Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V
iExpress Review Camera Reviews > Sony Cameras > Sony Cybershot
4.1 x 2.3 x 1.3 in.
(105 x 59 x 34 mm)
8.6 oz (244 g)
Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V Black Digital Camera (16.2 MP, 16x Opt, SD/SDHC/SDXC/Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/PRO HG-Duo Card Slot)
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Review Summary: Sony packs its latest digital ideas into the Sony HX9V, a 16-megapixel, 16x pocket long zoom, offering high-resolution stills and Full HD video. The result is a versatile digital camera with a wide zoom range and plenty of tricks to get great shots in difficult conditions.
(#1 in our 2011 Travel Zoom Shootout!)
Pros: Excellent optical quality; High resolution; High-resolution Panorama mode; Good video quality; Good grip; Fast autofocus.
Cons: Sluggish user interface and Full HD video mode; Heavy noise suppression; GPS is sometimes slow to sync.
Price and Availability: Shipping as of April 2011, the Sony Cyber-shot HX9V carries an MSRP of US$350, and comes in Black only.
Sony HX9V Overview
by Alex Burack and Stephanie Boozer
Review Posted: 07/15/2011
The Sony Cyber-shot HX9V is a prototypical pocket long zoom digital camera, a breed of camera that's noticeably smaller than a DSLR, but more capable than a point-and-shoot. Sporting a thin, rectangular frame, the HX9V's 16x zoom lens and diverse snapshot-oriented feature set yields high-resolution stills, 3D panoramas, and Full HD video with stereo audio. Along with 16.2-megapixel files and a 3.0-inch LCD screen, the Cyber-shot HX9V delivers performance, automation, and a photo-savvy design, making it a viable point-and-click or more affordable alternative to interchangeable lens systems.
Sony HX9V User Report
Priced at $349.99, the Sony Cyber-shot HX9V presents a feature-laden compact digital camera with a blend of DSLR controls, setting versatility, and ease-of-use that makes it a strong option for photography enthusiasts on the go. Backed by a 16.2-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor and optically-stabilized 24-384mm (equivalent) zoom lens, the pocketable Cyber-shot HX9V records full 1080/60p HD video, stereo audio, 3D stills, and instant panoramas. At full speed, the camera can snap burst sequences at 10 frames per second (fps), and exhibits strong autofocus for a non-DSLR. For the price and versatility, the SD-enabled Sony Cyber-shot HX9V packs a strong value for point-and-shooters and photo enthusiasts alike.
Look and Feel. Cloaked in a matte black finish, the Cyber-shot HX9V assumes a somewhat thick, rectangular design that resembles a point-and-shoot with more of a grip than usual. Though it's long, the lens' prowess is concealed within the pocketable body of the HX9V, which makes it easy to transport and slide into your pocket. Pocketable, of course, is relative; this won't fit into tight jeans, and is noticeable in slacks, but fits well in cargo shorts or jacket pockets.
The weight of the Sony HX9V is distributed well throughout its chassis, with the camera resting comfortably against the user's palm. Sony intelligently places a small wedge of rubber on the back on the HX9V, opposite the vertical handgrip, to rest your thumb and stabilize the camera when shooting with just one hand. With the thin camera body and lens barrel, the solid grasp you are able to achieve on the camera is particularly important for telephoto shots.
External controls are well placed across the body. In shooting position, the user's hand and fingers naturally form something of a backwards "G" shape. The right index finger falls comfortably over the circular shutter release with easy access to the rotating zoom control that's formed around it. Users can intuitively adjust exposure settings using a jog dial on the back of the camera.
Within the dial is a selection button that toggles between ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture settings in Manual mode. The integration is quick and easy to adjust between shots. My only gripe here is that the exposure compensation adjustment, used in Program mode, is buried within the menu. Answering that gripe is the Custom button on the top of the camera, which can be set to bring up Exposure Compensation, ISO, and White Balance adjustments.
Viewing. Sony went with size over framing versatility with the HX9V, excluding an optical viewfinder for a smaller overall form factor, something most manufacturers have done in recent years, particularly in the long zoom format. A large 3.0-inch 921k-dot LCD screen serves as the viewfinder and playback monitor on the camera. The screen is bright, with good contrast and a wide angle of view. You can adjust the brightness in 5-steps.
I did, however, take some exception to the color accuracy of the LCD monitor. Warm colors -- red tones in particular -- appear vastly oversaturated on screen, skewing your immediate impression of the captured file. Stained wood appears a vivid reddish orange.
Lens. The optic is the ultimate backbone of the camera. A long telescoping lens extends from the front, close to the center of the camera body. The 16x optical zoom lens covers an equivalent zoom range of 24-384mm in its native 4:3 aspect ratio. The lens is stabilized by Sony's Optical SteadyShot image stabilization system, which integrates a gyro sensor to detect and compensate for handshake. The IS system is particularly important for telephoto shots with the small camera, and does an adequate, if not impressive job in use.
Varying the focal length on the Cyber-shot HX9V's lens is achieved by rotating a ring around the shutter release button. The motorized zoom is smooth across the lens' wide focal range, while remaining sensitive enough to facilitate subtle alterations when gently depressed.
The shortcoming of the lens is that only two apertures are available: f/3.3 and f/8. At telephoto, this changes to f/5.9 and f/14. We think this is because the Sony HX9V uses the neutral density filter to simulate its smaller aperture, rather than offering an actual smaller aperture.
Interface. Sony is adept in designing a clean, usable graphic interface across its products, and the Cyber-shot HX9V is no different. The menu structures are well organized and easily accessed through the Menu button on the back of the camera. The settings are displayed over a live feed of what the camera sees, immediately showing the effect of the potential White Balance and aspect ratio alterations as you scroll through the available setting options.
Menu headings in Shooting modes are intelligently organized in a vertical array on the left side of the screen, with specific options sprawled out horizontally across the frame. Sony uses white text over a semi-transparent black overlay. The text is clear and easy to read in nearly any condition. Menu options will vary slightly depending on the shooting mode the camera is using. There are three display settings to control how much information is displayed on the live composition (Off, On, and Detailed Info). There's also an In-Camera Guide that comes in very handy given the camera's generous feature set.
Water Flow. With manual shutter speeds, it's easy to control the appearance of motion in the shot.
Modes. The Sony Cyber-shot