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Sony HX90V Review - What Digital Camera

While compact camera sales in general have suffered from the proliferation of the smartphone, those with specs ahead of what the smartphone can offer have continued to sell well.

One such area is the travel compact. These models generally offer impressive zooms in pocketable bodies, and as such are often the place casual photographers go to as a first foray in compact cameras.

Sony HX90V Review – Features

The Sony HX90V is one such camera, offering a large 24-720mm focal range and a body that takes its design cue from the impressive Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III.

Despite being an altogether smaller version of its predecessor – the Sony HX60V – the model does inherit some of that model’s features. The most important of these is the sensor – a 1/2.3in BSI Exmor R CMOS chip, albeit with a slight drop in resolution to 18.2MP, which covers an ISO range of 80-3200.

Unfortunately the HX90V isn’t capable of capturing Raw files, a feature which is present on most of the model’s direct competitors.

The HX90V features an attractive pop-up OLED EVF

There are however a host of changes to be found on the HX90V, including some that are sure to impress the travel compact market. Perhaps the most exciting of these is the new pop-up OLED EVF, complete with a 638,400-dot resolution and very similar to that found on the more advanced RX100 III.

Although the HX90V’s lens features the same 30x optical zoom, covering a focal range of 24-720mm, the lens technology itself is completely redesigned. Out goes the old G lens technology to be replaced with an all-new Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* version – an optic which is some 30% smaller than its predecessor thanks to a floating rear optical group.

Although the HX90V features an attractive LCD screen, it’s lacking in any touch functionality

Other core features include Wi-fi and NFC connectivity for use in conjunction with the Sony Play Memories app, as well as GPS image tagging and Full HD video capture.


Sony Cyber-shot HX90V review -


These days it’s not enough to simply cram a massive zoom range into a tiny form factor, a successful compact super-zoom has to accommodate a lot more besides. With its earlier HX50(V) and HX60(V) Sony was already doing pretty well, but reducing its already tiny proportions while adding a flip-up screen and an electronic viewfinder it’s not resting on its laurels.

Though it has the same 24-720mm range, the HX90V’s zoom is upgraded from the HX50/60V’s G series lens to a new Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* design and the stabilisation is also upgraded form a 3-axis to a 5-axis system which proved extremely effective in my tests.

The LCD screen is unchanged in terms of its size and resolution, but the 3 inch 921k dot panel is now hinged at the top so can flip up and over for waist-level and selfie shooting. But the really big news is the addition of a new pop-up electronic viewfinder. The 0.2 inch 638k panel is small, but big enough to be useful as more than just a sunny weather fall-back, though the overlays can be a strain to see.

The reduction in size combined with the viewfinder and flip-up screen enhancements has necessitated the sacrifice of the earlier model’s accessory hotshoe. This won’t please everyone, but I think it’s a trade-off that’s well worth it. The built-in flash works fine for close subjects and fill in, and the number of occassions you’re likely to want to mount a bigger flash is likely to be very small.

As before, the HX90V is equipped with Wifi, NFC and GPS, has the ability to download and install or update apps. and Sony has updated the remote shooting features. Though there’s currently only a handful of apps available for the HX90V, this is one area where it has the potential to outrun the competition. That said, some of the apps offer features like time-lapse and interval shooting that you might expect to be included at no extra cost.

The HX90V faces strong competition from Panasonic’s best-selling Lumix TZ70 / ZS50 which shares the same 24-720mm equivalent zoom range with a fractionally brighter f3.3-6.4 aperture than the f3.5-6.4 of the HX60V. Both models also have an EVF in common, and though the Sony’s has a lower resolution it’s a little bigger than the one in the TZ70 / ZS50. The HX90V also has the advantage of an articulated screen, where the TZ70 / ZS50’s screen is fixed, but visibility is far better on the Lumix screen.

