Sony Cyber-shot HX99 Review

November 6, 2018 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 18 megapixel JPEG setting, which produces an average image size of around 6Mb.

Noise

The Sony Cyber-shot HX99 has eight standard sensitivity settings available at full resolution in single-shot mode, ranging between ISO 80 and 6400.

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

Focal Range

The Sony Cyber-shot HX99's 30x zoom lens offers a focal range of 24-720mm when converted into a 35mm camera format. Here you can see just how big a zoom range that gives you.

24mm

focal_range1.jpg

720mm

focal_range2.jpg

File Quality

Three JPEG compression quality options are available to accompany all image sizes: SuperFine, Fine and Standard, with file sizes around 12Mb, 6.5MB and 4.5MB respectively.

SuperFine

Fine

quality_super_fine.jpg quality_fine.jpg

Standard

quality_standard.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Sony Cyber-shot HX99 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

Sony quotes a minimum focus distance of 5cm for the HX99, which isn't particularly impressive. We however were able to focus down to around 3cm with the lens at maximum wide angle.

macro1.jpg

Flash

Four flash settings are available: Autoflash, Fill-flash, Slow Sync and Rear Sync. The flash itself is reasonably powerful, but there is some vignetting visible at wide angle from a distance of 1.5m.

Suppressed Flash - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64

Forced Flash - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64

Suppressed Flash - Telephoto (720mm)

ISO 64

Forced Flash - Telephoto (720mm)

ISO 64

A separate menu option controls whether or not red-eye reduction is active. When disabled, our testing revealed a hint of red-eye, but red-eye reduction successfully eliminates this.

Forced Flash

flash_on.jpg

Red-eye Reduction

flash_redeye.jpg

Night

Night-time landscapes can be captured in three ways: Night Scene mode captured this scene with a long 2-second exposure at ISO 80, making a tripod essential. The default Superior Auto mode tries to be clever and shoots multiple frames to reduce image noise. However, the exposure metering is off and the result is too bright. Finally, you can switch to shutter priority mode to manually select a long exposure up to 30 seconds in length. This option was used to shoot the last of our three night-time test images and the result is a 1-second exposure at ISO 125.

night1.jpg

Image Stabilization

Sony's Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation system does a good job of ironing out any camera shake when shooting in good light. In darker conditions some slight blur can show up in some shots if you're not being extra careful to hold the camera still.

Off

On

antishake1.jpg antishake2.jpg

Off

On

antishake4.jpg antishake3.jpg

Picture Effects

The Sony Cyber-shot HX99 contains thirteen Picture Effects, some with additional sub options: Toy camera (normal, cool, warm, green, magenta), Pop color, Posterization (colour, mono), Retro photo, Soft high-key, Partial color (red, green, blue, yellow), High-contrast mono, Soft focus (low, mid, high), HDR painting (low, mid, high), Rich-tone mono, Miniature (top, middle horizontal, bottom, left, middle vertical, right), Watercolor, Illustration (low, mid, high).

Toy Camera

Pop Color

picture_effect_01.jpg picture_effect_02.jpg

Posterization

Posterization B&W

picture_effect_03.jpg picture_effect_04.jpg

Retro

Soft High-key

picture_effect_05.jpg picture_effect_06.jpg

Partial Color (Red)

Partial Color (Green)

picture_effect_07.jpg picture_effect_08.jpg

Partial Color (Blue)

Partial Color (Yellow)

picture_effect_09.jpg picture_effect_10.jpg

High-contrast Mono

Soft Focus

picture_effect_11.jpg picture_effect_12.jpg

HDR Painting

Rich-tone Mono

picture_effect_13.jpg picture_effect_14.jpg

Miniature

Watercolor

picture_effect_15.jpg picture_effect_16.jpg

Illustration

picture_effect_17.jpg

iSweep Panorama

Sony's iSweep Panorama mode gives horizontal and vertical panning options. Three horizontal widths are available: Standard (roughly 120 degrees), Wide (180 degrees) and a full 360-degree pan. There's no ability to simply stop panning at will though. Whichever width you choose, the result is a seamless panorama with a consistent exposure, albeit considerably downsized to 1080 vertical pixels. To be fair to Sony, most competing compact cameras with sweep panorama modes have similar limitations. If you're after something more spectacular, you'd be better off manually snapping adjacent overlapping images and stitching them on a computer with additional software.

Standard
panorama_standard.jpg
Wide
panorama_wide.jpg