Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 Review

May 3, 2013 | Mark Goldstein | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 20.4 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

The Sony CyberShot DSC-HX300 produced images of good quality during the review period. It handled noise fairly well, with a little noise appearing at the relatively slow speed of ISO 400 and then becoming progressively worse at the faster settings of ISO 800 and 1600. The fastest settings of ISO3200-12,8000 all suffer from a loss of fine detail, so much so that we wouldn't use any of them unless absolutely neccesary.

Chromatic aberrations were in evidence but were well-controlled, with some limited purple fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. The 20 megapixel images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting and require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can increase the in-camera sharpening level.

Macro performance is excellent, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject. Commendably barrel distortion is well controlled even at the 24mm wide-angle focal length of the incredibly versatile 50x zoom lens. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate overall exposure. The maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds allows the cameras to capture enough light for most after-dark situations.

The Backlight Correction HDR feature dramatically increases the detail in the shadow and highlight areas, although we miss being able to choose just how much correction is applied. There's a good range of Color Modes and Picture Effects on offer, while the Sweep Panorama mode makes it simple to take wide-vista shots.

Noise

There are 8 ISO settings available on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso100.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso400.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso1600.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso6400.jpg
   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

 
iso12800.jpg  

Focal Range

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300's 50x zoom lens offers an incredibly versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:

24mm

1200mm

focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are just a little soft and ideally benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Alternatively you can change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 handled chromatic aberrations well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Macro

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 allows you to focus on a subject that is just 1cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 are Auto, Forced Flash, Slow Syncro, No Flash, with a Red-eye Reduction option in the Main menu. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Suppressed Flash - Wide Angle (24mm)

Forced Flash - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Suppressed Flash - Telephoto (1200mm)

Forced Flash - Telephoto (1200mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, both the Forced Flash setting or the Red-Eye Correction option caused a tiny amount of red-eye.

Forced Flash

Forced Flash (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Night

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds in the Manual mode, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 80.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Background Defocus

Background Defocus attempts to mimic the sharp subject and out-of-focus background effect that DSLR owners typically enjoy, shooting two frames in quick succession and varying the aperture between each one.

On

On (100% Crop)

background_defocus1.jpg background_defocus1a.jpg

Backlight Correction HDR

DRO is Sony's solution for improving shadow and highlight detail in photos taken in contrasty light, significantly increasing the image's dynamic range. The examples show the rather dramatic effect of turning this feature on.

Off

On

backlight_off.jpg backlight_on.jpg

Picture Effects

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 offers a range of nine creative Picture Effects.

Off

HDR Painting

picture_effects_01.jpg picture_effects_02.jpg
   

Rich-tone Monochrome

Miniature

picture_effects_03.jpg picture_effects_04.jpg
   

Toy Camera

Pop Color

picture_effects_05.jpg picture_effects_06.jpg
   

Partial Color (Red)

Soft High-key

picture_effects_07.jpg picture_effects_08.jpg
   

Watercolor

Illustration

picture_effects_09.jpg picture_effects_10.jpg

Picture Effects

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 offers a range of four color modes.

Off

Vivid

colour_mode_01.jpg colour_mode_02.jpg
   

Real

Sepia

colour_mode_03.jpg colour_mode_04.jpg
   

B&W

 
colour_mode_05.jpg  

Intelligent Sweep Panorama

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 allows you to take panoramic images very easily, by 'sweeping' with the camera while keeping the shutter release depressed. The camera does all the processing and stitching and even successfully compensates for moving subjects, with the new High Resolution mode successfully creating a 40+ megapixel image.

Standard
panorama1.jpg
 
Wide
panorama2.jpg
 
360
panorama3.jpg
 
High Resolution
panorama4.jpg