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Good: Everything is great other than uncontrollable aperture speed in still mode photography and zooming sound during video shoot.
Bad: Shutter / Aperture settings are not manually controllable.
Comment: I would definitely recommend it. This camera has a very few cons, if they are acceptable to you, this is a must buy.
Good: The HX7V is well designed, Photos are great. 10x zoon is terrific, Menus are well laid out, the controls easy to find and use, Build quality seems decent, Macro is great, to take pictures in a very low distance you have to use Zoom, GPS feature
Bad: Limited selection of picture compression, Only takes 3MP in video mode
Comment: Accepting the obvious limitations that one gets in a point an shoot camera, the Sony HX7V is really an excellent example. I own a couple of Nikon DSLR cameras (D700 and D300), but they are large and bulky for every day carrying around, traveling on my motorcycle, etc. So I like having a point and shoot model as a 3rd option. I have always had a point and shoot of some sort, my last being a Canon SD890 IS, which I purchased after returning a Sony and Nikon model. NO, I am NOT a Sony employee (as another reviewing wrongly accused everyone who leaves a positive review of being). I have actually had very mixed results with Sony products over the years, some big disappointments, and was very tentative about this purchase.
I originally purchased a Nikon S9100. The pictures from the Nikon model seemed soft, whites and highlights in backlit photos easily blew out leaving no detail in some areas. Focus when zoomed out was painfully slow and often locked when focus wasn't optimal, resulting in a blurry photo. Image Stabilization was very noisy, a constant buzzy/whine. I took me about half a day of shooting to decide I *really* didn't like the S9100. I was really disappointed, obviously I like Nikon and was really hoping they had stepped up their game in the point an shoot camera genre, they haven't.
Next, I traded for a Panasonic Lumix ZS-10. I found the Panasonic to be very blocky (water color), even at low ISO and unacceptable at higher ISO. Lots of noise at ISO 400 and higher.
I returned that and swapped it for the HX7V. I was kind of frustrated and disappointed at that point. I was on camera number 3 (again), when trying to find a decent point and shoot, and the Sony only had a 10X optical zoom, while both the S9100 and ZS-10 both had farther reaching 16X. It didn't take long for me to get past that shortcoming. The HX7V takes some really nice photos for a point and shoot camera, far surpassing the S9100, the ZS-10 and my previous SD890 IS. Are they on the level with my D700 or D300? Of course not, but we are talking about a sub-$300 point and shoot, not a DSLR. The SB-700 flash for my DSLR's cost more than this camera, so who could expect it to be on par?
For a point and shoot camera the HX7V is well designed. The menus are well laid out, the controls easy to find and use. The modes give a decent explanation of what each will do. The two auto modes, Intelligent and Superior, will take a good quality photo in most situations, but Sony did include a number of scene modes to allow you to over-ride the auto settings, as well as Program Auto and Manual for some more advanced user selected settings. The camera seems to hold highlights well, color rendition and contrast is good. I find as with most point and shoot cameras, the images tend to be a little soft and can benefit from some sharpening, but that seems to be typical for the genre.
They really tend to be aimed at the consumer market where people generally want to do minimal, if any, post processing on the photos. Most simply want to be able to snap the photos and print, email or post the photos. The HX7V is well geared toward that. If folks wanted more, they would purchase a DSLR. Build quality seems decent, on par, if not better than most in the price range. The rubberized grip on the right hand side is a nice touch, and makes holding on to the camera easier than many I have had. It lacks the titanium body and weather proof aspects of one of my previous point and shoots, and no doubt won't survive a "drop test" as well as that one did, but it takes far better images. There are always trade-offs in trying to maintain a price point. The biggest knock I have with the HX7V is probably the GPS feature. While a nice idea, it is very slow and tends to eat up battery power. I have to admit, I am likely spoiled by the GPS unit I have for my D700, but again that unit was half the price of this camera, so I am likely over reaching expectations.
Long story short, for a point and shoot camera, the HX7V is an excellent example and I think most folks who are in the market for a compact, light weight, that will take a good quality photo, will be pleased with it.
P.S. I suggest you have to check for best deal, before you will buy the HX7V at: bestdealschecking.info/sony-dschx7v/
I definitely recommend it.
Good: Small, excellent image quality
Bad: Has no optical viewfinder
Comment: I am wondering why almost new new camera is offering an optical viewfinder? It has stopped me from upgrading from my old DSC-V1 which still takes excellent pictures, but is lacking somewhat in resolution. I would like to buy a small, high quality camera like the DSC-HX7V, but without optical viewfinder it is pretty useless for the serious amateur. By having to hold the camera so you can see the LCD screen you add more camera shake then pressing it to your face, and visibility under sunny conditions is poor, even with the best of screens. You can't switch off the screen to preserve battery power, and if you damage the screen, you can't take any more pictures until it is repaired. A camera with optical viewfinder is much more robust in this respect. So although the DSC-HX7V seems to be an excellent camera, it is not for me.
Comment: Thanks for the review. It contains several howlers though:
--- "which should hopefully go some way towards making it less uncomfortable for left-handers"
What are you talking about? Cameras are made to be held with your right hand. There is no such thing as a left-handed camera.
--- "with focus extending through the full depth of the scene"
What a strange thing to rate as being "good". In any case pocket cameras provide massive depth of field by default. Just try and take a picture with shallow depth of field.
--- "Despite what we said about the mics picking up the motion of the zoom, the zoom is quiet enough to pass unnoticed in regular use"
Erm, the zoom sound is very apparent in your test video.
Finally, your flash / no-flash picture quite clearly wasn't taken using the on-board flash and in any case shows no difference with or without.
Maybe get someone familiar with cameras to do the next review?
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