Sony HX99 High ISO Sample Images

Here's a collection of photos I've taken with the Sony HX99 focusing specifically on its highest ISO range of 1600 to 6400.

I’ve previous posted a detailed review of the Sony HX99 as well as a more general (and larger) selection of images taken with the HX99. While the HX99 is not necessarily the first camera that comes to mind if you’re getting one for low-light shooting and isn’t likely to be the driving reason for choosing this particular camera, I nevertheless thought it worth posting a selection of sample images focusing specifically on the HX99’s image quality at high ISOs. The HX99 has a native ISO range from 80 to 3200 and extended option (ie. software enhanced) up to 6400. All of the images here were taken with ISOs of 1600 and above.1

The HX99 is a very small compact camera and has a tiny sensor to match. So its performance is never going to match some of the low-light leaders like Sony’s Alpha series cameras or larger full-frame DSLRs or even mirrorless cameras with APS-C sensors–it would be unrealistic to expect that, and if that’s what you’re aiming for, you’re frankly likely to be disappointed.

In shooting with the HX99, I can’t help but wish that its low-life performance was better. When I’m pulling out a camera on my travels, I want something that’s not just going to work well in bright, sunny conditions outside but also one that’s going to work well in a smoky and poorly lit morning market, inside a beautifully decorated mosque, or with a street scene at night.

On the one hand, the HX99 has built-in optical image stabilization. That helps. On the other hand, it has a relatively slow maximum lens aperture of ƒ/3.5-6.4 (the lens’s party trick–the massive zoom–is, after all, a key selling point and the natural priority). As a potential alternative to something like Sony’s own RX100 series or the Ricoh GR II–both of which are admittedly at least double the price–the HX99 doesn’t really compete.

Yet it still performs better than other cameras I’ve used of this type and remotely in this price point. There is certainly image noise, and sharpness suffers. But you also don’t get some of the other negative effects to the same extent that you see on some other cameras. The dynamic range and color fidelity do suffer, but they don’t drop off a cliff. And, overall, if shared in relatively small sizes such as on social media, the images still look very good.

Here are some practical examples that hopefully will help you make your own judgement.

Most of these were shot in RAW, but a few were shot originally in JPG. For several reasons, I generally shoot in RAW when it’s available. In this specific case, I don’t really like the in-camera processing that’s done to JPGs shot in high ISOs. In trying to improve the effects of the high ISO it gives it a murky, waxy look that, for me at least, looks like a step in the wrong direction. I prefer the RAW versions with their grainier but sharper look. These have been processed in Lightroom, but I’ve not applied any extra noise corrections beyond the Lightroom defaults (Luminance: 0; Color: 25; Detail: 50; Smoothness: 50).

Sony HX99 High ISO Examples

Each image has the ISO it was taken at in its caption. And you can click on each image to open a full-resolution version.

ISO 3200

ISO 2000

ISO 2000

ISO 2000

ISO 3200

ISO 3200

ISO 2500

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 2000

ISO 6400

ISO 2000

ISO 6400

ISO 1600. This isn’t an ideal image to test high ISO in large part because of the texture on the field. It’s synthetic grass, and it was taken in the early evening when it had just started to snow lightly. So the white “noise” on the green is actually a small amount of snow. But I’ll leave it included even if it’s less than ideal for this purpose.

ISO 3200

Where to Find the Sony HX99

You can find the HX99 at Amazon, B&H Photo, and Google Shopping.


  1. There’s also an Auto ISO option where you can set the minimum and maximum ISOs. With Auto ISO, the maximum ISO available is 3200.

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2020-05-26 at 13:19. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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  • I have a HX99 , I can honestly say it has awfull iso , I get bad grain at iso80 in blue skies , its terrible !

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