Published on May 8th,2009 at 1:38 PM
By >Daimaou - G.G-B

Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-HX1: Review

A couple of days ago we tested Canon’s latest bridge with full HD video recording the PowerShot SX1, and today we’ll review its competitor: the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1Specs
- 20x wide-angle ( 28mm, f/2.8 ) optical zoom with optical image stabilizer
- 9.1 Megapixel resolution
- Sony Exmor CMOS Sensor for full resolution continuous 10fps shooting
- HDV (1440 x 1080p, 30fps) movies plus HDMI 1080i output
- Shooting modes include full manual control
- Face Detection AF/AE/FE/WB plus Face Select & Track and Face Self-Timer
- Target blur with High ISO Auto, Optical Image Stabilizer, Motion Detection and Servo AF
- Auto Red-Eye Correction in shooting and playback
- i-Contrast boosts brightness and retains detail in dark areas
- 3.0” Clear Photo LCD Plus

First impressions
Ok, we know that looks may not be what many of us look for in a camera, but we all can agree we’re still attracted to beauty. The HX1 is a nice looking camera, with a huge & gorgeous 3” LCD and made with good material. Yep! Once more Sony gets it right in terms of design and choice of materials…

As for ergonomics, we’re a little puzzled, especially when it comes to changing different settings like ISO speed. Basically once you have the camera in your hands your first reaction will be to push the menu button to change settings, but most of the important ones, like ISO speed can’t be found there. We searched a long time and ended up having to check the manual… Shame on us! A geek forced to check the manual? And despite Sony’s effort to make it simple we didn’t even see the tiny jog dial below the mode dial (placed next to the shutter button)… And guess what? Turning the jog dial will has no effect, you have to first press it to access a new menu, AND then select ISO to change your ISO speed.

We not going to spend hours here, but for a first time user, the HX1 is far from ergonomic. Sony has a lot of room here for improvement.

Once we found where the buttons were placed and learned exactly what they did, we were also quite unimpressed by the HX1′s LCD. We were disappointed by its overall position. Don’t get us wrong, they’re not many places Sony could have put it, but it looks like a last minute job. Maybe when finshed assembling the camera Sony’s engineers realized they forget to include the LCD. There’s also no way to tilt the LCD to protect it, and since it’s not flush with the rest of the camera body it can be easily damaged or scratched.

Another problem we found is that the LCD quickly catches dust… UNDER its protective screen (see picture below)! There’s NOTHING we hate more than a LCD full of DUST under its protective screen… Once again we got the feeling Sony added the LCD at the last minute.

Let’s shoot baby!
Like the Canon’s SX1 we didn’t expect a lot from the HX1. After all these cameras aren’t DSLR, but overall pictures turned out OK. Like any Sony camera, pictures tend to have too many colorful “colors.” A great impact on average users, but not much on amateurs or “pros.” Sometimes colors are “too much” and unrealistic, especially with RED or PINK.

Here again if you’re not looking for perfection and won’t zoom 100%, but rather check a picture on your TV or computer LCD, results are quite satisfactory. Now if you zoom 100% you’ll begin seeing some disturbing “pixel effects” (not sure if the term is correct here) on different elements of the picture, the overall result isn’t very smooth (see picture below). This is something we didn’t get from the SX1.

In low light the HX1 is also not impressive and even a little bit less than the SX1… Nope, the HX1 is not good in low light.

What about video?
Despite the fact that the DSC-HX1 is not a full HD camera but rather an HDV due to its 1440 x 1080 resolution, we admit that it gave WAY better results in video mode than the SX1. Videos are colorful, precise, and sharp, even in low light. Quite impressive for such camera, and even more impressive when you realize the HX1 provides BETTER HD video than Sony’s latest Full HD camcorder, the TG5V (TG7 in Europe). TG5V (TG7) Quick review… Nice Add-ons but Still Needs Work on Video.

Below are some 100% cropped samples of the video

Any Good News?
Well yes, even if the HX1, like the SX1, isn’t a pro camera the it stunned us with its Panoramic Mode… Look at the pictures below, it’s REALLY amazing and worth both horizontal and vertical. The samples we shot were taken on a tripod, but you can still get decent panoramic photos even without one. Other good news is the codec used to shoot HD video, despite being quite found of the AVCHD, the HX1 uses an average MP4 H.264, meaning easy editing on most of today’s average video editing software.

Here you are the above photo samples untouched, and coming straight from the Camera, 51MB in Total
Here you are the above video samples untouched, and coming straight from the Camera, 95MB in Total

Pictures are a little bit less perfect than Canon’s SX1, the HX1 is better suited to those looking for a real all-in-one bridge. The HX1 gives colorful photos, has a great panoramic mode and nice HD video… But then again, if you’re on a tight budget and more interested in photo quality, the SX1 would be a bit better.

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Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-HX1:  ReviewSony’s Cyber-shot DSC-HX1:  Review
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  • anabad

    Typo …

    Canon Cyber-shot DSC-HX1Specs

  • andersemanuel

    You could have chosen a bit more moving targets on your movie clips… hint…my dead hamster had more spirit…



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