My Sony HX99 Camera Review – Ultimate Compact Super Zoom For $450 US

81
A Great Ultra Compact Travel and Family Fun Camera Option

In this review I’m going to cover the Sony HX99 ultra compact Mega zoom point and shoot style camera. I tested the HX99 extensively and this will be a fairly long review.

I also created a very thorough Beginners Guide Style Tutorial Video for this camera so be sure to check that out as well if you recently purchased the camera and are looking to learn more on how to use it and what not. In addition to that for those looking to learn even more, I created a HX 99 Pro-Tips Style Tutorial Video which will go a little further into the Sony HX99 for those more advanced users.

I had a lot of fun reviewing the Sony HX99 point and shoot style camera and was honestly very impressed by the extremely powerful feature set the camera offers for the fairly affordable ~$450 US price point. Features wise it’s very similar to the RX100 series cameras as far as the pop-up viewfinder, 180 degree articulating LCD Screen, 10fps, 4k Video w/ full pixel readout, Touchscreen, Eye-AF, etc…

The HX99 1/2.3″ sensor is quite a bit smaller than the larger 1″ RX100 series camera sensors however, so it’s not as strong in the low light department or in the high speed autofocus department.

With that being said the image quality produced by the 1/2.3″ Exmor R Sensor is very good and the autofocus works really well overall for pretty much everything except high speed action. In other words, it’s way more powerful than a cell phone which is what you might be considering if in the market for a camera like this.

Cell phones these days have very limited zoom ability, but the image quality is pretty darn good considering it’s a phone and all. A compact point and shoot style camera like the Sony HX99 really stands apart from the modern cell phones with the incredible mega zoom range abilities, video quality, and creative control with all the different shooting modes and wealth of other features I will go over in detail in the videos below.

If you are looking for killer image quality and an ultra compact camera body, then I recommend checking out the larger 1″ Sensor RX100-series cameras like the latest Sony RX100 VA which I reviewed here >>, or RX100 VI which I reviewed here >>. They are more money, but you do get what you pay for.

Sony HX99 Features Breakdown

Key Features:

  • Sensor = 18.2mp 1/2.3 CMOS Exmor R Sensor
  • Max Resolution = 4896×3672
  • ISO Auto= 80-3200, Max= 6400
  • Effective Focal Length = 4.25 to 118mm (35 mm Equivalent: 24 to 720mm)
  • Crop Factor = 5.6X compared to 35mm Full Frame
  • Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 4.25-118mm f/3.5-6.4 Lens = 30x Zoom
  • Plus Clear Image Zoom = 60x
  • Minimum Focus Distance = W= 2”, 5cm  T= 8.2’, 2.5m
  • Lens has Optical Stabilization & Control Ring
  • 4K video 30p w/ full pixel readout
  • 1080/60p/ 120p @ 100mps – Slow-Motion
  • XAVC S video codec
  • 10fps burst in jpeg mode
  • 3” 180 degree tilting touchscreen w/ 100% coverage
  • 1/2000sec max shutter
  • 30 seconds longest exposure
  • Touch focus, touch shutter, touch menu navigation 
  • Pop-up OLED viewfinder w/ 100% coverage
  • Built in flash
  • MicroSD Card
  • Self timer mode
  • No built-in GPS
  • Built in WiFi, NFC allows for remote control of camera, easy sharing, geotagging 
  • Eye AF
  • NP-BX1 battery – 300-370 shots per charge
  • Weight= 8.54oz, 242g
  • Price = $450 US

Sony HX99 Camera Body Photos

Sony HX99 Review – Video Version w/ Sample Video, Photos, and Compared to Sony RX100 Series Cameras!

So, lets go over some of the features on the HX99 camera first and I will give you my thoughts along the way. Then we will go over the camera body a bit, followed by lots of real world sample video footage, and photos. I will then compare the HX99 to some of the RX100 series cameras by showing you sample photos side by side in the lab and some real world. After that I will give my final thoughts on the camera and wrap up the review.

My Sony HX99 Tutorial Videos, Sample Photos, and other relevant information will be below the video. So be sure to scroll down afterwards!

Review Timeline Navigation Info:

  • Features Breakdown: 1:54
  • Hands On Camera Body: 6:30
  • Lab Sample Photos: 18:46
  • Real World Sample Photos: 23:36
  • HX99 vs RX100 and More: 33:43
  • Sample Video Footage: 36:56
  • Selfie Video Footage: 37:25
  • Zoom Testing: 40:06
  • 4k Moon Footage: 42:33
  • 4k Lizard Footage: 43:48
  • Conclusions: 45:16
My Sony HX99 Camera Review – Ultimate Compact Super Zoom For $450 US
At the end of the day the Sony HX99 is an awesome ultra compact camera with Super Zoom capabilities, very good image quality, and great 4k video quality for the money. A great all in one camera and video solution for travel, family fun, and much more!
Bang For The Buck
92
Feature Set
93
Build Quality and Design
85
User Interface and Menu System
85
Auto Focus System
75
Image quality
80
Low Light Performance
60
Usability
85
Video Quality
84
Audio Quality
75
Optical Quality
88
Battery Life
60
Fun Factor
90
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Pros
Incredible Zoom Range
Ultra Compact
Very Good Photo and Video Quality
Affordable Price Considering the Features, Zoom Range, and Output Quality
Cons
Poor Battery Life
Poor Ergonomics Due to Ultra Compact Size
Not the Greatest in Low Light Situations Due to Smaller Sensor
Not the Best of Action Photography Due to Slower AutoFocus System
81
A Great Ultra Compact Travel and Family Fun Camera Option

Sony HX99 – Beginners Guide, How-To Use the Camera, Set-up, Modes, Menu

Sony HX99 – Pro Tips, Custom Camera Set-up, and Much More…

Sony HX99 Lab Testing – Sample Photos

I took a ton of testing and real world sample photos with the Sony HX99 as you saw in the video above. Here they are and be sure click on them for a nice large high res version if you would like to see more detail.