The other major difference between these two models is the sensor. The Lumix TZ70 / ZS50 has a 12 Megapixel sensor compared with 18.2 Megapixels in the HX90V. In my quality and noise tests, though it produces smaller images, the Lumix TZ70 / ZS50 produced significantly less noise, which is, after all, to be expected. Panasonic also allows you to record images in the RAW format, which may suggest it’ll be appreciated by a higher-end audience, but it could be a red herring. In my tests with the TZ70 / ZS50, I couldn’t extract any greater resolution or tonal detail from its RAW files, so the only real benefits were the ability to adjust things like the sharpening, contrast, saturation and subsequent compression. We all have different requirements, but for me the absence of RAW on the HX90V isn’t the deal-breaker it may first appear. Finally, the TZ70 / ZS50 lacks a built-in GPS – though you can use your smartphone record a location track log which is subsequently used to tag photos. See my Panasonic Lumix TZ70 / ZS50 review for more details.

Nikon’s COOLPIX S9900 is another strong competitor for the HX90V and is significantly cheaper. So is it a bargain alternative? Well the first thing you sacrifice for that budget price tag is the built-in electronic viewfinder, though the S9900 is equipped with a side-hinged 3 inch 921k dot LCD screen. The S9900 is quite a bit bulkier than the HX90V though and it doesn’t look nearly as classy. The S9900 is equipped with Wifi and GPS but lacks NFC for easy connectivity and its image download and remote shooting features are more basic than those on the HX90V. It can display the location of your shots on a map display though. It lacks the higher end video modes of the HX90V with a top quality 1080 / 25p HD mode, though in its favour it has a couple of High speed video modes and Short Movie Show feature.

Finally, there’s the Canon PowerShot SX710 HS to consider. Like the COOLPIX S9900 it offers a 30x zoom range at a more affordable price point than the Sony and Panasonic thanks to the absence of an electronic viewfinder. So if it’s simply access to the big zoom in a compact body that you’re after, Canon and Nikon will give it to you at a lower price. See my Canon SX710 HS review for more details. That said, if a viewfinder isn’t a priority for you, earlier Sony models like the HX50V and HX60V could also prove to be a bargain buy.

For me though, an electronic viewfinder is a very useful addition to this type of camera – not only does it let you more easily compose in bright light, but the third point of contact allows you to hold the camera more steady, which is handy when you’re handholding a 720mm equivalent zoom on a camera with a minimal grip. And if you decide you need an electronic viewfinder, then it becomes a two-way contest between the TZ70 / ZS50 and the HX90V. It’s a very close contest too with little to separate them in terms of features and handling. The TZ70 / ZS50 offers RAW, which could be useful given the caveats above, along with the superior noise performance of its 12 Megapixel sensor and variety of high speed shooting modes. The HX90V on the other hand has built-in GPS, a slightly bigger (albeit lower resolution) EVF and is a little more compact overall. Both are excellent choices and come Highly Recommended.


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V: Digital Photography Review

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Announced Apr 14, 2015

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V is, at the time of its release, the world's smallest superzoom camera (along with its sibling, the WX500). It features a 30X zoom equivalent to 24-720mm, optical image stabilization, and an 18.2MP BSI CMOS sensor. It sports the same pop-up OLED electronic viewfinder as Sony's RX100 III along with a 3" LCD that tilts upward 180 degrees. Also borrowed from the RX100 is a customizable ring around the front of the lens. The HX90V can record video at 1080/60p using the XAVC S codec, which allows for bit rates up to 50MBps. The camera also has built-in Wi-Fi with NFC as well as a GPS.

Body type Compact
Max resolution 4896 x 3672
Effective pixels 18 megapixels
Sensor size 1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Sensor type BSI-CMOS
ISO Auto, 80-12800
Focal length (equiv.) 24–720 mm
Max aperture F3.5–6.4
Articulated LCD Tilting
Screen size 3″
Screen dots 921,000
Max shutter speed 1/2000 sec
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Duo
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Weight (inc. batteries) 245 g (0.54 lb / 8.64 oz)
Dimensions 102 x 58 x 36 mm (4.02 x 2.28 x 1.42″)
GPS Built-in

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Sony Cyber-shot HX90V Review


The new Sony Cyber-Shot HX90 / HX90V, available in black, the compact camera features a 30x optical zoom lens, 18 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, built-in pop-up OLED Tru-Finder EVF, full-HD video recording, and a tilting "selfie" screen. The camera is one of the smallest digital cameras available with a 30x optical zoom lens, and features a newly developed Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 30x optical zoom lens. The Sony Cyber-shot HX90/HX90V updates the HX60.

