Join ePHOTOzine, the friendliest photography community.
Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more for free!
The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX50 is a new travel zoom camera, it is the World's first pocket zoom with 30x optical zoom lens, and it has a 20 megapixel sensor. It also offers a flash hot-shoe (Ni) accessory port, manual controls and exposure compensation dial. You can buy the HX50 for around £350.00.
NB. We are testing the HX50V - this has GPS, but won't be available in the UK. The HX50 will be in the UK, this is the same, just without GPS.
Shooting modes include Superior Auto and Intelligent Auto, this adjust the camera settings automatically for the detected scene, with Superior Auto ideal for moving subjects. There are a range of scene modes to choose from as well as full manual controls. Other modes include Intelligent Sweep Panorama and artistic effects which includes toy camera, partial colour and HDR painting.
Videos are recorded in 50p full HD with Optical SteadyShot Active Mode to keep them steady. When playing videos back you can press the shutter to take a picture.
- 20.4 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor
- 30x optical zoom (35mm equiv: 24-720mm)
- Optical SteadyShot
- 3.0 inch 921K dot LCD screen
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Multi Interface Shoe for flash, electronic viewfinder or microphone
- Full manual controls
- Full HD 50p video recording
- ISO 80 - 12800
- 5cm minimum focusing distance
- 10 fps continuous shooting
- Intelligent Sweep Panorama
- Artistic effects
On the top of the camera is a mode dial, an exposure compensation dial, zoom rocker, shutter release and on / off button. On the rear are movie record, playback, menu, delete and custom buttons. The custom button can be set to ISO, white balance, metering mode and smile shutter. Also on the rear is a rotating dial for cycling through the menus and changing the aperture / shutter speed. Just above the screen is a button which activates the pop-up flash.
The menu system is well laid out and easy to navigate. The 3.0 inch LCD has a good 921k dot resolution and is viewable in all lighting conditions. It's bright and colour, excellent for viewing you pictures.
To use the Wi-Fi you need to install the free PlayMemories app. Pairing the devices and using the app is easy. You can transfer images and videos, as well as use the app to capture them as well. You can control the zoom and set a self-timer with the app.
Battery life is rated at an excellent 400 shots according to CIPA test results, great for shooting pictures and using the Wi-Fi. 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.
|Shutter Response||0.1 secs|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.2 secs|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.3 secs|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||2.3 secs|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||1.3 secs|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||3.2 secs|
|Continuous Shooting - Hi||10.0 fps|
|Continuous Shooting - Low||2.0 fps|
The continuous shooting modes both record at full 20.4 megapixel resolution.
Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
Sony Cyber-shot HX50 Sample Photos
Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/5.6 | 14.5 mm | ISO 200
Landscape | 1/1000 sec | f/3.5 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Low Light | 1/8 sec | f/5.6 | 20.7 mm | ISO 1000
Pet Portrait | 1/100 sec | f/5.6 | 17.0 mm | ISO 100
Zoom Example 1 | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 128.1 mm | ISO 320
Background Defocus | 1/800 sec | f/3.5 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Sample Photos - Images are well exposed with excellent colour reproduction. Portraits have excellent skin tones and are free of red-eye when using the flash. The background defocus mode takes two shots to create a blurred background with your subject in focus.
Sony Cyber-shot HX50 Lens test images
Wide Angle | 1/1000 sec | f/3.5 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Full Optical Zoom | 1/400 sec | f/6.3 | 129.0 mm | ISO 80
Clear Image Zoom | 1/200 sec | f/6.3 | 129.0 mm | ISO 80
Macro | 1/40 sec | f/3.5 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Lens Performance - Images have a good amount of detail at both ends of the lens, but there are signs of some purple fringing and chromatic aberration. When using the Clear Image Zoom image quality does reduce, but the images are fine for use on the web. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 5cm, which allows for well detailed macro shots.
Sony Cyber-shot HX50 ISO test images
1/6 sec | f/5.0 | 13.6 mm | ISO 80
1/8 sec | f/5.0 | 13.6 mm | ISO 100
1/15 sec | f/5.0 | 13.6 mm | ISO 200
1/30 sec | f/5.0 | 13.6 mm | ISO 400
1/60 sec | f/5.0 | 13.6 mm | ISO 800
1/125 sec | f/5.0 | 13.6 mm | ISO 1600
1/250 sec | f/5.0 | 13.6 mm | ISO 3200
1/500 sec | f/5.0 | 13.6 mm | ISO 6400
1/1000 sec | f/5.0 | 13.6 mm | ISO 12800
ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 80, 100, 200 and 400. At ISO 800, noise causes a slight loss in image detail, with images becoming soft at ISO 1600. Images are very soft at ISO 3200, but the increase in noise at ISO 6400 and 12800 is quite significant. Images at these two highest settings are best for images that will be resized for web use.
