Sony HX5v User Impressions

10-04-29 14:12

Over the past year, I have traded away a ZS3, sold an SX200, returned an SX210 (yes, the big news for today), and also returned a Samsung HZ30W. And the camera I'm actually keeping in this segment is the Sony HX5. Let me give you some thoughts about each of these cameras:

Samsung HZ30W: Might as well start here. Even though I had the HX5, I thought I'd give the non-GPS HZ30W a shot. In a word, "Bleah." What an unsatisfying, unsatisfying, unsatisfying camera. Too big, too heavy, really mediocre image quality, and full of half-baked features that made it look good on paper, but pretty darn useless in reality.

For instance, it has "bracketing," but unlike every other camera on the planet with bracketing, the camera doesn't give you any means to adjust the steps. If plus-minus 0.5EV floats your boat, you're fine. If not, you're screwed. Also, one thing you do with a long-zoom camera is zip it all the way to full zoom, to see what you can capture. Of course, the first thing you do when you take the camera out of the box is to turn the "digital zoom" off, but guess what? You can't. So, every time you try to use that big zoom, you're fighting against the line between longest zoom and reduced image quality on the digital zoom side of the line.

I shot with that thing for one day, and packed it up. Very unsatisfying.

Canon SX210: I exchanged the Samsung for one of these. Again, the SX210 was pretty unsatisfying. I actually liked it as a piece of equipment, but that long zoom was just plain lousy. Conjure up an image of "tack sharp," and then think of the exact polar opposite of that. And that would describe the SX210. Anything from about halfway-zoomed was usually hard to even capture successfully at all -- well more than half of my attempts were blurred. When I did actually get a decent focus, it was just, well, "mush." All I wanted was that super-long zoom, but it was just rubbish. I returned that tonight.

Canon SX200: I thought it was big, heavy, and "clunky" to handle. But I don't recall having any dissatisfaction with its long zoom.

Panasonic ZS3: Truly excellent in many ways, but it definitely has the proverbial "color cast problem." If you want to see some ultra-clear examples, check out my post in this thread:


Its zoom was absolutely "tack sharp." Just a thing of beauty. And its overall image quality wasn't bad, at all. But you will deal with that color cast issue.

Panasonic ZS7: I think the change between the SX200 and the SX210 clearly shows the ruinous nature of more megapixels on these teensy sensors -- and I expect the same for the ZS7 as compared to the lower-megapixel ZS3. And from what I can tell so far, it appears to be just as prone as the ZS3 to the same-old color cast issue. If you can put up with the color cast, get a ZS3.

Sony HX5: Gosh, I've dumped everything else. I prefer the color and the image quality from the HX5 over all of them. At 25mm to 10x, it's not the longest zoom, but it's wide enough and long enough to be a good "travel camera." The 10 shots per second shooting is just incredibly great fun, and the special modes such as Hand-held Twilight and HDR mode are genuinely useful, allowing you to get decent shots that none of the competitors could possibly get. It's the right size and shape -- generally smaller and lighter than the competitors -- and it's just plain fun to use.

So, the HX5 absolutely earned its place in my pocket -- I threw most of the competition at it, and it easily came out on top, in my experience. It's definitely the camera I would recommend in this segment.

Tom Hoots


Normally, I won't post a post like this since the HX5V has been out for a while and there has been countless reviews. However, I am so impressed by the HX5V as a tool that I thought I'd post something here.

Since my regular travels to Asia dictates that I have to travel as light as possible given the laptops (two currently), printer, cameras, video cameras, video fluid-head tripod, and chargers all take too much space and weight when I travel. So I replaced my Canon DSLR with a Panasonic LX3 with wide angle adapter (equal to 16mm wide) along with a Panasonic TZ5. Works fine for 'serious' work in that we publish the photos in newsletters that is almost like a mini-magazine and picture quality is important, and also for powerpoint presentations for large audiences. However, the prints aren't very large so resolution is not a key criteria. Photoshop is very helpful in the final look of the shots so that is an essential part of the work flow.

