Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX7V hands-on

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX7 is the baby brother to the company’s HX9V model and the replacement to the company’s HX5 model. We spent the afternoon with the new camera ahead of its launch to find out what all the fuss was about.

Like the HX9V the HX7V comes with Sony’s new 16.2 megapixel Exmor R CMOS Image Sensor, and the large 3-inch display around the back.

Rather than the 16x optical zoom found on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V hands-on, here you get a  10x optical zoom G lens and that ultimately makes for a smaller, albeit still bulky, body. Buttons are displaced mostly on the rear of the camera to the right of the screen with a small thumb well for extra support.

There’s plenty of manual control to get to grips with giving you a sense of some level of control above and beyond the plethora of pre-set scene modes and intelligent and superior auto shooting options.

Intelligent auto fixes your images by automatically picking out the right scene mode for the picture at hand, Superior mode goes one step further and let introduce HDR effects, merge pictures and basically work to give you “superior” results each time.

“The camera automatically recognizes the correct scene mode, then quickly shoots and combines up to six shots to produce images with greater clarity, optimum dynamic range using backlight correction HDR technology and lower image noise using 6 shots layering technology. Superior Auto intelligently detects 33 scenes for still images and 44 scenes for movies, making it easy to get the best shot,” says Sony.  

So did it? Well we could tell the difference and where impressed by the results, even though our sample shots aren’t production ready.

Moving on from intelligent and superior there is a new High resolution iSweep Panorama mode With high resolution iSweep Panorama mode that once you’ve pressed the shutter gets you to hold the camera vertically rather than in landscape and snap a panoramic shot. Doing so allows for a higher resolution photo and one that isn’t incredibly thin.

Elsewhere you get HDMI output – handy for playing back your pictures and movies on a TV, Geotagging thanks to a built in GPS unit, 3D mode (via a single lens and some in camera trickery), and 1080p video recording at 60 frames per second.

Our time was brief, and we were playing with a pre-production unit so we aren’t going to make any final judgements, however bar the size this looks to be a great compact camera that doesn’t offer as much as the HX9V but more than your average shooter.

The Sony DSC-HX9V UK is out now and costs £255 from Amazon in the UK. In the US it costs around $300.

We will be bringing you a full review in due course.