Sony HX300 review

Big body, huge lens and large resolution bridge camera

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As established in our introduction, the Sony HX300 is a chunky beast. And with chunky dimensions of 129.6 x 93.2 x 103.2mm (5.1 x 3.7 x 4.1 inches), it's one for the camera bag or wearing around your neck rather than for squeezing into a pocket or purse.

Weight too is a hefty 650g (1lb 7oz) with the NP-BX1 lithium ion battery and choice of either an SD card or memory stick inserted. At least it feels like we are getting our money's worth, and certainly this is a camera that feels more comfortable to grip with both hands, thereby providing extra stability when shooting handheld at longer focal lengths.

Because the camera is styled like a consumer DSLR, from the get go we were expecting a DSLR-like handling experience. On the Sony HX300 this extends to a funky metal-ridged manual ring for zooming and focusing - flick a switch on the lens barrel to alternate between these two options - plus a jog dial and customisable buttons in order to retain favourite settings.

Sony HX300 review

Naturally, aside from the creative filter effects, we get the creative quartet of program, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual shooting mode settings ranged around a bottle top-shaped mode dial set behind the shutter release. This button is encircled by another means of adjusting the zoom, via a regular zoom lever.

As well as the mode dial featuring the regular P,A,S,M quartet, we also get two auto modes, a scene mode, video mode, intelligent Sweep Panorama mode and even a dedicated 3D option; 11 choices in all.

A red video record button sits top-right of the back plate where it falls under the thumb, ready to instantly commence filming with a single press, whereby the view on the rear LCD narrows to display a 16:9 format image.

Sony HX300 review

In truth the Sony HX300's backplate controls are more redolent of a compact camera than a DSLR, such is their pared-down simplicity.

Thus we also get a familiar four-way control pad alongside the angle-adjustable LCD screen, which can be tilted up or angled down, but not fully swung out parallel to the body or turned towards the subject for self-portrait shots. It's not a touchscreen either, but it does feel large enough that such a feature could have been implemented.

On-screen menu options are bright and clear, with the initial function menu extending the height of the screen on its left-hand side, its options tabbed through in conjunction with the multi-directional control pad.

Sony HX300 review

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We had to immediately disable the operational beep sound though, since it was so loud that it distracted us and our subjects.

Confusingly, at first we couldn't locate how to adjust ISO from this menu - it simply isn't listed. It turns out that that a spin of the DSLR-style command wheel top-right of the backplate highlights settings such as ISO and aperture on-screen, so that you can tab between them with a press of said wheel.

Perhaps we're wrong to expect everything, but we missed the fact that Sony hasn't provided an eye sensor alongside the camera's electronic viewfinder, to automatically switch it on and deactivate the screen below.

Sony HX300 review

Instead we get a simple finder/LCD button on the Sony HX300's top plate, just behind the main power button. The location here means it's easy to overlook, and we'd have preferred to have this control adjacent to the EVF itself on the backplate. Instead, Sony has chosen to put the video record button in this position.

In short, though more or less every control we expected falls within reasonable reach of finger or thumb, we didn't find ourselves stretching or grasping in the heat of the image-making action.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution20.4 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product FamilyCyber-shot H
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedMemory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO High Speed Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick Micro, Memory Stick XC-HG Duo, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), microSD Card, microSDHC Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom50x
Digital Zoom200x
Brand NameSony
FeaturesFace Detection, Continuous Shooting Mode, Smile Detection, Live View
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Viewfinder TypeOptical
Weight (Approximate)623 g
Image Sensor Size1/2.3" (6.16 mm x 4.62 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution5184 x 3888
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height93.2 mm
Width129.6 mm
Depth103.2 mm
Product SeriesH
Focal Length4.30 mm to 215 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelDSC-HX300
Product NameHX300 Digital Compact Camera
Product LineCyber-shot
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDSCHX300B.CEH
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Take your photography to the next level

Explore the creative freedom of manual controls plus DSLR-style design that fits comfortably in your hand. Pull any scene closer with the 50x optical zoom. Lock on to your subject with fast autofocus. Give your photos a professional finish, even when the lights are low.

Package Contents
  • HX300 Digital Compact Camera
  • Rechargeable Battery Pack (NP-BX1)
  • AC Adaptor (AC-UB10/UB10B/UB10C/UB10D)
  • Micro USB
  • Instruction Manual
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Lens Cap
  • Software Media
Limited Warranty1 Year