Sony Cyber-shot HX90V Features

Not happy with offering a 30x optical zoom lens in the Sony Cyber-shot HX60, Sony has gone one better with the HX90, by offering the World's smallest compact camera with a 30x optical zoom lens. The 30x optical zoom lens is the equivalent of 24-720mm in 35mm terms, and features 5-axis Optical SteadyShot (Optical Image Stabilisation to you and me). Along with the World's smallest 30x optical zoom lens camera, the HX90 also offers built in Wi-Fi and NFC, and with the HX90V, built in GPS. Wi-Fi lets you transfer photos to a compatible smartphone or tablet, as well as control the camera remotely. Sony PlayMemories Applications can be added to the camera, expanding what the camera is capable of doing. 

Hidden away is a small pop-up electronic viewfinder, that will also act as an on / off switch when popping up and down to switch off. The built in electronic viewfinder (EVF) may seem like an unneccessary luxury, however, when using most digital cameras outdoors in bright sunlight, the EVF becomes an excellent option, and stops you from struggling to see what you are shooting. The 3inch screen on the back can be tilted to face you so that you can take "selfie" shots. 

The camera uses a backlit 18 megapixel CMOS sensor, and shoots at up to 10fps, as well as recording fullHD video with stereo sound. There are a range of scene modes to choose from as well as full manual controls. Other modes include Intelligent Sweep Panorama and a large number of artistic effects which includes toy camera, partial colour and HDR painting. 

Key Features

  • 18.2 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
  • 30x optical zoom Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens, 24-720mm equivalent
  • Optical Steadyshot (5-axis)
  • 3inch tilting screen, 921k dots
  • Pop-up electronic viewfinder (688k dots), with eye-sensor
  • Control ring, hand-grip
  • P/A/S/M modes
  • Wi-Fi / NFC connectivity (GPS with HX90V)
  • PlayMemories Camera Apps
  • Pop-up flash
  • FullHD Video, XAVC-S, AVCHD
  • Electronic level
  • Available in white, red or black

Sony Cyber-shot HX90V Handling

The Sony Cyber-shot HX90 is impressively compact considering the features and optical zoom built into the camera. At first glance it's easy to forget that there is a built in electronic viewfinder and pop-up flash, and when these pop out you are left impressed by the ability of Sony to fit so much into such a relatively compact camera. To further demonstrate the size of the camera, we've shown the previous model, the HX60, below, and this does not feature a built in electronic viewfinder. The camera feels well built with a metal body, along with a good sized handgrip making it easier to hold the camera steady. There is a small mode dial on the top left, and a zoom rocker surrounds the shutter release button. 

Sony Cyber-shot HX60 next to the Sony Cyber-shot HX90.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is clear, but quite small. The screen is clear with a good resolution, although can be difficult to see outdoors in bright sunlight and turning up the brightness can help. The menu system is clear and well laid out, making it easy to navigate. The Fn button on the back of the camera gives you quick access to a number of settings on the screen, making it easy to change settings without having to go into the main menu system. 

Wi-Fi features - You can select images on the camera to send to the smartphone. You can also use NFC to setup a remote connection so that you can control the camera from your smartphone, and adjust zoom, set the self-timer and take photos. With the camera set to video mode on the dial you can also start and stop video recording.

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 390 shots according to Sony / CIPA test results, which is very good for a compact camera, although this will be reduced with extensive use of GPS and Wi-Fi.

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.125secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.9secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.7secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 2.7secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG(shots before slow down) 9fps (10 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A

Shutter response and focus speeds are very good, and the camera can shoot at a high speed of 9-10fps for up to 10 shots. Shooting with flash does reduce the cameras shot to shot speed noticeably. 

Sony Cyber-shot HX90V Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Portrait photos taken with flash occassionally show red-eye, and the use of a higher ISO setting has resulted in some noise visible in the image. Exposure is good with the camera producing images with bright saturated colours. Dynamic range is good, and the camera will automatically improve shadow and highlight detail using the DRO (Dynamic Range Optimisation) setting. For enhanced dynamic range, there is built in HDR shooting which combines a number of different shots. 

