103 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2015
Firstly, having read a lot of reviews there is quite a lot of confusion on what this camera can and can't do. I'm an experienced amateur photographer who has owned an awful lot of cameras, from full frame DSLR's all the way down to cameras like this so perhaps I can help.
Firstly, this camera is what it is, a point and shoot type with a phenomenally long zoom for it's size. This means there will be compromises on certain things. The first thing to understand is that it is pointless to view shots from a camera like this at 100% magnification on a computer, the shots will just look horrible. Even shots from many DSLR's don't look great doing this. As a guide, I find that shooting general scenes at close distances then you could probably print up to A3 size from this camera, at full zoom, depending on the light (more is better obviously) then A4 is probably about right. Yes you will lose some image quality at full zoom, but this will happen with any camera with a zoom of this range. That being said, for the right subject it can still be excellent, just remember, the more light the better.
Now, how to get the best results from it? Well I can say that Superior auto is excellent 95% of the time, almost foolproof, which is good news for people who aren't experienced. It will produce bright and contrasty photos, which most people love. If you want a bit more dynamic range ( the range between black shadows and blown out highlights ) then switch to aperture priority and "realistic" picture mode, it definitely unblocks the shadows and protects the highlights a bit more. The dynamic range is generally pretty good on this camera, better than most others of it's type I would say. If you're going to take a lot of telephoto shots then switch to Superior auto as it has a neat trick, hold the shutter button down for a second or two and it will take a high speed burst of shots and merge them together to create a single shot which has less noise, it's very effective 99% of the time. I recommend turning the shutter noise off ( I have it permanently switched off anyway, making the camera shutter almost silent ). I also recommend Superior auto for low light, it does the same thing and gets much better results.
In a nutshell, as I said, Superior auto is very good at getting it right most of the time, if it doesn't then you'll need to learn some basic photography skills to improve on it and tweak the settings on the camera, I'd recommend that to anyone anyway.
So what do I love about this camera apart from the awesome zoom? well the exposure compensation dial for a start, that is a brilliant feature for protecting the highlights or shadows quickly, shooting in aperture priority mode. It's one of the reasons I prefer this camera over the Panasonic TZ's, a big reason in fact. The chunky grip is another, it makes the camera much nicer to hold if you don't have dainty hands. The LCD is excellent, I just shield it in bright light if I have too, no biggie for me. The build quality is also very decent, it feels well built overall. Battery life is excellent and you can charge it from a USB power pack, another big one if you're hiking or camping. Charge time is also pretty quick. The image stabilisation is also very effective, impressively so, which means you can get better image quality if you know what you're doing (and sometimes if you don't). Video is very good, I don't take much but it's more than capable of excellent high quality clips. All in all, for what it is, it's hard to fault this camera at it's price point now. But there are few things I need to point out.
If you want a camera for low light shooting this is not it's forte, it can do it but over ISO 800 it falls apart. You're ok for shooting things that don't move, such a nightscapes etc, you can use the image stabilisation to reduce the shutter speed and get better quality. For moving subjects it's not going to be great if you want to print or display large sizes, that's just the limitation of it's slow lens and small sensor. That being said it will beat many phone cameras so it might good enough for some.
It doesn't have flash compensation so you can't manually adjust the flash output directly, not a biggie but a little annoying for me. You can use different flash settings but its not as flexible. The good news is that you can mount an additional flash if you want to, a nice bonus feature that most cameras of this type don't have.
So in summary, an excellent little camera with a superb zoom range and lots of bells and whistles on it. It's strength is it's zoom range and the ability to nail shots using Superior Auto. In experienced hands it's capable of quite a bit more, but don't let that put you off if you're a novice, if you're happy with an Iphone or similar you'll love this camera. It's not for night-owls unless you're using flash for social shots, in which case it'll do the job. It's not for pixel peepers or monitor lickers, there are other cameras for that, but for general shooting it's a very versatile and capable little beastie - or a pocket rocket as I like to call it.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 2015
I think this is a marvellous camera. I have taken some incredible shots with it and it’s certainly superior to my previous Fujiflim bridge camera.
The absence of a viewfinder has lost it a star, as the screen is impossible to see when you are looking towards the sun. Come the middle of summer I may have to use the Fuji instead. Having said that, a few shots taken 'blind' into the light have come out just as well as the ones where I could actually see the screen.
