on 4 April 2013
I was so excited about this latest addition to the Sony family. I purchased this direct from the Sony website on 26th March. I already own the Sony HX200 and was more than happy with that with it's 30x Optical zoom but when I heard about this HX300 I was excited as the zoom on this camera is incredible.- I am a season ticket holder at Old Trafford and always take my camera and with the HX200 I can zoom in and get a relatively clear photo of sir Alex Ferguson and the players on the bench from the North stand where I sit, although it's not as close up as I'd like so now I can't wait for the next Man United match to take my new camera which will be the Manchester Derby on Monday 8th April 2013 and I will try to upload the closest photo of Fergie on full 50 x zoom as well as a photo to compare using the HX200. There is some improvement in the shaky hand feature especially when in full zoom, it looks wobbly yet the photos turn out great, definitely a noticeable difference for me. I tend to mainly use the automatic settings for most things except portrait photography. One of the great features I like about this camera and the HX200 is that you can take photos while recording. The colours in pictures and HD movies are amazing but that is one reason why I always buy Sony. I record all kinds of things from football matches to parties, my pets and Grandchildren and with this camera I have absolutely everything I need for taking photos and making HD movies. So far I have tested it in my back garden and recording movies/photo diary of my Hamsters new babies. I will, after I finish this review, try to add a couple of photos. I have to mention the re-designed hand grip, it is much easier and more comfortable to hold and offers better control of the camera. I was a bit disappointed that the HX300 takes a different type of battery (NPBX1)as I'd already purchased 5 for the HX200, but I am happy that the HX300 batteries are much lighter in weight but I must point out that with these batteries/camera you don't get the "actual" time remaining indicator that you do with the HX200 and I do miss that feature but I still give the HX300 A FULL 5 STARS. It's worth mentioning that you would need a separate battery charger if you wanted to make sure that you always had a charged battery as you can only charge the batteries within the camera with the adapter cable that sony include in the box. I researched brands/models as I was not willing to pay the amount Sony charge for their charger and I bought this one from Amazon: LEMIX BX1 CHARGER and it charges well within approx 2.5 hours. As I use more features I will add to this review.
I have now uploaded some images of my hamster Lilly and her babies. I have used images of hamsters as they are a good subject to test the shutter speed due to them always moving about especially up and down tubes in their cage yet the images look like the hamsters are still and posing yet the clarity of the edges of their fur and their whiskers are captured perfectly. (anyone that owns hamsters will know that they are always moving about)
I've just checked the uploaded images and they only appear small on Amazon but I can assure you the fine detail of the whiskers etc is very clear when shown in normal size
Update: After several outings with this camera I would note that the lens is subject to flare and it is very difficult to focus on small subjects such as birds after transitioning from optical to clear zoom as the spot focus area quadruples in size. I am still pleased with this camera but if you are serious about telephoto work rather than general use you may want to consider a DSLR.
The short version: If you have a need for a 50x 24mm to 1200mm zoom then this is a good choice as there are (at the time of writing) only a couple of alternatives. The camera is well built and ergonomic, it fits easily into the hand and all the controls are easy to hand and where you would expect them. Anyone who has owned a digital camera previously should be able to use this out of the box and obtain good results without referring to the manual. Image quality is very good but not quite as good as my Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V Super-Advanced High Zoom Camera (18.2MP, 20x Optical Zoom) 3 inch LCD which although 18.2MP seems to give slightly better images, definitely noticeable on low light level shots.
The good: This is a well made camera for the money, thought has gone into the design and as a previous owner of Fuji bridge cameras, this Sony fits much better into the hand and feels much better to use. The option to use the small zoom lever or ring on the lens barrel makes zooming in and out much easier. The ring on the lens barrel can also be switched to manual focus. Zoom range, especially with 'clear zoom' is remarkable and you would be hard pushed to find a subject that it cannot cover. The various modes of operation are easily accessible through the top dial and various menu options. Manual options can be set and the jog dial used to set aperture and shutter speed. The LCD screen can be tilted up and down and switching to the electronic viewfinder is simply a matter of pressing one button, recessed to stop it being accidentally pressed. The flash seems OK for most snapshot type situations. The ? button works like magic to allow you to easily find and set features you forgot how to set.
