Sony Electronics introduced Monday its Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 point-and-shoot camera featuring a 24-720mm extreme zoom range and compact camera body.

The HX99 will ship in early November at a $449.99 suggested retail price and is positioned as the perfect travel camera behind inclusion of a Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-720mm high magnification zoom lens, 4K video recording, a BIONZ X image processing engine with a front-end LSI, extremely fast AF, Eye AF, 10 fps shooting.

For video, the HX99 will capture up to 4K with full pixel readout and no pixel binning. Using the BIONZ X processing engine with new front-end LSI, the HX99 will capture images with minimal “moire” and “jaggies.” The new model also is capable of shooting high-frame rate HD video at up to 120 fps for sharp slow-motion sequences during editing.

The camera is the first in the HX-series to record 4K video (QFHD, 3840 x 2160 pixels). 4K is captured at up to 30 and 24p frame rates.

The HX99 includes an 18.2 megapixel (effective) back-illuminated CMOS sensor, which when combined with the advanced BIONZ X image-processing produces sharp visible detail including fine textures.

The camera has an ISO range from 80-6400 (expanded), for high image quality in dimly lit settings, while color-reproduction improvements produce natural-looking skin tones, Sony said.

Wide-range 24-720mm zoom range is combined with Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, to minimize camera shake and blur when shooting hand-held at long extensions. A Zoom Assist function allows shooting far away subjects using a temporary zoom-out display to showcase a wider area.

Other features include versatile operability and shooting functions through the use of Eye AF, EVF, Control Ring, Touch Focus/Touch shutter, 180° Tiltable LCD monitor screen.

The HX99 is equipped with fast Intelligent AF using highly accurate contrast-detection autofocus with 0.09-second response. It achieves focus by minimizing wasted lens motion, predicting AF range and accelerating the lens drive, improving response so you can capture even more fleeting moments, Sony said.

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This means that when shooting stills, the camera will acquire focus in as little as 0.09 seconds which is especially useful when shooting continuous frames at up to 10 fps for up to 155 shots.

The HX99 also adds Sony’s Eye AF technology, which has been a popular feature in the company’s interchangeable lens camera models. Eye AF locks focus on a subject’s eye for sharp faces in portrait shooting and fast-action photography. The camera also is capable of shooting images in RAW format and has a maximum ISO of 6400.

The 180-degree tiltable LCD touch screen combines with a pop-up OLED electronic viewfinder (aka “TruFinder”) and an upgraded grip to easily shots while holding the camera firm. The screen enables Touch Focus and Touch Shutter functionality as well as a Touch Pad function for smooth focus point shifting while using the retractable OLED Tru-Finder.

The high-contrast pop-up OLED Tru-Finder is said to be brighter than conventional electronic viewfinders. It displays real-time preview and shooting information. The viewfinder is easily retractable, for greater portability.

The HX99’s Control Ring can be customized with functions such as manual focus or step zooming, as well as a customizable “My Menu” option for instant recall of up to 30 different settings.

The camera also provides location data acquisition via Bluetooth link to a connected mobile device, and proxy recording with instant image transfers to smartphones or websites.


By Greg Tarr


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