The 30x zoom is really useable, thanks to the camera’s stabilising capabilities. Cormorants nesting on a rock that could not be identified as cormorants with the naked eye have been the successful subject of maximum zoom "close-ups".
In low light outdoors, the camera adjusts well; harbour scenes taken before dawn in the winter came out a little lighter than reality but full of colour and fairly clear. Inside shots are quite reasonable, but moving subjects (like children) are still a challenge. There is a fairly lengthy processing time when you use the intelligent auto setting.
20 mega-pixel resolution is great for prints but if it’s too much (say, for Ebay), it’s very easy to adjust the setting to 5 mega-pixels instead.
Build quality is good, and handling is satisfying, except that it’s a bit too easy to press the video record button by accident. The other lapse in design is that the memory card slot is inside the battery compartment and there’s no spring-back closing mechanism on the door; it has to be finger-nailed open and carefully finger-nailed closed again.
There is a built-in flash, and an automatic macro lens that always seems to know when you need it. The dial for changing aperture, etc. doesn’t seem to make any difference in my preferred auto mode, so I have not made proper use of it yet.
Still, all in all, almost every photograph I have taken with the Sony has exceeded anything I have managed previously. Colours are natural with plenty of saturation, contrast and detail. Lighting and focus are very intuitive and in most circumstances what you see on the screen is what you get.
112 of 118 people found the following review helpful
on 26 June 2014
This is absolutely the best camera that I have ever owned and,believe me at 84 I've had a good few.From 35mm,110,126 to today's digital marvels.
Never a large DSLR,too heavy,fiddly,changing lenses and the problem of keeping the screen clean put me off
They say always carry a camera that ain't easy with this lot and hardly unobtrusive.
I only needed a camera small enough to carry in a jacket pocket,a smaller Sony WX60 slips into my shirt pocket that's a little cracker too,
The 50v is the complete answer,superb quick response and enough clever and well thought out features to meet any challenge.
OK some times it's quicker than you but,in time,you'll get used to it.
I can not believe the critic's comments,suggest they take time to read the instructions.I bought the printed version from "Old Timer Cameras" do so and really see what this camera provides.
At the price and specification there is nothing to touch it..
Hope this helps.David.
232 of 249 people found the following review helpful
Like many people,in recent times I've probably abandoned digital cameras in favour of grabbing my smart phone to capture special memories, all well and good, but often resulting in photos of variable quality and focus. This is the camera that has got me back in the habit of taking better photos; it's a little more than a point and click and has some very nice features. The camera is great for casual use and anyone who wants to work on their picture taking a little more will find plenty of features to keep them busy.
Out of the box set up is simple, to recharge you don't need to faff around with taking out batteries, a lead and charger just plugs straight into the body. My camera did not come with a memory card, it does take a range of formats of these( SD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick PRO Duo and Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo0), to make the most of the ability to take full 1080p movies in AVCHD and MP4 formats.
The camera, in the main, is well built. It has a bit of a retro feel and, due to its impressive 30x zoom (24 - 720mm wide angle lens) is a little bigger than your average compact at H64.3 x W108.1 x D38.3mm. You get a good sized 3" screen to view your subject/s and scroll through the options, though disappointingly maybe, it's not touch screen and access is via a bewildering range of buttons and menus including a small wheel which does, I have to say, feel a little flimsy to the touch. Though, through extensive use of this camera I have got used to when to use the menu or "?" button I do still find myself having to refer to the incorporated camera guide for more advanced features. The guide is in A-Z form and is searchable and is really handy.
Talking of additional features one thing that surprised me about this camera was its failure to include GPS. It's all the more strange as the DSC HX50V, available elsewhere does have GPS. You can get round this in a way as the camera has wifi and so you can actually upload pictures to a smartphone on the go and put straight onto, eg facebook, however it's still disappointing. That said, I have found it relatively simple to get the camera to sync with my wifi at home and have even managed to use the camera > smartphone wifi whilst on the go via the free Playmemories app provided by the manufacturer for use with this phone. You can actually use your phone as a remote control to take photos and to see the view on your camera screen. This is a handy alternative to the self timer and useful also if you wish to place your camera down and keep it steady.
