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Sony Cybershot HX100v Ultra Zoom Review

Joshua Waller reviews the Sony Cybershot HX100v Ultra Zoom with GPS, 30x optical zoom, 3 inch screen, 16 megapixel backlit CMOS, and full HD video.

| Sony Cyber-shot HX100V in Compact Cameras
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Sony Cybershot HX100v Ultra Zoom Review: Sony Cybershot HX100v

The Sony Cybershot HX100v is the only ultra zoom camera with built in GPS, it features a large 30x optical zoom lens, a 3 inch tilting screen, and a 16 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor capable of shooting at 10fps and recording full HD video.

Sony Cybershot HX100v Ultra Zoom Review:

Sony Cybershot HX100v Features

The Sony Cybershot HX100v features a 16.2 megapixel Exmor R Backlit CMOS sensor for high speed shooting at upto 10fps, and full HD video with stereo sound. The 30x opcial zoom lens zooms from 27mm wide angle all the way to 810mm telephoto, and features built in optical image stabilisation. Like the other Sony cameras, the HX7v and HX9v, the HX100v can shoot 3D photos, 3D panoramics, and large 42.9 megapixel panoramic shots.

On the back is a high resolution 3 inch screen that tilts up and down, as well as an electronic viewfinder with eye detection. To make the camera easy to use for beginners the camera features a mode called intelligent auto, as well as superior auto, both of these choosing the best settings for the best photos.

For the more advanced photographer the camera features full manual control, as well as a number of buttons and controls on the outside of the camera. Macro photography is possible with the the subject just 1cm away from the front of the camera. As well as all of the above, the camera also features built in GPS tagging which will automatically tag photos with the GPS location of where the photo is taken.

Sony Cybershot HX100v Ultra Zoom Review:

Key Features

  • 16.2 megapixel Exmor R Backlit CMOS sensor
  • Full HD AVCHD Video, Stereo sound
  • 30x optical zoom lens
  • 3D Stills and 3D Sweep Panoramas
  • High Resolution Sweep Panorama - shoot 42.9 megapixel panoramas
  • Electronic viewfinder with eye-detection and diopter adjustment
  • 3 inch tilting screen, 921k dots
  • Optical Steady Shot (Lens based) Image Stabilisation
  • intelligent Auto, intelligent Auto plus called "Superior Auto"
  • Burst Mode : Approx 10 fps at 16.2 megapixels (Maximum 10 shots)
  • Memory Card Slot: MS Duo and SD/SDHC/SDXC Compatible
  • Built in GPS
  • Manual Control
  • ISO100 - 3200
  • 1cm Macro mode
Sony Cybershot HX100v Ultra Zoom Review:

Sony Cybershot HX100v Handling

With a large rubber grip and lens ring the camera is easy to keep a tight grip of, and the lens ring can be used for optical zoom or manual focus. On the back is a contoured thumb grip with raised bumps. Buttons on the top of the camera give quick and easy access to focus, zoom, finder/lcd, custom and the mode dial. 

Sony Cybershot HX100v Ultra Zoom Review:

Menus - the menus are the same as other Sonys, and give very quick access to the most commonly used photographic controls, except with the ISO and options shown at the bottom of the screen controlled by the thumb wheel - unfortunately this isn't labelled or intuitive, and we had to look at the camera's built in help system to find out how to set the ISO. However, saying that, it's an extremely useful feature to have a guide built into the camera, and it sure beats having to resort to looking at it on the CD, in the box, in the cupboard.

Sony Cybershot HX100v Ultra Zoom Review:

Battery Life: The HX100v's battery life is rated at 330 shots according to Sony's website, we were able to take over 360 photos before the battery indicated less than 10 minutes left. Knowing how much battery life is left in so much detail is very useful, and it's a shame other manufacturers don't provide as reliable information.