The bad: There is nothing really bad but there are some things to be aware of. Even with the very good stabilization I found it nearly impossible to hand hold at maximum zoom without incurring image shake (OK I know I should expect it) Writing each image, even using a Class 10 card seems to take twice as long as my DSC-HX20V and battery life is comparatively short compared to other cameras I have owned making it nearly a necessity to own a spare battery. Image quality is not quite as good as the 18MP Sony and there can be a short lag in zooming in and out. The electronic viewfinder is OK but don't expect it to be up to the standards of an optical viewfinder. Also if you use the electronic viewfinder you will find your nose leaves (sweat/grease) marks on the LCD screen.
The missing: No RAW, No GPS.....where the heck has the GPS gone? No hot shoe.
In summary, this camera is very good indeed for the money and offers features that will fill the requirements of most amateur photographers. There are features missing that would make this more of a true bridge camera but I guess Sony had to cut somewhere to get it in on budget. I have lost count of the digital cameras I have owned but this is near the top of my favourites. However on a day to day basis I prefer the DSC-HX20V with its 20x zoom, slightly better image quality, better battery life and much smaller size.
The lens on this camera has a 55mm filter thread and I would suggest you may want to consider Zeikos ZE-FLK55 55mm Multi-Coated 3 Piece Filter Kit (UV-CPL-FLD) At £6.70 for 3 filters including a UV and Polarizer it is an absolute bargain. The Sony ones are more than £60 each. These filters are Japanese multi-coated glass. As long as you only use one at a time there is no vignetting at 24mm. I have uploaded some images on the product page of these filters to demonstrate.
on 5 May 2013
I love Sony products, I love music and I am gaining an avid interest in photography. I like to combine the two hobbies. I own two Sony dslr's and lots of their lenses. Sadly the jobs worths at live concerts, held in bigger venues, do not allow cameras in which have detachable lenses. Hence my purchase of this item, (not from Amazon). Sadly my review can't help me not compare it to my A77 or A700.
I did quite a bit of research before buying. I also made a point of laying hands on the competition in this segment of the market. I have large hands and this camera was about the best fit and felt comfortable. It feels very light but with that comes a feeling that it may break with the slightest knock. The position of some of the function buttons do not feel to be in a logical place. The screen angles up and down but does not rotate so it is open to damage all the time. A screen protector is a must have optional extra, (Sony charge a fortune for theirs.) The camera does not have a RAW facility, I have yet to master the menu which is quite mind boggling compared to my dslr's.
To charge the battery you have to connect the body to the adaptor lead, unless you buy an optional extra charger. You can't simply remove the battery and let it charge while you use a second battery. The genuine Sony batteries are a stupidly extortionate price. To connect the camera to the computer to download pictures you have to use the lead which is a part of the charging arrangement or take out the card and use a card reader, though linking the camera to a computer via the supplied short lead does put a bit of charge into the camera from the computer when it is attached.
Picture quality is excellent, the ability to shoot at 20mp gives room to crop and still get a decent quality shot, unlike others which record at a lower resolution. I think that the time for the auto focus to lock on is comparable to others in the market segment, but it is nothing like as quick as the dslr. Live view is fine, but there is no light meter indication, unless you can understand histograms. (I haven't got to that skill level yet.)
No facility to attach a separate flash unit by hot shoe, but at the ranges this item can reach, a flash unit is pointless and can't be used in live gigs.
I have not yet used it at a live show nor at range in low light. I will edit this once I have done that in early June. Sadly at the time of purchase there were no reviews available from `experts' in the various photo magazines, so I bought it without their input. (Not that they would have influenced me in the slightest.) In short, at this early stage it's good, but it could be better and I can't help but think Sony are getting greedy. I don't care if other manufacturers may do the same, Sony aren't like the other big players. The body could be slightly heavier by the use of better plastic or even an alloy and the charger supplied should allow a battery to be charged separately from the body without having to lay out more dosh. It should also have the facility to be able to record in RAW. This review may seem to be quite negative, but I went and bought the item because of it's physical size, zoom range and recording ability when compared to others.
