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Sony Cyber-shot HX90V Review

Reviewed: The HX90V - A master of miniaturisation, with a 30x optical zoom lens, built in pop-up EVF, GPS, Wi-Fi, and tilting screen.

|  Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V in Compact Cameras
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Sony Cyber Shot HX90V Black (2)

The new Sony Cyber-Shot HX90 / HX90V, available in black, the compact camera features a 30x optical zoom lens, 18 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, built-in pop-up OLED Tru-Finder EVF, full-HD video recording, and a tilting "selfie" screen. The camera is one of the smallest digital cameras available with a 30x optical zoom lens, and features a newly developed Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 30x optical zoom lens. The Sony Cyber-shot HX90/HX90V updates the HX60.

Sony Cyber-shot HX90V Features

Sony Cyber Shot HX90V Black (4)

Not happy with offering a 30x optical zoom lens in the Sony Cyber-shot HX60, Sony has gone one better with the HX90, by offering the World's smallest compact camera with a 30x optical zoom lens. The 30x optical zoom lens is the equivalent of 24-720mm in 35mm terms, and features 5-axis Optical SteadyShot (Optical Image Stabilisation to you and me). Along with the World's smallest 30x optical zoom lens camera, the HX90 also offers built in Wi-Fi and NFC, and with the HX90V, built in GPS. Wi-Fi lets you transfer photos to a compatible smartphone or tablet, as well as control the camera remotely. Sony PlayMemories Applications can be added to the camera, expanding what the camera is capable of doing. 


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Hidden away is a small pop-up electronic viewfinder, that will also act as an on / off switch when popping up and down to switch off. The built in electronic viewfinder (EVF) may seem like an unneccessary luxury, however, when using most digital cameras outdoors in bright sunlight, the EVF becomes an excellent option, and stops you from struggling to see what you are shooting. The 3inch screen on the back can be tilted to face you so that you can take "selfie" shots. 

The camera uses a backlit 18 megapixel CMOS sensor, and shoots at up to 10fps, as well as recording fullHD video with stereo sound. There are a range of scene modes to choose from as well as full manual controls. Other modes include Intelligent Sweep Panorama and a large number of artistic effects which includes toy camera, partial colour and HDR painting. 

Sony Cyber Shot HX90V Black (5)

Key Features

  • 18.2 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
  • 30x optical zoom Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens, 24-720mm equivalent
  • Optical Steadyshot (5-axis)
  • 3inch tilting screen, 921k dots
  • Pop-up electronic viewfinder (638k dots), with eye-sensor
  • Control ring, hand-grip
  • P/A/S/M modes
  • Wi-Fi / NFC connectivity (GPS with HX90V)
  • PlayMemories Camera Apps
  • Pop-up flash
  • FullHD Video, XAVC-S, AVCHD
  • Electronic level
  • Available in white, red or black

Sony Cyber-shot HX90V Handling

Sony Cyber Shot HX90V Black (7)

The Sony Cyber-shot HX90 is impressively compact considering the features and optical zoom built into the camera. At first glance it's easy to forget that there is a built in electronic viewfinder and pop-up flash, and when these pop out you are left impressed by the ability of Sony to fit so much into such a relatively compact camera. To further demonstrate the size of the camera, we've shown the previous model, the HX60, below, and this does not feature a built in electronic viewfinder. The camera feels well built with a metal body, along with a good sized handgrip making it easier to hold the camera steady. There is a small mode dial on the top left, and a zoom rocker surrounds the shutter release button. 

Sony Cyber Shot HX60 HX90 (2)
Sony Cyber-shot HX60 next to the Sony Cyber-shot HX90.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is clear, but quite small. The screen is clear with a good resolution, although can be difficult to see outdoors in bright sunlight and turning up the brightness can help. The menu system is clear and well laid out, making it easy to navigate. The Fn button on the back of the camera gives you quick access to a number of settings on the screen, making it easy to change settings without having to go into the main menu system. 

Sony Cyber Shot HX90V Black (6)

Wi-Fi features - You can select images on the camera to send to the smartphone. You can also use NFC to setup a remote connection so that you can control the camera from your smartphone, and adjust zoom, set the self-timer and take photos. With the camera set to video mode on the dial you can also start and stop video recording.

Sony Cyber Shot HX90V Black (1)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 390 shots according to Sony / CIPA test results, which is very good for a compact camera, although this will be reduced with extensive use of GPS and Wi-Fi.

Speed - 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 <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.125secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.9secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.7secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 2.7secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
9fps (10 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A

Shutter response and focus speeds are very good, and the camera can shoot at a high speed of 9-10fps for up to 10 shots. Shooting with flash does reduce the cameras shot to shot speed noticeably. 

Sony Cyber Shot HX90V Black (9)

Sony Cyber-shot HX90V Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. 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 DSC-HX90V Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Portrait photos taken with flash occassionally show red-eye, and the use of a higher ISO setting has resulted in some noise visible in the image. Exposure is good with the camera producing images with bright saturated colours. Dynamic range is good, and the camera will automatically improve shadow and highlight detail using the DRO (Dynamic Range Optimisation) setting. For enhanced dynamic range, there is built in HDR shooting which combines a number of different shots. 

