Sony Cyber-shot HX200V Digital Camera Review
Sony stands by a successful superzoom design, but goofs up by cramming it with too many megapixels.
Low Light Performance
Low-light performance is good enough for occasional decent snapshots, but it isn't the HX200V's strength. Focus is fast and accurate as long as you're shooting toward the wide-angle setting. Quick shots will look fine, but if the ISO setting is cranked up too high (ISO 1600), you'll notice lots of grain, and details will look as soft and smudgy as an oil painting. Avoid zooming in dimmer lighting, since the maximum aperture falls off quickly and focus becomes slow and unreliable. You'll get nothing but blurry shots.
It looks like 18.2 megapixels is just too much to cram onto a tiny point-and-shoot sensor. We're generally pretty forgiving about high megapixel counts, but Sony done goofed this time.
The HX200V is very noisy throughout the entire ISO range. We measured nearly 1% noise at ISO 100, which is pretty awful. We expect around 0.6% at base ISO from a camera like this. What's worse, the HX200V applies a ton of noise reduction even at that lowest sensitivity, so details are soft and smudgy. The noise-to-signal ratio climbs to about 2.25% at ISO 1600 and 2.5% at ISO 3200—those are figures we expect from, like, $120 point-and-shoots with crummy CCD sensors. Not good. More on how we test noise.
ISO sensitivity ranges from 100 to 12800, adjustable in stops of 1/3. An auto ISO setting is available. Above ISO 3200, a multi-shot noise-reduction mode automatically kicks in.
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