I swapped the TZ5 for the ZS3 which I then swapped for the HX5V, ordered the first week it was announced.

I do a lot of indoor church and low light work, and seldom use the flash. The LX3 is my main stay for its wide angle, resolution, and f2.0 lens that works well wide open. i find that with the wide angle adapter, I don't need to stop down at all for max sharpness. (I did go through two LX3 to find the one I kept - a lot sharper than the other one so matching the camera to the lens matters.)

Now that I've been on the road in Asia for a couple of weeks, I was surprised by the HX5V's capability. Absolutely thrilled.

In spite of it not having very granular control over factors that I'm used to in the Panasonic such as color selection etc, the HX5V's larger options are incredibly useful. It has CHANGED the way I use a digicam. In the past, if I had to take only one camera on a day excursion, I'll take the LX3 no question given its wide angle, manual capabilities and most importantly, low light capability. However, the HX5V changed that to my surprise. If I had to take ONLY one camera, I take this over the LX3 although both still serve their individual niche.

Here are some reasons why I find the HX5V to be a tremendous little tool:

1. Panoramic function. Used properly, it is absolutely incredible in recording a sense of the environment whether in cities or nature. Outdoors, one has to learn how to move 10 yards here or there to get a proper perspective. A little movement with the feet can make a world of difference as is subject selection so that there is always something large in one edge of the photo to give a sense of perspective. Proper technique REALLY matters for a more natural presentation.

One thing I am surprised by is how well it handles people WALKING within the frame. It's not always perfect but most of the time, it does very well.

Indoors with large crowds, it did not seem as useful due to distortion. However, today I realized that if I crop 1/3 of the bottom, it renders a tremendous wide angle of crowds that looks rather natural. Immensely useful. Can't overstate this for our work. Resolution indoor does take a hit due to higher ISO.

With proper technique, I don't know of any other camera that can reproduce what the Sony Panorama function does.

2. Twilight. What can I say?? I've never had a small super zoom digicam that can take such low noise shots indoor. Changes everything for me. Sure, the shots are not super high resolution or detailed but for our needs, it is adequate and a whole lot better than the Panasonic superzooms.

3. HDR/Backlight. Here is another tool that is just superb in difficult high contrast situations. Often, I'll do a Twilight and HDR shot for comparison. There are times when a traditional exposure just won't provide what I see with my eyes. At times the HDR does make a shot look flat or lifeless. In those times, I use other modes. The point is that HDR does work very well under certain situations that the other cameras just can't, even with post processing. I never shoot with a tripod as I am very mobile when I shoot so a traditional computer processed HDR shot is more difficult.

4. 1080i video. When doing casual city walking, I no longer take my Sony HDV camcorder which is a superb camcorder. I find the HX5V to be good enough and the 25mm wide angle is a boon to get up close to a subject while showing a lot of its background/context. The angle of view is better than a traditional camcorder without a wide angle adapter. Audio is not great so this won't replace a dedicated camcorder with wireless microphone. However, it is good enough to take travel videos.

5. Manual. Manual exposure is limited in aperture, but there is ENOUGH control make very difficult shots possible. Pansonic TZ5 can't do this. Yesterday, we had a very exotic meal in a beautiful countryside. (We're talking scorpions, honey bee larva, 3 inch long worms - oh my!!) We were in a dim indoor room but the countryside was very bright outside. I wanted to capture both the meal and the view through the window. The difference in exposure was more than the two stops that normal camera exposure compensation allows. So I switched to manual with something like a 3-4 stop under exposure, and then turned the flash on. The exposure came out very nicely with indoor and outdoor exposure almost right on target. This is the beauty of even limited manual exposure range. This shot could not have been done by the traditional Panasonic superzooms.

5. Antishake. Not my preferred mode due to high iso. HOWEVER, I will say that it still give me a shot when I need to freeze speaker action when zooming - albeit with noise. But it can at least capture a shot that is better than other small superzoom digicams so it does have some use.