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V Lens test images

Lens Performance - Detail is quite good when shooting at the wide-angle end of the lens, although there is some corner softness, and detail does become softer at the telephoto end of the lens. The camera does a good job of correcting lens distortion with minimal amounts visible. Purple fringing is well controlled, but most noticeable when shooting in high contrast situations such as trees against the bright sky, and becomes more noticeable towards the corners of the frame. Macro performance is good, with the camera automatically focusing on close subjects without the need to activate a specific macro focus mode. 

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO80 to ISO400, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO800 to ISO1600 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO3200 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO6400 and above is best avoided as noise is extremely high, and detail is very low. ISO80 to ISO3200 is available in normal shooting modes, with ISO6400-12800 available when selecting the multi-frame noise reduction mode that combines a number of shots.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well with a slightly warm result under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a very similar result. AWB performs very well under fluorescent lights, with the fluorescent preset giving a magenta colour cast.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a large number of creative effects available, a number of these have additional options and settings to alter the effect further, and examples are shown above. Panorama mode - The camera features an automatic panoramic mode, where you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other. Results are good, and well stitched together, although with a fairly low resolution image produced.

Video - The camera records full HD video with stereo sound and optical zoom. Quality is good, and optical image stabilisation does an excellent job of keeping the image stable even when using the full optical zoom. 

Value For Money

The Sony Cyber-shot HX90V is available for £349, or £339 for the HX90 without GPS. Alternatively the Sony Cyber-shot WX500 is available for £261 although it lacks the electronic viewfinder. Alternative compact cameras with a 30x optical zoom lens includes the following:

Panasonic Lumix TZ60, 30x optical zoom, 18mp, EVF, Wi-Fi, GPS, £255Panasonic Lumix TZ70, 30x optical zoom, 12mp, EVF, Wi-Fi, £295Canon Powershot SX710 HS, 30x optical zoom, 20mp, (no EVF), Wi-Fi, £255Nikon Coolpix S9900, 30x optical zoom, 16mp, vari-angle screen, Wi-Fi, GPS, £229

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Sony Cyber-shot HX90V Verdict

The Sony Cyber-shot HX90V is one of the most compact 30x optical zoom lens cameras available and even packs in an electronic viewfinder making it great for use on bright sunny days. The HX90V is priced at £349 making it more expensive than the competition, however it is the most compact 30x optical zoom lens camera available with a built in EVF. The camera performs well, with quick performance, bright colourful images and numerous shooting options. Built in Wi-Fi, and GPS in the HX90V, means you can quickly transfer images and control the camera from your smartphone. Whilst the camera may be expensive, we think it is worth the investment. 

The Sony Cyber-shot HX90V is an ultra compact travel zoom packed with features including a great electronic viewfinder.


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.5 - f/6.4
35mm equivalent25mm - 720mm
Optical Zoom30x
Image Sensor
Pixels18.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4896
Pixels (H)3672
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2.3inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921,600 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min FocusNo Data
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
Video FPS60, 50fps
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • Memory Stick (Sony)
  • SDXC
File Type
Power Source
Battery TypeNo Data
Battery Life (CIPA rating)390shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsRechargeable Battery Pack NP-BX1, AC AdaptorAC-UB10C/UB10D, Micro USB cable, Wrist Strap, Instruction Manual, AC Power Code

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Sony HX90V Review

Sony HX90V Review -- First Impressions

by Mike TomkinsPreview posted 04/13/2015

If you're an enthusiastic photographer looking for a compact camera that you can slip in a pocket and take anywhere, Sony's RX100-series offers a great choice with a much larger-than-average sensor for spectacular image quality. But what if you prefer a far-reaching zoom lens, and are willing to trade off on sensor size to get it? Well, that's where the 18-megapixel Sony HX90V comes in.

Clearly aimed at photographers who prefer to shoot with the camera to their eye, rather than shooting at arm's length as is the norm these days, the Sony HX90V is claimed to be the world's smallest compact camera to feature both a built-in viewfinder and zoom lens with 30x or greater reach. What makes this all the more impressive is that it's barely any larger or heavier than the smallest 30x zoom camera without a viewfinder, too -- the simultaneously-launched Sony WX500.

With styling reminiscent of the Sony RX100-series, the HX90V definitely looks the part. Indeed, its control layout is near-identical to that of the Sony RX100 III, right down to the control dial that surrounds the lens barrel on the front of the camera's body. Unlike the RX100-series, though, the Sony HX90V sports a low-profile front handgrip that should help you keep the camera steady, a handy addition in a camera with such a far-reaching lens.

