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Get sharp detail up close with the world’s smallest and lightest 30x zoom camera. There's even a pop-up electronic viewfinder for eye-level framing and a 180° tilt screen for 18.2MP selfies. Stunning picture quality comes from the low light Exmor R (Trademark) sensor and premium ZIESS lens with 5-axis image stabilization. Then share photos instantly with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC.
Most helpful customer reviews
365 of 374 people found the following review helpful.
Real review from real buyer - pros and cons
By The Gadget Gourmet
I've been waiting a long time for this camera. I never pre-order cameras but when I read the specs on this a few months ago I decided to risk it. The elements that caught my eye were: electronic viewfinder, purported low-light sensitivity, 30X zoom, and integration with smartphone.
I'd characterize myself as an advanced amateur user. Meaning I like to learn all the functions and play with different features and mode.
I've also been disappointed many times by cameras with poor low-light performance and poor focusing, so those are particularly important to me.
Having said that, here's my review after 2 days of using.
Interface: I've used Panasonics before so switching to a Sony took a while to get used to. There are lots of rings and dials and very tiny buttons. If you have fat fingers, don't get this camera. My fingers are average for a guy and I do have to be careful where I press. If you leave settings on full auto of course you don't need to use buttons, but if you want to control a lot of settings, then you do. One nice positive is the big control ring around the lens. It can be used to adjust shutter speed and aperture.
Viewfinder: You have to manually pop up the viewfinder with a tiny slider. I'm somewhat nearsighted (-1.50) but the diopter adjustment was easy and I have no problem seeing perfectly clear through it. The viewfinder is high enough resolution that I can actually see that the image is focused. Lots of information is also presented in the display.
Display: The main display is great and I like the fact that it can pivot 180 degrees up to do selfies, and also is good for taking pictures close to the ground. It also can display whether the camera is level, which is great for shooting landscapes with horizons. It is also good enough in bright sunlight, though in such situations I do prefer the viewfinder.
Low light: Low light performance is above par for a camera with such a small sensor. Sony has a nice feature where it will take multiple fast exposures and blend them together to achieve a low-noise yet non-blurry low light image. I've included an example of that.
Zoom: the 30X optical zoom is amazing. I've include pictures comparing full-wide to full-zoom. On other 30X cameras I've tried, the long end of the range is almost always unusably blurry. With this camera, it is quite acceptable and even impressive from the samples I've uploaded.
Dynamic range: The camera has 3 modes - regular mode, expanded dynamic range mode, and HDR. Photos with HDR do look a bit odd, but the camera does a great job of blending multiple shots together without blurring. I didn't spend a lot of time playing with these modes, but most people will leave it on the expanded dynamic range mode and let the camera decide when to activate HDR and by how much.
Video: The camera promises 5-axis stabilization. It does work quite well as my hands have tremors and I'm usually disappointed with handheld videos from my smartphone and previous cameras. I shot a video rapidly changing subjects far and near and moving the zoom a lot, and the camera kept up the whole time without doing that annoying "focus search" that other cameras seem to do whenever the subject changes. I'd give it high marks for being intelligent.
Conclusion: I wanted a great pocket-sized camera that works for travel, indoor parties, and some fine photography such as flowers, landscapes, and portraits. I believe I've found the camera with the best of all worlds, without excessive compromise. Would I get better images from a 1" sensor? Probably, but then I'd sacrifice the zoom. If I were to have just one camera, this would be it.
362 of 371 people found the following review helpful.
Amazing features for the price!!
I am a camera junkie. I admit it. Sometimes I get more wrapped up in the gear, vs. taking images. I have a strong background in photography, optics, camera design and technique. Most people considering a camera like this are somewhere between the consumer and prosumer level. So I will write my review accordingly.
When cameras converted from film to digital, Sony was the perfect company to capitalize on the transition, as they have a strong background in all the components that make up a digital camera... electronics, optical, mechanical and functional designs. It's no surprise Sony hase done so well in the small digital camera market vs. the industry leaders in the larger cameras, such as Nikon and Canon. Sony always seems to be out front with many of the new and beneficial innovations in these small cameras. This camera is no exception.
First, I want to comment on what makes this pocket point n shoot unique and exciting. I will be updating this review over time. Of course, when this review is a few years old, its possible all these features have become commonplace amongst all cameras, so always consider this when reading reviews, specially electronics.
What I really appreciate on the 90V....
