Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V Review

Image Quality Review:

              All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 18 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

              The inherent beauty of any super zoom camera is the ability to choose from a wide range of framing options, and photograph a broad range of subjects, without having to take a single step forward or back. Unfortunately most new product releases appear to be about impressive specification lists rather than impressive performances. Fortunately for the 30x optical capacity of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V, it’s not just an exercise in numbers however. Here the entirety of the focal range is actually useful in that we were able to achieve sharp results consistently from shot to shot when shooting handheld at maximum telephoto - a rare thing indeed. The performance at the telephoto end of most competing models is distinctly soft.

            Conversely, at the extreme wideangle setting we did notice some slight fall-off towards the corners of the frame, though this is only visible if you’re looking for it and is subtle at best, as is the inevitable pixel fringing between areas of high contrast. Generally though, the HX200V acquits itself very well indeed, with bags of detail in every shot and good, even exposures too that manage to maintain both highlight and shadow detail. The result is that you will very rarely find yourself wanting to alter any of the results straight out of the camera in Photoshop or its ilk.

            For shooting in low light, this Sony of course offers the impressively broad light sensitivity range option of captures between ISO100 and ISO12800 at top whack. You’ll want to stick at ISO3200 or below however if you want to avoid the effects of vigorous processing to keep image noise well under control. However at ISO 6400 we’d offer that results are still perfectly usable, so it appears this pushing of the spec is advantageous to the user rather than just a number to stick on the box.

            The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V is a super zoom camera that is actually not only a jack-of-all-trades, but also a master of most of them. Picture wise, there’s not a lot here to find fault with.


            There are 8 ISO settings available on the Sony CyberShot DSC-HX200V. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 100
ISO 200

ISO 400
ISO 800

ISO 1600
ISO 3200

ISO 6400
ISO 12800

Focal Range

                The Sony CyberShot DSC-HX200V's 30x zoom lens offers an incredibly versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:



             Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are just a little soft and ideally benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Alternatively you can change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)
Sharpened (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

               The Sony CyberShot DSC-HX200V handled chromatic aberrations well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)
Example 2 (100% Crop)

Night Shot

             The Sony CyberShot DSC-HX200V's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds in the Manual mode, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 4 seconds at ISO 100. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot
Night Shot (100% Crop)

            Undoubtedly the biggest recommendation we have with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V is that, by daylight, we were able to achieve sharp results shooting handheld with it with greater consistency than we have been able to achieve with pretty much any super zoom camera to date. The hand-held twilight mode selectable from within the scene modes also comes in very useful by night. Simply put, if you line up a trick-sy shot there is more chance of you actually pulling it off with this Sony, which many would agree is worth the admission price alone, even if it is a rather pricey £479.

          OK, so there’s no ability to shoot raw files here which will be a deal breaker for some, but to be honest the results from the HX200V's JPEGs didn’t give us much cause, if any, to find fault. Though it might satisfy the enthusiast looking for a portable means of gaining some extra poke in the lens department as well as the family user who would like a wealth of framing options at their fingertips, this is after all a consumer level camera, and has to be rated as such. Fortunately then impressions are more favourable than not.

         As an all in one with ‘DSLR lite’ style handling that really does offer most, if not all, of what you need - and delivers consistently high image quality - the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V takes some beating if a big zoom really is chief among your imaging requirements.
Photographyblog highly recommends it.

Final Ratings:

Design:   4.5
Features:   4.5
Ease-of-use:   4.5
Image Quality:  4
Value for money:  4



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