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Sony HX9V - Design and Performance

Audley Jarvis

By Audley Jarvis



Our Score:


The HX9V is a nice camera to hold and use. It’s quite big and chunky though, even by travel compact standards. While it should fit inside most coat pockets, we suspect it’s too big for trousers.

The camera benefits from a fairly pronounced finger grip on the front to wrap your digits around, along with a thumb rest on the back. Both are treated to a rubberised coating to improve overall grip. Buttons are neatly spaced, with a one-touch movie recording button that allows you to instantly record movies conveniently placed next to the thumb rest. Assuming you don’t need to change any settings it should prove quite easy to use the HX9V single-handed.

sony HX9V 1

Accessing and navigating your way through the HX9V’s menu system is all fairly straightforward too. For those familiar with other Sony products it all feels a bit like the XcrossMediaBar system used in the PS3. Basically, a list of options runs down the left-hand side of the LCD monitor which you can scroll through using the Up and Down points of the D-pad. Once you’ve found the setting you want to access, simply tap Right or Left until you’ve selected the right option and then click the ‘OK’ button in the centre of the D-pad to confirm.

The vast majority of shooting options you will need to access on a regular basis can be found in this way. For more in-depth settings though you’ll need to click on the Menu icon within the top-layer menu, which brings up everything from Time and Date options to card formatting and Digital Zoom options. Oddly, this is also where you’ll find the controls to switch between AVCHD and MP4 movie quality. If we’re being really picky we’d prefer to see this buried a little less deeply.

Apart from that though, we have few complaints with ease-of-use. Essentially, the HX9V isn’t all that complicated and this actually makes finding your way round it much easier.

In use, the HX9V offers speedy autofocus performance with the camera getting a near instantaneous focus lock in good light and only slowing down fractionally when light levels dip. In really dark conditions the HX9V will deploy an orange AF Assist beam to help it find focus.

We timed the HX9V’s start-up time at around three seconds, which is fairly standard for a compact of this type. Used in single-shot mode the camera takes around a second to process each image. You can keep on shooting individual frames at about one to one and half frames per second without experiencing any buffer issues.

sony HX9V 4

With the camera set to burst mode the HX9V is able to shoot at an impressive 10fps at the full 16MP resolution. However, it can’t record more than ten images in one go and regardless of whether you reel off the full ten frames or just four or five, once you remove your finger from the shutter button the camera will momentarily freeze up, leaving you unable to shoot any more images until the ones you’ve already taken have been processed.

While the majority of shooting modes are easy to use and produce good results we did already mention our disappointment at the lack of Aperture-priority and Shutter-priority modes. The exclusion of Aperture-priority is especially regrettable because when used in Manual mode, the HX9V only offers a choice of two aperture settings – a minimum and a maximum one, with nothing in between. Given that this often entails the choice of just f/3.3 or f/8 it does somewhat limit the amount of manual control you really have over the camera.

We have no complaints at all with the 3cm, 921k-dot LCD monitor on the back of the HX9V though. Not only is it right up there with some high-end DSLRs in terms of quality and resolution, it’s also a joy to use and really brings your images to life when the camera is being used in playback mode.

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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