6. Better than normal anti-shake electronics. At last it seems to be better than the Panasonics. Not sure about this but with proper technique, I've not found it wanting at all.

I have not used the 10fps as I've not done my kids sports yet but I am sure it will be great come soccer season.

In short:

1. If one understands the camera and can apply proper technique, this is an INCREDIBLY capable digicam for a very DIVERSE range of shooting conditions. I have not encountered any other camera so capable. In a sense, it can do things that even a DSLR can't such as the Panorama function, or the HDR - and in a package that can be stuffed in my jacket's pocket all day.

2. The primary drawback is that the resolution is not the greatest but I am happy with its' equivalent 5-8 megapixel resolution as it can capture the EMOTIONAL impact that I want in a way that no other small digicam can. I used to be really concerned about resolution but realized through the years that unless I am planning to print significantly beyond 8X11 for close viewing distances, the capability to capture how a scene feels is much more important. Even in lower resolution shots that I had captured with the 2.1 mp Nikon 950, I've blown up to 11 x 17 to sufficiently get positive reaction from viewers.

3. Though this is designed as a point and shoot camera, I do not use it as such. For me, this is a slowish and METHODICAL camera. Many of the modes requires a few seconds of processing between shots so I have to pause and process my next shot mentally. It is also not very quick as I find the menu mode cumbersome. Think through the modes, use them properly, and the results exceeded my expectations.

Can't wait to see what Sony does with this line of camera in two or three years! If they could do a f2.0 version AND improve the sensor sensitivity, it would be absolutely AMAZING!!

Hope this helps somebody. I've gained so much from this forum so this is a small return of favor.



The HV5v is a great tool for taking photos, what convinced me to buy it was the 1920x1080 video which turned out to be superb .. better than any other P&S camera footage I've seen, and no matter how good other camera footage in 720p appears it is simply not as detailed as the HX5v, also the optical antishake is superbly effective and the video in lowlight is not as bad as some of the detractors may have you believe, infact in my tests it is pretty good compared to other cameras. Other excellent features are the easy to use Panoramo feature, yes the pixel count is not the highest (when compared to 'stitching' stills) but is still great as an additional feature few other cameras have and is very quick and easy to use. The Hand Held Twilight is awesome as well - you can be in a virtually dark room and have bright pictures, when you first use it its hard to believe!

Face detection & smile detection are other little treats that the camera throws our way .. maybe they won't take better pictures for us but they're handy 'extras' to have. Another great feature is the 10x 'optical' zoom and the wideangle 25mm lens .. it is great to be able to get those wideangled shots that have previously eluded me with other P&S cameras .. and I can still get up close with the 10x zoom.

For me slight disappointments are the windnoise from the mic's, obviously its an outdoor thing but can be mostly cured with a homemade windsock - a small stickon piece of fur, and the photo quality is not quite as good as other top of the range point and shoots but still pretty good.

The camera does have one or two failings but overall has many more good features that many other cameras don't have, and despite the what one or two others have said I've found the gps to be very sensitive and accurate, it very rarely loses its fix for me, and quickly gets a fix from cold.


I met some challenges at first...
But I have overcome a lot of them, especially the ones everyone here mentions. Once you are comfortable with knowing what setting works best for you, the camera begins to produce the type of pictures you want up to a point, then you may have to do some minor (yes, minor) tweaks in a simple program such as Picasa or whatever program you like.
For example, instead of auto for indoor shots I use manual where the camera gives me better results.
When taking pictures with people in them, I switch to the scene mode and use portrait. This also works really well with flowers. In the old days, I would stay away from this setting but read the manual, when it encourages you to do something, it's for a reason!
You will be surprised at what HDR does when shooting people. Quality seems to go up in most circumstances.

For video, I increase lighting in the room. It's that simple. Why would you be shooting in near darkness?
For WB Issues, well, manual with flash - change the settings and wow!
For food, use cuisine under scene and you can use this mode to shoot with more saturation (Flash).
What I talked about I refused to do initially until four days ago. Huge difference.


