Sony HX9V, HX7V, WX10 and HX5 compared

Comparing the Sony HX9V with the HX7V and HX5V at digitalversus and other sources shows the following differences to my eyes:

The HX9V pictures have a bit more detail and seem a tad sharper than the HX7V.
The HX9V pictures have more detail and are sharper than the HX5.
The HX9V and HX7V capture finer details than the HX5.
The indoor white balance of the HC9V is much better than the HX7V or HX5.
The HD video from the HX9V has much more detail than the HX7V or HX5.
The flash from the HX9V seems warmer in the tone than the HX7V or HX5.
The new magnetic focus is 3 to 5 times faster than the one from the HX7V or HX5.
HX7V low light focus and on/off are a bit faster then the HX9V.
HX5 low light focus is a bit faster than the HX9V (I doubt that and will compare myself)
HX9V on/off is a bit faster than the HX5.
HX9V and HX7V faster from  photo to photo shooting as the HX5.
I got confirmation the sound from the HX7V and the HX9V has improved.

After finishing the above comparison I just went to my camera guy and ordered a Sony HX9V to replace my Sony HX1 and Sony HX5.
I should have my new HX9V in April for 299 Euro here.

HX9V Width 105 mm - Height 59 mm - Depth 34 mm - NP-BG1 - 410 shots - 205min - 245g
USB charger, special Multi Connector USB Cable
Sony Japan shows different shots per charge: 300 shots / 150min 70min video
that is more realistic since display, processor and battery are the same as in the HX7V.

HX7V Width 102 mm - Height 58 mm - Depth 29 mm - NP-BG1 - 300 shots - 150min - 208g
USB charger,  Multi Connector USB Cable
(since there was no HX7V top shot on the www I had to make one out of bits and pieces - not too bad if I compare now to the real thing except for the mic holes what are now bigger)

HX5 Width 103 mm - Height 56 mm - Depth 29 mm - NP-BG1 - 310 shots - 155min - 200g
Battery Charger, Multi Connector Cable, HDMI dongle

The Sony HX7V has the same dimensions as the Sony HX5V

Sony HX9V front

Sony HX7V front

Sony HX5V front

Sony HX9V back

Sony HX7V back

Sony HX5V back

Sony DSC-WX10 $280
So the Sony HX9V is too big for you, you want something slimmer like the HX7V or even slimmer if possible but with all the features of the HX9V / HX7V.
Well, Sony has you covered, it is called the WX10.
Since it has no V at the end it has no GPS and since you wanted it slimmer, a 10x is not possible here. But if 7x is fine with you, then there is a nice bright wide angle lens with F:2.4 waiting for you.

Sony WX10 - mostly identical with the HX7V features


Sony DSC-H70 (H55 replacement) $230
Sony H70 - 720p mono - 16MP CCD - 10 x

Sony H70 - basic 10x travel zoom

Sony HX7V and Sony HX9V
What is better compared to the Sony HX5V?

HX7V top HX5 bottom
much better screen 640x480 from 320x240 with better viewing angle
HX9V only: 1080p 50/60 fps at 28 Mps from 1080i 50/60 fps at 17 Mps
HX9V and maybe HX7V: better microphones and better sound
microphones with digital wind filter
HX9V only: 16 x zoom instead of 10 x
take 3 mp pictures while shooting  non interrupted video
HX9V only: with 1080p  you can capture 2MP pictures at 50/60 fps up to 30 min (motion blur and the actual cutting points will reduce the number of usable frames a good amount but it is still a fantastic option I look forward to explore)

HX9V only: up to 0.1 sec focus lock courtesy of the magnetic coil system - before 0.3 - 0.4
HX9V only: better indoor
white balance than HX5 or HX7V
Intelligent Sweep Panorama HR up to 42.9MP 10480x4096 resolution
ISO starts at 100 now (125 before)
DSLR style Background Defocus
the auto mode+ can also select the multi frame modes (HDR, HHT and AMB)
3 image stacking when shooting  HDR or against the sun
much better grip thanks to rubbery surface
HX9V only: more pronounced grip
HX9V only: rubber thumb grip
charge direct via Sony multi port USB cable
HDMI port (no more dongle)
better button layout
HX9V only: MR mode and Custom button
Scroll wheel (needs to be tested if it is an improvement)
the metal tripod connector moved from the outside to the center but is still not under the center of the lens
HX9v only: color mode
HX9v only: set level of sharpness
HX9v only: set level of saturation
HX9v only: set level of contrast

the new party-shot works now also with the HX7V and HX9V

then there is also the higher resolution the 16MP sensor offers.


Sony HX9V (left) vs Sony HX7V (right)
see for yourself
Sony HX9V and HX7V  -  the difference in HDMI doors
Why Sony, why? You had it right with the HX7V, why change for the worse?

What is worse compared to the Sony HX5V?

The 16 MP on a tiny 1:2.3" sensor. That brings the 37 MP/cm² pixel density from the HX5  up to 57 MP/cm².
But it seems Sony uses some different settings to make the 16MP pictures look not too bad.
There is a bit more contrast and bigger single color areas get more smoothed also a selected sharpening is applied.

