Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V benefits from a radical design overhaul compared to its HX60V predecessor. Does this make it one of the best travel zooms ever? Callum McInerney-Riley finds out
In good light, the HX90V snaps to focus almost instantly right the way through the focal range. In low light it is slower, as expected, but it is still an impressive speed. Even at extended focal lengths it usually found focus in less than 1sec, and there is a small AF assist beam that helps focusing speed in low light. There is the option of continuous autofocus (AF-C), but this is reserved for video mode only and not available for still images. There’s a good feature set for manual focusing, allowing focus peaking, focus enlargements and precise adjustment of manual focusing via the round-lens control wheel.
With any camera that shoots JPEG only, it is important that the white balance is correct and the colours are accurate in-camera. Thankfully, the HX90V is fairly consistent in both these areas, giving a good colour rendition and accurate results even when a scene is lit with varying-temperature light sources.
Sporting both a high-resolution tilting LCD and a high-specification OLED EVF, the HX90V is without a doubt the best incarnation of the HX series for composing images. It’s great to see an electronic viewfinder on a travel camera, as it’s likely many photographers will be using the camera in bright conditions where it may be difficult to see the LCD. In use, I found the EVF offered a bit too much contrast and it is rather small too, but it is still a brilliant feature. However, compared to the Panasonic TZ70, the Sony HX90V’s viewfinder is larger and more pleasant to use.
With a small sensor, the dynamic range of the HX90V is obviously limited and in a lot of high-contrast scenes there is some highlight or shadow clipping. The metering system gives accurate exposures in spot, centre and multi-metering settings and overall very few adjustments are needed.