on 22 April 2013
I bought this camera primarily for the zoom and am happy to say that it has delivered. It works well for ID quality shots of very distant birds and very well for any wildlife that is in reasonable range. I don't want to hike around carrying a DSLR and a variety of lenses, so I'm prepared to sacrifice some ultimate quality for the sake of convenience. The stabilisation is great, no more blurred pictures. The only downside is that like many other cameras, the autofocus sometimes simply won't focus on what you want - I need to play more with the manual focus... The electronic viewfinder is useful for capturing moving subjects and essential in really bright conditions. I can't comment on the video as I use a separate video camera normally. Colours are pretty good and fringing is noticeably absent.
I'd say this is a great camera if you're not a professional but want to carry a really powerful zoom lens without the hassle of changing lenses and having a half metre (or more) extension sticking out in front of you.
on 9 May 2014
I once heard a professional photographer say “It’s all about the lens. The bit behind it is just a box of electronics, if you don’t have a good lens you’ll never get good pictures”. Well the Sony passes that test with flying colours. And not only does it give good quality sharp images it does it throughout the range of a really long optical zoom, which wasn’t true of a couple of other bridge cameras I’ve had. That lens and its zoom range are major selling points for this camera, and the box has enough electronics and enough options (some of them quite nifty) to keep most users very happy.
And there are more plus factors. It has an eyepiece electronic viewfinder you can use as an alternative to the screen when taking your pictures: something fewer bridge cameras are offering these days but a major consideration if you’re taking pictures in bright sunlight. And – oh joy! – it has a filter ring in front of the lens, something not to be found on many brands of bridge digital cameras even quite pricey ones. Just as with real SLRs you can now screw on and leave a UV filter that’ll not only help your pictures but protect the front of the lens from scratches, and you can also fit other filters. Not just “effects” ones, many of which aren’t as useful on digital cameras as with film anyway, but useful ones like polarising for glare and FLD to warm up pictures taken under fluorescent lights. And a lens hood. That filter thread was a major selling point.
Of course there are niggles. It’s quite heavy (that lens) and the processor seems a bit slow at writing a lot of data (burst shots, videos) to memory. It uses a rechargeable battery not AAs so you’ll need to invest in a spare battery, a travel recharger etc. And the user manual (not provided in hard copy but stored in the camera’s memory and viewable on the screen, as well as on-line) isn’t always as helpful as it might be when you’re trying to check a specific point.
That said: no camera is perfect, the positive factors heavily outweigh the negatives, the price is very good for what you get and what you get is very good.
on 16 May 2014
I was very disappointed with this camera. But given that most users seem to be very happy with this camera I can only imagine that the one I had was faulty in some way.
On the camera I had it proved extremely difficult to get a clear, sharp photo, irrespective of whether the target was near or far, even when using the intelligent auto modes. Also I found that the auto focus while zooming was rather slow.
I have a Sony HX50 which is the compact version of the Sony HX200 (the model down from this one) and in comparisons with the HX300 I personally found the HX50 to be considerably better in every area.
The HX300 though is built very well and feels a quality made camera, but it just didn't produce acceptable results for me.
I've never actually owned what I'd call a 'good' digital camera and was actually looking for a good quality camcorder to begin with. My price point was between £200 to £300 and despite quite a lot of time spent researching, nothing was really jumping out at me in the camcorder choice. I then stumbled across bridge cameras and though that it might be worthwhile spending some time looking into them. My concern with a dedicated camcorder was whether I'd be sacrificing still image quality and vice versa if I considered a digital camera.
Having owned this for just over a week now, any concerns I had were soon gone when I transferred a video file to my computer. Even on my spare TV (which is 720), the video quality was superb. I'd even go so far as to say it was a sharper, more lifelike quality than any blu-ray I've seen. It really is that good. So, if you're concerned about the video quality on this little beauty, don't be. As for the still image quality, there's a lot to understand if like me, you're a complete novice at photography. I spent a good couple of hours looking at a really helpful series on YouTube called brainyfaceproject. This is a dedicated series to the HX300, running through the basics all the way through to the various settings available within the PASM modes.
