33.8mm.
The Sony DSC-HX10V is easy to use and has a clean interface which is easy to navigate. Images on the LCD panel appear sharp. The camera has a protruding hand grip lined with a synthetic lining. The device can slip out of your hand, and hence do not forget to attach the strap while using the camera. Though the camera features Manual and Program modes, it does not have priority modes, which hinders creative freedom. Also the lack of a comprehensive user manual could be worrisome for some since all features are not self-explanatory.
Sony compacts are known for their fine performance and the HX-10V is no exception. Focussing was fast and accurate even under low light. Images were sharp and colours vibrant. The camera did not produce any perceptible distortion at any focal length, which is very rare. Metering was accurate with all metering modes performing as expected. The camera reproduced colours as expected with all White Balance modes performing very well, except under incandescent light, where Auto White Balance produced slight red cast.
Native print size of the images was 12.24 x 16.32 inches at 300 ppi. We compared the images for noise on a monitor with 1280 x 1024 pixel resolution. At 25 percent of the screen size, the images were free of noise up to ISO 3200. Though ISO 6400 and 12800 produced slight noise, the images were perfectly usable. At 50 percent screen size, the images remained noise-free up to ISO 800. Here, ISO 3200 appeared less noisy than ISO 1600, probably because of the noise reduction algorithm acting at this sensitivity level. Viewed at 100 percent, we observed noise from ISO 400 onwards, but they were quite usable throughout the ISO range. The noise levels were judged as observed on our computer screen and it might differ on print. Noise observed on print depends on various factors such as the size of the final image, viewing distance, printing method, printer, printing paper, and the ink used. Generally, noise seen on screen is more than what one sees on a print.
We observed some darkening of corners at the wide-angle end with the lens wide open. Prominent flare with purple fringing was observed at the wide-angle end with the lens wide open, in against-the-light shots, but you might not even notice these in general, everyday images.
Value for Money
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V retails at an MRP of Rs.17,990. At this price, the camera appears good value for money.
+ Excellent Build and Design
+ Brilliant Performance
– No Priority Modes
– No Complete User Manual
Design and Build Quality 17/20
Key Features 17/20
Noise Control 4/5
Value for Money 8/10
Grand Total 85/100
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX10V is a compact and capable super zoom camera that performs like a champion. The lack of priority modes and a comprehensive user manual can prove to be a problem for many users. Nevertheless, with its superior performance and sensible pricing, the camera earns itself a Best Buy.