Sony DSC-HX300/B 20 MP Digital Camera with 50x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black)

Pinned on August 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm by Sasha Gould

Sony DSC-HX300/B 20 MP Digital Camera with 50x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black)

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Thomas N. Wheeler says:

Review of The Sony HX300 Over the years as a serious amateur photographer I have owned and used extensively Nikon and Hasselblad film cameras and lenses and when digital cameras arrived I began with the Nikon Coolpix 900 and 950, then DSLR’s including the Canon EOS 10D, and today I am using a Canon 5D Mark II equipped with L lenses (Canon’s premium glass). The Sony HX300 is my first super zoom camera, and as such I spent several hours after receiving the camera from Amazon on March 14 thoroughly reading and studying both the Sony pdf manual and the Sony User’s Guide in html format. This was time well spent as there are many useful features on the HX300 that are not found even on my much more expensive Canon 5D Mark II. During this study with both manuals, I tried each feature in the quiet of my living room making sure I understood exactly how the feature worked and what it did. Only then did I set out to explore the performance of the Sony HX300 under “real world” conditions and to compare it to the Canon 5D Mark II under controlled conditions.The two most import things about any camera are its image quality and its performance in actual shooting sessions. Image quality is, of course, a combination of many things including the camera’s ability to resolve detail, to properly expose scenes shot under a variety of lighting conditions, color quality, absence of both chroma and luminance noise, etc. Performance is how responsive the camera is and includes such items as how quickly the camera is ready to take a picture after being turned on, the time delay between shots in single shot mode, the ability of the camera’s autofocus to work quickly and accurately without “searching”, and certainly in the case of a super zoom camera its ability to smoothly and rapidly zoom through its entire set of focal lengths. For a camera of its price and likely use, the Sony HX300 does a remarkably good job of providing high quality images and a very responsive camera.My first test of image quality was to simply walk around my yard and the neighborhood taking images of a variety of flowers that were in early bloom as well as taking pictures of birds coming to the bird feeder in our backyard from about 75 feet away using the Sony HX300 at full zoom. In virtually every single situation the HX300’s autofocus was very quick and very accurate, and the powered zoom using the lever on the shutter release was highly responsive and quite fast. The images produced had exquisite detail with good highlight detail retention, perfect color rendition, very good exposures in auto modes, and under these cloudy but bright daylight circumstances with the camera working at low ISO’s very low noise. These images straight out of the camera with no post-processing looked very good to excellent. Using very small amounts of post processing mainly to slightly sharpen the images, I was able to obtain excellent large prints (13 X 19 in.) using my Epson 3800 Pro large format printer. The shots of birds on the feeder at the maximum optical zoom (1200 mm) of the HX300 were all hand held, in focus, and showed good detail, albeit not equal to the ISO 80 shots previously described. With one exception (vide infra), I had absolutely no problem hand-holding and autofocusing these 1200 mm maximum zoom shots. The one exception is when I happen to line up a tree in the shot that was about 50 feet behind the bird feeder. In that case, the HX300 always wanted to focus on the texture of the tree trunk behind the feeder. The feeder is plastic without high contrast. I was able to solve the problem completely by switching the focus mode from multi-autofocus to center auto-focus and placing the center focus frame in the EVF on the edge of the bird feeder where there was sufficient contrast for the focusing system to work properly. This initial collection of maximum zoom shots brought home an important lesson about super zoom lenses including the Carl Zeiss lens on the HX300. Remember that the HX300’s lens has a maximum aperture of 6.3 at 1200 mm and therefore the ISO will be set at higher values (400-800) to provide a sufficiently fast shutter speed to allow the camera to be hand-held at such a zoom setting. Of course, the higher the ISO, the higher the visible chroma and luma noise in the captured image. I found that these outdoor shots at 1200 mm zoom on a cloudy but not overcast day came in at ISO 800 and a shutter speed of 1/160 – 1/250 sec. The maximum zoom shots were reasonably sharp, but benefitted from noise removal in post-processing which, of course, is always a compromise between detail and noise reduction. Nonetheless, these images gave quite good prints and beautiful images up to 11 X 14 in. I believe with experience I can hand-hold maximum zoom shots at shutter speeds even below 1/160 second and manually set ISO to 200 and achieve even better maximum zoom shots. I think it will be difficult and perhaps impossible to get good maximum zoom…

