Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5 Review

4.5
April 6, 2010 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4.5Mb.

The Sony CyberShot DSC-HX5 produced images of very good quality during the review period. This camera handled noise very well, not becoming obvious until the relatively slow speed of ISO 800 and then becoming progressively worse at the fastest settings of ISO 1600 and 3200 - still, not bad for such a small image sensor.

Chromatic aberrations were in evidence but were well-controlled, with some limited purple fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. The 10 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, as you can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Macro performance is quite good, allowing you to focus as close as 5cms away from the subject. Commendably barrel distortion is well controlled even at the 25mm wide-angle focal length. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate overall exposure.

Anti-shake works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. The maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds allows the cameras to capture enough light for most after-dark situations.

The new Backlight Correction HDR feature dramtically increases the detail in the shadow and highlight areas, although we miss being able to choose just how much correction is applied. Both the Hand-held Twilight mode and Sweep Panorama modes work as advertised, making it simple to take hand-held low-light and wide-vista shots.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Sony CyberShot DSC-HX5. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Sony CyberShot DSC-HX5's 10x zoom lens offers a versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:

25mm

250mm

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. You can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Sony CyberShot DSC-HX5 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.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Sony CyberShot DSC-HX5 allows you to focus on a subject that is 5cms 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 Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Sony CyberShot DSC-HX5 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 (25mm)

Forced Flash - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Suppressed Flash - Telephoto (250mm)

Forced Flash - Telephoto (250mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Forced Flash setting or the Red-Eye Correction option caused any red-eye.

Forced Flash

Forced Flash (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night Shot

The Sony CyberShot DSC-HX5'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 25 seconds at ISO 125. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Backlight Correction HDR Mode

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

Hand-held Twilight Mode

In the Hand-held Twilight mode the DSC-HX5 takes six high-ISO photos in rapid succession and combines them into a single image. To test this, I took the same shot twice, once with the feature enabled, and once in either Program or Manual mode.

Program Mode Hand-held Twilight Mode
(100% Crop) (100% Crop)
   
Manual Mode (ISO 125, 25 seconds) Hand-held Twilight Mode (1/8th second)
(100% Crop) (100% Crop)

Intelligent Sweep Panorama Mode

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5 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 now even successfully compensates for moving subjects. The main catch is that the resulting image is of fairly low resolution. Check out some examples below - note the absence of any "ghosting" effects around the moving people in the second shot.

 

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, wide-angle, sony, 10 megapixel, 1080i, 10fps, 10x zoom, GPS, 25mm, cybershot, hx5, dsc-hx5, dsc hx5, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5 Review

Tracker Pixel for Entry