Review: Sony DSC-HX300/B Digital Camera

If you are looking for the convenience of a point and shoot, but the control and performance of a DSLR, the Sony DSC-HX300/B bridge camera is a good choice. With its impressive 50X zoom, its Carl Zeiss Sonnar-Vario T* lens has a focal length ranging from a 24mm wide-angle to a 1,200mm telephoto (at 35mm equivalent). At the 24mm, the aperture is wide open at f/2.8. That minimum aperture increases to f/6.3 at the telephoto end. Images at maximum resolution are 5,184 x 3,888 pixels in size and are stored either on Sony’s proprietary Memory Stick Duo, including the PRO and PRO HG series, or Class 4 or higher SD/SDHC/ SDXC Secure Digital cards. Other image sizes at various resolutions and aspect rations are also available. Key Specs For The Sony DSC-HX300/B RRP: $499.99 Year of release: 2013 Display size (inches): 3 Image resolution (MP): 20 Zoom: Optical: 50x; Digital: 100x Video Capture? 1080p HD Sony DSC-HX300/B: The Pros Price: For just under $500, this is a great camera. It has one of the greatest focal lengths of any bridge camera - out to 1,200mm. However if you don’t need that much of a reach and you are willing to sacrifice two megapixel in resolution and about 400 mm in focal length, the Sony DCS-H200V is also a great camera and almost $200 cheaper. Image Quality: With a 20MP Exmor R CMOS back-illuminated sensor and a BIONZ image processor, photos exhibit accurate color, extreme clarity with sharp detail, all with minimum noise, especially at the lower ISOs. The upper ISOs do impart some noise. Tiltable LCD Rear Screen: This is a feature you will find yourself using more and more. With variable angle, you can position your camera high or low and tilt the LCD down or up respectively and still see your subject well in the screen. So whether you want to shoot over the heads of a crowd or take eye-level photos of a child or pet, the 3-inch Xtra Fine, 921,000 pixel screen has you covered. And of course if you do not like composing using a rear screen, you can always use the viewfinder for the “traditional photographic composing experience”. 3-Way Optical Image Stabilization: Most image stabilizing systems dampen movement in two directions - vertically and horizontally. Optical SteadyShot® adds a third dimension- digital rolling dampening which nullifies clock-wise or counter clock-wise camera movement when shooting videos. Full HD 1080p Video: At 60 frames per second, you can record videos as long 29 minutes. See a still shot you would like while recording? No problem! With dual recording capability, you can simultaneously capture stills while recording video. With an HDMI micro cable (sold separately), you can playback your MPEG-4 videos directly on your TV. Enhanced Creativity: With so many creative features at your fingertips, where do I start? If you shoot portraits, the HX300 has you covered with face, smile and blink detection. Go wild with 9 Picture Effects, including watercolor, HDR painting, high key, and monochrome, to name a few. Now add in 10 White Balance settings (3 of which are Fluorescent), 24 ISO settings - Auto and from 80 to 12,800, and 15 Scene modes - all available in 3 different metering modes - and there isn’t a situation where you would not have a feature that would allow you to best capture it. Oh ... don’t forget the Panorama setting to create images at a horizontal 180 or 360 degrees. Advanced Flash: Flash photography is easy with the HX30; just pop-up the flash and select the flash mode you need from the 6 flash modes available. You’ll find one will cover almost every flash shooting situation. Also this flash has a longer reach than most on-board camera flashes - out to 27.89 feet at the 24mm setting and 11.48 feet at the 1,200mm setting. Sony DSC-HX300/B: The Cons High ISO Noise: There is only one minor flaw with the HX-300/B that is even worth mentioning - excessive noise at the higher ISOs. From ISO 80 to 800, chroma and luma noise ranges from not noticeable to acceptable, respectively. And of course, excess noise when shooting at high ISOs can always be removed in post-processing - it is just another step that has to be taken. However, how often do you shoot at an ISO above 800? In most cases, not often, unless you do a lot of low-light photography and then it can be an issue. But for most photographers, an ISO of 800 is about a high as you need. Is The Sony DSC-HX300/B Worth Buying? Yes! If you have $500 to spend and are looking for the convenience, control and performance, you can’t go wrong with the Sony HX300/B. And weighing 1 pound 7 ounces, it won’t wear you out carrying it all day as would carrying a full-size DSLR and a couple lenses (at twice the weight and bulk) that you would need to get the same focal range. With the HX300/B, everything is in one light, easy to manage, but extremely powerful package.


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