Strangely enough, I actually love the way this camera fits in my hand. My current go-to camera was the Sony RX100 II, which was very difficult to hold in your hand. I had to buy an accessory finger grip to prevent this little bugger from slipping out of my hand. However, u could not install this on the camera if you wanted to use the nicely fitted camera case. So I was forced to install the grip on the outer part of the lower case. It increased the footprint of the camera for carry. Well, this is corrected on this camera, the finger holder accessory is part of the camera body, and that tiny addition makes the camera feel very safe and secure between your fingers. In addition, the custom cover fits over the camera like a glove. Kudos to Sony for listening to customer feedback. Although on the previous RX100 II, I considered this a bit of an oversight.
If you shoot selfies, there is a lot of options, including the most used option, cell phones. However, cell phones produce very low rez front camera images, as well as having inferior optics vs. the rear camera. If the images are for the web only, and u perfect the technique, they are more than satisfactory. However, if you ever desire to make a print of these selfies, this is where the 90V excels, as it can take a full rez 18MP image, more than sufficient for 5x7" or possibly 8x10 if your technique is good enough. Seems selfies are all the rage these days, specially with those picture perfect backgrounds.
The articulating display is quite handy.... obviously for selfies, u simply flip it 180 deg and the display sits above the camera. But there is many other benefits of this. For example, when shooting a subject at knee level, u can look down while holding the camera at arms length. Or, when shooting into crowds from above, you turn the camera upside down and articulate the display downward. It's a bit awkward at first, but you can easily adapt. The RX100II (and I assume III) allows u to tilt the display, allowing you to shoot with the camera in the more natural upright position. This is confirmed by a reviewer in the comments section below, the RXIII does have a double hinge articulating display. If this is something you do often, u might want to compare the two cameras.
30x optical zoom - Wow. The key word here is OPTICAL zoom, not digital zoom, which reduces the total pixel count, more of a marketing ploy than a real feature. This pop up viewfinder is quite an opto / mechanical / electronic breakthrough in a camera this small. And while zooming to 30x, this viewfinder can make or break a shot of very distant subjects. As keeping the camera still at this magnification is beyond what the Image Stabilization can handle. This is NO knock on Sony's IS, it's simply the nature of optics, the image blur increases linear with magnification. Like all long telephoto lenses, the simple solution is a tripod. However, thanks to the viewfinder, I found another VERY elegant solution. more below
Pop - up viewfinder! Once again, I consider this an optical / mechanical / and electronic breakthrough....i.e. to create a pop up view finder with this much quality, and yet, so small is truly remarkable. Sony realized the value of this, and incorporated it in their RX100III as well. Why is this so significant? And what is the purpose of a view finder vs. using the rear display? Several reasons, some may or may not apply for your needs....
1) In bright sunlight, often it is VERY difficult to see the display! But this viewfinder is bright enough, that even on the most sunlight day, and NO eye cup around the viewer finder (which I thought would be problematic) the scene and menus are easily viewed! Superb!
2) For those of us over a certain age, approx. 40-45, presbyopia is a fact of life, and we can no longer close focus without optical aids, such as reading glasses. Or the same is true if a person is younger, but far sighted. We start out life with a 40 diopter range of focus in our eyes (from 8" to infinity), but this slowly degrades to about 2 diopters by age 60, its a gradual and somewhat linear decline. The pop up viewfinder has a diopter adjustment, which enables the user to focus, withOUT the use of optical aids. So if you require reading glasses, this feature alone is worth the price of the camera, as if your reading glasses are not handy, no worries, pop up the viewfinder and snap away with everything in clear focus.
3) Stabilization. Another unique benefit of the viewfinder.... it enables you to brace the viewfinder against your nose...assuming you have a right dominate eye. This provides a point of stabilization. While the cameras optical stabilization is good to a point, the only way to keep a 30x shot still without a tripod, is to use the viewfinder. How? You press the viewfinder against your nose, and now you have eliminated handshake. It works remarkable at 30x zoom. So this a good technique trick that compliments the pop up viewfinder.
While the RX100II had an accessory viewfinder, u had to carry it everywhere....and that some what defeats the purpose of the pocket n go concept. So of all the cool upgrades Sony has offered, for me, the pop up VF is the most significant, with the 30x being 2nd.
