GadgetsLab: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V

I enjoy taking photos wherever I go. And whenever I go out the house I make sure I have something to take that cheeky snapshot of a funny store window sign or just save pieces of the city in photographs.

A DSLR or a mirrorless can be cumbersome to bring everyday, and using a smartphone feels like relying too much on the device to give the right light settings, focus, or depth to a scene. A compact point and shoot has always been a great halfway between the two that I can bring to family vacations or to weekend strolls through the city. Can the DSC-HX90V be a good option to put in my pocket as I explore?

Design (4 stars)

The DSC-HX90V is a beautiful device that fits easily into a jean pocket. It has a solid build quality covered in Sony’s signature sleek and elegant black metal with clean, straight edges.

Not one part of the camera feels out of place. All the buttons are within reach of the right hand. The electric viewfinder and the flash are neatly hidden away when not needed, with no one noticing if the camera had them in the first place. The camera also has a retractable 180-degree flip screen for low-angle shots or selfies.

Sony also has textured grips on the front and the back to help secure the camera when in use.

The only problem I have is that for people with big hands like mine, it’s pretty hard to press on the buttons without accidentally mashing the adjacent controls.

Hardware (4.5 stars)

The camera has a maximum resolution of 18.2 megapixels through a 7.82 mm Exmor R CMOS sensor. Because of its resolution, the DSC-HX90V can take stills in 4K UHD quality. It can also take 60fps videos in full 1080p high definition resolution through the XAVC S codec.

Its ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* lens has an optical zoom of 30x which translates to a varying focal length of 4.1 to 123 mm, and a clear image zoom of 60x.

The camera uses the BIONZ X image processing engine which increases the level of detail while minimizing noise. It also has a decent ISO sensitivity range from 80 to 12,800.

User Experience (4 stars)

Overall, taking pictures with the camera is a joy. Though small in its size, it feels like a camera. I have control over all aspects of the photo including the aperture, the ISO sensitivity, the shutter speed, and even fine tuning the camera’s focal length through a control ring at the lens base.

For quick snaps, it has different modes like Aperture Priority, Shutter Speed Priority, Scene Selection, Auto and the Superior Auto which automatically sets the ISO sensitivity and shutter speed for the perfect photo while decreasing the amount of noise.

Booting up the camera and taking the first shot may take a while, but after that, capturing photos is a speedy affair.

Another useful feature is the PlayMemories feature that connects the camera to my smartphone through the Wi-Fi or NFC, letting me send photos to my phone with a geo-tag so I can post them through my social media accounts with the location, date and time of taking embedded into the files.

Photos at maximum resolution turned out nice, although a few presses of the zoom button reveal high levels of noise. With that being said, it is not uncommon for that to happen in point and shoots, let alone a camera this size.

Value (4 stars)

With a lot of competitors in the same price range, the DSC-HX90V still manages to stand out with a number of intuitive features, increased connectivity, and solid hardware.

Bottomline:

The DSC-HX90V is a great camera to bring along to any journey with its ultra-portability and high level of functionality.

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