How do you convince people to buy a point-and-shoot in a time when smartphone cameras can rival them in image quality? Sony seems to think the way is to cram some crazy features into the darn thing. That’s exactly what the outfit does with the Sony Cyber-shot HX99.
Billed as the “smallest travel high-zoom camera,” the device measures just 4 x 2.3 x 1.4 inches, which makes it smaller, albeit much thicker, than many modern smartphones. Still, at the size, it’s small enough to fit in your pocket, making it a viable addition to your everyday-carry if the onboard capabilities makes it a much better option for photos and videos than what you can get from your phone.
The Sony Cyber-Shot HX99 houses a 1/2.3-inch Exmor R CMOS sensor inside that pocket-friendly body, allowing it to capture 18.2-megapixel stills, which it pairs with a 24-720mm equivalent f/3.5-6.4 zoom lens that’s capable of an insane 28x zoom. Basically, if you need the kind of serious optical zoom a smartphone can’t deliver, this offers the best option if size is a priority. The lens itself comes with optical image stabilization, minimizing camera shake and blur without lowering the resolution, complete with a zoom assist function that enables faster and more accurate zooming by offering a temporary zoom-out display showcasing a wider area, so you can find your subject and quickly reframe – something that should come in handy when shooting a fast-moving subject that can easily move out of frame.
Equipped with Sony’s BIONZ X processing engine, the camera can capture 4K video at 30 fps with full pixel readout and without the need for pixel binning like many smartphones do, as well as 1080p footage at up to 120 fps, ensuring you can use this to capture slow-motion video. During still photography, it can acquire focus in just 0.09 seconds, while performing burst shots at a rate of 10 fps for up to 155 shots.
The Sony Cyber-Shot HX99 has a 2.95-inch touchscreen display that can be titled up to 180 degrees to make it functional for selfies, with touch functions that make it easier to set the focus and shift it smoothly using simple onscreen gestures. An OLED viewfinder pops-up from the top of the camera for more accurate framing, while a customizable control ring gives you easy access to your most frequently-used functions. It also comes with location data acquisition, although it does that by pairing with a GPS-equipped mobile phone via Bluetooth and using that to get the data.
Using Sony’s companion app, you can control the camera’s shutter, zoom, and various other functions, while onboard Wi-Fi allows you to transfer any photos and videos you capture instantly. Other features include the outfit’s EyeAF technology (the algorithm that detects and focuses on the main subject’s eyes in Sony’s more expensive cameras), a maximum ISO of 6,400 (basically, forget using it in low-light), a pop-up flash, support for shooting images in RAW format, and a strategic grip that offers better stability during handheld shooting.