Lab Testing – Minimum Focus Distance Test

Lab Testing – Zoom Range Test 24-720mm = 30X + Clear Image Zoom = 60X

I took these zoom range test photos using a tripod and just incrementally zoomed in keeping the camera in the same exact spot the entire time.

Lab Testing – High ISO Lab Testing

Overall ISO performance is pretty decent until you get up to about ISO 1600. Then the images start to become a little muddy and get more muddy up to ISO 6400. See for yourself below.

Real World Sample Photos

Here are a few of my favorite real world sample photos using the Sony HX99.

The Moon @ Max Zoom.

A few from the Bashakill Wildlife Preserve at Sunset.

Some pretty cool looking lens flare captured in this next frame while shooting into the sun.

Here is a panorama sample photo set to wide mode and you can actually see a full 180 degree view of the scene. The road is actually straight for some visual reference.

Menu – (Camera Settings1) → [Panorama: Size] → desired setting.

Here is a quick zoom test from when I left the gym and was waiting at the light in my car.

Now here is zoomed in all the way to the sign above from my car:

Here a few sample using the awesome Auto HDR feature as I discussed in the video review above.

Menu – (Camera Settings1) → [DRO/Auto HDR] → [Auto HDR]. Then Select the desired setting using the left/right sides of the control wheel.

Here is one more photo I thought looked pretty cool and demonstrated the depth of field you can achieve when focusing on something close and also having something in the distance that is fairly interesting like a car wheel.

Here is a snapshot using the really fun Picture Effect called Illustration Mode:

Menu – (Camera Settings1) → [Picture Effect] → desired setting.

In this next snapshot of Layla I had the Soft Skin Effect enabled which basically smoothed out her face similar to photoshop techniques. I was also using the built in on camera flash.

Menu – (Camera Settings1) → [Soft Skin Effect] → desired setting

Here is one of my buddy Bones Jones using the on camera flash.

Here are a few more images in a variety of situations.

Sony HX99 Accessories:

Conclusions:

At the end of the day the Sony HX99 is an awesome ultra compact camera with Super Zoom capabilities, very good image quality, and great 4k video quality for the money. A great all in one camera and video solution for travel, family fun, and much more!

Image Quality:

Overall image quality is very good if the lighting is good, but does trail off in the quality as the ISO levels get to ISO 1600 and up. In those cases, just pop out the Flash and let it help you illuminate the subject if possible and you will get less noisy better quality results.

Battery Life:

The battery life is not that good, so be sure to pick up a few extra NP-BX1 batteries.

Build Quality and Design:

The zoom range is incredible and the lens optical quality is very good overall although some lens flare can be there when shooting into the sun at certain focal lengths. I kind of like that look though, so it didn’t bother me much.

The build quality and design is very good overall, but because the camera is so compact it can be a bit awkward if you have larger hands trying to find the correct button and stuff. It just takes a little getting used to is all, but worth noting how small the camera actually is. I really like the 180 degree flip screen for those selfie style shots and also when recording video in front of the camera. It’s a really great feature I wish more Sony cameras had. The Sony A6400 mirrorless camera that just came out has it, and I love it on that camera as well! The Sony RX100-series cameras also have that feature and I enjoy using it.

The Pop-up viewfinder works great when the conditions warrant it, such as super sunny scenes when it’s hard to see the LCD screen for example, or when trying to track a moving subject it can be easier.

Bang for the Buck:

The Sony HX99 is a very high value to the dollar unit in my opinion based on the overall image quality, video quality, and very impressive feature set included.

That is about it for the Sony HX99 Point and shoot style camera review and I really hope you got what you were looking for. Please let me know if you have and questions and be sure to let me know what you think of your camera if you recently got one!

Have a great day and I will catch up with you next time, Jay

My Sony HX99 Camera Review – Ultimate Compact Super Zoom For $450 US
At the end of the day the Sony HX99 is an awesome ultra compact camera with Super Zoom capabilities, very good image quality, and great 4k video quality for the money. A great all in one camera and video solution for travel, family fun, and much more!
Bang For The Buck
92
Feature Set
93
Build Quality and Design
85
User Interface and Menu System
85
Auto Focus System
75
Image quality
80
Low Light Performance
60
Usability
85
Video Quality
84
Audio Quality
75
Optical Quality
88
Battery Life
60
Fun Factor
90
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Pros
Incredible Zoom Range
Ultra Compact
Very Good Photo and Video Quality
Affordable Price Considering the Features, Zoom Range, and Output Quality
Cons
Poor Battery Life
Poor Ergonomics Due to Ultra Compact Size
Not the Greatest in Low Light Situations Due to Smaller Sensor
Not the Best of Action Photography Due to Slower AutoFocus System
81
A Great Ultra Compact Travel and Family Fun Camera Option

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