Compact Camera of the Year 2011

December 16, 2011 | Mark Goldstein | Digital Compact Cameras, PhotographyBLOG | 9 Comments |
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Our fourth award this week is for the Compact Camera of the Year 2011.

Not many products earn our coveted Essential award, but the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V is one of the the lucky few. Taking on and beating the market-leading Panasonic TZ-series is no mean feat, but that’s exactly what Sony have done with the HX9V. It’s cameras like this that help keep the compact market alive.

“The Sony CyberShot DSC-HX9V is the best travel-zoom camera that we’ve reviewed to date. The HX9V offers a compelling mix of advanced features, excellent still image quality, and a class-leading video mode, all at a price that is competitive with its main rivals.”

Read the Full Review

Congratulations to Sony and the Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V!



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#1 Shenanval

Well, I wish I could agree on your choice for compact of the year! As far as still IQ is concerned, the way I see it from many, many comparison images, is that anything above ISO 200 resembles a watercolor painting! Sony may have conquered this effect with their DSLR's, but definitely not yet with the compacts! Color is great, but their jpeg processing is not.

3:03 pm - Friday, December 16, 2011

#2 Aws

Why sony? i like cannon so much, sony is Expensive.

11:22 pm - Friday, December 16, 2011

#3 cynic

@Shenanval
May i ask how you are viewing/comparing the images? Pixel peeping at some of the sample ISO 800 pictures posted here I don't start to see the "watercolor painting" effect until aproximately 60% zoom. At full screen I think they are more than adequate.

3:04 am - Saturday, December 17, 2011

#4 Simon

If the HX9 is the Compact Camera of the Year I really have to doubt the review results of Photographyblog. I've had it for 3 month and also took it with me on holidays in Sri Lanka. Image quality is mediocre at best - but the most frustrating aspect is the SLOW operation speed between taking photographs and in review. It also takes ages before you camera would start recording video after one pressed the video recording button. To me the camera is highly frustrating and only useful for static szenes. Auto exposure is also mediocre at best, compared to my other compacts from Canon or Nikon.

3:32 pm - Saturday, December 17, 2011

#5 Shenanval

cynic,
You are right! At 60% or so, they probably look fine. And yes, I deserved the "pixel-peeping" observation! I hope it's ok to mention other sites here, as I usually compare cameras on the "comparometer", which is for sure looking very, very closely. Didn't mean to offend if you are an owner of the Sony mentioned. But I have to wonder why that choice when, as someone else said, there are better choices for still image quality at anything over 200, 400 iso at the most. I don't take video, and so can't speak to that. I really like Sony colors! But for me, as I only shoot jpegs, the canons are better candidates for compact of the year, and maybe a couple of the Nikons. I've always felt that the Canons are better in the compact business. Sony though has certainly "nailed" the dslr!

Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday! Good shooting to us all!
Shenanval

5:26 pm - Saturday, December 17, 2011

#6 Mie

I agree about the watercolor painting thing. this is very true when you zoom into the picture, even using the camera itself! Luckily, it's barely seen if we shoot the 16M and view it 40%.

And for info, I'm so excited about this camera after reading the review here. But I was quite wrong to believe everything reviewed here :(

Even worst, the camera is not even sold in my country, Malaysia. So I have to beg Sony to order it for me from the neighboring country, Singapore without anything, the case or even the memory card!

I would rate this camera 3.5 out of 5.

4:53 am - Monday, December 19, 2011

#7 niceoldguy

The Twilight HDR and Backlit HDR modes (unique to Sony, AFAIK) give this camera the edge. On a trip to London and Paris where lots of things happen after dark or indoors, I was able to capture many useful shots that simply could not have been done without a flash, or tripod.

Simply having a camera in one's coat pocket that can take photos in extremely low light -- amazingly low light is a game-changing experience for this photographer of many year's experience. The in-camera processing of multiple exposures is like magic.

And no, I haven't seen the smearing referred to in normally-lit pictures with normal cropping. Very satisfied going from full-sized DSLR to HX9V for every-day-carry travel cam.

3:17 pm - Wednesday, December 21, 2011

#8 UG

I've owned the main competitors to the Sony HX9v, and while it isn't perfect (yes, it is slow to start), it truly represents the best of the bunch. Fast auto-focus in any light (my Nikon 9100 struggled in all lighting), useable pics up to ISO 800 (noisy past ISO 200 with the Panasonic ZS10), and smooth eye popping video (my Canon SX230 jumped around and looked like it was snowing in low-light). Also, the image stabilization on the Sony HX9v is unbeatable. Right now, this is the camera to beat in the category - good job Sony!

11:13 pm - Thursday, December 22, 2011

#9 Dan McKinney

I was prepared to buy the Sony DSC-HX9V based on the reviews on this site vs. the Nikon Coolpix S9100. I kept researching and ran across another website and utility that allows you to select a camera and a few settings and then see the exact same photograph shot by the selected cameras. The file can be exported for further review.

First there is no comparison between any of the high end point-and-shoots with true DSRL cameras when it comes to image quality. It is what it is and you are buying the more compact camera for convenience and you give up image quality.

So it was a matter of looking at the Nikon and the Sony using this tool and seeing which one gave better image quality. I am very disturbed by the performance of the Sony camera using this tool.

1. If the image involves hair or paint brush bristles or similar shapes, then the image is just a blur.

2. There is very noticeable pixellation around text - like a really bad jpg blown up.

Please check out this tool and take a look and give me some feedback as to what I might be missing in my use and understanding of the information.

The url for the Studio Scene tool is http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/studiocompare.asp

Using the drop-downs select a DSLR like the Canon EOS 60D as the Primary Camera. Then pick the Nikon Coolpix S9100 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V as the Secondary Cameras.

Then move the small marqueed election window over the wig located to the left of the wristwatch in bottom right quadrant of the image. Or over the paint brush to the left of the Martini and Rosso bottle on the left side of image. Or over the text at the bottom of the Kodak color card in the top right of image. The Sony image quality is clearly inferior to the the Nikon.

I did notice that for some regions of the image such as the engravings above the Mickey Mouse doll that the Sony and the Nikon were comparable.

So, I was for the Sony based on the reviews and increased flexibility and the absence of any reports on camera failure (Nikon has lots of posts on poor reliability.) I figured that image quality would be the same but I am now uncertain about that.

Thanks in advance to all that may check this out and comment. The jury is still out on my purchase.

-dan

4:20 pm - Monday, January 2, 2012