Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V review

The HX9V is one of the pricier pocket-sized ultra-zoom cameras, but it's also the most feature-packed. There's AVCHD video recording at up to 1080/50p, GPS tagging, manual exposure and focus control and a 3in, 921,000-dot screen that's as sharp as the eye can see. Battery life is also outstanding for a compact camera at 410 shots.

The navigation pad doubles as a dial to enable quick adjustments, but manual exposure settings were inexplicably slow to update we turned the dial. The spot focus point was much quicker to adjust, and a Custom button can be assigned to exposure compensation, ISO speed or white balance.

There's a notable lack of aperture- and shutter-priority modes – it appears that the camera uses a neutral-density filter to simulate smaller apertures, as only two settings are available for any given focal length. That's not necessarily a problem but it does preclude experimenting with depth-of-field effects.

Sony does scene presets better than anyone: iSweep Panorama and 3D Shooting capture panoramic images in 2D and 3D respectively simply by slowly rotating the camera. Anti Motion Blur captures, aligns and overlays six frames to reduce noise in low light.

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