This week Sony invited us out to Sedona, Arizona for the opportunity to check out their latest additions to their Cybershot and NEX series of cameras. With its breathtaking vistas and hiking trails, there could be no better place to put these cameras to the test.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V – The DSLR’s User’s Point and Shoot
My primary camera is the Sony NEX-5N, but during my visit to Sedona I really took to the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V. I would best describe this camera as the DSLR user’s night-out-on-the-town camera. If you’re a DSLR user, than a simple point and shoot won’t probably ever be enough for you. Fortunately, the DSC-HX30V offers many of the manual controls that DSLR users crave, just in a much smaller body. Speaking of the body, it also sports a very solid DSLR-like build-quality, along with matching black DSLR-like aesthetics and a great grip. The camera is actually made from 99% recycled materials, which makes it that much more guilt-free to use while trolloping around Sedona.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V packs in Optical Steadyshot image stabilization along with a focus time of just 0.13 seconds in daylight. As a matter of fact, the camera felt so fast in use that it feels DSLR-like. I was also very impressed with the excellent 20x optical zoom / 40x digital zoom that this camera manages to pack in, despite being so compact. With the optical zoom, I was able to zoom in on mountain tops that were very far away from me, and the camera still managed to capture steady photos with plenty of detail.
Under the hood, the DSC-HX30V is also packing in an 18.2 megapixel CMOS image sensor, a 2.0″ LCD, and built-in GPS to capture the locations of where you shot photos. The DSC-HX30V will be available soon for $419.
Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 – Best for the Clumsy Fashionistas
With its super sleek and very attractive design, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 really hits the sweet-spot for all sorts of consumers. But besides for being very thin, it’s available in a large selection of fun colors in a dual-color design, so that there is a DSC-TX20 to fit every type of personality. To that effect, we observed both guys and girls very attracted to this camera because of its neat and colorful design.
The DSC-TX20’s large 3″ touchscreen display makes the DSC-TX20 very easy to operate. The camera also measures just 96 x 56 x 18mm and weighs just 133grams. Yet, despite its ultra slim size, the DSC-TX20 packs in a 16-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor along with a wide-angle zoom. Having a wide-angle zoom is essential when you’re visiting a place like Sedona with its sprawling vistas, because you really want to be able to get in as much into the shot as possible.
But perhaps what shocked us most about the DSC-TX20 is that it’s also very rugged. In particular the TX20 is waterproof up-to 5 meters, it’s dust-proof, and it’s able to withstand temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius. Granted, there are many waterproof and shockproof cameras out there, but they all look very sporty. On the other hand, the Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 hardly looks like it is rugged at all. Sony really made an effort to make sure that this wasn’t just a camera that could take some roughing up, but that it could look good while taking a tumble too.
Check out this video we took of the Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 being dipped in a river at the base of the Cathedral Rock in Arizona. Not only was the Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 dipped inside the river, but it was submerged while recording video – and it kept recording all the while! The DSC-TX20 is available for pre-order for $329.
A common feature-set between the Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 and the DSC-TX20 is that both cameras come with a selection of neat built-in instant special effects. These effects include everything from black and white, to a water color effect. Check out the gallery below for some samples of photos we took with special effects turned on. It’s also worth noting that both cameras can record video in 1080p and do a very good job of it.
Sony NEX-7 and NEX-5N – Best for Prosumers
There is no secret that I am crazy about the NEX-5N. I have been gushing about this camera since its predecessor, the NEX-5 came out. This interchangeable lens camera takes amazing photos that are comparable to DSLRs that cost twice as much, yet it’s so much lighter and easier to use with its touchscreen and easy to navigate U.I.
The NEX-7 is certainly the next level up from the NEX-5N, as it offers more advanced features. For starters it packs in 24MP, a dedicated mic out port, as well as a dedicated viewfinder. We are especially smitten by it’s solid build quality and DSLR-like good looks. We have to say that the NEX-7 looks like a cross between the NEX-5N and a larger DSLR, making it the best of both worlds for many.
Could the NEX-7 actually replace larger DSLRs for some DSLR users? Absolutely. We spent some hands-on time with the camera and were impressed with its amazing build quality, its great low-light performance and quick shutter speeds.
The NEX-7 is finally available for pre-order and has begun to ship to some customers. Pricing begins at $1349 with the kit lens.
Sony HDR-PJ710V/B Camcorder with Projector
The HDR-PJ710V/B Full HD Camcorder isn’t just a camcorder, but it also has a built-in high contrast projector. Why would you need a camcorder in a projector? For instance, when you’re on a trip, the projector function lets you quickly showcase all the cool stuff you just filmed, without having to ever offload the media files first.
But aside from its projector function, the HDR-PJ710V/B isn’t just another HD camcorder, but it’s also perfect for filming adventures – like helicopter rides. That is because the camera comes with Balanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, along with a 10X Optical/17X extended digital zoom. I was very impressed with how stable the video footage came out, especially considering I was flying over Sedona, Arizona, in a shaky helicopter. The zoom impressed me as well, as I was able to get really close-up shots on far away rocks that the helicopter wouldn’t dare let me get close too.
The HDR-PJ710V/B Handycam camcorder also packs in a 26mm Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens, Face detection with voice enhancement and noise reduction, 5.1ch Surround sound, it’s capable of taking 24.1MP stills, it packs in CinemaTone presets and 24p recording for cinematic quality, a tracking focus system, and Geotagging capabilities via built-in GPS. The Sony HDR-PJ710V/B Handycam will retail for $1299.