Are you looking for a reactive compact camera with a high zoom? Sony has renewed its range with the all-new Sony HX99. Like many of you attracted to compact cameras, my mother (Nadia) wanted to buy this new model, which is the smallest compact with such a zoom. So, before offering it, we wanted to test the Sony HX99 for a few weeks. It was on a daily basis that we walked around to take pictures with this new Sony compact. This was an ideal opportunity to share our test and opinion of the Sony HX99.
Sony HX99 Technical Specifications
- Pixels: 18 Million
- Zoom: 24-720 mm (x28)
- Sensor size: 1/2.3
- Sensor: Exmor CMOS sensor R™
- Card type: Micro SD
- Weight: 242 grams
- Viewfinder: YES
- Flash: YES
- Stabilization: YES
- Touch screen: YES
- Screen size: 7.5 cm
- Adjustable screen: 180° tilting screen ideal for selfie
- WIFI: YES
- Bluetooth: YES
Specific features of the Sony DSC HX99
- Focusing by pressing the screen
- 4K Video
- Auto focus on eyes (AF-Eye)
- Control ring
- Possibility to photograph in RAW
Handling of the HX99’s Sony
The first thing that struck us when we bought the Sony HX99 was that it is tiny! We had the HX50 a few years ago and the size was not the same at all. We understood better how much it is the smallest compact with large zoom in the world.
Clearly, the design of the Sony HX99 is very elegant. We’re a long way from our old HX50 that wasn’t sexy at all. There, the finishing touches are fine, we have a very classy compact. The lens that emerges from the case with the control ring adds to the style. I love the aesthetics of a camera and the objectives, here, I’m served.
Ergonomics, menus, wheels and buttons
My first positive point is that despite its thinness, the HX99 is equipped with a small handle that greatly helps to ensure a pleasant grip. I am very demanding on the handling to take pictures in good conditions and there I was pleasantly surprised.
Then, next to the zoom, there is a very small knob to select the photo mode (scene, automatic, pan, aperture, manual, speed…). It’s very practical because it avoids searching through menus that are very often dense on Sony cameras. Another positive point is that despite its very small size, the knob is very well serrated and its use is fluid. A wheel that turns well is very important, especially when you are on the viewfinder, to keep your eyes on what you are photographing rather than on the wheel.
As for the buttons, they are certainly tiny, like the Sony HX99 ! But here again, no discomfort, they come out sufficiently in such ways that even when you are concentrated, you can easily find them.
On the case, you will also find a button “Fn” essential to simplify your life. With the Fn button, as well as the “small arrows”, you have quick access to the most important settings! Focus type, exposure, image quality, burst, etc. You have everything you need to adjust and shoot fast!
If the menus are dense as is often the case with digital cameras, access to important settings is easy. The Sony HX99 is very comfortable to handle despite its very small size. In short, from an ergonomic point of view, the Sony HX99 not only surprised me pleasantly but also convinced me!
The big plus of the Sony HX99 fits in its 180° tilting screen for selfie… But not only that! To bring back memories of the three of us, we loved having the Sony HX99…! We enjoyed taking photo selfies at 18 Million pixels, that no smartphone does it – yet – with the front camera. And with a much easier handling.
I very often go for a photo trip alone with my little one in the back, it’s usually a real frustration not to be able to take pictures of ourselves together. Now I can capture these beautiful moments! And that’s awesome!
The other positive aspect of the screen is that it is possible to focus in a tactile way. No more getting angry with collimators who don’t place themselves in the right place. Hurray modernity, now we press the screen to focus. It is practical, efficient and the screen responds well.
With the Sony HX99, we have a compact large zoom with viewfinder. When it’s very sunny, it’s often a real plus to have one. Think of all the times you didn’t see anything on your camera screen because of the sun.
At first, we’re a little stressed to take out that little viewfinder. We’re afraid to break it when we pull it, but it’s finally solid. Read the small instructions attached to the device, eject it and pull it gently. Finally, if you see blurred inside, before criticizing Sony, press the tiny little tab at the top. And then, surprise…, this viewfinder is of very good quality.
As someone who takes daily pictures with expert hybrid cameras, I was positively surprised by the quality of the viewfinder.
Optics and control ring
The Sony HX99 is a compact not only with an elegant design but also with finishes designed for photo enthusiasts. We loved using the control ring that allows you to zoom in or change the aperture or speed depending on the mode you are in.
Far from being a gadget, the ring that rotates at the level of the camera body allows a better stability than the zoom trigger and more finesse in the selection. This is all the more useful when you are filming for more fluidity.
The Sony HX99 compact is equipped with a high-quality Zeiss brand lens.
In case of backlighting, at the end of the day or in low light, the integrated flash is very practical to take pretty pictures. In addition, when it is needed, a message appears on the Sony HX99 display advising you to fire the flash.
Sony HX99 Test Conditions
Duration of the test: 2 months (still in use)
Frequency of use: almost daily
Type of shooting: portrait, landscape, street pictures, animals
Shooting conditions: outside in good weather, end of day, low light, inside
Temperature during shooting: 10/15°C
Battery life: 270 shots
Charging time: 2h/2h30
Tested features: Zoom, 4K video, Wifi
Sony HX99, our review
Used to hybrid boxes and therefore to larger sensors, our level of requirement was quite high. However, this small Sony HX99 compact convinced us.
