The HX60 is an interesting option for those who want a camera that offers a lot of functionality in a (relatively) pocket-friendly body size.
Fortunately for consumers, there's a lot of choice on the market at the moment, with three travel compact cameras currently offering the 30x optical zoom reach that the HX60 features.
The HX60 is a very capable camera, producing bright, vivid images with plenty of detail. There's a problem of image smoothing throughout the sensitivity range, but this is something we've also seen on the Panasonic TZ60.
Also, it's only particularly noticeable when examining images at 100% - something the average user of this camera will never have the need to do. If you're printing at A3 sizes or below, images look great.
Built-in Wi-Fi and, to some extent, NFC connectivity, is starting to become a bit of an industry norm for modern cameras. Nevertheless, it's great to see it here, and on the whole it's easy to use.
The ability to add apps from the PlayMemories store is a nice function too, as it gives you scope to add optional extras – an app for uploading directly to Facebook, for instance. There's not a great deal of choice in the store at the moment, but hopefully Sony will continue to support and expand the choice available.
Looking at the downsides, it's a shame not to see a touchscreen on this model, but a decent number of dials and buttons make operation easy, so it's not too bad that there isn't one. That's also true of thePanasonic TZ60.
Having full manual control is great, as well as other semi-automatic modes, as it makes this an appealing camera for those who own DSLRs or are experienced photographers that want a back-up or travel camera. It would be nice to be able to shoot in raw format though, something which the TZ60 does offer.
There's a good range of creative options, with Picture Effects and Sweep Panorama being easy and fun to use.
The HX60 is a sleek camera, especially when you consider its 30x optical zoom. Image quality at the far end of the telephoto optic is excellent, with optical image stabilisation doing a good job of helping to produce blur-free images. This is the key selling point of this camera, and although others offer it, the HX60 does a very good job of producing excellent images at its furthest reach. Digital zoom is good, too.
It would be easy for photographers to be put off by the lack of detail when examining images at 100%, but it's also worth considering the likelihood that you will ever print off an image at huge sizes – it seems unlikely for a camera of this kind. That said, it's the thing we dislike about the camera the most.
The HX60 is a solid choice for anybody who wants a reliable travel camera that can take great shots, has a decent range of creative options and offers a lot of flexibility in terms of the zoom range.
Unfortunately for Sony, where once it offered something unique with its huge zoom range, other manufacturers, namely Panasonic and Canon, have caught up and also offer that range, giving consumers more choice and making it difficult for Sony to stand out quite so much.
Still, it's an attractive option, with built-in connectivity making it appealing to those who want to share images quickly while out with the camera.