Inside, the HX90V pairs the same BIONZ X-series image processor from the RX100 III with an 18.2-megapixel Exmor R-branded CMOS image sensor. Although it's much smaller than the 1"-type chip in the RX100-series cameras -- the price you pay to achieve such a far-reaching lens in a body that's as near as makes no difference identical in size to the original RX100 -- it does feature a backside-illuminated design that helps improve its light-gathering capabilities.

And if the ability to bring far away subjects up close and personal is a key goal in your next camera purchase, the new 24-720mm equivalent 30x zoom lens in the Sony HX90V will definitely pique your interest. It now carries Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* branding, rather than the Sony G branding of the HX90V's nearest predecessor, the 2013-model year HX50V. And while its maximum aperture of f/3.5-6.4 across the zoom range is understandably a little on the dim side, given its compact nature, the design features five-axis Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, helping to reduce the likelihood of blur from camera shake.

It's that popup, electronic viewfinder that's the really big news, though. It's based around a 638,000-dot equivalent Organic LED panel, and not only will it let you frame with the camera to your eye, it will even disable the LCD monitor for you automatically as you do so. That's achieved courtesy of a proximity sensor beneath the eyepiece. All that, despite a dust-resistant viewfinder design which Sony tells us is around 50% smaller than that of the popup finder in the RX100 III.

On the rear panel, you'll find a selfie-friendly 3.0-inch LCD monitor with 921,000 dot resolution, mounted on an articulated mechanism that can tilt upwards a full 180 degrees, allowing for framing from in front of the camera. And there's also a built-in, popup flash strobe on the top deck.

Nor is that all: The Sony HX90V can shoot 50Mbps Full HD movies using XAVC S compression at up to 60 frames per second, and it sports a full complement of Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS antennas built-in. That means you can have your photos tagged with their capture location automatically, just like your smartphone does, and once you've shot them it's a quick-and-easy process to share them online for friends and family to see.

Available from June 2015 in a black body color only, the Sony HX90V is priced at US$430 or thereabouts.

Let's take a closer look inside this interesting camera, and see just what it offers for your money!

Sony HX90V Technical Info

by Mike Tomkins


The Sony HX90V is based around a 1/2.3"-type, Exmor R-branded, backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor with an effective resolution of 18.2 megapixels. Total resolution of the imager is 21.1 megapixels, and it has a 4:3 aspect ratio.


Output from the image processor is handled by Sony's proprietary BIONZ X image processor. That's the same type used in the Sony RX100 III enthusiast compact, and it's said to have approximately triple the performance of the BIONZ chip in the earlier HX50V.


The Sony HX90V has a standard sensitivity range of ISO 80 to 3200 equivalents, with the entire range available to the Auto ISO mode. You can also define your own upper and lower sensitivity limits for Auto ISO, should you prefer. The same limits apply for movie capture, as well.

In the still image Multi-Frame NR mode, which captures multiple sequential shots, and then merges them in camera to create a single image with reduced noise levels, the upper limit is raised to ISO 12,800 equivalent, but the Auto ISO function still cannot roam beyond ISO 3200 equivalent.


The HX90V allows burst capture at a rate of 10 frames per second, with a buffer depth of 10 full-resolution images.


The Sony HX90V's 30x optical zoom lens bears Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* branding, and provides a 35mm-equivalent focal range of 24-720mm equivalent when using the 4:3 aspect ratio. Actual focal lengths range from 4.1 to 123mm, and the maximum aperture falls from f/3.5 at the wide-angle position to f/6.4 by the time you reach the telephoto position.

The lens' optical formula includes 11 elements in 10 groups, of which five elements are aspherics. There's a five-bladed aperture iris, and five-axis SteadyShot image stabilization is also included, combining both optical and electronic stabilization techniques.

The optical zoom functions during movie capture, and focal lengths vary for movie recording depending on the SteadyShot mode. With a 16:9 aspect ratio and SteadyShot Standard mode, movies are recorded within a 35mm-equivalent range of 26.5-795mm. Enabling SteadyShot Active takes this to 28-1,180mm equivalent, while SteadyShot Intelligent Active mode yields a 31-1,210mm equivalent range.


