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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V review: The ultimate compact megazoom?

The all new HX9V compact megazoom is a great camera for feature junkies, but is that enough to make it the top choice in the category?

Sony has three compact megazooms in its 2011 lineup; the Cyber-shot HX9V is the most expensive. It's also the only one of the three (the H70 and HX7V are the others) that's not replacing a 2010 model. It's entirely new and hosts what seems like all of Sony's latest Cyber-shot technologies. That includes (for better or worse) a 16-megapixel Exmor R sensor, a 16x ultrawide-angle 24mm-equivalent Sony G lens, and a high-speed linear-focusing system. It shoots video in full HD at 60p. It has a GPS receiver for geotagging photos while you shoot. Shooting modes go from a stripped-down Easy auto mode right up to full manual. It is one of the most capable compact megazooms I've tested.

That said, it's not always the easiest camera to use, simply because there are so many features. If all you want is a long lens in a smallish body with a reliable auto mode, there are other options in this category worth considering. But if having something that's part camera and part gadget sounds appealing to you, check out the HX9V.

While it's not the ultimate compact megazoom, it is pretty close. Read the full review and let me know in the comments what you think might be missing. Or if you own one, definitely let us know what you do and don't like.