Hi all,

I've been into Panasonic p&s compacts for long. They used to, and still provide good lens brightness, quality and stabilization, and intuitive manual control.

When I heard about the Casio EX-F1, I couldn't wait to get one, for it's hybrid gizmo features. From this buy, I learned that recording (and editing) video meant a lot to me, and the important role of a CMOS sensor for that.

GRadually, my interest has shifted from telezoom to wideangle, with ofcourse a liking for versatility, and portability.

So here I am, with a brand new Sony HX5v, providing a versatile zoomrange, a cmos sensor, portability, , and some neat travel features like gps and a compass.

I never liked sony because of their memory stick system, but now they accept normal SD cards too, making them more interesting for non sony users too; smart choice.

So, the Sony DSC-HX5v.

Like I expected before the buy, it's meant to run on autopilot; It's meant for you not to worry about things. The pictures are exposed well, the WB does a good job, and the focus is, -apart from a rare miss- spot on.

I'm very impressed with the video quality. The highest quality setting nearly compares to that of the panasonic tm300 hd camcorder (a, if not the big one from previous year). Some definition is lost when things go twillight though. Probably because of some pretty rough noise reduction.

Noise reduction seems to play a pretty big role on this cam, and is quite noticeable throughout the ISO range. In fact, it might become the achilles heel, because it can't be shut off, or controlled at all. Perhaps a downside to the 'no worry concept'.

Overall, the controllability is good. All the import settings can be accessed fast, because the menu button doubles as a quick menu first, which provides access to basic settings like WB, ISO, metering mode, focus mode, burst speed etc.
Sony could have done a bit better on sticking to photographic essence though; It would have been really great if they had provided an af/ae lock button instead of a smile detect button.

Honestly, If you don't attach much value to a decent video function on your cam, you might want to consider a panasonic TZ series cam, but if you do like a brilliant video function, this is a whole lot of camera for it's size and price!


I bought the HX5 especially for a trip to Istanbul and just got back. Glad I opted not to take my DSLR and a companion video cam. Anyway, I shot lots of HX5 HD video and stills in all of the modes. I just finished editing my usual trip video and stills DVD.

The results viewed on a 50 inch plasma are comparable to what I used to get with the DSLR and Pana TM300, except that I would have missed a lot of shots using those two. I particularly appreciate the HX5 vibration reduction mode that got me the kind of shots I always used to miss. I never used flash in museums, the Bazaar or in restaurants. I love natual lighting.



I bought this camera and have tested it thoroughly today. I am very happy as it is pretty much idiot proof and the intelligent mode that kicks in while in auto is just awesome.

I just returned from the beach and was totally impressed the way it changed modes according to which way you are facing to the light. There has been a bit of talk about the images being a bit soft, this can only be noticed when the images are viewed in full size.

If you are going to be that anal over a point and shoot camera you must have photoshop or a program to sharpen anyway. I applied some sharpening with a plug in I have in photoshop called Niks sharpening and the images were very very nice.

I really like the flash as it is very intuitive and seems to work as well as the intelligent mode selector in auto.

The video mode is also very good, I shot in 50i and was happy enough with the video, you won't get much better in a camera this size. Overall I am extremely happy with this camera. Given the price it is a lot of bang for the bucks.

If your like me and just like to turn on the camera and shoot in auto you'll like this camera. I'm yet to see any camera that produces images so perfect you can't tinker with them photoshop a bit anyway.


"I had a horrible experience with the h55. I went out today and bought an hx5. But after reading a bit I have found that the panny zs3 has more detailed images. I could get one of those for nearly $75 less...I am unsure what to do here."

I have both a ZS3 and an HX5v, and I can assure you that I would not trade the HX5v for a ZS3 at $100 less even. The HX5 beats the Panasonic in every department and it's video is particularly impressive and that active steadyshot is light years ahead of whatever Panasonic may have.

