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Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V Digital Compact Camera Review

Daniel Bell reviews the new Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V, a digital camera with an SLR style, 30x optical zoom and 18.2 megapixel sensor.

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Sony Cybershot Dsc-hx200v 7

Sony announced the Cybershot DSC-HX200V in February 2012, a premium digital compact camera, with its headline features being an 18.2 megapixel sensor and 30x optical zoom lens. It is available in black for £379.00.

Sony Cybershot Dsc-hx200v 3

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V Features

The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V has an 18.2 megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor which works with its BIONZ processor to reduce noise for low-light shooting as well as Pixel Super Resolution which optimises detail and sharpness. There is a 30x optical zoom lens, a 35mm equivalent of 27-810mm which can be extended to 60x with Clear Image Zoom. Sony claim the camera will focus in 0.13 seconds even in dim conditions, with Tracking Focus to keep your subject sharp even when it's moving.

For beginners there is Easy Shooting mode with on-screen instructions and an in-camera guide. Superior Auto mode adjusts settings automatically for images with low noise and high dynamic range. There are advanced manual functions to give you DSLR-like creative control and the Photo Creativity interface is designed to make it easy to make quick adjustments to colour, brightness and other picture settings, which can be previewed in real time on the screen. There are also Artistic Picture Effect modes to make your images even more creative.

The HX200V has a number of panorama modes, including Intelligent Sweep (standard, wide and high-resolution), 3D Sweep and Sweep Multi Angle. The Digital Level Gauge will help you keep your images straight and GPS geotags your images and video clips as well as log your journey and act as a compass. Other modes include Background Defocus, High-speed Continuous shooting at up to 10 fps, Face Detection, Smile Shutter, Backlight Correction HDR, Self Portrait Timer and Soft Skin. Images can be edited via the in-camera retouching menu.

Videos are recorded at full 1080p HD with zoom available and Optical SteadyShot Active Mode correcting shaky handheld camera movements. You can even capture high-resolution images at the same time as recording movies. Videos can be viewed on a HD TV via a HDMI cable.

Sony Cybershot Dsc-hx200v 10

Key Features

  • 18.2 megapixels Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 30x optical zoom (35mm equiv: 27-810mm)
  • 3 inch XtraFine TruBlack LCD screen
  • Advanced manual functions
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 100-12800
  • 1cm minimum focusing distance
  • Superior Auto Mode
  • Photo Creativity interface
  • Artistic Picture Effect modes
  • Background Defocus
  • 10 fps High-speed continuous shooting
  • Intelligent Sweep Panorama
  • Sweep Panorama High Resolution
  • Digital Level Gauge
  • GPS and Log Record with Compass
Sony Cybershot Dsc-hx200v 8

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V Handling

The HX200V looks very much like an SLR, when sat next to the Nikon D3200 they are almost exactly the same size. The is a large hand grip which is rubberised with a dotted area on the rear for your right thumb. The body has a very solid, metal build with a wide array of buttons, mode dial and a tilting, 3 inch, LCD screen, which is bright and colourful. If you like to use a viewfinder, the HX200V has an electronic one which is automatically activated when you place your eye to it. There is also a dioptre wheel to adjust it to your eyesight rather than leaving your glasses on.

There is a lens cap which gets stuck at times if you forget to take it off before switching the camera on. To avoid it falling to the floor, we recommended you attach it with the string loop provided. For those settings which aren't accessed via their own button, the menu system is fairly easy to navigate, although in a mode with a lot of options available, the list can be quite extensive. At the bottom of the list you'll find a further option to enter another menu to set sounds, time settings, etc.

The battery has a CIPA rating of 450 shots, it managed over 850 before going flat after its first charge and this included some use of the GPS. The GPS is quick to activate when switching the camera on, taking around 10 seconds. We tested the cameras performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.

Shutter Response   0.05 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.2 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.25 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   1.9 secs
Shot to Shot (without flash)   1.5 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   3.0 secs
Continuous Shooting   10 fps

Whether shooting wide, or with the full zoom, focusing speed is impressive. Continuous shooting High shoots full resolution images, with the HX200V managing the full 10fps promised by Sony.