Speed: We tested the Sony Cybershot HX100v, and tested the camera with the Sony Cybershot HX7v, and Olympus SZ30MR, both 16 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor cameras, taking 6 shots and using the average to ensure consistent results.

Sony HX100v
Sony HX7v
Olympus SZ30MR
Shutter Response* <0.05 <0.05 <0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.15 0.20 0.20
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.25 0.25 0.30
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 2.2
Shot to Shot (without flash) 1.0 1.1s 1.5
Shot to Shot with Flash 3.0 3s 1.6
Continuous Shooting
(full resolution, shots)
10fps (10)
10fps (10)
5fps (5), 20fps (70, 5mp)
Continuous Shooting (with flash) N/A N/A N/A
Continuous Shooting (RAW) N/A

Performance was very good, equal to smaller cameras from Sony, even with such a large zoom, the switch on time wasn't massively impacted. Focusing, shutter response, and continuous shooting are all excellent.

Sony Cybershot HX100v Performance

We've taken a number of sample photos in a variety of settings to show you the image quality produced by this camera, you can view them full size by clicking the "High-Res" link. Additional sample photos can be seen here in the equipment database, where you can add your own review.

Sony Cyber-shot HX100V Sample Photos

Sample photos show good colour and detail. Portrait shots with flash came out well with very low red-eye, and good colour and detail, with the ISO setting kept low. The comment was that the flash is very bright.

Sony Cyber-shot HX100V Lens test images

Some vignetting shows when using the full optical zoom but there is very little to no barrel or pincushion distortion even when specifically looking for it. Purple fringing is visible under extreme contrast, for example shooting trees with the sun or a very bright sky behind the subject. In other situations, and in more normal shooting conditions purple fringing doesn't seem to be a problem.

Macro - it's possible to get very close to the subject, using some zoom can get you even closer and being able to alter the focus manually can help, as well as the ability to shoot at 10fps.

Sony Cyber-shot HX100V Scene modes

Scene modes: HDR shoots a number of images and combines them in camera. Under situations where there is a bright sky, the camera can ensure that detail is not lost or overexposed, and works really well, as you can see in the photos above.

Sony Cyber-shot HX100V ISO test images

ISO shots show low noise at ISO100 - 400 with grain appearing at ISO800. Noise is still quite low at ISO1600 however detail suffers. At ISO3200 noise dominates the image with detail lacking, and chroma noise is prominant, especially in greys and blacks. There are three options regarding noise reduction, Standard, Low and High.

Sony Cyber-shot HX100V White-balance test images

White Balance - Auto white balance in tungsten lighting is good but slightly warm, using the tungsten preset gives a cooler image. Auto white balance under fluorescent lighting is respectable, and using the preset is not necessarily needed, as this can give a magenta or yellow cast to the image. The camera has 3 fluorescent presets so that if auto white balance is struggling you can try the other ones. Manual white balance is also available.

Sony Cybershot HX100v Ultra Zoom Review: Panoramic - 1/1250 sec | f/2.8 | 4.8 mm | ISO 100
Normal Panoramic - 1/1250 sec | f/2.8 | 4.8 mm | ISO 100

Sony Cybershot HX100v Ultra Zoom Review: 42.9mp Panoramic - 1/500 sec | f/2.8 | 4.8 mm | ISO 100
42.9 megapixel Panoramic - 1/500 sec | f/2.8 | 4.8 mm | ISO 100

There are a number of advanced panoramic modes available including an impressive 42.9 megapixel panoramic mode, producing a huge image. Using this mode can be tricky, and we struggled the most whilst trying to do this slowly and smoothly, and it seemed to work best when quickly panning the camera around.


Options include: AVC HD 28M (PS) 1920x1080 50p, AVC HD 24M (FX) 1920x1080 50i, AVC HD 17M (FH) 1920x1080 50i, AVC HD 9M (HQ) 1440x1080(50i), and in MP4 the following options are available: MP4 12M 1080 (1440x1080), MP4 6M 720 (1280x720), and MP4 3M VGA. Wind reduction is available as well as optical image stabilisation, and optical zoom. Video quality was very good, with good focus even when using full optical zoom.

