Expert Review of Sony Cybershot DSC HX200V
Probably one of the best compact Point and Shoot device available in the market today is Sony Cybershot DSC HX200V, this device in generalised terminology falls under the category of superzoom devices and withholds a huge 18.2 megapixel sensor alongside a massive 30x stabilised optical zoom lens which is accompanied by a 3 inch LCD screen. Let alone the increment in the number of pixels in the sensor of the device, other treats are a faster AF system, a highly improved battery kit and Clear Image digital zoom, this extends the range of this device by an immediate factor of two down to the a maximum equivalent of 1620mm. The screen of this device is a 3 inch flip up screen which has a display pixel resolution of 921k pixels and provides a highly detailed view with a 0.2 inch and 201k dot electronic viewfinder. As expected from Sony, this device is definitely no rookie when it comes to gadgets and features intelligent auto modes, 3D shooting, Sweep Panorama and 3D panorama, it also offers a range of stacking modes designed to get good results in low light. Finally, it's fitted with a GPS receiver to automatically tag images with geopositional data.
Design and Build Quality
When talking of the technical design and dynamics of the device, Sony CyberShot HX200V remains unchanged from Sony CyberShot 100V. The exact dimensions of this device are 122mm x 87mm x 93mm, exactly the same as Sony CyberShot HX100V, only the weight of the device is few grams more than its predecessor i.e. 583 grams which includes card and battery. And as you can expect from any damn Sony device, when it comes to the looks department, the device exceeds expectations and is highly comfortable in hand. Sony CyberShot HX200V's artificial cadaver has a matt speckled end which looks good and provides a physical grip. There's room for three fingers on the grip with your right index finger resting contentedly on the shutter release and your left hand supporting the camera, SLR-style, underneath the lens. Behind the shutter discharge is a convention push button to which you can assign a variety of functions and another for changing the focus mode. Behind those on the right side of the top panel are the mode dial, on/off button and an make ineffective button for manually switching between the electronic viewfinder and LCD screen. The output ports are confined by a hinged hard cover on the left side of the camera body which opens to reveal a USB 2.0 port for off-loading images and clips and below that a mini HDMI port for connecting the camera to a suitably equipped TV or monitor. A lesser door below accesses the DC in port by which the battery is charged in the camera using the supplied charger.
Focus and Face Detection
Focus button provides three options, the default Multi-AF, Centre AF, and Flexible spot AF. There's also an AF tracking mode which is initiated in the modes that support it by pressing the centre button of the four-way controller once to activate it and a second time to lock the AF target onto the subject. Sony CyberShot HX200V also has Face detect AF. Sony has improved the speed of the HX200V's AF system with claimed speeds of 0.13 seconds. There's no doubt that in good lighting conditions the AF is very swift, the double-beep indicating that focus has been achieved occurs almost the instant you half-press the shutter release, but then Sony CyberShot HX200V's predecessor wasn't exactly a laggard in this respect.
Lens and Image Stabilization
Sony CyberShot HX200V comes fitted with exactly the same the same 4.8-144.mm f2.8-5.6 zoom lens as its predecessor. This has a 35mm equivalent range of 27 - 810mm which is as long as you're likely to need but at the wide angle end of the range the 27mm equivalent focal length doesn't match the super-wide field of view that you'll get from many of its competitors. Of course, neither of those models can match the HX200V's 810mm telephoto; if you want a lens that outreaches the HX200V at both ends of the zoom range you're looking at the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS with its monster 24-840mm range. Cyber-shot HX200V features the Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation system which shifts the lens elements to compensate for camera movement. Optical SteadyShot is activated by default, can't be turned off and has no optional settings other than for movie shooting (see the movie section below). In place of my usual before and after shots then, the 100 percent crop shown below right is from the red area indicated on the full frame on the left.
Screen and Menus
Sony CyberShot HX200V has a 3 inch LCD screen with 920k pixels. Its 4:3 proportions mean that the entire screen area is used for composition and playback of still images with black bars appearing top and bottom for HD movie recording. It's a bright contrasty screen which displays a high level of detail with no visible pixellation and it provides a reasonably good view in bright light. In sunny conditions, like most screens it becomes very difficult to see, but the fact that you can flip it up or downwards does at least provide some options for keeping it out of direct sunlight as well as being useful for shooting from low and high viewpoints.
Sony CyberShot HX200V is powered by the same NP-FH50 info-lithium battery as its predecessor, but Sony has managed to squeeze extra life from it with a claimed 450 shots nearly 150 more than the HX100V. Obviously that's going to depend on your usage of the LCD but if you stick to the EVF Sony reckons you can increase that to 490 shots.
Sony Cybershot HX200V has four movie quality modes encoded using the AVCHD format. The best quality HD format is 1080p50/60 (region dependent) which is encoded at an average bit rate of 28Mbps. There are two interlaced options, 1080i50/60, at average bit rates of 24 and 17Mbps respectively and finally a 1440 x 1080i50/60 option at 9Mbps. If you switch from AVCHD to MP4 encoding the options become 1440x1080, 720x1080 and 640x480 all at 25fps (or 30fps in NTSC regions).
Sony Cybershot HX200V's 18.2 Megapixel EXMOR back-illuminated CMOS sensor produces images with a maximum size of 4896 x 3672 pixels. Images are saved as JPEG compressed files with a file size of around 4 to 7MB. The ISO range is 100 to 12,800.
Fast 10-frame burst shooting.
Eye sensor automatically switches from EVF to screen.
1080p50/60 best quality HD video.
Poor High ISO noise performance.
Lens cap obstructs lens on power-up.
No RAW mode.