Concealed beneath the top deck of the Sony HX90V is a popup electronic viewfinder that's raised with a small switch on the left side of the camera body. Closing the viewfinder by pushing it back downwards can optionally power the camera off at the same time.

Based around a 0.2-inch Organic LED panel, the display has a resolution equivalent to 638,000 dots. That's quite a bit lower than the 1,440,000-dot resolution of the popup finder in the RX100 III enthusiast compact, and the panel size is also quite a bit smaller than the 0.39-inch panel used in that camera.

However, it's worth noting that the reduction in panel size has also allowed a significantly smaller footprint for the viewfinder in this camera, which is actually more compact than the RX100 III, despite its much greater zoom range.

The HX90V includes a proximity sensor beneath its eyepiece, allowing automatic switching between the rear-panel LCD and the electronic viewfinder as you bring the camera to your eye.

Sony rates the viewfinder at 100% coverage, and says it has 0.5x magnification along with an eyepoint of 19.2mm from the eyepiece frame. Brightness control is possible within a five-step range, either automatically or manually adjusted. There's also a dioptric adjustment of -4 to +3m-1.


On the rear deck of the Sony HX90V, you'll find a 3.0-inch, Xtra Fine-branded LCD panel with a total resolution of around 921,000 dots and a 4:3 aspect ratio. It has a five-step manual brightness adjustment, and is mounted on an articulation mechanism that allows it to be tilted upwards by a full 180-degrees, allowing for self-portrait shooting.


The Sony HX90V provides both contrast-detection automatic and manual focusing options. The autofocus system has a working range of EV 2 to 16 at ISO 100 equivalent, and can be supplemented with an autofocus assist lamp that can, if you prefer, be disabled.

For autofocus, you have a choice of single-shot or continuous AF, and can select between wide, center, flexible spot or expanded flexible spot modes. The focus point size for flexible spot can be set to small, medium or large. There's also a lock-on autofocus function, and a face detection / recognition function capable of identifying up to eight unique faces.

When focusing manually, you can optionally allow the camera to perform an autofocus adjustment first to get you in the ball park, a function known as Direct Manual Focus in Sony parlance.

Focusing is possible to as close as two inches (5cm) at wide angle, and 8' 2" (250cm) at the telephoto position.


The Sony HX90V offers an unusually broad selection of exposure modes for a compact camera. As well as Program Auto (with Program Shift function), Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority and Manual modes, there are also three customizable Memory Recall modes, two Auto modes (single-shot Intelligent Auto or multi-shot Superior Auto), plus Scene, Panorama and Movie modes.

Scene modes on offer include Portrait, Advanced Sports Shooting, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Handheld Twilight, Night Portrait, Anti Motion Blur, Pet Mode, Gourmet, Beach, Snow, Fireworks, Soft Skin and High Sensitivity. Intelligent Auto mode can recognize 33 distinct scene types for still imaging, or 44 scene types for movie capture, while the Superior Auto mode can also identify 44 distinct scene types.

Exposures are determined by default using multi-pattern metering, with center-weighted and spot metering options available. Exposure compensation is provided within a range of +/-3EV in 1/3EV steps, and exposure bracketing is also possible. The metering system has a working range of EV 2 to 16 at ISO 100 equivalent.

Shutter speeds range from 1/2,000 to four seconds in Auto or Program modes, eight seconds in Aperture-priority mode, and 30 seconds in Shutter-priority or Manual modes.

A total of eleven white balance modes are provided, including Auto, eight presets, Custom and One Push / One Push Set. White balance can also be adjusted within a +/-7 step range on both green/magenta and amber/blue axes, and can also be bracketed.

If you need to throw a little more light on your subject, the Sony HX90V includes a built-in, popup flash strobe on its top deck, released with an adjacent switch. Five flash modes are provided: Auto, On, Off, Slow-sync and Rear-sync, and these can be combined with optional red-eye reduction. Using Auto ISO sensitivity, the flash strobe has a working range of approximately 1-17.7 feet (0.3-5.4m) at wide angle, or a rather restrictive 8.2-9.8 feet (2.5-3.0m) at telephoto. Flash exposures can be bracketed, and flash exposure compensation is available within a +/-3EV range in 1/3EV steps.


