Sony Cyber-shot HX200V Digital Camera Review$479.99
Ease of Use
- Automatic Features
- Buttons & Dials
- Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
- Instruction Manual
The HX200V has two dedicated auto modes, iAuto and iAuto+ (like most other Sony compacts this year). If you just want to let the camera do all the work, both modes are great options. We love iAuto+ because of the way it uses clever, multi-shot processing tricks to improve image quality—and you'll never have to think about it.
Buttons & Dials
The button layout on the HX200V is decent for a superzoom, but the interface feels...unfamiliar at best, awkward at worst. The functions mapped to the four-way pad have an amateurish bent—you can adjust "Photo Creativity" (a simplified, jargon-free way to adjust brightness, color, and saturation) if you're in auto mode, but there's no ISO hot key.
The important exposure controls (ISO, shutter, aperture, and EV compensation) are mapped to the jog dial. It sounds fine, but is unintuitive in practice. You need to press the dial to cycle through the settings, which are laid out in a linear order, so it can take up to four presses to move from ISO adjustments to EV comp adjustments—and when you get there, the dial isn't very responsive when you rotate it.
Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
By our count, the HX200V has 9 Picture Effect modes and 16 scene modes.
The menu system is a weak point. There's no quick menu for adjusting basic exposure or processing parameters, nor is there a great hot-key system. Exposure controls are mapped to the jog dial in a linear cycling system, which is weird for reasons we discussed above. Everything else is contained in one long menu, forcing users to scroll past a large handful of options every time they want to make an adjustment.
The HX200V comes with a basic printed manual, like most point-and-shoots. But unlike most cameras, it does not come with an electronic copy on a CD-ROM—you'll need to download it from Sony's website. Environmentally conscious, or just cheap? You decide. Doesn't it cost like 5 cents to burn a CD?