The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 was announced in February 2013 and has a 50x optical zoom lens and 20.4 megapixel sensor. It is available for £399.99.
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Features
The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 has a 20.4 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor and 50x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 24-1200mm. To keep your images as sharp as possible there is Optical SteadyShot, ideal when shooting with a lot of zoom. The zoom can be extended to 100x with Clear Image Zoom and the HX300 can also shoot full resolution images at up to 10 fps.
When shooting there are Superior Auto (ideal for moving subjects) and Intelligent Auto modes which automatically adjust the camera settings for the detected scene. There are also a range of scene modes and full manual controls. iSweep panorama mode allows you to easily shoot 180° and 360° panoramas. You can take more creative pictures using the artistic picture effects available.
Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD with optical zoom and SteadyShot available to keep your videos smooth.
20.4 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor
50x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24-1200mm)
3 inch 921k dot LCD screen
Full manual controls
Full 1080p HD video recording
ISO 80 - 12800
1cm minimum focusing distance
10 fps continuous shooting
Artistic picture effects
iSweep panorama mode
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Handling
The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 has a very similar look and feel to a DSLR. There is a substantial lens barrel and hand grip, with the latter rubberised. The lens barrel also has a manual focus ring with a button for switching between manual and auto focus. There is also an electronic viewfinder which is bright and clear.
On the top you'll find a mode dial sitting alongside the shutter release, zoom rocker and on / off, focus, custom, and finder / LCD buttons. The custom button can be set to AEL, white balance, metering mode and smile shutter. On the rear are movie record, playback, menu and ? buttons as well as a d-pad for cycling through the menus. The d-pad also gives access to display, flash, self-timer and photo creativity. There is also a wheel for adjusting shutter speeds and apertures.
Also on the rear is the 3 inch tiltable LCD screen. This is ideal for shooting with the camera held high or low down. It has a good resolution at 921k dots. The menu system is well laid out, it may take a little getting used to but is generally easy to use.
Battery life is rated at a respectable 310 shots according to CIPA test results. We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot without Flash
Shot to Shot with Flash
Continuous Shooting - Hi
Continuous Shooting - Lo
The continuous shooting modes both record in full 20.4 megapixel resolution.
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Performance
Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Sample Photos
Sample Photos - Images are impressive, with good colour reproduction and are well exposed. Portraits have excellent skin tones and are free of red-eye. Landscapes have impressive blues and greens.
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Lens test images
Lens Performance - Detail is fairly impressive at both ends of the lens. There is a little purple fringing and chromatic aberration in contrasting areas, but it's not too bad. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 1cm, this allows for impressive macro shots to be taken.
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 100 and remains so at ISO 200 and 400. There is enough noise to cause a little softening at ISO 800, which increases slightly at ISO 1600. Quite a substantial amount of detail is lost at ISO 3200, with image quality quite poor. You can also shoot at ISO 6400 and 12800, but image quality is terrible and these two settings are best avoided.
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent studio lights the auto white balance (AWB) performs well, taking a very similar image when compared to the incandescent preset. The AWB setting also performs well under the fluorescent lights, with colour casts appearing in all the images taken using the three fluorescent presets.
Standard Panorama | 1/1250 sec | f/2.8 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Wide Panorama | 1/640 sec | f/2.8 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Panorama mode - Panorama shots have a decent amount of detail and are well stitched together. You can shoot left, right, up and down with standard, wide, 360 and high resolution options available.
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Digital filters
Digital Filters - The HX300 has a range of picture modes to help take creative pictures. There are also different colour modes to select from.
Video - Videos are recording in full 1080p HD. Quality is good and the Optical SteadyShot does a great job of keeping videos still. You can use the optical zoom during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.
The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 is the most expensive 50x optical zoom camera on the market, you can save around £100 by purchasing the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000, so is the extra price justifiable? They share many of the same features, but the body has a little more quality to it and so have the pictures. Sony have managed to pack the 50x zoom lens into a much smaller body. This camera is ideal if you want the features of a DSLR, without the bulk of carry many lenses to achieve a similar focal range.