Sony shows speedy CMOS superzoom

Sony's high-end megazoom adds a CMOS sensor, speedy burst shooting, a higher-grade lens, and a couple hundred dollars to the price.

Sony

Camera manufacturers seem to have chosen megazooms as their latest battlefield--and thankfully, the fight isn't just about who's got the biggest lens. In this case, the latest player comes from Sony, whose new Cyber-shot DSC-HX1 incorporates several technologies from its Alpha DSLR products, including a 1/2.4-inch 10-megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor (for 9-megapixel images) and 20X f2.8-5.2 28-560mm-equivalent optically stabilized lens based on the company's higher-quality G series lenses.

In theory, the combination should deliver better photo quality than we're used to seeing in this class. (We haven't yet had a chance to review its primary--and also CMOS-based--competitor the Canon PowerShot SX1 IS, but it's been shipping overseas for a little while, so you can read CNET Australia's take on it).

In addition, Sony introduces several interesting continuous shooting modes: an intriguing Dynamic Ultrawide panorama mode that captures sequential images as you slowly pan across a scene and automatically stitches them into a 7,152x1,080 photo; a 10 frame-per-second 10-shot continuous shooting mode that uses a mechanical rather than electronic shutter for, the company claims, less distortion; and Handheld Twilight mode, which combines multiple exposures for a theoretically lower noise, higher detail low-light photo.

The HX1 also features a more advanced movie mode than its lower-end line mates. It can shoot 1080p (1,440x1,080 at 30 frames per second, 12 megabits per second bit rate) MPEG-4 H.264 movies; you can use the zoom while you record.

The resolution is a bit low, but if the HX1 can make up for it with solid high-ISO images--it goes up to ISO 3200--the tradeoff might be worth it. And since the lenses are one of the weakest aspect of most megazooms, I look forward to seeing what a higher grade of lens can do. Especially for the $499 it's going to cost when it ships in mid April.

Read the full CNET Review

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1

The Bottom Line: Trade-offs abound in Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-HX1 megazoom. Though it's fast and has some really novel, useful features, it just doesn't deliver the photo quality expected for its class. / Read full review

About the author

Lori Grunin is a senior editor for CNET Reviews, covering cameras, camcorders, and related accessories. She's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software since 1988.

 

ARTICLE DISCUSSION

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

Hot on CNET

CNET's giving away a 3D printer

Enter for a chance to win* the MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer and all the supplies you need to get started.