Another reviewer took issues with this pop up view finder. First, he mentioned you have to pull the viewfinder outward after it up pops up. This is correct, and you then must push it inward to lower the VF back into its housing. If this was not incorporated into the design, the VF would be too big to fit in such a small camera. Considering most people use the display more often, this is whats called a design compromise, and IMO, a very smart one. The VF is there, for whenever you need it. As for the view inside the viewfinder.... the reviewer mentioned the VF is too small, I would disagree with this. The size of the optic is not what is relevant. What matters is the design of the optics. The ray bundle that leaves the optic and travels to your eye is cone shaped. The wider the cone, the greater the FOV (Field Of View) which is projected on your retina. This is what gives u the sense of size. The tricky and costly part of any optical design, whether lenses, viewfinders, eyepieces, etc. is how Wide the FOV is. This VF has a very acceptable FOV IMO. Sony offers specs on the FOV in terms of 35mm film format using a 50mm fl lens, which produces a 40 deg Horiz FOV. More than sufficient to see the scene well, as well as the information displayed in the viewfinder. To put this in perspective...... a common cinema screen viewed from the middle row produces about 50-55 deg Horiz FOV. So to see 40 deg HFOV in such a small optic is quite remarkable. It is close, (but not quite as good) as the previous accessory viewfinder which sold for $400 as a stand alone item on the RX100II. So, once again, a feature needs to be evaluated fairly...i.e. based on size constraints, optical limitations and cost. While I to would love a 60 deg HOriz FOV viewfinder with a big rubber eye cup, that also drops down into the camera for storage, and for $20 add on price... this is fantasy thinking. While advances are being made every year in electronics, optical advances occur VERY slow, about 20x slower.
Lock on auto focus has been around on some cameras, I have found a few applications for it, but don't use it often, but if you shoot people or pets, and enjoy tracking them waiting for the right moment to capture, its a great feature!
10 fps is amazing for a camera this small...of course, u only get one burst, but regardless, the fact it exist in a camera this small is hard to fathom.
Many of the other features, such as Wifi, GPS, NFC are becoming more commonplace so I wont comment on these. However, there is a big benefit to a camera that can display the image on a big tablet... this is extra handy when shooting products for ebay. You can better frame the shot and evaluate the capture. I have used this feature many times and it has been very helpful.
I also appreciate Manual mode in a consumer level camera. While most people won't use it, there is always times when the camera does NOT know how to properly evaluate a scene, or you want an exposure that is not ordinary...so u can set SS and apt. yourself, nice touch. The other modes are more commonplace and have been around for some time, so I wont comment on them.
Sony offers their own Play Memories app... If u are new to digital, and do not already own and use other software such as Adobe PS, its prob. a nice user friendly picture management system. It also is ideal if you are big on social media, as they provided all the interfaces for loading pictures to your Fav social media sites. I have been doing this for so long, I still use Adobe products for download and editing. When I have more time, I will try the social media aspects of this software.
Image quality - This camera takes excellent images... I think the RX line is slightly better, as it has a slightly larger sensor. There is tradeoffs for larger / smaller sensors of similar pixel count. Don't be fooled by the difference between 18 and 20MP. To double the image quality, just like film, you must 4x the area, or 4x the pixel count, not double the pixel count most people confuse. Larger sensors have larger pixels, (light buckets), so they are more sensitive to light, which enables better high ISO performance as well as greater dynamic range (contrast range of the scene being captured). So under the right set of circumstances, the larger sensor will record better image quality. But under ideal circumstances, the differences are negligible, specially if the intended use of the image is for web display The upside of the smaller sensor is it enables shorter fl's for the same FOV, which therefore allows for shorter fl lenses. Shorter fl lenses will have lower f stops, which equals more light, which translates into faster shutter speeds. This is what enables the 90V to get such incredible optical zoom, much less than the RX line, which would require a lens much too large to achieve similar zoom range. In the case of web based images, assuming u are shooting a scene with limited dynamic range of maybe 6 stops max. u would never see a differences between the 90V and the higher priced RX. Sony does an excellent job explaining their back lit sensors and the benefits of such. So I will not elaborate on that.
Between the RX and the 90V
As another reviewer noted.... if you need long telephoto often, the 90V is the only choice. If you shoot relatively close subjects as your norm, and you shoot them in relatively sufficient lighting (ISO 400 or lower), the 90V would not disappoint. However, if you shoot relatively close scenes and in low light, or high contrast scenes (bright sun + shadow areas, like inside a forest), the RX's larger sensor would produce more detail in both the highlights and the shadows. Possible some of the photo review sites will have both of these cameras test results posted to demonstrate how much dynamic rage the RX has, as well as, its better high ISO performance.