So, on then to the photos themselves; here the camera which is 20.4 megapixel, does not disappoint at all and I find that although there are more features than I, personally, could ever use I can and do obtain good results. There are features such as being able to take HDR photos - so for example take black and white picking out only red, blue,green or yellow, which I really like - I have uploaded some pictures taken like this onto this page. When taking pictures the screen is bright and apart from in the brightest of sunlight it's easy to see the different options. You can scroll through the different modes of picture taking from "Superior Auto" to "Intelligent Auto" - the latter being best for moving objects, to some of the modes I use most like the panorama sweep and video. Colour reproduction on this camera is good, and I like the fact that I can zoom in whilst taking video.
I have found through using the camera that over time I am using more and more of what the camera can offer. I made a bit of a rookie mistake at first by somehow managing to date stamp all my pictures (this can't be retrospectively removed) but now I find myself activating features such as the smile auto-detect and the on-screen plumb line with relative ease, and I have even worked out how to take photos whilst playing back video. You can use the picture effects (toy camera, watercolour etc) in video mode too and shutter speed (10fps for the technically minded) is good. I haven't really investigated the P/A/S/M modes, but for more advanced users who want to play with light and exposure these are a bound to be of interest, there is also an additional shoe on top of the camera and you can purchase an extra flash in addition to the inbuilt one or an electronic view finder or microphone can be installed on this should you wish. Not having such extras, I have found battery life for my use to be impressively long.
Overall, this camera is a relative joy to use, due to the quality of the photos it produces. If feels good in the hand and looks good too and so I can ignore some niggles, such as the lack of GPS and the fact that even having used the camera a fair bit the menu can leave me confused as to which button I should have pressed. Despite all this, this camera has got me back into taking better photos. It's great for holiday snaps and for getting a bit more arty about your photos too and although I think it's quite pricey compared to similar offerings from other manufacturers I would still recommend it as being fairly compact but taking pictures that are significantly better than those from a smart phone, having an impressive zoom and good range of features - it's a pleasure to own.
92 of 100 people found the following review helpful
Let's get the flaw over with as that is doubtless what drew your attention.
No viewfinder. This is the first camera I've had without a viewfinder and I assumed that Sony would not release one unless the screen was bright enough for daylight viewing. Wrong. If you have any bright light behind you then you just can't see a thing. And the screen is not tiltable so you can't manipulate it into shade.
So why did I keep it? Because I love the rest and most of my shots are of buildings and in cities. If your main use is for sunny beaches I strongly advise you to look elsewhere.
I originally wanted a bridge camera. But having read all the reviews I came to the conclusion that with those you get the inconvenience of a bulky camera without the quality of an SLR. And all the reviews had too many negatives for me. I'd call myself a keen amateur. I've had SLRs in the past, I take a lot of photos in the course of a year and care quite a lot about them. But while I was happy to muck about with aperture and priority settings when I had to, I'd rather point and shoot if the result will be good enough. With this camera it can do a better job with the automatic settings than I can manually.
This camera (and others similar of course) is very compact so you can slip it in a trouser pocket, which means you are much more likely to take it with you.
I was attracted by the 50x zooms you see being released now. But I am sceptical about how even with electronic damping you'll get good results at that level of zoom. Even at 30x you can visibly see the effect of hand shake as you focus and the camera does a great job of taking that out. I post process all my shots so I'd rather have a good shot and crop it than go the extra zoom. 30x is pretty impressive anyway in my book!
I've put 500+ shots through this camera now and have been very impressed. For dealing with the viewfinder issue I've learnt to shade with my body or just shoot wide angle and hope I get it right.
Sometimes the focus seems to have trouble - particularly in macro. But I just pull out a little and it is fine. Particular things I like:
* Decent battery life - I bought a spare which was not expensive but have not had to change in a day's shooting.
* Good thumb grip. Others have commented that it's easy to press the video button in error. This is true but you soon learn to feel for the little thumb grip/depression next to it.
* Being able to delete all shots taken on a given date - handy once they are transferred elsewhere.
* There is a kind of enhanced exposure mode on the dial which I have found great in situations where there is a lot of different light levels. For example photographing a floodlit cathedral this gave a much more balanced exposure than the standard auto mode.