I also have both and just took both on a vacation and ended up using the Sony HXV5 the majority of the time. I still like the Panny ZS3, but the Sony can do better in more situations and the video was outstanding. The Sony HXV5 is quite a fun, little camera! My Panny is now going on ebay

Well, if you were me, you would be repeating over and over again, "ZS3 color cast.... ZS3 color cast.... ZS3 color cast...." Just search around for it, go through my profile and find my messages about it, and learn about it, before you seriously consider a ZS3 or the new ZS7, which shares the problem.

In the meantime, I'll just pile on as one more "former ZS3 owner" who has jettisoned the thing. In many ways it's a pretty neat camera, but I really want more accurate color, more often, than the ZS3 could ever deliver. I'm indeed quite a bit happier with the HX5 than I was with the ZS3.


I've been looking to see if there was anything to replace my current Panasonic TZ5 with, and noticed this little Sony unit getting lots of buzz and discussion. I was under no illusion that there are likely to be some weaknesses in the absolute quality of its still images - most compact cameras have some, even including my G10 - but I thought the feature set was intriguing. So I bought one, and have used it for several days and compared its images with the TZ5. Here are some quick thoughts for what they are worth (which may be what you paid for them ).

I don't expect this camera to deliver the ultimate in still image quality; if I want that I'll use my DSLR (and put up with the extra size). What I DO want in a travel+general household camera is enough quality to produce pin-sharp images on my monitor at 1920x1080, and sharp prints up to about 8x10 if I want to do any printing. With that in mind, I'm happy with the output of this camera. Actually my TZ5's images, when I pixel-peep, contain a bit more detail than the HX5V's images, largely I suspect due to Sony's aggressive noise reduction at base ISO. But I don't really mind. For my purposes, as outlined above, the quality just as good. In fact...

...For the first time I've set a digital camera permanently on a lower than native resolution. For the HX5V, I love the 5 megapixel mode's output. It looks clean and sharp. A touch of smart sharpening makes images really pop. I honestly think the amount of extra detail moving to the 10 megapixel native resolution is pretty small (at least for my camera) and seeing as I only care about the 1920x1080 and up to 8x10 print sizes, I don't mind settling for "only" 5 megapixels. If they are good.

If you haven't already, try the handheld twilight mode at 5 megapixels, rather than 10. I am amazed at how clean and detailed the images are. It's extremely impressive and a really smart use of all that processing power inside the case. HHT images at 5 megapixels of even quite dimly lit scenes take sharpening pretty well. I'm sure you can get just as good results from shooting HHT at 10 megapixels and down-sampling, but I'd rather skip that step if I can.

I'm using movie mode a bunch and other than the wind noise (for which there are likely remedies as discussed elsewhere in this forum) it's astoundingly good. I'm immediately selling my Kodak Zi8. Stabilization on the HX5V is very very good in active mode. I think I'll use this camera nearly as much for video as for stills.

To me, this is the smartest combined use of technology I've seen in a camera to date (and I know I haven't talked about a lot of it above). Sure there are some weaknesses; I expected that. But given my needs and expectations, this is proving to be a highly appropriate and useful tool. And - maybe even better - I'm having perhaps the most fun with this camera than I've had with any digital imaging product (and I've owned a few).
YMMV. But I'm sold


I agree 100%. This camera is getting a lot of buzz for a good reason.

I also agree 5 megapixel mode is the way to go for most purposes. In this mode, with smart zoom, you get 14x optical zoom - that's a range of 25mm to 350mm.

The only difference for me is that I don't own a DSLR but instead, my HX5 supplements my cell phone camera.


After owning my HX5 for a few days I noticed somthing odd - that in all of my full wide-angle photos, the right quarter-to-third of the frame was blurry (out-of-focus), whereas the left and middle parts of the frame were sharp (in focus). When zoomed in to telephoto, the entire image frame was sharp (as zooming uses only the centre part of the lens).

I looked at other people's HX5 sample images here on the forum and found that other people had clear images across the entire frame at wide angle.

I took my HX5 back to the store where I purchaed it to get an exchange. The next HX5 had the exact same problem - with the right quarter-to-third of the frame blurred. I then asked to look at a third HX5 - this one was perfect, with a clear image across the entire frame at all zoom levels. This 'third' HX5 is now my new camera.

