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Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Review

The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 has a 50x optical zoom lens and a 20.4 megapixel sensor. Daniel Bell reviews.

| Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 in Compact Cameras
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Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Review: Sony Cybershot Dsc Hx300 6

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 Review: Sony Cybershot Dsc Hx300 11

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.

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Review: Sony Cybershot Dsc Hx300 12

Key Features

  • 20.4 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 50x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24-1200mm)
  • Optical SteadyShot
  • 3 inch 921k dot LCD screen
  • Full manual controls
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • 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 Review: Sony Cybershot Dsc Hx300 17

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.

Shutter Response   0.05 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.175 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.2 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.2 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   0.9 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   3.1 secs
Continuous Shooting - Hi   6.8 fps
Continuous Shooting - Lo   2 fps

The continuous shooting modes both record in full 20.4 megapixel resolution.

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Review: Sony Cybershot Dsc Hx300 18

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.

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Review: Standard Panorama | 1/1250 sec | f/2.8 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80
Standard Panorama | 1/1250 sec | f/2.8 | 4.3 mm | ISO 80

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Review: Wide Panorama | 1/640 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.

Value For Money

The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 is available for £399.99. Other cameras with a 50x optical zoom lens are the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS at £359.00 and the newly released Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 which costs £299.99. The Nikon Coolpix P520 has 42x optical zoom and is expected to set you back around £350.00 and the Olympus SP-820UZ has 40x, available for £199.99.

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-HX300 Verdict

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.

  Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Review:
  The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 has quality in its features and image quality.


Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Pros

50x optical zoom
Good image quality
Optical SteadyShot
Full 1080p HD video recording
DSLR style camera
10 fps continuous shooting
Decent battery life
Tilting screen

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Cons

No RAW shooting
Plastic body
Noise at ISO 3200, 6400 and 12800 is bad
We were unable to achieve the full 10 fps in continuous shooting


Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/6.3
35mm equivalent24mm - 1200mm
Optical Zoom50x
Image Sensor
Pixels20.4Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5184
Pixels (H)3888
Sensor TypeExmor CMOS
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS60
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
    Power Source
    Battery TypeLITHIUM ION NP-BX1 3.6V
    Battery Life (CIPA rating)310shots
    Box Contents
    Box ContentsRechargeable Battery Pack NP-BX1, Shoulder Strap, AC AdaptorAC-UB10, Lens Cap, Micro USB cable, Instruction Manual

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    Photographs taken using the Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300

    golden rain - forsythiapearsflying, quilted... lacemeeting among the leavesThe Birth of TeaCoffee DropMantisin front of the doorwith a pink rubber bandrotor at full speed ...magnoliasinging about beautyone more picturecats panoramawet thrush

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    adr44 9 United States
    9 Oct 2013 1:59AM
    I own the Sony HX300 and love it. The 50x and 100x clear zoom is amazing!Wink

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