Sony Cyber-shot HX99 Review

November 6, 2018 | Mark Goldstein |

Sony Cyber-shot HX99 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.


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)

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ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

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ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

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ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

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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.





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.



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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)

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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.



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


Red-eye Reduction



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.


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.



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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

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Posterization B&W

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Soft High-key

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Partial Color (Red)

Partial Color (Green)

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Partial Color (Blue)

Partial Color (Yellow)

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High-contrast Mono

Soft Focus

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HDR Painting

Rich-tone Mono

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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.