I'm not sure how common a problem this is, but of the three HX5's I looked at, two of them had a lens blur problem at wide angle, which was clearly (or unclearly) a defect in the manufacturing process. The store staff told me that they are returning both of the defective cameras to Sony and will notify their Sony rep. directly.


I just picked up an HX5 and compared it to the Sony P200. I took all photos in the automatic settings on both cameras, and saved in the 5 MP mode of each camera, and all were hand held to represent real life conditions. On the HX5, I zoomed in slightly to match the slightly less wide angle of the P200 lens.

In about half the photos I thought the HX5 did better; in about half I thought the P200 did better. In this test overall I'd say the HX5 wins because of better dynamic range in some of the photos.

Note that in 5 MP mode (in-camera processing), both cameras produce sharp images.


Here's how the story ended: I just sold my Sony P200. The HX5V replaced it and I'm happy.

The HX5's image quality is just as good as the P200 in terns of colour accuracy, colour saturation and resolution, but with the benefit of better dymanic range, better low light ability, plus cool features like panorama mode, smile shutter, auto-macro, intelligent auto-mode, and amazing video quality including the ability to zoom while recording video.

The thing I miss the most about the P200 is that I could save images in standard or fine quality (compression ratio). The HX5 sadly only allows fine quality, which uses up much more memory space; I really want the image quality option back. Other things I miss are that the P200 had better microphone placement (where my fingers would never 'accidentally' cover it while recording movies; the HX5's left microphone is positioned exactly where my finger normally sits while holding the camera). Also, the P200 was a tiny bit smaller and a tad lighter than the HX5. The P200 also came standard with an InfoLithium battery - sadly, the HX5's standard battery is not the 'info' type and therefore does not display number of minutes remaining. On the plus side, InfoLithium batteries are available for the HX5 which do display minutes remaining.

I hope that anyone else who owns a P200 and is considering upgrading to the HX5 will beneit by reading the comments in this thread.

The P200 is still and excellent camera and I didn't 'need' to upgrade, but I'm happy that I did.


nce locked on the GPS can be very accurate. I was in Mystic , CT USA yesterday and took a picture of a building at 4 Pearl Street. Today I clicked on the GPS location in Lightroom and the map came up at 4 Pearl Street. My next picture was one building away and that came up as 2 Pearl St.

One thing though it will report the last GPS location it read no matter where you are. So if you were 50 mile away when it last locked into a GPS reading it will report that as the location, unless you lock onto a current reading before taking the picture.

I am really impressed.


Well, the HX5V is feels smaller, build quality is about the same as my old Panasonic TZ7, image quality indoor is better on the HX5V, but outdoors in I feel the Panasonic was better, just less noise when I pixel peek, it's strange because indoor the HX5V has less noise, but maybe it's because of the sensor? The video though is fantastic, the TZ7 was good, but HX5V beats it clearly, this is easy to compare when I connect it via HDMI to my Pioneer TV, less noise, higher resolution, everything is better, and yes, I do see the advantage of AVCHD vs MP4, but only on the TV, when watching videos on my PC, it's almost the same quality.

I do prefer the Sonys meny and button layout, the TZ7 dial was loose and annoying, this feels better, I do miss the screen of the TZ7 which was definately better, oh well, you can't have it all, the batterylife is better on the HX5V though.
It's much easier to get a good result from the HX5V than the TZ7, so I'm very happy with my choice.


Hi All,

Just want to share some thoughts about my HX5V experience. I had a Panny ZS3 before, but then I sold it and got the HX5V when it came out.

What I like about the ZS3:

Slightly better outdoor picture quality in goodo day light. The ZS3 picture seem to more three dimension and sharper.

Picture Style built into the camera: on HX5 you do not get any color filter or special effect filter. ( minor issue ) Also , ZS3 allow you to take Movie while in various shooting mode.