Douglas W. McKeehen says:

A review for the less technologically inclined—Awesome Camera! A couple of things about me, and what I needed in a camera. First of all, while I have some basic understandings of how these kinds of cameras work, I am not a professional techie guy, and I usually have to look up every spec I read and usually end up not getting it entirely. I did do a lot of research, but the Camera Spec Snobs in some of the review sites just go to an extreme that will never, ever matter to me. Second, this camera was a replacement for my old bridge camera, a Sony DSC H-5 (12X optical, 7.2 megapixel). That camera served me well over the past 6 years, after thousands upon thousands of images. I bring this up because there have been a mountain of improvements on all technological fronts since then, which has resulted in an entirely and spectacularly different photographic experience I am having with this new camera after only a few days, and may explain my giddy five star love-fest I am having with this thing! I use my camera for everything from artistic photos to nature photography to family events, so I want a camera that shoots great, better than average pictures in a variety of circumstances over a specialized camera that takes outstanding pictures in limited circumstances.Unlike many other reviewers (but most probably like the majority of shoppers), I do not own several high end cameras and am therefore not going to be comparing this one to my other high end camera that I bought last year. So, in my comparison, all I can say is if you have an older bridge camera that seems to be losing a bit of steam and you are looking to replace it, look no further. You don’t have to spend hours fretting over this spec and that, when you get this camera and take a few pictures you will feel like you did as a kid when you replaced that brownie camera with your first 35mm! The improvements made over that past half decade make the experience like night and day!Every problem that I had with my old one is gone (or at least vastly improved) with this new one. That purply fringe line you sometimes got on the edges of your subject, or that white glare that seemed almost neon in brightness on a sunny day? Gone. That problem with focusing on a fast moving object? Gone. The blurry images from moving objects in anything but bright sunlight? Vastly improved. The issue of losing all definition of dark areas if anything was remotely back-lit? There is a setting called HDR on this camera that makes it possible to take those pictures you just didn’t even bother trying before. That problem with taking indoor shots without flash where the quality was so low you never shared the pictures with anyone? Oh my God, what a difference.Like my old camera, this one has a fully automatic setting, settings that allow you to over-ride some of the auto settings and others to completely over-ride the auto settings. It also has a large variety of other specialized settings, like “pet” or “portrait” that adjusts things for certain scenarios. In the cases of “landscape”, “hdr”, and “background de-focus”, the camera’s auto setting seems to do this for you. The macro setting is also automatic, coming on when your lens gets close enough. Over time, I will learn all these new settings, because I know that sometimes, the auto setting will misread the situation and I will want to be able to adjust. However, I am really impressed with this cameras ability to auto adjust well.The quality of my pictures are stunning. If I crop in to a ridiculous, unreal point and compare it to a picture taken by a $2000.00 DSLR, would I notice a difference in crispness? Probably, but I will leave that debate to the spec snobs. While they are busy fretting over such things, I will be in the mountains taking awesome pictures of my grandkids in the snow, and enjoying my camera. Color, composition, saturation, detail, contrast, etc. are all outstanding with this camera. Details that my older camera could not pick up just stand out like crazy with this one. The camera is not magic, my black lab running in the white snow on a back-lit landscape still comes out as just a pure black shadow, but in less extreme situations, this camera is doing an awesome job.And that crazy, insane 50X lens! First off, on the wide end, 24mm is much wider than my old 36mm and the difference is phenomenal. But when you go off the other end, I just cannot describe what happens. I have pictures of a building on a hill where you can see people on a deck, then you zoom out and that building is just the tiniest spec on your picture. I love birds, and am really looking forward to taking this out and getting details I never could before.Played a bit with the video, and frankly I have a lot of homework to do on it. One thing I did notice though, is that the anti-shake technology on this camera made some of my video shots look like a pro took them with a tripod.Bottom line, this…