Sony Cybershot Dsc-hx200v 2

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review and product ratings.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images are well exposed, with good colour reproduction. Background Defocus mode gives the effect of using a large aperture on a DSLR, blurring the background while keep your subject in focus. High sensitivity modes gives well exposed, bright pictures in low light. When using Superior Auto mode, the camera will (if it decides it's necessary) take multiple frames and combine then into a single image to reduce noise. Portraits have pleasant skin tones, our shots didn't have any red-eye, but if they do it can be fixed easily and quickly in-camera via the retouch menu.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V Lens test images

Lens Performance - Images have plenty of detail whether shooting wide or close up, although there is purple fringing and chromatic aberration evident in contrasting areas. When shooting close-ups, the camera doesn't require you to switch to macro mode, and with a minimum focusing distance of 1cm, it is capable of taking excellent, well detailed pictures.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - The HX20V takes a crisp, noise free image at ISO 100, with a minute amount appearing at ISO 200 and again at ISO 400. Noise at ISO 800 begins to soften images, with sharpness and detail further reduced at ISO 1600. Images are very soft at ISO 3200, but it is not until you switch to ISO 6400 and 12800 where you see lots of detail lost due to noise, with these two highest settings best used for images which are to be resized for use on the web, with colour reproduction remaining fairly good.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) copes well under our studio lighting. The incandescent and AWB settings take an almost identical picture under our incandescent lights. There are three different fluorescent presets available, none of which coped as well as the AWB setting, with a magenta cast when using preset 1 and orange casts for presets 2 and 3.

Panorama Standard | 1/1600 sec | f/2.8 | 4.8 mm | ISO 100
Panorama Standard | 1/1600 sec | f/2.8 | 4.8 mm | ISO 100

Panorama Wide | 1/1250 sec | f/2.8 | 4.8 mm | ISO 100
Panorama Wide | 1/1250 sec | f/2.8 | 4.8 mm | ISO 100

Panorama High Resolution | 1/1000 sec | f/2.8 | 4.8 mm | ISO 100
Panorama High Resolution | 1/1000 sec | f/2.8 | 4.8 mm | ISO 100

Panorama mode - Panoramas are impressive, with a good amount of detail and no sign of any stitching issues. The High Resolution mode is difficult at times to complete, leaving a small black strip which can be easily cropped.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V Scene modes

The HX20V can be switched to manual mode to give you control over shutter speed and aperture, with an example above using a fast shutter speed to capture the sporting action. You can also use bracketing to take three shots at different exposure. We have done this in testing and have combined the three images in Photoshop to create a HDR image.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V Digital filters

Digital Filters - The HX200V has a range of colour modes and picture effects which can be applied while shooting, with examples of each above.

Video - Below is a video shot at full 1080p HD, optical zoom can be used during recording, an example of which can be found on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.

Value For Money

The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V is priced at £419.00. Other cameras with a similar zoom level include the Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR with 30x at £349.00, Canon PowerShot SX40 HS with 35x at £334.00, Olympus SP-810 UZ at £189.00 with 36x and Nikon Coolpix P510 at £319.00 with 42x zoom. The P510 is also armed with GPS, as is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 at £274.99, Canon Powershot SX260 HS at £254.99, Sony Cybershot DSC-HX20V at £322.00 and Leica V-Lux 30 at £484.00.

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 Cybershot DSC-HX200V Verdict

The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V is very similar to the HX20V, except it has more zoom, in a larger, SLR style body with an electronic viewfinder and tilting screen. There is an 18.2 megapixel sensor as well as a whole load of shooting features, extremely long battery life, making it an ideal travel camera. Image quality is good, the body has a firm, solid build, but the biggest issue with the camera is the price, there are plenty of good travel cameras available for less than £400, at least around £70 cheaper than the HX200V. Putting that aside, if you have the budget, the HX200V doesn't disappoint.

  The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V packs plenty of zoom and has good image quality, making it ideal for travel photography.

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V Pros

Tilting screen
Electronic viewfinder
Image quality is good
Solid body
Excellent battery life
Decent noise performance up to ISO 3200
Good colour reproduction
Panoramas are free of stitching issues

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V Cons

Occasional purple fringing and chromatic aberration
Fairly expensive
Not pocketable like the HX20V
No rubber thumb grip on rear


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/5.6
35mm equivalent27mm - 810mm
Optical Zoom30x
Image Sensor
Pixels18.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeExmor CMOS
Sensor Size1/2.3
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921,600
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS50
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • Memory Stick (Sony)
  • SDXC
  • Micro SD
  • Micro SDHC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeNP-FH50
Battery Life (CIPA rating)450shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsRechargeable Battery Pack NP-FH50, AC AdaptorAC-L200C/L200D, Micro USB, Shoulder Strap, Lens Cap, AC cable, Instruction Manual, Lens Cap Strap

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Photographs taken using the Sony Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V

Last Ditch EffortLate Summer Pond FrogWeekend SunsetFreighter Under Orange SkiesWhite BeardMating beetlesGlassOpticians in Turkey.Peak DistrictMe and my ShadowLast Rose of SummerSimply RedBum Shotbullfinch ?

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