Updated 2011-2-19
After reviewing the ten 16MP HX7V sample pictures from Osaka and the pre-production  HX9V samples I am happy to see that they are much better than the pre-production HX7V pictures from the CES.
If the quality stays this way then they are not worse than the pictures from the HX5 up to ISO 400, above that there is a slight decline in quality noticeable because of the less photons what reach each sensor receptor.
Let´s see if Sony really pulled a rabbit out of the hat and tamed the 16MP sensor output.

January 2011
I bought the HX1 and HX5 also because of the lower megapixels compared to the competition.
But marketing said the customers want high numbers so let´s give it to them until they puke.

I spend some time trying to figure out why I do not see more detail on my more megapixel cameras.
Now I started with a refurbished 1 Mp Nikon for over $400 moved to a Panasonic with 1.3, then a Canon with 2, a Kyocera with 3, the Canon S2 with 5, a Ricoh with 7, the Sony HX1 with 9, HX5 with 10 and the Samsung WP10 with 12Mp.
But the pictures got more soft as the Megapixels rose.

To understand what is going on, visit Petavoxel and read about Diffraction and Fraud in Digicams, How Big Are My Pixels? and the go to Cambridge and check out VISUAL EXAMPLE: APERTURE VS. PIXEL SIZE
click on Canon PowerShot G6
and then on f/2.8
you see the light dot is in the one pixel raster.
now lets look at how that will look on a tiny 16 Mp sensor
we learned that 50 Mp/sq. cm —> 1.4 micron pixels [e.g. 14-megapixel compacts]
so the 16.8 Mp sensor (16.2 used) should be around 1.3 micron.
now put your mouse over f/11 and you have an idea who many pixels are used with f/3.3
now slide over to f/16 and f/22 and you see how many pixels are used at mid range to full tele.

You should understand now why Sony did not put an Aperture mode in the HX5 and why it makes no sense that Panasonic put one in their latest TZ models, also why tele photos are mostly noticeably softer and have less detail.

If you see the Sony HX9V as a 4 Megapixel camera you will not be too disappointed, but if you think that 16 Mp could offer a sharp 16 Mp detail picture you are sadly mistaken.

If you want to have usable 16 Mp think of the Sony A55 and a very expensive no zoom prime lens, you at 4 times the price of the HX9V and even then you will not be able to capture 16 Mp of detail.
I did a lot of reading up when I was on the verge to get me a Sony A55 and learned a lot about lenses and resolutions etc. With the little excurse above you will be on the right track to understand what is going on and why most people are disappointed because of the high Mp and low quality results.

OK so we established that the image quality will suffer, what about video?

On some discussions I read that people assume the video uses the whole sensor and then resize it to HD.
That is wishful thinking because than you would have a 10 or more Mp camera with constant 30 fps. Call me back in some years for that.

4608 pixel wide  / 2 = 2304 pixel and we need 1920 for full HD.
So when we just use the center crop to generate our video stream we have the sharpest part of the lens but with a 16 Mp sensor and what we learned above the true resolution will be much lower.
Ever took a 2 MP 1080 full HD recording downsized it to 1 MP 720 HD and tried to see the big difference?
I did and I could not find it.
In my tests with the HX5 I found not more than guessed 20% of more resolution where 100% more should have been.

Now with lots of post processing in the Bionz chip let´s see what the Sony engineers came up to solve the 16 MP madness to make me part with my money.

Here some words from Sony the Tiger:
Sony executive Masashi “Tiger” Imamura was discussing the “megapixel race” in a PMA interview with Imaging Resource.

” …making the pixel smaller on the imager, requires a lot of new technology development. [...] So, as somebody said, the race was not good for the customers, but on the other hand, good for us to develop the technologies. Do you understand?”

Yes, we do!
And since a Sony sensor is in most cameras today we have no choice.

Oh and by the way you still owe me a replacement sensor for my Canon A60 what died the untimely loose wire death.


  1. Currently owning HX5.

    Just decided to make upgrade.

    Now do not know what to choose. HX9v or TX10 ?

    Either way, it will be worthy upgrade.

    Looks like HX9 is HUGE improvement over HX5...
    This days technology get old too quickly...

  2. Nice post... Thank you!

    Call me back in some years for that, too :P I can't wait for a day when compact cameras will record 4k videos.

  3. Very interesting point of viewe, i have a HX5V, i like for vidéo movie ( but the sound si over ... a lot wind, is corrected with the HX9V probably with digital windfilter ). However the 16 Mp is for me strange ...

  4. i just retired "two" C230's "served me well"
    i now have P FH20 , quite good macro .
    thought i needed a S WX9b The HX9 seems BOSS, or the new panasonic, " thanks for the comparison review" " one of each " would solve my indecision
    Carrying a camera daily , was the biggest success to my casual photographs, i always had a camera ready with spare battery,

  5. Hi, great review, would be nice to compare it to Panasonic ZS10 (TZ20), quite the same to me. Thanks.

  6. just ordered my hx5v..arrives tomorrow. I have no doubt I'll be selling and spending another $100 on the new hx8v..better screen, dial, better mic, dof effect..yay!!

