Sony DSC-HX300 ultrazoom review

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DSC-HX300 is a 2013 ultra zoom camera from Sony. Ultra zoom cameras have gained massive optical zooms during past few years and this Sony has a lens which covers what is an equivalent of 24-1200mm; 50x optical zoom to be precise. It also has image stabilization, 20 megapixel sensor and Full HD video recording.

SONY DSC-HX300 GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Announced: 2013.
  • Type: Ultra zoom
  • Dimensions: 130 x 93 x 103 mm
  • Weight: 650 g
  • Sensor: CMOS 20MP (5184 x 3888 pixels)
  • Lens: 4.3 – 215mm (24-1200 in 35mm), F/2.8 – 6.3, optical image stabilization
  • ISO range: 80 – 12,800
  • Dust and moisture protection: No
  • Flash: Built in flash
  • Continuous shooting: 10 fps
  • LCD screen: 3″, 921,600 dots, tilt able
  • Memory card: SDHC, MemoryStick
  • Battery: Li-Ion
  • Video: 1920×1080 (60p,50p)
  • Connectors: USB 2.0, mini HDMI

SONY DSC-HX300 CONSTRUCTION AND HANDLING

Handling is almost superb. The grip is largest in ultra zoom class and covered with rubber so it fits just perfect even in big palms. It is significantly bigger from some DSLR cameras out there like Canon 100D, 700D or Nikon D3200. To tell you the truth, it is more comfortable even than that of Nikon D600 which I found to be way to slim.

Button and controls are generally well placed, but it is obvious this camera is aimed at amateurs who are mostly confused with too much controls and buttons. In that regard, Nikon P520 has better ergonomics and more button customization options.

Zoom control is possible with either rocker dial around the shutter button or big ring around the lens. Shooting photographs, I preferred to use the lens ring since it feels more natural, but for video rocker lever is far more appropriate.

LCD AND VIEWFINDER

LCD sports a usual 3 inch diagonal and tilt-option; excellent stuff for unique low or high angle shots.

Electronic viewfinder is far from what I would call good. Size, resolution and image quality are not up to today’s standards. Sony NEX and SLT models have much better viewfinders, but the thing is that none of the direct HX300 competitors has better viewfinders. The one at Canon SX50 is a disaster, and Nikon L820 has similar image quality to HX300.

MENU AND DISPLAYS

Main menu system has similar layout to other Sony compact cameras. It is easy to use but lacks of some options that should be there like the option to turn image review off. This is a constant and utterly irritating detail on all Sony compact and ultra zoom cameras I had in my hands for a past year or two and I can’t understand what’s so hard about implementation of a single menu option called “Image review -ON/OFF”.

HX300 has a quick menu, but it grew with time on every new camera model so now it has so many options it can’t be called quick menu. I counted almost 20 items and finding the right one in the field is no easy task. Options like saturation, sharpness or smile shutter do not belong in quick menu since they are not something you change from shot to shot, but Sony thinks otherwise.

SENSOR

Who says megapixel war is over? HX300 sports 20 million of them what sounds great in theory but it is really doubtful how many users will be able to utilize such resolution. Predecessor – the Sony HX200 had similar senor what resulted in excess noise reduction artifact and significantly reduced image quality. I’m happy to report that Sony HX300 has lessened this effect by a large degree. Smaller details can be seen now when viewing images at 100%, but the camera still struggles with really fine details like grass. Higher ISO values show further decrease in image quality, but that’s the way it is with small sensors. If you are after image quality, there are vastly better options at this price point (many mirrorless and basic DSLR models) but none of them will give you 50x optical zoom.

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One thought on “Sony DSC-HX300 ultrazoom review

  1. Pingback: Nikon Coolpix P520 ultra zoom review | Camerahoarders.com

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