As for shortcomings.... at this price point... I can't really think of many. Many people would want the camera even smaller, but if you have big hands like me, any smaller than this, I could not manipulate it in my hands well enough. Its barely longer than a pack of cigs, about the same thickness. Battery charging, u can buy some nice after market chargers vs. charging the camera directly. I think its best this resides on the accessory market, as not everyone needs chargers, it depends on how you use the camera. Sony batteries have excellent life span! Now some phones such as my Galaxy NOTE4 record video in 4K, I think the next evolution of these cameras will all include 4K video, but, this is a "still" camera, with a video option, so I can't ding a point for such, as HD video is still the standard. As for the body, which another reviewer complained of a plastic type feel... I can only assume Sony engineers evaluated every possible option for the housing. Many of these composites / plastics are extremely durable, and if they can withstand a drop, then I would assume Sony's position was, why add the extra wight that metal brings on. I will not be dropping the camera to test this. We can only assume, as many cameras as Sony sells, I am sure housing material selection has been researched extensively. Again, these are tradeoff's decisions made during the design process.
A truly amazing camera with features I never dreamed I would see in a package this small! Kudos to Sony Design engineers!!
UPDATE July 26 15
I have been using this camera more...and am continually amazed. Here is some of the key breakthroughs as I see it... they are not new features, but rather, greatly improved features.
IS - This camera has MUCH better Image Stabilization than any P&S I have ever experienced, including the RX100II. It's truly incredible at low shutter speeds, such as 1/15th, how I can hand hold and get no image blur. you have to pay close attention to the screen to see the subject stop shaking as IS slowly steady's the subject...specially when you press the shutter release half way down. I also have been taking shots at 30x with remarkable results. But again, u must use the technique I described above, AND, pay attention to the image as IS takes a second or two to wrestle it under control. Handheld product shots for ebay, amazing, no tripod needed.
Focus lock. This camera does an amazing job focusing on your target area. You must learn about focus to use it A simple approach is, set to Center Focus, place focus square on the subject u want in exact focus position, press shutter half way to lock focus and re compose the scene, wait for IS to stabilize and fire. (never letting off half the shutter) Of course, if you are shooting action shots, this is not possible, hence the other focus modes and shooting modes. Regardless, the in focus area is incredible sharp for such a small sensor.
Dynamic range... much improved. This camera yields much more detail in shadows, even when NOT in DRO or HDR mode. I am sure this is firmware function, but regardless, its incredibly effective...often no post processing required!
Flash - for a small camera, the flash is powerful.... when shooting very close subjects, such as product shots, or pet faces, move back, and zoom to re compose, so flash does not burn out the closest areas, works amazing.
Close focus - this really took me by surprise... I have shot subjects within 14" with remarkable sharpness, almost as if it was a macro camera. Combine this with incredible IS, and you have a P&S macro camera, which are notorious for needed a tripod.
Screen preview - One of the nice things about digital cameras is seeing the scene u are shooting, and adjusting the settings to see how exposure settings will play out. The screen is dynamic... many cameras do this, but this camera does it remarkably well...what u see in the preview, is what you get in the final image. It gives you time to set up a scene properly for exposure, then when you go to expose, u only have to concentrate on proper focus and composure.
This camera keeps amazing me....the more I use it, the more I LOVE IT! The IS continues to amaze me.... at slow shutter speeds in low light, even at 1/8th sec. I am getting still captures hand holding! (at wides fl of course) While I thought the 30x was the claim to fame, I have to rate this IS as a HUGE advancement in technology.
But, lets not discount the incredible value of having 30x with the pop up viewfinder. As I mentioned above, its an incredible combination as the viewfinder logedge against your inner nose, gives a stable reference vs. hand holding the camera away from you to see the rear display. I attached some 30x pix shot with minimal effort... again, these are equiv of 700mm+ lens on a full frame 35mm!
Video on this camera is truly remarkable. I have been shooting concert videos and am stunned something u can fit in your shirt pocket can shoot HD vidoes this well. Of course, 4k is not possible on this camera, but on the newer versions 4k is an option. But keep in mind, 4k file sizes are 4x the size for equal minutes. So if you record a lot of footage, u need a lot of memory.
Regardless, the ability to zoom in 30x with incredible IS allows for easy close ups even at great distances from stage. search this exact string in utube
bgfunbear kix don't
notice the end of video, where u can see the distance from stage !!
235 of 241 people found the following review helpful.
Excellent compact and light travel zoom camera
By Amazonian Consumer
I was able to buy this camera in Japan recently and have been using it for a few weeks.