Value For Money

The HX100v is the only ultra zoom camera with built in GPS. Alternative ultra zooms include the: Nikon Coolpix P500 - with 36x optical zoom, Canon Powershot SX30 IS - with 35x optical zoom, Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR - with 30x optical zoom, Kodak Easyshare Max Z990 - with 30x optical zoom, and Panasonic Lumix FZ45 or FZ100 - both with 24x optical zoom. For the most zoom in a pocketable camera, have a look at the 24x optical zoom lens Olympus SZ-30MR. For alternatives with GPS, you'll have to look at the GPS travel zooms available.

Sony Cybershot HX100v Verdict

The Sony Cybershot HX100v has a high price, yet justifies that with a camera packed with advanced and useful features, including 10fps continuous shooting, backlight HDR mode, 42.9 megapixel panoramic mode, manual controls, GPS, and full HD video with stereo sound. As well as this there is a high resolution tilting screen, electronic viewfinder with eye-detection and a well built body with rubber hand grip.

All of this would be mute if it wasn't backed up by images to match, and thankfully the Sony Cybershot HX100v produces the goods, with a brilliant 30x optical zoom lens. It's not only capable of producing great images from wide angle all the way to telephoto, but it also produces excellent macro photos with great detail and colour. With a back lit CMOS sensor noise is very low right up to ISO800/ISO1600 and video quality is equally excellent.

The electronic viewfinder is a little small, but of a high quality and useful in bright sunlight. Battery life is very good, offering over 330 shots, and the built in manual is extremely useful. The Sony Cybershot HX100v is without doubt the most feature packed ultra zoom available, and produces image quality to match. Highly Recommended!

Sony Cybershot HX100v Ultra Zoom Review:
The Sony Cybershot HX100v is without doubt the most feature packed ultra zoom available. Highly Recommended!

Sony Cybershot HX100v Pros

Excellent macro performance
Eye detection EVF
Build in guide / manual
High speed shooting - 10fps
Excellent 30x optical zoom lens
3inch tilting screen
Excellent video quality
42.9 megapixel panoramas

Sony Cybershot HX100v Cons

Difficult to set full zoom, skips between 23x - 26x for example
High price


Sony Cyber-shot HX100V Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/5.6
35mm equivalent27mm - 810mm
Optical Zoom30x
Image Sensor
Pixels16.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeExmor CMOS
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.16mm
Sensor Size (height)4.62mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921k dots
Touch ScreenNo Data
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • Spot
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPSNo Data
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • Memory Stick (Sony)
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeNP-FH50
Battery Life (CIPA rating)No Data
Box Contents
Box ContentsRechargeable Battery Pack(NP-FH50), AC Adaptor(AC-L200C/AC-L200D), USB cable, Power cord, Neck strap, Lens cap, Lens cap strap, CD-ROM

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Photographs taken using the Sony Cyber-shot HX100V

NALA IN A NEW LIGHT*** Ms. Liberty ***Storm ForceTulipnaturalBlue Glass" RANJAN FESTIVAL "Pulling Sentry DutyFirst Sight***  Manhattan Skyline  ****** Lady Liberty ***misty port*** Happy Easter ***

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StrayCat 19 19.1k 3 Canada
Looks like a good, all-round vacation camera. I like the idea of being able to use the focus ring as a zoom ringm, very good idea.
cattyal Plus
18 9.2k 6 England
I'd love to try this out and see how it compares with the R1. Both have goodies that I'd like to combine into one and the faster frame rate would be more than welcome.

Ah - just noticed it's not got a flash-shoe - I don't use flash all that often but would need that option. Good - that's just saved me a few hundred quid Smile
It is a great little camera!
I have had one for a couple of months now and it has really surprised me. Great video, great sharp and contrasty lens (Zeiss) and great reach!