* I am normally sniffy about menu-based modes, but have found the Scene mode useful. Here you turn the dial to Scene and you get a dozen or so options such as landscape, people, food etc. which you can pick very quickly.
* It's quick to choose one of the burst modes such as continuous shooting, shoot for ten seconds etc. Handy for wildlife or wild children.
* While I did not buy it for video I've been very impressed at how easy it is to take videos and the quality.
* I'm impressed with the macro facility. There is no dedicated macro mode - it's automatic - and the focusing does not always work first time. I've found the Food Scene mode useful for flowers sometimes. Generally I'm very pleased with the results.
* The "beautiful skin" feature is remarkably effective at knocking a decade off anyone over 50 without your having to resort to photoshopping later.
* Automatic soft backgrounds are another useful choice in Scene mode.
Others have commented on the `smeary' nature of the pixels when you zoom right in. This is true and I believe a function of the programming. But while this might annoy pixel purists, for most people it means that your shots will bear closer cropping without visible pixellation than would otherwise be the case.
All in all a very impressive bit of kit if you can live with the viewfinder snag.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 24 February 2015
I bought this camera about 1.5 years ago and loooved it, until ... it died a few days ago.
The problems started 2 months ago, when the lens seemed stuck and had trouble going in and out. This problem got worse, and now the lens cannot move anymore. Game Over.
While using it a lot, I always took great care of the camara, so I am very disappointed that it did not perform for a longer period of time. I guess the magic zoom feature is it's strong point, and weak point at the same time...
97 of 108 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2013
Couldn't wait to get my hands on this camera and so far it has not disappointed. Previously I owned the DSC HX9V which I didn't think could be surpassed but I wanted this for the enhanced optical zoom. The camera is nicely weighted and still a good compact size considering the zoom lens it houses. The x30 optical zoom is truely astounding with clear optical zoom to a very impressive x60, going up to a x120 digital zoom at 20M is staggering (apparently at lower resolution the digital zoom is up to x324). It has some great picture effects - like the tilt-shift miniature effect and the iSweep panorama is great to name just two I have tried. The colours appear to be true and crisp and it handles low-light situations well. Couple of slight niggles in that the movie record button is quite sensitive and positioned in such a place that it can be accidentally depressed to start recording and it takes slightly longer than the HX9V to write the images to the SD card (but to be expected for 20M pixels) but these niggles cannot overshadow the absolute awesomeness of this little compact.
51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
A quick summary first: I'm really impressed with this camera. It's compact, easy to use, and it has a lot of options that allow you much more control over your photography than lower-end digital cameras, but the auto mode is still excellent for those who don't want to do anything complicated. It produces clear, sharp images with good true-to-life colour, and the 30x optical zoom is seriously impressive.
Now for the details! At first glance the camera looks a little plasticky - you wouldn't necessarily think it had cost too much from its appearance - but it feels solid rather than flimsy. It's a good deal heavier and larger than my normal cheap point-and-click camera, but it's much lighter and more compact than most higher end cameras or SLRs so it makes a fantastic compromise if you're looking for something which has a high spec but which is also really portable.
As far as memory goes, you only get 48MB of internal memory (7 images at 20 megapixels) so you'll want to have external memory ready to use. You can use memory sticks (XC-HG Duo, PRO Duo mark 2, PROD-HG Duo or MicroM2) or cards (SD, SDHC, SDXC, or the micro versions of any of those). You need at least a class 4 memory card for this camera, and you may want to consider a class 10. With regards to memory size, if you're shooting at 20mp then 2GB will hold 295 images, or 8 minutes of film at the highest resolution. A 16GB card like this SanDisk Ultra 16GB SDHC UHS-I Class 10 Card - Frustration Free Packaging will hold 2360 images.
The battery life is decent (200 minutes of shooting still images, 90 minutes of continuous filming).
The automatic mode allows the most inexperienced photographer (also known as `me') to produce great shots with no effort; simply hold the shutter button halfway down to focus, and a beep and an indicator light tell you when the image is in focus so that you can then press the button fully down. Zooming in and out is done by a small lever on the front of the shutter button. Shots even on the automatic mode for this camera come out way better than anything I've achieved on previous cameras.