Highly reactive, the detection of the autofocus eye works perfectly. And this while we photograph in 90% of cases our two-year-old boy who never stops moving!
Wide angle and super zoom to take picture of anything
With the Sony HX99, we go light! It fits in a pocket or handbag. It’s perfect for taking out your camera easily and capturing beautiful moments with your family. It was a real pleasure to test the Sony HX99.
The advantage of a compact large zoom is that in your pocket, you can carry a wide angle for photos of monuments, magnificent landscapes or streets as well as a super zoom to photograph details from afar or animals. In terms of size, it’s unbeatable!
Of course, we are on a small sensor that allows us to take very nice pictures particularly in good weather. And that’s good, we rarely go on holiday when it rains! Also avoid taking pictures with the sun in front of you, but again, this is a tip that applies to all cameras.
Picture taken at 24 mm (minimum)
Zoom at maximum (720 mm)
Selfie mode for memories as a couple, with family or friends
Far from being a gadget for self-centered, the screen that tilts 180° to make selfies, we loved it: to bring back memories of us as two or three of our walks. In 18 Million Pixel quality and with automatic eye detection, please! In addition, the photo is automatically triggered after 3 seconds when the screen is in selfie mode, it’s very practical and it avoids blurred motion. No need to try to change the timing of the trigger.
Whether for selfies or more classic portraits and landscapes, with the Sony HX99 we have a very natural color rendering which is very appreciated in such a small camera.
Sony HX99 and night shots
The real test (where it often hurts…) on a compact camera is to take pictures at night! We had to test shots in low light with the Sony HX99. And, despite its small sensor, it defends itself well. Please note, the photos were taken in automatic mode by freehand. To be sure to get your night shots right with the Sony HX99, consider buying a small tripod (see below our “accessories” section).
It’s about time! The Sony HX99 can record 4K videos unlike its predecessors. To get better quality videos and capture beautiful moments that you can watch in 20 years, it’s a real plus to film in this resolution. We tested the 4K video in good weather and at nightfall. Here again, the quality of the videos obtained is there!
Important the 4K uses a lot of space on the memory card, so remember to buy a micro SD card with sufficient capacity (64GB minimum) and with a sufficiently fast recording speed (see our “accessories” section below).
With the Sony HX99 compact you can film your most beautiful memories in 4K quality! The quality of the videos is at its best day and night.
Wifi & Geolocation, ideal for travel
Are you on vacation and want to mock your colleagues who have stayed at work? That’s not very nice! With the Wifi option you can easily transfer your photos to your phone or tablet immediately. It’s ideal to share your travel memories instantly.
How many times have you wondered what the exact location of a photo was when you returned from your trip? The HX99 has Bluetooth functionality that allows you to pair your GPS-equipped smartphone with the HX99 to record the coordinates of each shot. This feature is very useful to find the exact place you photographed while travelling.
Photo gallery of the DSC HX99 Sony
The photos we publish are not retouched and are in reduced quality so as not to make the page heavier.
Picture taken with zoom at maximum
Which memory card for the Sony HX99?
When it comes to recording your photos and videos, a micro SD card is required for the Sony HX99. But don’t worry, to import your photos to your computer, an SD card adapter is almost always provided. Otherwise, take the camera cable with you. And thanks to the adapter, your micro SD card will become a SD Card you can use on any other camera.
In addition, since the Sony HX99 is shooting in 4K, the ideal is to take a micro SD card with a good writing speed and a good storage capacity (64GB minimum).
Which accessories for the Sony HX99?
If you are planning to take your Sony HX99 compact on a trip, here are some accessories we recommend.
The Sony HX99’s battery holds about 270 shots, enough to last easily for a day. However, when travelling, we always carry an extra battery for each of our cameras. Because there’s nothing more frustrating than missing pictures due to lack of battery power (Yes, it’s happened to us… on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco…).
Consider adding an external charger. Indeed, the HX99 is recharged via a cable fixed on the device. This charging mode has the disadvantage of immobilizing the device and being able to charge only one battery at a time. This is why, again when travelling, an external charger is often welcome.
When you say screen that doesn’t close, you mean a fragile screen that is subject to scratches. So, to protect the screen of the HX99 we added a glass protection at less than 10$. No stress when I put it in my purse or pocket, it is a small accessory essential when travelling, especially with a child (or a clumsy mother…).
The Sony HX99 is a compact camera with a small sensor. It is therefore less efficient when there is little light, such as for night shots. Even if there is a “night shot without tripod” mode, the ideal way to get beautiful shots in low light is to travel with a small tripod that will not take up space in your bag.
Whether it’s for style or to carry easily while protecting your HX99, choose one of the specially designed bags!
Sony HX99, test and review, in brief
We are NOT paid by Sony or any other brand to write this article. We are only two people who are passionate about photos and photo equipment. The article contains affiliate links that allow us to keep our blog alive.