Put the Sony Cyber-shot HX100V to use and it's an impressive photographic performer indeed.
Autofocus is quick throughout most of the zoom range, but slows down towards the longer end of the zoom.
Focusing modes are accessible via the Focus button behind the shutter and consist of three main options: Multi-AF, Center AF and Flexible Spot. Multi-AF provides 9-points of focus that are automatically assessed by the camera. Center AF uses the central point of the screen only and can also employ Subject Tracking so moving subjects can be targeted and followed for more accurate focus. Flexible Spot brings up a focus square that can be moved around anywhere on the screen except for the outermost edges, it's ideal for positioning the focus point just where you need it.
Close-up or 'Macro' is also a superstar mode when at the widest setting where the camera can focus on subjects as close as 1cm from the lens.
One of the biggest faults with the Sony Cyber-shot HX100V is the shutter speeds that the digital camera opts for in Auto and Priority modes. At the full extent of the zoom where fast shutter speeds are required to counteract handshake the camera has a tendency to plump for exposures that are a little too long.
At the full zoom in good sunlight it wasn't uncommon for an 810mm equivalent zoom shot to opt for a 1/80 second exposure – which, ideally, should be anywhere up to ten times this value within given reason to other values.
A 1080p movie mode allows for zooming during recording, plus the HX100V is no slouch when it comes to snapping still pictures.
Due to its compact-sized sensor, this camera isn't going to replace a DSLR in terms of its final quality, but in respect to its competitors – namely the Fuji FinePix HS20, Nikon CoolPix P5000 and Canon SX30 IS – the HX100V stands up well.
ISO and dynamic range stands ahead of the competition from ISO 100-400 in our lab tests, although real-world shots lack the finer texture and edge detail to make for truly exceptional shots.
Images are accurately metered for good exposure, and white balance is consistent in delivery of rich, colourful shots.
The 16.1MP sensor is far more populated than the previous HX1's 9.1MP resolution, and it does beg the question that if Sony was a little more conservative and had opted for a 12MP sensor would image quality have been better yet?