Sony continues to expand its higher-end Cyber-shot range with the introduction of the HX50: the world's smallest and lightest compact camera to feature a 30x zoom lens. It's not ultra-slim with that lens, but considering such a lens would be found in a superzoom not too long ago, the 108 x 64 x 38mm size is impressively small.
The HX50 comes equipped with a 20.4-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor with Bionz processor - the same as that found in the HX300 superzoom - and the lens, which is a 24-720mm f/3.5-6.3 equivalent, has Sony's optical image stabilisation to keep things steady.
Built-in Wi-Fi means it's possible to use a smartphone or device to control the camera remotely, share pictures to the web, or jump on to a network to auto back-up pictures to PC or view on a TV. There's no NFC though which, given Sony's push of it in the Xperia Z smartphone and tablet, seems a little strange to omit.
The HX50 is targeted at a relatively wide audience: its variable zoom is ideal for the point and shooter who wants close-ups, group shots and far-away snaps, while the mixture of a manual control dial, separate exposure compensation dial and multi-interface hotshoe for adding peripherals such as an optional electronic viewfinder open the camera up to a more advanced audience all in the same breath. However there's no raw file shooting built in, it's JPEG only.
In addition to the usual stills there are nine different picture effect filters, distinct shooting modes for optimum capture and a 1080p50 movie capture option on board. Some filters, such as selective colour, are available for not only stills but panorama shots and movie capture too.
Battery power is also said be capable of delivering up to 400 shots per charge, which is a sizeable amount more than similar travel zoom compacts.
We've been playing with the Cyber-shot HX50 ahead of its official unveiling. Click the link below to see our initial thoughts on this versatile compact:
The Sony Cyber-shot HX50 will be available at the beginning of May, exact date TBC, with an anticipated UK price of £350. The FDA-EV1MK electronic viewfinder, first released alongside the Cyber-shot RX1 full-frame compact, will cost an additional £330 should it take your fancy.