The Bottom Line
My review of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5 digital camera (sometimes called the DSC-HX5V and the DSC-HX5B) shows a very impressive model with a great mix of beginner and intermediate photography features. The HX5 easily shifts from a fully automatic point and shoot model to a camera that allows you to adjust most of the settings manually.
The HX5 isn't quite as slim or stylish as some others, but its photo features are great.
My biggest complaint about the HX5 is the price, which starts at $349.99. You might be able to find the HX5 for right around $300 this holiday season ... if so, the HX5 easily is a 5-star performer.
- Startup is very fast
- HX5's iSweep Panorama feature is among the best panoramic features around
- Several different movie settings are available, along with a dedicated movie button
- HX5 excels in low-light photography; small flash is powerful
- 10X zoom lens with limited wide angle option is nice addition
- Price is a little high
- Shots with the flash can suffer from some shutter lag
- Camera is a little bigger and heaver than most beginner cameras
- Can inadvertently cover flash while holding camera
- Resolution: 10.2 megapixels
- Optical zoom: 10X (25-250mm)
- LCD: 3.0-inch, 230,000 pixels
- Maximum image size: 3456 x 2592 pixels
- Battery: Li-ion rechargeable
- Dimensions: 2.38 x 4.13 x 1.18 inches
- Weight: 6.0 ounces (no battery or memory card)
- Image sensor: CMOS 1/2.4 in.
- Movie mode: AVCHD 1080i HD video
Guide Review - Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX5 Review
Don't let the 10.2 megapixels of resolution fool you; the Cyber-shot HX5 shoots extremely sharp and bright photos, thanks to a CMOS image sensor that's a little larger than you'll normally find in a compact camera. You can select from five different image sizes, including two (7MP and 2MP) that allow for a 16:9 widescreen shooting ratio.
The HX5's 10X optical zoom lens is a great feature, and it offers limited wide angle options.
Finally, I really liked the HX5's "twilight" feature, where you can tell the camera to shoot two photos -- one with a flash and one without -- whenever the HX5 senses twilight lighting conditions. You then can choose to keep the better photo.
Sony has included a very fast startup with the Cyber-shot HX5, which is great for trying to shoot spontaneous photos. It has a little shutter lag when using the powerful flash, but its overall response times are very good.
As you select various modes by spinning the mode dial, Sony has included a built-in popup help screen that explains each mode, which is nice. The various modes are very nice, too, including:
- iAuto, which is fully automatic and couldn't be easier to use.
- iSweep Panorama, which guides you in shooting panoramic photos and automatically stitches them together. The HX5's iSweep Panorama is the best panoramic feature I've seen in a point and shoot camera.
- Anti-blur, which excels in preventing camera shake with low-light photos.
- Backlight correction, which automatically adjusts when a strong backlight is in use.
The HX5 includes a built-in GPS receiver for geotagging. The GPS tends to slow down the camera occasionally, especially when GPS signals are weak, and it drains the battery more quickly than basic photography, but it works really accurately.
Finally, the HX5 can shoot in a variety of handy burst modes, allowing for 10 frames per second through a dedicated button.
I'll state the obvious first: The HX5 isn't going to win any awards for slim or stylish camera design. Sony is offering the HX5 in basic black only. The lens is off-center to the right side (when viewing the camera from the front), and the lens extends from the camera body when in use. The other side of the camera has a small, rounded handgrip, which is nice, along with an indented spot on the back panel for resting your right thumb.
You can upload music to the HX5 for use with an in-camera slideshow, but that's about it for adding style to this model.
One other quick complaint: Sony did not include a printed user manual with the HX5, meaning you'll have to access the full manual online or from the included CD-ROM. Beginning photographers probably will need to access the user manual on a fairly regular basis as they learn to use the camera, so a printed manual would've been nice.
However, thanks to all of the cool photography features the HX5 offers, we'll forgive the lack of a user manual. This is a great camera, especially if you can find it for around $300.