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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V review

Audley Jarvis




  • Recommended by TR

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Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V Black Digital Camera (16.2 Megapixel - 4.28 mm-68.48 mm - 3" LCD - 16x Optical Zoom - Optical IS - 4608 x 3456 Image - 1920 x 1080 Video - MPEG-4 - HDMI)
  • Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V Black Digital Camera (16.2 Megapixel - 4.28 mm-68.48 mm - 3" LCD - 16x Optical Zoom - Optical IS - 4608 x 3456 Image - 1920 x 1080 Video - MPEG-4 - HDMI)
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Our Score:



  • Build quality
  • Image quality
  • Ease of use


  • Restricted aperture control
  • No Raw shooting
  • Expensive

Key Features

  • 16.2-megapixels
  • 16x zoom (24mm - 384mm)
  • 1080p Full HD movies
  • Fully manual controls
  • 3inch, 921k-dot LCD monitor
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £299.99

Whether you’re a photography enthusiast who regularly travels and likes to have a quality camera to hand without having to pack the DSLR, or someone who’s about to go on holiday and on the lookout for a small, practical compact with a big zoom, the travel compact market is currently awash with models tailor-made for exactly those purposes.

In recent months we’ve looked at a number of new-to-the-market travel compacts, including the Panasonic TZ20, Canon SX230HS and Fujifilm F550 to name but three. The HX9V we have here is Sony’s latest contribution to the genre.

Launched alongside the HX7 earlier this year, the HX9 is the bigger brother of the two and as such benefits from a longer zoom, but is otherwise identical to its smaller sibling. Together, the two models replace the highly-rated Sony HX5 that was released last year.

With a 30x zoom, 16.2MP Emore R sensor, fully manual controls, a 3-inch high-resolution LCD screen, Sony’s class-leading Sweep Panorama technology, Full HD movie capture with stereo sound, and built-in GPS functionality the HX9V certainly brings plenty to the table. But is it enough to see off the competition? Let’s take a closer look and find out…

The HX9V is built around a 1/2.3in Sony Exmor R CMOS sensor that offers an effective resolution of 16.2-megapixels. This is complimented by the latest generation Sony BIONZ image processor that allows the HX9V to shoot continuously at 10fps at full resolution – if only for 10 frames at a time.

Standard sensitivity runs from ISO 100 to 3200. There is a High Sensitivity option tucked away within the Scene mode menu that hints at an expanded setting, although used in this mode even in near pitch-black test conditions we weren’t able to push the camera beyond ISO 3200.

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The 16x optical zoom is branded as a ‘Sony G lens’, which is the company’s highest optical designation and more commonly associated with expensive DSLR lenses designed for the Sony Alpha range. With its wide diameter it certainly looks and feels well made, although at full extension there is still a bit of play between the barrel extensions.

Used optically the zoom offers between 24mm and 384mm with a maximum aperture of f/3.3 (at 24mm) and f/5.9 (at 384mm). The reach of the zoom can be further extended to 64x using the Precison Digital Zoom or even to 115x using the Smart Zoom. However, as both of these options essentially rely on the camera taking a crop from the sensor and then magnifying it, images shot in this way display a marked loss of resolution, with images shot at the furthest extreme of 115x offering only VGA quality. Very much ‘emergency use only’ then.

Not to worry though, as the 16x offered by the optical zoom should cater for the overwhelming majority of situations. It’s also worth noting – especially if you’re fond of wideangle photography – that the 24mm setting is one of the widest on the market and puts the HX9V on the same footing as the Lumix TZ20, Fujifilm F550 EXR and Samsung WB650. By comparison, the Nikon P9100 starts at 25mm, while the widest the Canon SX 220HS can go is 28mm – in wideangle terms that’s actually quite a lot of difference.

Lyndon Gray

July 12, 2011, 5:32 pm

Audley, I bought this camera last week to take on my holidays rather than take my Nikon D200. it is a fantastic camera, but your point about price isn't justified. I managed to knock £30 off the price at a Sony Store and Sony are currently running a promotion where you can get £40 cash back on this particular model, dropping the price to £259. For this price and the quality photos and videos it produces and the fact that it is a very well made product, I believe it warrants a higher value for money score compared to comparable cameras that have been reviewed.


July 12, 2011, 7:03 pm

I took advantage of the £40 cash back offer as well, which Sony are running until September 25th.


I've been seriously impressed with the power of this little camera thus far, though I've only had it a few days.


July 12, 2011, 7:12 pm

Totally agree with the first comment. With Sony's current cashback offer (until 25/09/2011) the price is now not so much of a premium compared to similarly specced cameras like the Panasonic TZ20. I actually bagged one from Amazon for £281, and with the cashback it effectively drops to £241. For the features of this camera a bargain.

As for the camera itself, I've not been disappointed with the results so far. Obviously it's not going to achieve the results of a top end DSLR, but for a compact the image stills are very good providing you're not obsessed with pixel peeping. The auto modes really do their job and will handhold the average user through most types of shots. And the video mode quite frankly blows away the competition, you won't miss your camcorder if you forget it. It's THAT good.

A top travel camera, one I'm more than happy to take on my upcoming holidays.


July 12, 2011, 7:15 pm

@Lyndon Gray. I really liked the HX9V and hope that comes across in my review - it's a very well made camera that takes great images, and that is why it gets a 'TrustedReviews Recommended' award. My point about the price is based on the fact that the HX9V currently retails for approximately £80 more than the Nikon S9100 or Fuji F550 EXR, and for around £50 more than the Canon SX230 HS or Lumix TZ20 - all of which are comparable travel compact rivals. If the HX9V was widely available for around £230-250 as opposed to £300-330, then I wouldn't hesitate to bump its Value score up to 8 and its Overall score to a 9. We are only really talking small margins here.

That said, £259 still sounds like a pretty good price. I would urge anyone reading this who is interested in buying one to follow your lead and negotiate themselves a similarly good deal.


July 12, 2011, 8:36 pm

I hope the noise reduction in this newer model is not as extreme as it is on my HX5.


July 13, 2011, 12:45 am

Thanks for the review - but why does it say Sony TX10 at the top of the 'General Images' page :)


July 15, 2011, 1:13 am

Since you've changed your website, sample photo's cannot be viewed at 100% anymore. That's a pity.


July 15, 2011, 12:59 pm

Yes, sadly at the moment we can only upload images of a maximum 2MB. It's something we're pestering over developers to sort out.


August 3, 2011, 11:09 pm

Jessops have joined the Tesco Clubcard scheme giving 2x points value so this camera can be had for £130 net (x2 = £260 + £40 Sony cash back offer)

Tazo Todua at yahoo

January 9, 2013, 6:06 pm

hx9v has a good resolution.


February 10, 2013, 1:36 pm

Excellent in every way.Easy and delightful to use.If you feel lazy just put in Intelligent mode and it does it all for you.Thought I would upgrade to Sony RX100.
Disappointed.Thought zoom range would be too small and it was.
Shall stay with HX9V.

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