Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 Review

May 3, 2013 | Mark Goldstein |


The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 is a rather modest update of last year's HX200V model, principally adding a bigger 50x zoom and slightly more megapixels. This doesn't feel like enough of a step forward though, especially as most of our criticisms of the HX300 haven't been addressed, namely a lack of direct access to the ISO speed and other key settings, a missing second control wheel, no RAW format support, a low-resolution electronic viewfinder, an LCD that can only be tilted up and down, and the inability to attach an external flashgun. The move to a 20 megapixel sensor, while looking good on paper, has resulted in slightly poorer image quality than the HX200 offered, and that camera's GPS functionality has disappeared entirely from the 2013 model.

The inclusion of a 50x zoom lens means that the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 offers the same 24-1200mm focal length as one of its main rivals, the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS. Commendably we were able to achieve sharp results shooting handheld even at the far reaches of the zoom, although the camera somewhat inevitably increased the ISO speed to try and compensate, resulting in noisier images. Still, its heartening to discover that the 50x zoom is actually a lot more usable in real-life than you might first imagine. We are disappointed that the electronic viewfinder still only has a resolution of 202k dots, especially considering that it's imperative to compose your photos through the viewfinder given the huge focal range, and there's no longer any automatic switching between LCD and EVF either when you hold the camera up to your eye.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 ultimately suffers in comparison to the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS, Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 by not offering enough prosumer features, especially when you factor in its high price-tag. In a crowded marketplace with less well-specified models available at cheaper prices and better-specified alternatives for the same kind of money, it's difficult to more whole-heartedly recommend the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300, even thought that 50x zoom lens is literally hard to ignore.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4
Value for money 4