The Sony HX99 compact camera packs a massive zoom into a tiny camera as well as including some features you might not expect in a camera of this type. Here are some photos I’ve taken with the HX99 to provide some practical examples of how it performs under real-world shooting conditions.
Sony has really leaned into the camera market in recent years with some very interesting offerings. They’re obviously more than willing to use their research and development depth, manufacturing networks and expertise, a healthy dose of innovative thinking, and have a willingness to put new ideas into the marketplace.
The Alpha range is the benchmark for mirrorless cameras, with established players like Nikon and Canon playing catchup.
Their RX0 and RX1 cameras are quite unique and unlike anything else on the market. Their RX100 series packs an amazing amount of high-end features into a high-end compact camera. And Sony’s sensors turn up in some of the best cameras produced by other brands. All in all, it has put Sony amongst the most exciting of the camera brands right now.
Overall, the HX99 does everything you’d expect and more from a compact camera. It doesn’t blaze a lot of new territory in terms of innovation except in one key respect. It packs a massive 24-720mm zoom into a tiny camera.
Not all of that zoom range is equally useful–the software-enhanced digital zoom features aren’t as good quality-wise as the optical zoom, for instance–but the optical zoom alone is a pretty amazing feature for something that fits so easily in your pocket. I’ve posted some practical examples of the HX99’s zoom range separately, so you can see how those numbers translate visually.
Even aside from the impressive zoom, the HX99 is a very capable point-and-shoot compact, especially at a very reasonable price point (at a much higher price point, Sony has the even better RX100 line). It has an 18.2MP sensor, wireless connectivity, and the usual in-camera photo enhancing tricks you’d expect. It also has a few higher-end features that you don’t come across on most run-of-the-mill compact point and shoots, especially one priced so reasonably. Like being able to shoot RAW, a popup electronic viewfinder, and high-bitrate 4K video recording.
Taken all together, the result is a camera that generally exceeds what I’d expect for a camera in this class and price point. Without resorting to fancy bells and whistles–except with the zoom–it performs at least as well or better than I’d expect in most practical respects.
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by David Coleman
I'm a professional freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. More »
I take photos and travel. I do it for a living. Seven continents. Dozens of countries. Up mountains. Under water. And a bunch of places in between. Based in Washington DC.