The Sony DSC-HX90V is designed to mimic the appearance and funcitonality of Sony's RX100 line of cameras, with one difference: the image sensor size is 1/2.3 inch, instead of RX100's 1 inch. A 1 inch sensor has a surface area more than 4 times greater than a 1/2.3 inch sensor. A larger sensor translates to better image quality, but the trade-off is zoom lens magnification range. If you need a compact travel zoom camera, the HX90V is more suitable, as it has a 30X zoom (24 - 720 mm), compared to RX100 III's 2.9X (24 - 70 mm)! The two cameras are nearly identical in physical dimensions. The HX90V is lighter than RX 100 III (245 g vs. 287 g), and costs less than half the RX100 III's price. If you do not need the pop-up electronic viewfinder and the GPS function of the HX90V, you can save yourself $100 by selecting the Sony WX500 instead (A reviewer on the WX500 has pointed out additional features of the HX90V: "Quick Navi" view on the LCD screen, Lens Control Ring, Control Ring Zoom function including Step Zoom, Electronic Level on screen, Manual Focus, Bracketing Drive Mode, DRO and HDR, Creative Style, High ISO Noise Reduction, Flash Compensation). The HX90V has a small hand grip while the WX500 does not, but, IMO, both cameras are easy to hold. The 30X zoom lens in the HX90V/WX500 is now a Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* design which is optically superior to Sony's G design on previous 20X and 30X zoom lenses. It is also more compact, allowing the camera body to be much smaller and lighter than its immediate predecessor (HX60V), as well as earlier models.
I prefer the HX90V/WX500 powered zoom lens that can be smoothly operated using the zoom lever around the shutter button over manual zooms that must be operated by twisting the lens barrel. These manual zoom lenses are usually associated with larger mirrorless and DSLR cameras, which are not only bulky and expensive, they have very limited zoom range and their zoom action tend to be jerky (not desirable when shooting video).
The HX90V and WX500 cameras have single-hinged LCD screens so that they can be flipped up 180 degrees for selfies. The RX100 III has double-hinged screen, so it can tilt up for selfies AND also tilt down to enable composition while shooting in an above crowd situation.
For video, in addition to AVCHD and MP4 formats, Sony also includes the high quality XAVC S option which runs at full HD (1920X1080), 60p@50 Mbps. There is also support for 4K still image output.
I like to carry the HX90V in its $40 LCJ-HWA jacket (ever-ready) case because the camera can be transported and protected with the least amount of bulk. The HX90V starts up and is ready to shoot almost instantly, plus the fact that the camera can be taken out of the case (actually uncovering the top half of the case and leaving it hanging, still attached to the bottom half) in literally seconds, it is not only convenient, you will not miss many photo opportunities. The case probably won't shield the camera from damage in the event of a drop to the ground, but it will serve its purpose in everyday bump and scrape situations. The case also helps you to hold the camera more securely; both hand strap and neck strap are provided.
I prefer the HX90V over the RX100 III because it offers me far greater reach in its zoom lens in the nearly same compact body. When I had the RX100 III with me as a daily camera, there were plenty of occasions that I wished I had more zoom power than 2.9X. I seldom need to print pictures larger than 8X10, so the differerence in image quality is of a lessor priority than camera lens versatility.
Having a 30X compact zoom camera in such a small (but not too small) package spells the ultimate in portability and convenience. As a consequence, my much larger HX400V 50X superzoom camera spends more time sitting on the shelf. The HX90V is now the camera that I carry with me all of the time. It is very responsive and takes excellent pictures and videos.
Comparing the Sony HX90V to the film cameras of the late 70's when most lenses were fixed focal length and zoom lenses typically had less than 3X capability (80-200, 28-50, 35-70, etc.), it is just amazing how far we have advanced to get this 30X compact camera wonder that fits in the palm of your hand. And there is no lens cap to take off, put on, and misplace!
For users annoyed by the HX90V powering off when the electronic viewfinder is pushed down into the body, there is an option in the Menu (rightmost Menu tab, #3 page, #1 item) to disable it.
The 30X power zoom lens can be controlled using the zoom lever around the shutter release button. The zoom speed is set at normal by default, and you can change speed to fast if you need it (#2 Menu tab from left, #3 page, #1 item).
You can set in the Menu (#2 Menu tab from left, #3 page, #3 item) that when the electronic viewfinder is poped up, the LCD will turn off, and the active view will be the EVF. This is preferrable when shooting outdoors for an extended amount of time. It not only saves battery power, you do not need to align your viewing eye each time you look into the EVF, just so that the auto view switch will work, as it quickly becomes a hassle after a few shots.
For taking selfies, you can set in the Menu for a 2-second delayed shutter release, so that you and other parties can better pose for the shot. Additionally, you can quickly re-position your left index finger to hold the camera more securely after the shutter button is pressed to begin the count down. (#2 Menu tab from left, #3 page, #5 item)