To cattyal... it can't really compare to the large sensor of the R1 and I don't think any lens can come close to the one on the R1. But it does perform quite well for what it is. I found it better than the Nikon P500 and the Fuji HS20. If you have any intention of doing some video with one of these cameras then the Sony is the best by far.
Also, with regards to an external flash, you can always use a good slave flash with it. They are cheap and work nicely with any point and shoot. I am also planning on getting an external audio recorder (Zoom H1) to go with it. The internal stereo mic is pretty good but the video is so good that I am thinking I will start using it for work purposes as well and the external mic will complete the package.
cattyal Plus
18 9.2k 6 England
Thanks for the info Sam - admittedly video is something I've never dabbled in - I'll bear it in mind though should I decide to dabble!

I've just done a shoot this evening with the R1 - two nippers - and it beats the pants off the Sony A350 which I used on the last shoot with the same two girls. For now I'll stick with those two cameras and resist buying another Smile What I really want next is an IR converted camera - my current one seems to have pretty much died Sad
p.s... is that Alexei Sayle hanging out in front of the BBC building?...still looking for another TV special?
I love my R1, if only Sony had continued down the R1 route & produced this camera with an R1 size sensor. Going down the Minolta route has produced some excellent Alpha cameras but left us with only the 'H' range as a fixed lens alternative - well at least this one has a Zeiss lens!
42.9 MP Panorama, Battery left over time & GPS are welcome features of the sure shot winner Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V. Disappointingly absent features are HDMI connectivity & RAW mode. The test images are crisp.Grin
Is there any possibility to increase sensor size for next sony prosumar camera ? And when it will come in to market?
I have plan to buy HX100V but some how hesitation for it so waiting for next new comer.
i have had one of these since christmas and i am stunned at the versatility, it has a setting for every occasion and very easy to use, zoom is great, its my favorite toy, cant leave it alone, it does'nt have any bad points for me!!!
thats the only thing that stops this gem being perfect is it does'nt have RAW mode!!
SadOwned this camera for 18 months now . Initially disappointed by the image quality as pictures seemed painted/smudged straight out of camera ,compared to my last camera (Panasonic Lumix). After adjusting sharpening to max. in-camera , and further adjusting on p.c. with photoshop , I have had some fairly good results. The zoom is impressive and the 10 fps burst speed is also good , but the write speed is dreadful , and disables the camera for over 10 seconds . The camera was considerably more expensive than the Fuji / Canon / Nikon competitors – presumably because of the GPS and 3D gadgets in camera – neither of which I have ever used . I was expecting a reasonably sturdy camera however , as it cost appx. £400 ! After just 18 months of careful , normal usage with no accidents or misuse – the shutter trigger and power zoom lever stiffened and then came off . Now out of warranty , I contacted Sony “support” who were unhelpful . After navigating their automated system for over an hour and then eventually contacting a person – they wanted £117 to repair this. Despite my protests . they were trenchant in demands for fee. Am disgusted that such an expensive bridge camera should break after such a short period of time , and very disappointed in Sony’s “support” . Can NOT recommend this camera on grounds of build quality , and would avoid Sony products in general – based on customer “support” experience .
Support is a problem with so many of these international companies I like Sony products & Samsung & the usually are reliable & perform well. But when you get a problem especially once they are a year or two old the help & support, if you can actually get through to the right 'department', is abysmal you certainly don't get any reward for your staying power getting through. It seems that repair costs are scaled to dissuade you from proceeding I've had the same problem with Olympus even before digital cameras & later with a Stylus model. Panasonic are no better I've got a Panasonic DV video camera sitting in my cupboard with mainboard failure 'beyond economic repair' I should bin it but having spent over £100 having a new tape mechanism fitted a few months before this failure I somehow find it hard to just dump it.

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