Sony Cyber-shot HX50 White-balance test images
AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/15 sec | f/4.0 | 6.3 mm | ISO 100
Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/15 sec | f/4.0 | 6.3 mm | ISO 100
AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 0.3 sec | f/4.0 | 6.3 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent preset 1 - fluorescent lighting | 0.4 sec | f/4.0 | 6.3 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent preset 2 - fluorescent lighting | 0.4 sec | f/4.0 | 6.3 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent preset 3 - fluorescent lighting | 0.4 sec | f/4.0 | 6.3 mm | ISO 100
White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights the auto white balance (AWB) performs well, with a slight colour cast when using the incandescent preset. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB again performs well, with all three fluorescent presets having a colour cast.
Standard Panorama | 1/640 sec | f/3.5 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Wide Panorama | 1/800 sec | f/3.5 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
360 Panorama | 1/800 sec | f/3.5 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
High Resolution Panorama | 1/640 sec | f/3.5 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Panorama mode - There are a number of panorama modes including standard, wide, 360 and high resolution. The images have a decent amount of detail and are well stitched.
Sony Cyber-shot HX50 Digital filters
Picture Effect - Off | 1/4 sec | f/5.6 | 20.0 mm | ISO 80
Picture Effect - Miniature | 1/320 sec | f/5.0 | 13.6 mm | ISO 80
Picture Effect - HDR Painting | 1/4 sec | f/5.6 | 20.0 mm | ISO 80
Picture Effect - Illustration | 1/4 sec | f/5.6 | 20.0 mm | ISO 80
Picture Effect Partial Colour | 1/4 sec | f/5.6 | 20.0 mm | ISO 80
Picture Effect - Pop Colour | 1/4 sec | f/5.6 | 20.0 mm | ISO 80
Picture Effect - Rich Tone Monochrome | 1/4 sec | f/5.6 | 20.0 mm | ISO 80
Picture Effect - Soft High Key | 1 sec | f/5.6 | 20.0 mm | ISO 80
Picture Effect - Toy Camera | 1/8 sec | f/5.6 | 20.0 mm | ISO 80
Picture Effect - Watercolour | 1/4 sec | f/5.6 | 20.0 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filters - The HX50 has a range of picture effects to help take creative pictures, with a number of examples above.
Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD and the quality is good. The optical zoom is available during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.
Value For MoneyThe Sony Cybershot DSC-HX50 is available for around £350. Other cameras which 30x zoom include the Canon Powershot SX500 IS at £190, Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V at £269 and Fujifilm FinePix S4800 at £150. All of these cameras are considerably larger than the HX50. If you want a pocketable travel zoom camera, options to consider are the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ40 with 20x optical zoom at £280, Fujifilm FinePix F900 EXR at £290 with 20x optical zoom, Sony Cybershot DSC-WX300 at £270 with 20x optical zoom, Nikon Coolpix S9500 with 22x optical zoom at £250, Canon PowerShot SX270 HS at £250 with 20x optical zoom and the Olympus Stylus SH-50 with 24x optical zoom at £250. For more options, please read our Top 10 Best Pocket Zoom Digital Cameras article.
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
|The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX50 has upped the amount of zoom in a pocketable camera and delivers good image quality.|
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX50 Pros30x optical zoom in a pocketable body
Good image quality
Flash hot-shoe accessory port
10 fps continuous shooting
Full manual controls
Good battery life
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX50 ConsNo RAW shooting
Images have significant noise from ISO 3200 upwards
A little on the expensive side
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Sony Cyber-shot HX50 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.5 - f/6.3|
|35mm equivalent||24mm - 720mm|
|CCD pixels||20.4Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Type||Back-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Screen resolution||921,600 dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/1600sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||4sec|
|ISO sensitivity||80 - 12800|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Box Contents||Rechargeable Battery Pack NP-BX1, AC AdaptorAC-UB10/UB10C/UB10D, Micro USB cable, Shoe Cap, Instruction Manual|