Pros: Panorama, low-light, backlight correction modes; GPS receiver and compass for geotagging; excellent color accuracy and low-light performance
Cons: No aperture-priority or shutter-priority modes; geotagging requires software on a Windows PC; images aren't always sharp
With its in-camera GPS, digital compass, wireless image and video sharing via TransferJet, accelerometer-driven panorama mode, and 1080i high-definition video capture in AVCHD format, it's easy to overlook the fact that the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V is, in fact, a camera.
And the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V is an excellent camera, delivering some of the best image quality we've seen from a point-and-shoot model in 2010.
The 10-megapixel, 10X-optical-zoom (25mm to 250mm) Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V captured some of the highest-rated images in our subjective tests for image quality, leading our most recent pocket megazoom test group in exposure quality and colour accuracy. Sharpness and distortion levels were less impressive, and video quality trailed that of both the Canon PowerShot SX210 IS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS5, earning the DSC-HX5V an overall imaging score of Good.
We shot sample clips in bright indoor lighting and in low light with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V. For the highest-quality clips, select 1080p from the drop-down menu in the lower-right corner of each player.
Though our lab-based imaging scores are impressive in their own right, they tell only half the story. When you get the DSC-HX5V in your hands and use it in everyday situations, you discover that this pocket megazoom boasts some of the most innovative and fun-to-use features available in a camera. It excels when shooting in low light without a flash, creating panoramic images, and correcting backlit images.
Those key strengths are thanks to three modes, all of which you can access quickly via a mode dial on top of the camera: Handheld Twilight mode, which snaps up to six images at different exposure settings in rapid succession and overlays them to create a crisp, well-exposed photo; Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode, which lets you press the shutter button once and pan the camera across a field of view to create an instant panoramic photo; and Backlight Correction HDR, which takes backlit images at different exposure levels and overlays them to bring out foreground highlights.