Sony Cyber-shot HX30V Digital Camera Review$369.99
Lens & Sensor
The 20x optical zoom lens on the HX30V is coupled with a standard 18.2-megapixel Exmor R sensor from Sony. The zoom rating is impressive, almost matching the HX10V for wide angle (4.45mm vs. 4.26mm) while extending all the way to 89mm. When you take into account the camera's smaller image sensor, that is the equivalent of a 27.5mm-550mm focal length on a full-size 35mm camera. It's not the best that we've seen, but it's very good for such a small camera and among the best in the travel zoom class.
The image sensor in the HX30V is an 18.2-megapixel Exmor R unit, at the usual point-and-shoot size of 1/2.3'' across. The sensor is backside-illuminated, which allows for the camera to gather more light per pixel while still keeping resolution impressively high.
The HX30V uses a 3-inch "Xtra Fine" LCD with TrueBlack display. It has a resolution of 921k dots, which is standard for this part of the market. The screen is your main interface with the camera, while also acting as your viewfinder. The screen, like most LCDs, can get washed out in the daylight, though the camera comes with five levels of brightness control to try and combat this.
The HX30V comes with a built-in flash unit with a guide number of approximately 7.1 meters, with various modes of control. The camera lets you use the flash automatically, as a fill-flash, in a slow synchro mode, or off entirely. The flash is positioned in the top plate of the camera, popping up whenever it has been activated.
The Sony HX30V includes both a mini-HDMI port and a micro-USB port. The construction of the camera's components must have required some interesting Twister-esque positioning, because the ports are in completely different spots. The HDMI port is located behind a plastic flap on the right side of the body, while the micro-USB slot is positioned in the bottom. The USB port allows you to transfer files off, but also to charge the battery.
The Sony HX30V uses a standard Lithium-ion battery, model number NP-BG1. It's a Sony-made unit and is a design that has been used for several generations of Sony cameras (meaning you may have a few around the house if you've owned previous Sony cameras). The battery is removable and rechargeable, with the battery gathering juice via the USB cable. You can charge it either by direct connection with a computer or via wall outlet with the included AC adapter.
The Sony HX30V offers expandable storage with a memory card slot on the bottom of the camera. Housed in the battery compartment, the card slot is compatible with SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards. It's also compatible with the full range of Sony Memory Stick Pro-Duo cards, because what would a Sony camera be without proprietary memory? If you need a card with the HX30V stick with SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.