For a compact camera, the Sony HX10V is relatively heavy and bulky, which gives it a good air of quality.

It's still small enough to slip neatly into a pocket or bag, which will surely be the main appeal to travelling (or holidaying) photographers.

Sony HX10V review

A good size finger grip combined with a rubberised thumb rest on the back of the camera gives the camera good purchase when shooting one-handed.

On the top of the camera is a dial, which can be used to choose between the different camera modes. These include fully manual, program (which offers automatic exposure but with control over some other settings), scene mode, panorama mode and two intelligent Auto options.

It's handy to have a dial on the top of the Sony HX10V to quickly switch between settings, rather than having to delve into extensive menu systems to make changes.

Sony HX10V review

Buttons on the back of the camera are sensibly laid out, with a scroll dial doubling up as four-way directional arrows. Access to commonly used settings such as Display, burst mode/timer, flash and picture styles correspond with directional keys.

Hitting the menu button takes you into a Quick Menu, rather than the full shooting menu. This presents you with the options you're most likely to want to change, such as image size or turning the GPS log tracker on.

If you do feel you need more extensive options, selecting the toolbox icon from the camera's quick menu gives you access to the full menu.

Sony HX10V review

The scroll wheel on the back of the camera can either be used for navigating through menus or images during playback, or it can be used in conjunction with the centre button to make changes when in manual mode.

To change settings such as aperture when in this mode, hit the centre button and scroll the dial. Hit the centre button again to shift to shutter speed, and again to change sensitivity settings.

The camera has the ability to record GPS signals in the EXIF data of an image, making it easy to plot the image on a map. GPS can be turned on or off via the extensive menu system, while the ability to record a log of the camera's movements can be switched on via the quick menu.

Sony HX10V review

It would be nice to have a quick way to instantly switch off GPS altogether, especially because it can be a battery drain and doesn't work indoors.

In automatic modes, pressing the down button on the back of the camera accesses Photo Creativity mode. This enables changes to Brightness, Colour and Vivid to be made in beginner-friendly language. Using the scroll dial on the back of the camera alters the settings for each of the options.

You'll also find the Picture Effect setting here, a number of digital filters that can be applied. It's worth pointing out, however, that shooting in manual or program gives access to more digital filters than can be found in iAuto, and variations on some of the others. In manual or program mode, these can be accessed via the Quick Menu.

On the bottom right of the camera is a button marked with a question mark. Hit this to bring up an In-Camera Guide. This useful function can be used to explain what each icon means, or to walk you through taking the photo you want. There's also a basic operation guide, and a Troubleshooting option. Theoretically, you need never look at the instruction manual if you get stuck.