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V Lens test images

Lens Performance - Detail is quite good when shooting at the wide-angle end of the lens, although there is some corner softness, and detail does become softer at the telephoto end of the lens. The camera does a good job of correcting lens distortion with minimal amounts visible. Purple fringing is well controlled, but most noticeable when shooting in high contrast situations such as trees against the bright sky, and becomes more noticeable towards the corners of the frame. Macro performance is good, with the camera automatically focusing on close subjects without the need to activate a specific macro focus mode. 

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO80 to ISO400, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO800 to ISO1600 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO3200 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO6400 and above is best avoided as noise is extremely high, and detail is very low. ISO80 to ISO3200 is available in normal shooting modes, with ISO6400-12800 available when selecting the multi-frame noise reduction mode that combines a number of shots.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well with a slightly warm result under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a very similar result. AWB performs very well under fluorescent lights, with the fluorescent preset giving a magenta colour cast.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a large number of creative effects available, a number of these have additional options and settings to alter the effect further, and examples are shown above. Panorama mode - The camera features an automatic panoramic mode, where you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other. Results are good, and well stitched together, although with a fairly low resolution image produced.

Video - The camera records full HD video with stereo sound and optical zoom. Quality is good, and optical image stabilisation does an excellent job of keeping the image stable even when using the full optical zoom. 

Value For Money

The Sony Cyber-shot HX90V is available for £349, or £339 for the HX90 without GPS. Alternatively the Sony Cyber-shot WX500 is available for £261 although it lacks the electronic viewfinder. Alternative compact cameras with a 30x optical zoom lens includes the following:

Panasonic Lumix TZ60, 30x optical zoom, 18mp, EVF, Wi-Fi, GPS, £255
Panasonic Lumix TZ70, 30x optical zoom, 12mp, EVF, Wi-Fi, £295
Canon Powershot SX710 HS, 30x optical zoom, 20mp, (no EVF), Wi-Fi, £255
Nikon Coolpix S9900, 30x optical zoom, 16mp, vari-angle screen, Wi-Fi, GPS, £229

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.

Sony Cyber-shot HX90V Verdict

The Sony Cyber-shot HX90V is one of the most compact 30x optical zoom lens cameras available and even packs in an electronic viewfinder making it great for use on bright sunny days. The HX90V is priced at £349 making it more expensive than the competition, however it is the most compact 30x optical zoom lens camera available with a built in EVF. The camera performs well, with quick performance, bright colourful images and numerous shooting options. Built in Wi-Fi, and GPS in the HX90V, means you can quickly transfer images and control the camera from your smartphone. Whilst the camera may be expensive, we think it is worth the investment. 

Sony Cyber-shot HX90V Pros

Good exposure and colour
Extremely compact camera
30x optical zoom lens
Built in electronic viewfinder (EVF)
Excellent optical image stabilisation system
Tilting 3inch screen
Fast continuous shooting
Good battery life
Electronic level

Sony Cyber-shot HX90V Cons

Noise visible in images taken at ISO80
More expensive than the competitors
Some corner softness


The Sony Cyber-shot HX90V is an ultra compact travel zoom packed with features including a great electronic viewfinder.


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.5 - f/6.4
35mm equivalent25mm - 720mm
Optical Zoom30x
Image Sensor
Pixels18.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4896
Pixels (H)3672
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2.3inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921,600 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min FocusNo Data
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
Video FPS60, 50fps
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • Memory Stick (Sony)
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeNo Data
Battery Life (CIPA rating)390shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsRechargeable Battery Pack NP-BX1, AC AdaptorAC-UB10C/UB10D, Micro USB cable, Wrist Strap, Instruction Manual, AC Power Code

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Photographs taken using the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V

Singing in the SnowKeeping your distance 27/03/2020Grey Squirrel in bird feederYellow-headed caracaraPhotgraphers search elephant.dark is beautifulIf you don't like flowers !Blossom

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sasan 9 36 England
10 Jul 2015 3:45PM
"Noise visible in images taken at ISO80"
It's enough to realize how rough 18 Mp can be...What happen to U sony?Sad
mikesavage 20 299 2 England
11 Jul 2015 5:01PM
This camera would probably benefit from having the pixel count reduced to 12 million, as Panasonic did with the TZ70, I think.
roughall Junior Member 5
10 Dec 2016 1:52PM
Sony HX90v Auto focus test

roughall Junior Member 5
10 Dec 2016 1:53PM
Sony HX90v Amazing 30x Optical Zoom test
roughall Junior Member 5
14 Nov 2020 6:23PM
I am using this super camera more than 5 years and i think it is the best..

roughall Junior Member 5
7 Dec 2020 5:01PM
I am using this product since 2012 and it is the best camera i ever had. Most incredible thing is the size:optical zoom ration, which is 30x. This looks like inexpensive, handy point and shoot camera, but the picture quality and zooming is the best in this range

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