PhotoGraphics says:

Comprehensive review of Sony DSC-HX300 Despite being a professional photographer I have a variety of point-and-shoot pocket cameras for family events, vacations and just having fun and I will let you know right now nothing included in my review will be techie, just real-life things that can help you decide if this is the camera for you.Recently, adding to my collection of little pocket cameras, I acquired an Olympus XZ-1 in an attempt to get better results than I’ve previously experienced with low-end pocket cameras and it does an admirable job while still remaining portable. The DSC-HX300 is not pocketable, it is what is known as a “bridge” camera. I’ve generally thought of bridge cameras (SLR-like with non-detachable zoom lenses) as a compromise … almost as large and heavy as a real DSLR, lacking the versatility of swappable lenses, tiny sensor, mediocre lens and much too automated. But I do realize that all consumer-grade cameras just keep getting better and better and if you read on you will hopefully get some insight about the capabilities of the Sony HX300 and how it compares to state-of-the-art.This is the first Sony-brand camera that I’ve owned, although I did early development work with them regarding the original Mavica digital cameras. I respect their ability to design and manufacturer most of their components in-house, especially after they acquired the photographic experience of Konica/Minolta. The DSC HX300 can safely be called a “premium” bridge camera as it reigns with only a couple of other similar cameras in worthwhile features.As I said, I’ll avoid getting techie in this review; there are well-established resources for that. Nor will I republish the specs which can be found at the Sony website or compare a consumer-grade camera with a $5000 professional DSLR. Just a real-life user report that I hope will help you decide if this model is what you’re looking for.WHO WOULD BUY THIS CAMERA?Likely the #1 reason someone might choose the DSC HX300 is the astonishing zoom range of 24mm – 1200mm (35mm equivalent). Even with a pro DSLR a zoom of that magnitude would not be something you would use handheld and you certainly wouldn’t want to take a DSLR fitted with a 1000mm lens on a family outing to Disneyland. For all of its extreme zoom power, the overall camera weighs lighter than an entry-level Canon or Nikon DSLR with a stock 18mm – 55mm lens attached. Because the camera is much larger and heavier than a compact pocket camera and less enabled than a DSLR this is probably not going to be your one and only camera, however the HX300 defines why bridge cameras exist and for most people would certainly be well suited as an all-in-one still/video camera for that Disneyland trip. At its price and relative sophistication of controls the average user will probably use it to take to sporting events and other such applications where an extreme zoom lens is important. That describes how I will use it, I doubt it will ever be a “take everywhere” camera to me.A very likely target audience for a camera with a zoom of such range would be those with a love of birding, and well they should, the zoom range is quite mindboggling. The best analogy would be to compare the results to using a fine pair of Monarch model binoculars for birding compared with a decent low price pair. With the lower-priced scope you will certainly see the bird and be able to recognize it but the image will lack crispness and richness of color. The HX300 isn’t a bad choice for birding, one should simply be aware that the image may fall short of the glory of detail a quality pair of binoculars can deliver.FEATURES AND CONSTRUCTION:The camera makes good use of the plastic construction, feeling solid in the hand but not fragile. The second best feature, in my opinion, is the large ring around the lens which is the perfect place to place your hand to steady shots being taken at long zoom ranges. That ring can be used to manually zoom the lens (much better than using a tiny rocker switch on the camera body, although the DSC HX300 has one of those too if you prefer). By flicking a large switch, which is placed in exactly the right location for your left thumb, the ring can be turned into a manual focus ring. That combo on a camera of this type is absolutely brilliant. Well done, Sony! But DON’T expect that ring to have the exact feel to it that any DSLR has … it is a “fly by wire” type, which means turning the ring simply activates a motor that controls the zoom or focus function. There is significant lag before the command is received and executed and not a lot of precision. Once you get used to it, the benefit of having the zoom/focus ring on the lens makes you promise you would never want to give it up.The camera has both a large 3″ high-resolution articulated (up/down)LCD on the back and a decent electronic viewfinder (EVF) that is bright and sharp. I suspect when…

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