Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX7V: For Every Situation

 

 

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX7V

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX7V

Neha Mutreja tests the new Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX7V to find out what this camera has to offer to photo enthusiasts.

The camera market is getting more interesting by the day. Now, whenever manufacturers announce new launches, they introduce as many as 7–8 cameras at the same time! Launched amidst similar fanfare and competition, the Sony Cybershot DSC-HX7V seems like an excellent package on paper. I set out to find out what makes it different.

Features
Like some of the other H-series models, the HX7V has a 10x optical zoom lens. An equivalent focal length of 25–250mm makes this a very versatile camera, especially considering its wide angle capabilities. The camera has a new 16.2MP sensor, which is a rather high resolution for a compact camera.
The camera is clearly aimed at those who are serious about photography and want to improve their skills. In an era where more and more cameras are only equipped with automation, it is quite refreshing to see that the HX7V has a Manual mode. This has its limits as there are only two aperture values to choose from, but it is workable.
This is a very fast camera. It can shoot at a blistering speed of 10fps, at full resolution. As with most other Sony cameras, it combines its high-speed capabilities to do some neat tricks. One such application is the Backlit Correction HDR mode, which takes multiple photos quickly and combines them to improve dynamic range while shooting against the light.
With the HX7V, Sony’s proprietary Sweep Panorama mode has just become a lot more exciting. Now, you have a choice of making Standard, Wide and High Resolution panoramas. High Resolution, true to its name, stitches together a whopping 42.9MP photograph! The image quality and stitching performance in all these modes was very good indeed.
The video capabilities of this camera are pretty much the best you will find in compact cameras, with high quality Full HD video recording, with stereo sound. It is one of the few cameras in the market that can shoot Full HD video at 60fps, which gives significantly better quality playback on HDTVs. Two other interesting features that the HX7V has are GPS and a compass, both of which are useful for travel enthusiasts.

Handling
The HX7V has a rubberised textured grip which is certainly helpful while shooting. The camera’s LCD is one main reason why I enjoyed using the camera. With an extremely high resolution of 921k dots, the LCD is pretty much the best you can find amongst compact cameras. Considering that this is not a very expensive camera, Sony has clearly raised the bar.
Unlike other cameras that have the shutter release button on the right hand corner of the top plate, the Sony HX7V sports a mode dial. I found this confusing and irritating, but one can get used to it. The zooming action is not very smooth.

Performance
Around the time I started shooting with this camera, there were a number of interesting things happening around me. When I was in Delhi, I used it to photograph Anna Hazare’s protest and some portraits at a BP workshop. In Mumbai, the camera was used to photograph rain-soaked roads and the crazy crowds at the visarjan in the Ganesh festival.
I was disappointed with the startup time of the camera. Also, if you are switching from one mode to another, the information about the mode blocks your view for a few seconds before the camera allows you to shoot.
I must make a special mention to the camera’s low light performance. The autofocus did a great job, even while shooting in dark, narrow lanes. The overall image quality is good, with rich, vibrant colours. The high ISO performance is not brilliant, but it is excellent for a camera of this price range. Photos are usable and visually pleasing even at ISO 1600. When shooting against the light, fringing is well controlled, but the amount of fl are can be a little high when there is an artificial light source in the frame.

Conclusion
The Sony HX7V is priced at Rs. 14,990, which makes it excellent value for money. It may have a few minor glitches, but the kind of features and quality it packs in make it a great buy. Good zoom range, travel capabilities, a great LCD, unique modes and superb video—with all these and more, the HX7V is, one must say, a camera you will enjoy using.

Final Ratings
Features
Sweep Panorama, Full HD video
28 /30

Performance
Good optics, competent image quality invarying light conditions, superb video
27/30

Build Quality
Sturdy but lightweight
12/15

Ergonomics
Unusual placement of mode dial, excellent LCD
12/15

Warranty & Support
Two years warranty with a wide service network
6/10

OVERALL: 85%
Value For Money: 4/5 stars

Tags: Neha Mutreja, October 2011, Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX7V, Sweep Panorama