If you want to tweak your images further in-camera, the Sony HX90V provides contrast, saturation, sharpness and creative style options prior to capture. Creative styles include Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Black & White and Sepia.

In addition, a range of picture effect functions allow more artistic looks, including Toy Camera, Pop Color, Posterization, Retro Photo, Soft High-key, Partial Color, High Contrast Mono., Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Richtone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolor and Illustration. A subset of these -- Toy Camera, Pop Color, Posterization, Retro Photo, Soft High-key, Partial Color and High Contrast Mono. -- are also available for movie capture.

There's also a Dynamic Range Optimizer function with a five-step manual or automatic range, and this, too, can be bracketed. Sony also includes an Auto HDR function that merges multiple shots in-camera within a range of 1 to 6EV in 1EV steps.

Long exposure noise reduction functions by default, but high ISO noise reduction can be tweaked to either normal or low levels. It isn't possible to disable noise reduction entirely, though.

If you're a fan of panoramic imagery, you'll be happy to hear that the Sony HX90V also supports Sony's Intelligent Sweep Panorama function, and allows full 360-degree panoramas to be created and stitched in-camera, as well as the regular Standard and Wide panorama options.

To help yield flattering portraits and selfies, the Sony HX90V includes a Beauty Effect function in Playback mode which can smooth and tone skin, remove shine, widen eyes, and whiten teeth.

A single-axis level gauge function is also included.


As well as still images, the Sony HX90V can also record movies at up to Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixel; 1080p/i) resolution. Recording formats on offer include XAVC S, AVCHD version 2.0, and MPEG-4. XAVC S movies include stereo LPCM audio, while AVCHD movies have stereo AC-3 Dolby Digital Stereo Creator audio. Finally, MPEG-4 movies have stereo MPEG-4 AAC-LC audio. A wind noise filter function is provided.

Which filetype you can record in -- and at what frame rate and bit rate -- depends on your capture resolution. XAVC S video allows frame rates of 24, 30 or 60 progressive-scan frames per second, with a fixed 50Mbps bitrate. For AVCHD video, bitrates range from 17 to 28Mbps, and frame rate choices include 24 or 60 progressive-scan frames, or 60 interlaced fields per second. Both XAVC S and AVCHD compression are available only at Full HD resolution. Finally, MPEG-4 compression works at either Full HD or HD (1,280 x 720 pixels; 720p) resolution, and allows either 30 or 60 frames-per-second capture at Full HD, or 30 fps capture at HD resolution. Bit rates range from 6 to 28Mbps.

Wireless connectivity

The Sony HX90V can connect to 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi wireless networks using the 2.4Ghz band, courtesy of a built-in Wi-Fi radio. Pairing with Android devices can be achieved using an NFC Type 3 tag, and one-touch remote / sharing functions are also available by NFC. Since Apple devices don't support third-party NFC, iOS users will need to pair manually.

The HX90V also sports a GPS receiver, capable of recording the location at which each image was captured. It's also possible to record GPS track logs in-camera. Note, however, that there's no compass and hence direction information isn't recorded.

Wired connectivity

There are also a couple of wired connectors on the Sony HX90V: A USB 2.0 High Speed data port, and an HDMI high-definition video output. Both use micro connectors.


The USB 2.0 port also doubles as a charging terminal for the Sony HX90V's proprietary NP-BX1 lithium-ion battery pack, which recharges in-camera. Both a USB charger and battery pack are included in the product bundle. Battery life is rated at 390 shots on a charge with the LCD monitor, or 360 shots on a charge when using the electronic viewfinder, both figures to CIPA testing standards.


The Sony HX90V stores its images and movies on Secure Digital or Memory Stick Duo media, with the two card types sharing a single slot. For SD cards, both SDHC / SDXC and UHS-I card types are supported, while for MS Duo, you can use PRO Duo, PRO Duo (High Speed) and PRO HG Duo card types. Wi-Fi equipped Eye-Fi SD cards are also compatible, although given the presence of in-camera Wi-Fi, there would seem to be little reason to use one.

Still images are stored only as sRGB JPEG-compressed files. Raw capture and the Adobe RGB color space aren't supported on this camera.

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