When Sony released thein 2013, it was the world's smallest and lightest camera with a 30x zoom lens. Now, two years later, it's back with the HX90V and WX500, which reclaim the title.
Though, more precisely, the HX90V is the world's smallest 30x zoom with an electronic viewfinder at 4 inches wide by 2.3 inches high by 1.4 inches thick and weighing 7.7 ounces (102x58.1x35.5mm; 218g), while the WX500 is the smallest and lightest at 4 inches wide by 2.3 inches high by 1.4 inches thick and weighing 7.4 ounces (101.6x58.1x35.5mm; 209g).
Electronic viewfinders (EVF) are easy to come by on larger SLR-style high-zoom cameras, but until Panasonic put one on the Lumix ZS40 last year (followed by this year's), it hadn't been done on a smaller travel zoom.
Sony ups the ante here a bit. Instead of the ever-present EVF Panasonic uses, Sony used a pop-up OLED EVF borrowed from its. The result is a 638K-dot-resolution EVF that's there when you want it, but hidden -- and protected -- when you don't. The viewfinder has a proximity sensor, too, so when you bring the camera up to your eye it will automatically switch from the screen to the viewfinder.
It's a fantastic addition for easier shooting in bright light when framing with the 3-inch 921K-dot-resolution LCD might be difficult or if you're at an event or somewhere where using the LCD might be a disruption. Speaking of the LCD, it's on a 180-degree flip-up hinge for framing shots when you're in front of the camera.
The lens specs remain the same, starting at f3.5 24mm and zooming in to f6.4 720mm, but the gear mechanism is now in the lens barrel. That helped get the size down as did new advanced aspherical lens elements. And it's now branded a Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens, replacing the mid-range Sony G lens on past models.
To keep your photos and videos blur-free from camera shake, the HX90V has 5-axis image stabilization. The camera also has Wi-Fi with near-field communications (NFC) for easy pairing with Android devices and built-in GPS for geotagging images.
Outside of a 2-megapixel resolution drop to 18 megapixels, the only other major upgrade is the capability to record video in XAVC S format for shooting 1080p movies at 60 frames per second with a 50Mbps bitrate for broadcast-quality results.
The Sony Cyber-shot HX90V will be available in June for $430/AU$599 (that converts to about £300). If you want to save yourself $100, the WX500 is the same as the HX90V minus the viewfinder and GPS. It will be out in June, too, for $330 or AU$479 (about £225).