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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V

We haven't had a chance to fully test this product yet, but we've assembled this helpful overview of relevant information on it.

Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V is a point-n-shoot camera with a surprising range of features. A three inch LCD monitor with an anti-glare coating for visibility in bright sunlight is available. It has a G-Lens with 25mm wide-angle and 10x optical zoom. The camera itself features 10.2 megapixels on an “Exmor R” CMOS sensor which offers 10 fps live action shooting. Film movies in 1080p or 720p and then transfer it using the mini-HDMI port on the camera. For some reason, it comes with a GPS and Compass that records where and what direction you took a photo so that you can view it on a map later. The HX5V has a high sensitivity ISO range for a point-n-shoot of 125 to 3200. It’s compatible with SD cards and Memory Sticks.

Features List:

– Point-n-shoot camera

– 3 inch LCD monitor

– G-Lens 25mm w/ 10x optical zoom

– 10.2 megapixels

– “Exmor R” CMOS sensor

– 10 FPS High speed shooting

– HD movies 1080p or 720p recording

– Mini-HDMI port

– GPS and Compass

– ISO range 125 – 3200

– SD and Memory Stick compatible

Digital Trends’ digital camera buying tips:

Flexibility and Options: SLR or Point-n-Shoot?

Lens Flexibility: Point-and-shoot cameras offer a wide variety of zoom lenses from the basic 3x up to 26x. If you’re thinking compact, you have many options, but we recommend starting out with a basic wide-angle view (28mm or so) then multiplying that to your heart’s content. A 24x model like the Nikon Coolpix P90 even offers 28-624mm options so you can take nice group shots and zoom into subjects you can barely recognize. There are many small cameras with wide focal ranges that are easily toted around-a huge plus for point-and-shoots.

Contrastingly, DSLRs are far from compact and typically are supplied with a 3x kit lens. From there you can go crazy, spending a small fortune on interchangeable lenses. Canon and Nikon, the two biggest DSLR sellers by far, each have over 65 to choose from. And these lenses use finer glass than point-and-shoots, adding to overall quality advantage of DSLRs. The downside is that they are much heavier, bulkier and require at least a backpack to lug everything around. Still, for the professional or prosumer, DSLR is the natural fit.

Options: Most point-and-shoot digital cameras offer limited manual options for adjusting aperture (f/stops) and shutter speeds. Granted, the vast majority of amateur paparazzi out there couldn’t care less about this small range of potential adjustments, and will be perfectly happy firing away in Auto mode. But while DSLRs have Auto settings too, they also let you unleash your inner Annie Leibovitz by adjusting depth of field, blurring subjects and going wherever the creative muse takes you. If you’re looking to get more creative with photos, a DSLR is the right choice.

Don’t Buy Til You Try

One final bit of advice. Never, ever buy a camera purely on its specs or a few positive reviews. What looks good on paper, and what feels good to one person, isn’t necessarily going to be the perfect camera for you. Patronize shops that allow you to spend a lot of hands-on time with your prospective models. Cameras are extremely touchy-feely products, and the truth is that most of them include similar feature sets and take decent pictures. But they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and you’ll be spending many hours with one of them in your hands. Long-term comfort is perhaps the most important factor of all.

What about shooting video?

Within the past few years, video has gone from a novel sideshow that yielded almost unusably bad results, to a legitimate secondary purpose for many point-and-shoot cameras. Although you probablt won’t want to replace your dedicated camcorder with a camera that also shoots video, many will do the job just fine for short, impromptu clips.

First off, pay attention to the resolution a camera can capture – VGA (640 x 480) is now common on point-and-shoot cams, while 720p is getting more frequent and 1080p sometimes crops up on DSLRs. Video in the AVCHD format – the same type real digital camcorders shoot – is preferable to other formats. Pay attention to the encoding bitrate, measured in megabits per second (mbps). The higher the rate, the more detailed the videos will look, although they will take up more space on your storage card as well.

What’s the difference between optical and digital zoom?

Like megapixels, manufacturers frequently throw around big numbers relating to digital zoom. Like megapixels, you should ignore them. Optical zoom uses real optics to get you closer to your subject, while digital zoom merely takes the same amount of pixels you would have in a standard shot and blows them up to fill the frame. The camera captures no more detail. It’s the same zooming or cropping trick you could pull in Photoshop, done in the camera on the fly. While that can sometimes be handy, image quality suffers severely as a result, and most photographers would never use digital zoom.

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