Sony DSC-HX80 Camera Review : the WX500 that dreamed of being an HX90

PROS:

  • Compactness, lightness and quality of construction.
  • 180 ° swiveling screen.
  • Electronic viewfinder retractable.
  • Autonomy of 400 views.
  • Wi-Fi, NFC.

CONS:

  • Non-touch screen.
  • No RAW.
  • No manual focus or focus peaking.
  • No 4K / UHD.
  • Slow start.

BOTTOM LINE :

The Sony HX80 is an absolutely honest camera: 30x zoom effective and well stabilized, good autofocus, compactness and lightness records, swivel screen, retractable electronic viewfinder. It is also this last asset that allows him to win his fourth star compared to the WX500, which he is very close. And this is the problem: stuck between two chairs, both the bottom (WX) and top (HX90), the HX80 has no reason to be apart, both from a technical point of view tariffs.


With the HX80, Sony offers no less than four different compacts at 30x zoom. Different, really? Indeed, all share the same BSI CMOS 1 / 2.3 “18.2 Mpx sensor, the same zoom Zeiss Vario Tessar T * 24-720 mm f / 3.5-6.3 stabilized, the same screen 180 ° diagonal and 921 000 dots, and mostly the same chassis The HX90V is the all-round version of the family, with a retractable viewfinder, adjustable lens ring and GPS. the HX90 loses the GPS, the HX80 loses its lens ring, and the WX500 loses the viewfinder. to make a lot of people?

GETTING STARTED

The good side of the HX90’s “clone” aspect is that it makes it possible to find one of the main strengths of the Sony HX90V , HX90 and WX500  : their compactness, combined with a very good quality of construction. Difficult to realize at first that this little beast embarks a zoom 30x, its compactness record having, at the time we write these lines (June 2017) still not equaled by the competition. The HX80 is clearly not a case made for those with big fingers as the physical keys are narrow and tight – and of course there is not touch screen.

The menus adopted are the same as usual, mixing orange and black from a graphic point of view, as well as all the settings with each other with more or less logic. Of course, they have been slightly adapted and lightened since we are on a compact, but if you have never used a Sony digital camera, expect some adaptation time. Although having released it later than the HX90V, HX90 and WX500, home engineers did not feel it necessary to make some adjustments to the default settings. This is why, from the first use, we advise you to deactivate the automatic shutdown of the device when the retractable viewfinder is retracted – see the test of the HX90V for the procedure. At the same time, you can also deactivate the digital zoom, activated by default, as well as the “auto-portrait” mode that switches on as soon as you switch the screen 180 °.

Otherwise, nothing new on the horizon on the side of the grip. The absence of the programmable lens ring is not felt in use and it is especially the integrated viewfinder Oled that will be the small friend of this device. On the side of autonomy, despite initial announcements a little pessimistic, you will easily keep the 400 views with the battery NP-BX1 and its 1240 mAh, as on the big brothers; no anxiety to have on that side.

REACTIVITY

The compact 30x zoom lenses have never been war fights, precisely because of the time needed to deploy their ample lens. The Sony HX80 does not deviate from the rule and is even the slowest of the whole family. It’s a shame, because on the side of the autofocus speed, it is doing pretty well, even if it aligns rather with the chronographs of the WX500 (from the range below) than those of the HX90 (range to which it is supposed to belong). Note that the burst stops after 10 images and that during the 25 seconds that the treatment of the burst demands you can do absolutely nothing of the device.

QUALITY OF IMAGES

it will be necessary to cheat a little and put in ISO AUTO RB Multi-photos which, as the name indicates, captures a burst of images merged internally to reconstitute the final shot, all for a result really far from being convincing.
In any case, you will mostly be amazed by the 30x zoom amplitude and its perfect stabilization, even at 720 mm, which will easily make you forget the technical aspects of the beast.
In another genre, note that the HX80 does not offer manual focus, and therefore no focus peaking, which brings it a little closer to the WX500 than the HX90. you will remain amazed by the magnitude of the 30x zoom and its perfect stabilization, even at 720 mm, which will easily make you forget the technical aspects of the beast.

VIDEO

If the absence of 4K / UHD is excluded, the Sony HX80 is, like its false twins, an honest and worthwhile “filmer”: Full HD video in 50p or 25p, excellent optical stabilization, quality good picture quality, good sound reproduction, convenient orientable screen, PASM modes available in video. The essential is there, without fuss, but without forcing either.

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