Sony Cyber-shot HX30V Digital Camera Review$369.99
Ease of Use
The HX30V features mostly automatic modes, including two dedicated full auto modes—intelligent auto+ and superior auto. Both of these modes take over most of the heavy lifting for you, allowing you to merely point and shoot the camera at what you want to take a picture of. Superior auto takes it a step further, adding in things like automatic scene recognition and image enhancement to produce what the camera thinks will be better photos. If you're a basic shooter who just wants snapshots, these modes are great and simple to use.
Buttons & Dials
The HX30V's buttons are exclusively made of plastic, but they don't have the chintzy feel that you might expect. They're not incredibly comfortable, but they each offer a solid, audible click when activated. The one exception is the "custom" button, which is wedged between the top plate of the camera and the rear plate. It doesn't stand out much from the body, making it difficult to press sometimes. The shutter button doesn't have this problem luckily, as it stands out well above the top plate of the camera, surrounded by the zoom toggle.
Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
The HX30V includes a number of digital effects, lumped into either "color modes" or "picture effects" settings in the menu.
The HX30V is designed to be an easy to operate camera with a long zoom range. To that end it offers several menu types that cordon off more advanced options, keeping the user from feeling overwhelmed with complex options. Pressing the menu key by default brings up a list of symbols on-screen that offer access to a number of shooting settings. Depending on what mode you're in, this list may include advanced options like ISO and white balance, or may be limited to just creative settings.
If that's not enough, you can click on the toolbox symbol in this menu to be brought to the full in-camera menu. This is laid out like is is on many other cameras, with a full list of options organized into sections like shooting settings, playback, system, and memory. The sections are mostly just there as reminders, as it's really just one long list of options with no way to tab between parts of the menu quickly. If you find the base menus too complex you can activate "Easy Mode" which offers almost no options at all, with enlarged text that make the camera even easier to operate.