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Gear Hands-On

Sony DSC-HX80 Hands-On and Opinion

I had some quality hands-on time with the Sony DSC-HX80 digital camera. With improvements in smart phone cameras, manufacturers have been trying to differentiate between them. In this case, Sony has a tiny camera that has an EVF, huge zoom range, and a flip-up screen. The camera has a small 1/2.3″ sensor but they try to make up for that in features.

Get the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX80 Digital Camera here:
B&H Photo Video
Amazon.com
Get it used on KEH.com (with a warranty most likely)

Features of note:

  • This is a compact 1/2.3 inch sensor camera with a 24-720mm equivalent lens with an 18.2mp lens.
  • It’s solid in the hands, very compact for what it includes.
  • A flip-up screen for selfie photos and videos.
  • The battery is a NP-BX1 X-Type rated at 1240 mAh. Not too bad for a small camera like this with an estimated ~390 photos per charge.
  • It has optical stabilization.
  • WIFI and NFC for connection to phones with their PlayMemories app.
  • It has a small pop-up electronic viewfinder.

Features I’d like to see improved on:

  • The maximum aperture range of f3.5-6.4 isn’t ideal. That means less light will get to the sensor than a lens that starts at something like f2.8 and ends at f5.6.
  • Contrast detection AF only, so no phase detection pixels.
  • I’d personally prefer at least 20mm on the wide end.
  • The pop-up viewfinder is very small. If this is a key feature for you then you might want to look into a larger camera.
  • Video recording goes up to 1080p only.

Final thoughts?

It gives you features you won’t get on a smart phone such as the 24-270mm zoom lens and various dedicated camera specific control options. Smaller and with better build quality than the Nikon A900, but includes features such as the electronic viewfinder. Though, it doesn’t have the extreme range of the A900 (24-480mm) or the 4k video.

All of the cameras I’ve done hands-on videos about are also available in this kit.co list.

Thanks to Camera Craft in Rockford, Illinois, USA for allowing me to film there: http://cameracraftinc.com/

Video Transcription

Hey, this is Scott of Photography Banzai. In this
video I'll be doing a hands-on with the

Sony DSC-HX80. A neat little digital
camera.

Thanks to Camera Craft in Rockford
Illinois for allowing me to film there.

This HX-80 is a very small digital
camera. Of course they're having a lot of

challenges with great cameras in phones
these days. They're trying to

differentiate and this camera definitely
has some features you won't find on a

phone. It does have a standard 1/2.3 inch
sensor. That is pretty much the

smallest sensor that most digital
cameras have these days. Has a viewfinder.

Has a nice lens attached. You know you're
not going to get that with a phone. I do

feel there are definitely still uses and
reasons to have a small digital camera.

Something like this... This is a 24 to 720mm equivalent lens on it, so

there's an extreme amount of zoom range
on it, but the equivalent focal length of 24mm

is pretty decently wide. This camera does
have a nice large battery in it, and an

estimated 390 shots per charge. As I
mentioned the lens is 24 to 720mm

equivalent, so it's a very
very big range. The potential drawback is

the aperture. You've got f3.5 to f6.4 throughout
that zoom range. I would have liked to

see something faster, but it is a
relatively inexpensive camera for what

it is... so I do understand the apertures
are not as large as something a little

more expensive. The lens itself also has
some type of stabilization. I do record a

little video you can check out. It
appears to work relatively well. I didn't

do any extensive testing, but it does
have that stabilization, which is very

nice to have. And especially a camera
like this with those smaller apertures.

Of course, a cool feature of this camera
is that flip up screen. It's kind of

designed to do the selfie videography
and things of that nature. Taking photos

of yourself and a few other people. Flip
up that screen. Actually, when you press

the shutter button.. when the screen is
flipped up it'll give you a countdown,

which is really nice to have in that
situation. So you can see here I'm doing

a selfie with the screen flipped up.
Press the button, get the few second

countdown, takes a photo pretty much as
easy as it can get

with that selfie stuff... Standard USB port
on the camera covered by a little

plastic cover. Here's the lens in a
little bit of detail.. When you turn it on

It extends quite a bit, even when you
zoom in and out there's even more

further extension to that lens, so it
gets very far from the camera. Of course,

you really need that extension for such
a huge zoom range on it. You can tell

this camera is designed to be used handheld.
It does have a tripod mount, but it's

not in-line with the lens. It also has an
HDMI connection, but it's on the bottom

of the camera.. which is a little
interesting. The battery door seems decent

quality. It has a switch on it, which is
pretty solid. The battery itself is a NPB-X1

x-type battery. 1240 mAh
like I said 390 potential shots on it,

which is not bad for a camera like this.
Of course one SD card slot, but it does take

those memory stick Sony specific
cards, which I'm surprised still exist.

But that is an option if you have those
instead of SD cards for whatever reason. The

camera surprisingly does have the
electronic viewfinder in it. You have a

little switch that you hold down it will
turn on the camera if you pop up the

viewfinder when the camera is not on
which is nice. The EVF is very tiny. It took

me a little effort to figure out how to
use it properly to get a decent look

through it. Taking off my glasses worked
relatively well. I did figure out how to

get a decent view with glasses on. Has
that diopter on the top. Very easy to

change which is nice. When you do extend
the viewfinder you have to pull it out

by hand so it extends back towards the
user and then it'll work as you expect

pretty neat little viewfinder. Of course
it is very very small. Just consider that

if it's a key feature for you. It looks
nice when you can get a view in there,

but it is very tiny. The camera also has a
flash.. A nice little pop-up flash.

Nothing to complain about with that. I
did test out the zoom range. You can see

in this clip.
Extreme zoom range, especially for such a

tiny camera. I think the best situation
to use that would be of course outdoors

in broad daylight.. Nice bright situation. You do
have to consider the aperture gets

quite a bit smaller at the extended zoom.
I did try this camera out

with selfie video mode. Took a short
clip. Also, I used my action camera to film

myself doing a selfie, so a double selfie. I
think it turned out alright. You can see

how it looks. Actually works pretty
decently well at the 24mm

equivalent. The fully wide-angle of that
lens. I think they did a very nice job

with the intended purpose for that selfie
stuff and you also have the shake

reduction, which can help. I think this
camera will work decently well in that

vlogging situation. Of course you do have
to consider quality will not be amazing.

It's 1080p, also the sensor inside is
small. You just definitely want to try it out

for yourself if you can before you go
out and buy it. Because image quality

will not be something like one inch
sensor cameras so the RX100 series from

Sony. Those will definitely have higher
quality than this, but I do think this is

a nice option. Especially if you can get
it at a decent price. There's a lot of

unique features you won't find in a
phone. The EVF the super long-range zoom.

It does have a flash of course. That
probably works decently well, I didn't

do too much with it. I took one or two
photos with the flash, but it is in there

and it's nice to have. Of course the screen..
you can use it fully extended back

towards the user if you have the lens
face towards you for the selfie stuff, but

you can also use it kinda from the hip
as they say. Where it's halfway extended

get some nice stabilization in the way
that you're holding it. You can do some

panning shots. You have a nice camera
maybe on your phone, but it won't do

everything this can do. You do have more
control in this case.. a lot of menu

options..
very very few phones have a lot of

manual control to them. So that was a
Sony DSC HX-80. A neat little camera. Glad

that I had some time to check it out.
So I'm Scott from Photography Banzai.

I hope you found this video interesting.
Again, thanks to Camera Craft in Rockford

Illinois. Definitely check them out if
you're in the area. Thanks again!

Get the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX80 Digital Camera here:
B&H Photo Video
Amazon.com
Get it used on KEH.com (with a warranty most likely)