Sony’s Cyber-shot HX60V has a 30x optical G lens and a 20.4-million-pixel sensor, making it a powerful pocket-sized travel companion. Read our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX60V review...
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX60V at a glance:
- 20.4-million-pixel Exmor R CMOS sensor
- 30x optical zoom
- 24-720mm (35mm equivalent) Sony G Lens
- Easy and quick Wi-Fi shooting and sharing
- 10fps high-speed mode
- New Bionz X processor
- Street price around £329 without GPS
- See sample images taken with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX60V
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX60V review – Introduction
Replacing the popular Cyber-shot DSC-HX50, Sony has taken an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach to its latest high-end travel-zoom, as the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX60V retains the sleek design, size and many of the same top specifications that made its predecessor so popular.
Competition in the pocket-sized travel-zoom camera category is becoming increasingly stiff as manufacturers battle it out for supremacy. Oddly, GPS was left out of the UK version of the HX50, but this time round we get the option of the GPS-enabled HX60V entering the market alongside competition from Canon, Nikon and Panasonic, with all four offering a 30x optical zoom in a compact body. In this test, I aim to find out whether Sony’s new Bionz X processor in the HX60V is enough of an improvement to help it build on the increased fixed-lens market share that the company achieved last year.
The natural competitor to Sony’s latest travel zoom is Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-TZ60, and is the only camera in this class to include raw-shooting capability and a built-in EVF. For around the same price as a Panasonic TZ60, Sony is offering the HX60 for £330 and the HX60V with GPS for an extra £10.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX60V review – Features
The 20.4-million-pixel Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX60V has an impressive feature list that will meet the needs of most people looking for a pocket-sized travel-camera, whether it’s capturing a moment at a birthday party or taking pictures of flora and fauna while on holiday.
As well as a host of connectivity options, the camera features a back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor that makes it more sensitive to light than traditionally designed digital sensors, a premium Sony G Lens and the firm’s latest Bionz X image processor. Thanks to the significant boost in processing power, the HX60V is three times faster than the HX50 it replaces. However, speed alone isn’t the only place where the new model trumps the old, as it also performs better in low light. The Bionz X processor allows the HX60V to perform area-specific noise reduction and enhanced detail reproduction, so images should suffer less from edge ‘smudging’ effects typically associated with smaller 1/2.3in-type sensors.
One of the most impressive features of the new camera is its f/3.5-f/6.3 G 30x optical zoom, equivalent to 24-720mm. Although this impressive capability doesn’t quite set it apart from the competition, Sony’s Clear Image digital zoom feature working in tandem with SteadyShot delivers crisp close-ups of distant subjects, even when digitally extended to 60x zoom.
Optical SteadyShot Intelligent Active Mode enables five-axis image stabilisation in video mode only. This feature ensures that full HD videos recorded on the HX60V are near enough shake-free, providing sharp and clear footage regardless of the zoom setting.
The Sony PlayMemories camera app links to the HX60V via Wi-Fi and Near Field Communication (NFC), which allows for image transfer and remote camera control using a smart device.
Other great features on the HX60V that have been carried over from its predecessor include 10-frames-per-second shooting for 10 shots, sensitivity from ISO 80-12,800 and a multiple-interface hotshoe that is compatible with a number of Sony accessories, including the XYST1M stereo mic and external flash units. The £379 EV1MK OLED EVF can also be attached to the HX60V’s hotshoe, but at its current price it is unlikely to appeal to most prospective HX60V owners.
I am very pleased to see that Sony has also kept the exposure-compensation dial featured in the HX50, which gives ±2EV in 0.3EV steps, allowing for greater control over metering and exposure.
Images: The main image was my initial view of the moon. Top right: handheld with 30x optical zoom . Bottom right: 60x clear image (digital) zoom