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.
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX50 Features
The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX50 has a 20.4 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor and 30x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 24-720mm. The zoom can be doubled to 60x using Clear Image Zoom and there is Optical SteadyShot to help take sharp shots. The BIONZ processor allows high-speed shooting at 10 fps.
For easy sharing of you photos and videos, the HX50 has built-in Wi-Fi, which also allows you to use your phone as a remote control. The Multi Interface Shoe allows you to add a flash, electronic viewfinder or a microphone.
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)
3.0 inch 921K dot LCD screen
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
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX50 Handling
The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX50 is a chunky and heavy compact camera, but it can be forgiven as it does have the large 30x optical zoom lens. You could carry it in your pocket, but a small bag may be better. It has a good rubber grip on the front with a rubberised patch on the rear for your thumb.
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.
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 - Low
The continuous shooting modes both record at full 20.4 megapixel resolution.
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX50 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 Cyber-shot HX50 Sample Photos
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
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
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
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
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.
The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX50 is the first pocketable camera to have 30x optical zoom. Despite being pocketable it is a little on the bulky side and fairly heavy. There are other features that make it ideal as a travel camera - built-in Wi-Fi and a good battery life. You can also shoot full resolution images at 10 fps. There's no RAW shooting, although there are full manual controls. Image quality is good, with excellent colour reproduction, although noise reduces image quality significantly from ISO 3200 upwards. We are happy to recommend the Sony Cybershot DSC-HX50.
The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX50 has upped the amount of zoom in a pocketable camera and delivers good image quality.
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX50 Pros
30x 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 Cons
No RAW shooting
Images have significant noise from ISO 3200 upwards
A little on the expensive side