Sony's DSC-HX1 boasts CMOS sensor, continuous pan panorama builder, and 1080p HD recording
Sony did a great job of stealing the limelight here at PMA in Las Vegas with their innovative new bridge camera, the Cyber Shot DSC-HX1. It's a first in that Sony has endowed the HX1 with a CMOS sensor from the Sony Exmor sensor technology family, which their high-end Alpha DSLR models use. Until now, most compact digital cameras using CMOS sensors were from the cheap and cheerful, low quality end of the range. Sony's Exmor CMOS technology is very different, and was developed not for low cost, but for high quality imaging.
The HX1 also has a novel panorama builder that operates by shooting a sequence of stills at high speed, almost like recording a movie, as you pan the camera. And the HX1 offers a selection of HD quality movie recording modes, including a 1080p mode, though this doesn't record in wide screen mode. 720p HD resolution is provided for wide screen recording.
A 3inch tilting LCD screen dominates the back of the HX1, although its 230K dot count is not as generous as its Alpha DSLR relatives that boast 900K dots.
Sony's new HX1 bridge camera is packed with cutting edge technology and is the star of Sony's PMA 09 booth.
The HX1 is an attractive looking and compact bridge camera. You get a 20x super zoom lens, equivalent to 28-560mm in focal length range. You can compose via the 3 inch tilting (but not swinging) screen at the back, or via an electronic eye-level viewfinder.
One of the HX1's remarkable new features is an 'active' panorama maker.
From reviewers attending PMA, their were two main points of particular interest concerning the HX1; its CMOS sensor, and the novel panorama builder. First, a few words on the sensor. At 'only' 9 megapixels, you get a hint at the current limitations of the CMOS sensor technology. With CMOS, it's inherently more difficult to pack as many photosites into the same space as a CCD sensor. The HX1 sensor is 1/2.4 inch, larger than average for a non-DSLR camera sensor, but the pixel count is lower than average today.
The HX1 is compact considering its specifications.
Of course, the best advice out there is not to worry about pixel counts and most other journalists I discussed the HX1 with were far from worried about the HX1 'only' boasting 9 megapixels. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to discover how well the Exmor CMOS sensor performs, especially in low light at high ISO settings. You can choose up to ISO 3200 on the HX1.
A large and clear Alpha A300/A350-style tilting screen is provided, though you can't swing the LCD laterally or make it face forward.
The other must-try feature at the launch demo was the HX1's panorama builder party trick. There is no more need to take a shot, swivel and overlap the view for the next one, and so on. With the HX1 you start the panorama function and pan around carefully, camcorder style, until you have covered the intended subject area. The camera is capable of sensing your motion, and will even abort a panorama recording if you don't move.
After the recording has stopped, the camera builds the panorama from the recorded frames automatically. With the limited time we had, and without the ability to examine the results critically, the HX1 certainly seemed to have a lot of potential with this new mode.
Sony has arguably stolen the show with the HX1, outside of the DSLR/system camera category, at least.
The Sony DSC-HX1 is certainly one PMA launch product that we're keen to have a longer play with in the future. If there is a concern, it has to be the price of the HX1. It's listed by Sony at just under £500. That's double the street price of a Sony Alpha A200 DSLR. Mind you, the Alpha doesn't nearly have as many gizmos as the HX1!
Amazon - pictures
| Check the latest price or purchase options for the Sony DSC-HX1 via
|Amazon Germany is currently the only European Amazon outlet that supplies electronic goods like cameras, printers and scanners priced in Euros. |
| Each Amazon outlet can ship to most countries in the world.|
Discuss this story:
PMA 09: Sony's DSC-HX1 packs novel features
DPNow PMA 09: Sony's DSC-HX1 packs novel features
Here is a summary or excerpt from an article that has just been published on DPNow:
Definitely one ... (more)