Sony HX300 review

Big body, huge lens and large resolution bridge camera

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The Sony HX300 powers up for action from cold in two to three seconds, the lens jutting a little proud of its housing to the sound of whirring mechanics to arrive at maximum wide angle setting, while the rear screen bursts into life with a flourish of audio.

OK, this isn't the fastest response ever - certainly it falls short of that of an actual DSLR. A half squeeze of the shutter release button and focus and exposure is determined in a blink of an eye, which is a bit more like it.

Sony HX300 review

Squeeze the shutter release button fully and, with a barely discernible shutter delay in single shot mode, a full resolution image is committed to memory in two to three seconds, with a tiny internal capacity suitable for six shots provided out of the box.

Manually rotating the zoom by hand, it is reasonably responsive to the touch, but not as responsive as a simple twist of the zoom lens on your DSLR would be, which is slightly frustrating.

Sony HX300 review

Also, it appears slower to respond when pulling back or zooming out than when you're zooming in initially. Still, if you're not in a rush to quickly snap that candid shot you saw in your mind's eye before you powered up the camera then working this way is fine, and it does feel like you're putting a bit more effort in than just alternately toggling a switch with your forefinger.

Fortunately the zoom can also be used when shooting video - you'd think that would be a prerequisite of a camera such as this, but it isn't always the case. Though the zoom reaction is slower still, it thankfully loses the mechanised motor sound that accompanies its use when shooting still images.

Sony HX300 review

What is impressive is that the image relayed to the Sony HX300's rear plate LCD or EVF even when towards maximum telephoto setting is nice and steady, whereas on the likes of a cheaper superzoom such as Nikon's Coolpix L820 it wobbles all over the place.

It's also possible to get a nigh-on sharp shot shooting at the maximum 50x optical zoom, gripping the camera in both hands, without the aid of a tripod, which is just what you want from a camera such as this.

Sony HX300 review

On most superzooms you have to take at least two or three shots of the same subject to end up with one that's reasonably crisp. OK, so the shots from this Sony camera aren't as sharp as those you'll get from an actual DSLR, but then a DSLR and lens with this sort of reach is beyond most of our possibilities.

With the camera's metering set to multi-segment in order to get a well-exposed overall image, that's by and large what we got. However, there were instances of over-exposed highlights and lost detail, as well as purple pixel fringing between areas of high contrast. In fairness, these are the kind of aberrations that would blight the JPEG output from most consumer-level compact cameras.

Sony HX300 review

There is naturally an HDR option, which pulls back some of the detail lost when exposures are otherwise tricky, but you can be left with an image that looks a little more painterly than photographic if we're nit-picking.

Of course there's not the option here to shoot raw images to give you even more hands-on control over the images.

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