If you want to have more control then you can set the camera to different modes such as Aperture Priority Shooting or Manual Exposure Shooting. There are lots of options in the menu area that you can choose, which help you to emphasise certain areas of the photo, defocus the background, set a colour hue, etc. You can adjust image contrast, sharpness etc. There's also a Soft Skin setting and an Anti Blink setting which makes taking photos of friends a lot more flattering! The options are easy to select and there are some really nice effects.
I don't have any major complaints about this camera, and just a few minor issues. The movie record button is in a place that makes it a little too easy to press accidentally. The control wheel used for viewing, selecting and deleting images feels a little flimsy to me and I'd rather press it than have to scroll it around. The zoom lever also feels a bit delicate and I'd prefer something sturdier. And there's no GPS, which is not an issue for me at all but should be pointed out for those who find it more necessary.
In general, this is a great camera.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2013
We already own the excellent bridge camera, the Sony NEX3 with twin lenses and a couple of recent mobile phones(Galaxy note 2 and an Iphone 4s) so this cam is going to have a tough time considering it sits in the middle of convenience and picture quality, Especially since older NEX series cameras are roughly the same price as this.
Its quiet boxy(deck and a half of playing cards), and lightweight, it doesn't feel as heavy as its size. Its solid and doesn't creak but does feel like a slightly empty box. Compared to the NEX and the crammed Iphones it feels somehow cheap and throw away and that instant feel of quality just inst there mostly due to it being a plastic body, none of that really matters but at launch price it would disappoint me. Some of the click buttons don't feel premium either, but the chubby rotary knobs are nicely weighty in a retro way and very usable when wearing gloves etc.
no big deal but with the intermediate size comes a fairly stable platform to hold and take pictures with, far better than any phone/tablet/phablet.
usability: bootup speed, capture/focus/metering speeds, picture writing, reload, battery life and recharge time, are all great/good compared to others, no complaints here.
The 2year old NEX still takes far better pictures in most conditions(particular dark) but it is cumbersome in size and not as flexible as the the DSCHX50. The HX50 has clearly a much faster processor for quicker face-recognition/burst-shotting/video/panoramicshot/HDR duties than the NEX3. Video recording quality is very good and gives the note2 a run for its money where as the nex3 really shows its age with only 720p.
The ace up the cameras sleeve is the 30x zoom. With a well behaved stability system its possible to take handheld shots of things from very long range without losing too much quality in the process. This zoom is something very few cameras can do and really changes what and how you take pictures. Wildlife for example can go about their business unabated while your still able to get a full frame shot. With this level of zoom spectator sports, airshows or concerts are actually worthwhile shooting ,rather than the usual crowd of people and a couple of tiny figures onstage in the background showing merely proof 'you were there'.
There must be some drawbacks with this level of zoom and I believe some quality is lost in the process, in conjunction with the stability system I reckon the cam softens and knocks down a few settings and exposure times to grab a picture mid sway. i presume also there is some heavy software processing on the image to remove distortion from all the multiple lenses used to generate a 30x package( after all you cant beat physics) so the purists will likely tut at some results. Tripods or pictures taken while on something steady help massively but that's just basic photography and its still very usable handheld in auto mode given a decent amount of light.
Wifi and wifi control are handy and seemed to be easy enough to pair with various devices.
It loses a star as it doesn't have GPS geo-tagging and the build/feel quality just doesn't match the MRRP price tag, 30x zoom is however something really special and is genuinely more useful in creating a good medium/long range shot than more megapixel found on other products.
59 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2013
...in a little package.
My previous Sony camera was a HX9 (60hz import) which has a 16x zoom. At the time I bought it (two years ago) it was probably the best compact zoom you could buy, with amazing video quality. The HX50 is two generations on from this, and is superior in every way. The zoom is now 30x, with very little increase in body size. Image quality is clearly superior to the HX9 (the only real flaw with that camera was the noisy photos at high ISO). The video is slightly better due to improved stabilization, and more importantly there is now no delay between pressing the red button and the start of recording. All the other great features are still present, including panoramas, frame-stacking (automatic in certain scene modes), filters etc.
In terms of upgrading from the HX9 or a similar superzoom from 2010/2011, I would say this is a significant improvement in terms of zoom and stills quality, everything else is pretty much as it was before. However, seeing as photo quality, video quality, and zoom are the three most important things in this sort of camera, it's still the best of the current crop. All-round excellent.