Tuesday, March 8, 2016

News: Sony HX80

Sony just announced a new pocket camera with a great focal-length range. It has an 18 megapixel 1/2.3" sensor (which is very small). It has a 24mm-700mm equivalent Carl Zeiss f/3.5-6.4 lens. While Sony doesn't provide the exact dimensions, they claim that this is the smallest camera ever made with that amount of zoom (30x).

Some other specs include a pop-up electronic viewfinder, 3" titling screen, and WiFi capabilities.  It will be available next month for $350.

This camera intrigues me because of the Zeiss lens. I have a Sony RX100 II, and the Zeiss lens on that camera is extraordinarily sharp. It's not without flaws, but it is a zoom lens with prime-lens sharpness. I have no doubt that it is the same story with the lens on the HX80. The maximum aperture isn't great, so this camera won't be good for achieving a small depth-of-field or for low-light situations.

The sensor is small, but typical of what one finds in pocket cameras. The highest practical ISO is likely right around ISO 800, and you'll probably want to keep the ISO below that for best results. Dynamic range will be limited, but until the camera comes out it will be tough to know just how bad it is.

I'm a big fan of cameras that are pocketable. Size and weight are important to me because I'm more likely to have the camera with me when I need it if the it's not bulky. I find the photography experience to be more enjoyable with small gear.

If the HX80 is capable of saving in RAW, I might just have to give it a try. It would make a good companion to my RX100 II because the focal-length can reach well beyond the maximum 100mm of that camera. Yes, it is certainly limited by high-ISO and dynamic range, but it wouldn't be my "primary" camera, either. It would simply supplement what I already have.

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