Better User Interface than HX5V, HX5V does not allow you to view histogram
without bumping up the screen brightness. (WTFrak?)
Also HX5V does not provide a playback selection.(2 sec, 5 sec, off)

ZS3 has AF Tracking, while HX5V does not.

What I don't like about the ZS3:

Very poor indoor shoots especially during low light situation. The only way to get long shutter time is to disable OIS. (WTF?) This is pretty much the deal breaker for me.

No Manual control over shutter speed or aperture.

No HDR , no panaromic mode. I find I use HDR more and more often now.

Video :
As for movie mode, the 1080i does appear to be sharper on my flat TV.
The active mode on HX5V is simply amazing, no more walking like a ghost.

ZS3 seem to have a better control on motor noise, HX5V tend to record motor noise in quite location.

GPS: It does acquire a fix after sometime, but if you want to take a picture after you turn on the camera from the last location, it will retain the last known fix until it gets a new fix. So you will have to fix the EXIF afterward or wait X min until it fix again.

In the end, the low light performance wins.


I've been on an eternal search for a portable camera to use when I don't want to haul around my canon 5DII. I've had several P&S cameras as well as a foray into the micro4/3. I thought I'd share my path to the HX5.

The GH1 was a fantastic camera...really opened my eyes on the potential of an EVIL camera. But IQ was still less than the 5DII and the size wasn't small enough to be pocket-able and just casually taken with me at all times, so it didn't really solve my problem (but it was fun as heck to play with)

I loved the S90, but the movie capabilities are really just for emergencies...not very good. IQ was fantastic and opened my eyes on what could be done with a compact P&S as fr as daytime IQ.

The TX7 was a really great little camera, but I wanted the longer focal length, and the corners were pretty blurry...loved the twilight mode. Decided the HX5 was the way to go, especially with the better anti-shake for movies.

IMO, having used the HX5 and S90, they truly are just different cameras. The S90 IQ is definitely leagues above the HX5 unless you compare very low light shots taken with the S90 vs. twilight mode on the HX5...the HX5 wins here clearly.

I love the HX5 for the Video capabilities, the longer optical zoom and the twilight mode. I just don't like the wiping clean of all low contrast detail. But, at typical viewing size (about 50% scale or about 2.5 mpix), it looks great, so really I'm not saying that the noise reduction is a killer...I'll still likely keep the camera until my "perfect" camera comes out:

Rick's minimum for my perfect camera"
1. 28-150 optical zoom minimum (wider or longer is nice)
2. >= 720p 30 AVCHD
3. >= 6mpix usable pixels for daylight shots
4. >= 2mpix usable for nighttime shots handheld (using twilight mode or not)
5. similar form-factor as the S90/HX5

6. Must allow optical zoom and continuous focusing during video (a little noise OK)

Cameras I've owned:
Panasonic GH1 - fails badly on 5, but the best on all remaining
Canon S90 - fails on 1, badly on 2&6
Sony HX5 - marginal to fail on 3 (i'd say 4 mpix looks sharp to me)
Sony TX7 - Fails on 1&3 (but great on 5&6)

Cameras I've considered:
Panasonic ZS7 : marginal on 3, fails on 4 from review images
Casio Fh100 - unknowns, but fails on 6
Samsung TL500 - Fails badly on 2

So it looks like the HX5 is still my best bet. Keeping it on ISO125 until the shuter gets too low and then switching over to twilight works well for me.


  1. I would NEVER buy a sony product with memory stick

  2. Thanks for the great blog from a casual picture taker. I have learned a lot here about the Hx5 which I have owned for about 5 days. I look forward to learning more about the camera.
    Old Mike

  3. Well I have had the camera about 30 days now, not sure I like it. Too many times it provides soft photos and heavy NR, even outside,in good light.
    Kids hair, birds,tree bark,grass,even water can look like a water color. Seems like the ZS7 takes much better outside photos.
    Old Mike

  4. sorry Mike if she does not work for you, there is some major smearing when she is a distance away from fine detail, but up close she can be sharp as a pin with added sharpening.
    Have the same problem with the HX1


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