I'm still learning what are probably considered by some as fairly basic things, but having a great time figuring out what makes a good shot. The video quality was really what swayed me to the HX300, but I'm so impressed with the still image quality IF you spend the time understanding the various features. If you're after a point and shoot camera, I'm sure you probably wouldn't consider a £270 camera, but as an introduction to more advanced photography the HX300 is fantastic. The in-camera user guide is helpful, easy to navigate around and in inteliigent auto and intelligent auto+ mode (camera finds the best settings for you), it's a great picture.
But, as I say, the real fun is in experimenting with the settings yourself and if you're a bit geeky like me, building your knowledge up of things like aperture settings, shutter speed and ISO ranges (a week ago I had no idea what these were). The battery life seems impressive, but I've not really put the camera through its' paces fully yet. Other reviewers look like they've invested in a second battery, although the genuine Sony ones are quite expensive so a cheaper non-branded item looks the best option. I also bought a micro SDHC 32gb memory card, which with the adaptor works completely fine. I didn't have to format the card, just stuck it in was up and running. I'm by no means an expert on cameras, but for the price point of the HX300, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better camera. I'd be amazed if you could find a better quality video recorder for less than £500.
on 24 April 2014
I am a total amateur when it comes to photography and since becoming terminally ill and restricted to a wheelchair I thought I would never be able to access nature on my terms again. This Camera brings nature too me and allows me to enjoy the clarity and wonder of nature, it is simply WOW! There aren't many things that add pleasure to my day now, but using this camera, the results it delivers, the wonderful zoom and focus, well it simply makes me smile. It is far more to me than just a camera, and I just want to say thank you! If you want to see some of the pictures of woodpeckers and various other birds I have taken with it, just let me know! It brings pleasure into the darkness of some of my days.
on 11 January 2014
I spent ages deciding whether to by this camera or buy a basic SLR with a good review. Cost wise, the camera represents excellent value. I have not got to grips with all the settings and controls, but the auto settings do an excellent job in my opinion.
A big selling point was the 50x Optical Zoom 3 inch Tiltable LCD Screen. I do a lot of nature photography and the zoom is incredible. I also get into awkward places where I cannot see the eye viewer or screen, so the tilting the screen upwards is wonderful!
I liked my old SLR but I had to carry a large bag of lenses and accessories and the Sony negates all that hassle.
Sony also give you virtually limitless space in their Online / Cloud "PlayMemories Home" for photos and movies.
Note: Some of these cameras don't have a Sony warranty - mine has, and I always go for manufacturers warranty and support included!
on 14 July 2013
I enjoyed my Fujifilm S8200 Finepix camera but wanted something a little more. After deciding between a DSLR and another bridge camera, I went for the Sony. Macro shots were better with Fujifilm but as I have only had this camera two days, still learning the Sony layout of configuration. But it's all easy to learn thus far. The battery for me lasts roughly 300 shots but continuously using manual focusing to get the right shot. Another battery is definitely advised but as most camera owners should know, that goes without saying. Beautiful pictures, movies and effects to have fun with (although some not entirely accurate without configuration e.g. Part red showed up for me on people's faces even though they should have been black and white). Extremely fast shutter meant i was able to capture beautiful pics of birds in flight and at 65x zoom without a tripod i got crystal clear images of the moon, using the clear zoom function Sony has to offer. With digital zoom as well you get up to (what it says) is 200x zoom but as always to go to digital zoom, you lose quality and detail with every shot. Also compared to the Fujifilm i was able to take pictures of the stars, which for me was a bonus and that was without a telescope. The fact you can add filters was also a bonus.
Definitely recommend this camera to anyone that enjoys the feel of a DSLR, the (near enough) full control over each shot and the excellent movie sound and picture quality. It's a lot of fun learning and playing around with the cameras settings and features and near enough a perfect shot each time (for me anyway).
Edit: Having now owned this camera for 5 months I must say there isn't a single thing I can truly fault. It is a fantastic camera, capturing wild life at a distance, close up shots of spiders and people. Really enjoy this camera because it saves having to carry multiple lenses around whilst still getting excellent quality images (of course not as good as a DSLR).