  7. When shooting with HX9V, what would be better:
    1. Setup the camera to shoot 8MP
    2. Shoot 16MP and down size with computer to 8MP

    Thanks you

  8. the thing i'd like to know is whether or not they've solved the problem with the fish eye effect of the videos which prevented me from buying the hx5v

  9. you always shoot with the full sensor resolution and resize on the pc.
    I have the hx5 now 9 months, shot hundreds of hours video and the video barrel distortion at wide angle was never ever a problem.
    I thought it was before I had the camera.
    Just watched the pilot of Veronica Mars and there was a classroom scene where the heads at the outside of the picture were hugely distorted. So in real life it is not that important it seems.

  10. Love my HX5, but all I care about now is did they fix the piss poor white balance when using auto WB? This in of itself will cause me to sell the camera.

  11. I only have problems in artificial light, but setting manual white balance always did the trick and since the camera remembers the last setting no problem for me. looks like the HX9V has 2 different white balance settings http://www.sony.jp/cyber-shot/products/DSC-HX9V/images/prod/m/y_HX9V_manual_img.jpg

  12. I just found your blog is totally awesome. Lot's of very interesting and technically convincing text. Looking for a better way how to browse your articles. Propably need a subscribing or so.
    I just today bought HX5V. Needed desperately a new camera, GPS was priority. Maybe I will switch it to HX9V when it arrives with good price. Before I've had only Canon point and shoots. Do you think Sony is finally overtaking Canon in selling pocket cameras?

  13. thanks, you have every thing on the main page and the posting titles on the right for fast access. In my opinion Sony is leading regarding new and exiting ways to shoot photos. That is why I switched from Canon to Sony.

  14. What about "Handheld twilight mode"? Does the new HX9V have it? I think that it is very useful...

  15. Zary see: Sony HX7V / HX9V analyzing the 16MP sensor pictures - Part 4

  16. Thank you very much, Joe! Your blog is VERY interesting and useful. Of course using tripod is better, but some times you just have not enough time! I have quite good practice with HHT and I post-process my pictures with FastStone IV(thaks your recommendations).




    Thanks a lot for your help and advices!

  17. Zary you welcome.
    I love HHT on my HX1 and HX5 too was one of the reasons to buy.

    Try 016 with contrast 20 to 50 and see how the sky looks better
    133 try reducing shadows and highlights by 20 to 30
    089 highlights -100 to 0 shadows -100 to 100 and play with the saturation (will make some awesome effects)

    good pictures, thanks for sharing.

  18. Great blog! Helped me a lot.
    Can you tell me if it is possible to change the white balance for shooting video with the HX5V?

    Can't find much on the internet and because I want to use it for underwater video this is very important.

    Thank you!
    Best regards, Joost.

  19. Joost, I just took out my HX5 and shot 2 clips with different white balance settings. Yes you can set it to your hearts content.

  20. Thanx Joe! The HX5V may not be perfect, but I think it's good enough for me for the next few years, so I think I will buy it.
    Every few months they come up with newer and better cameras, but if you need an under water housing as well, it's impossible to keep up with the race!

    Best regards, Joost.

  21. the hx5 was my favorite camera from all the more then 10 models I tried or had in the last 10+ years. enjoy the HX5 blog

  22. I'm debating between these two nice cameras (HX7V & HX9V). Which one you recommend? What makes one better/best than the other? They seem pretty similar to me. Please advise. Thanx

  23. you are in the right post, if you can not find the answer here, I did something wrong. Please read again and then get the HX9V as I am doing.

  24. The WX10 with its faster lens, greater flash range, smaller size and lighter weight is very very tempting!

  25. The WX 10 is supposed to have the faster linear AF system as well.

  26. yes, Anonymous, the WX10 is indeed very tempting if you want it slim, need no GPS or all the other extra features the HX9V has to offer. Also the lens is pretty fast in wide angle

  27. The faster WX-10 lens at wide angle allows for lower ISO in low light conditions with resulting lower noise.

  28. in wide angle that is one good ISO step you have an advantage, but as soon you zoom in it is pretty much the same as with the HX7V and HX9V

  29. Thank you Joe for your advise. Great blog. Helped me made my mind. I am buying the HX9V. Can't wait to have it in my hands.

  30. And what do you think today about Samsung WB2000? Is it competitor to new cameras from Sony?
    Thank you for your reviews.

  31. thanks and me to SoX

    Evgeny, I am happy I did not wait for the Samsung. There is nothing on that camera what would tempt me today

  32. I love my HX5V for its amazing ability to instantly deliver properly exposed, unblurred photos in almost any conditions, for its great variety of interesting features, and for its excellent video. However, I find that almost all still photos need to be sharpened to be satisfying - ie serious post-processing on top of Sony's unusually heavy in-camera processing, this causes a noticeable artificiality in the final result. I am hoping that the HX9V will deliver more natural looking still photos than the HX5V, and I am cautiously optimistic from what I have read and seen. Like so many camera buffs, I would have prefered that Sony had worked to improve the realism, clarity and excellence of the photo rendition of a camera with a 10MP CMOS and a 10x zoom, rather than engage in another round of pixel and zoom one upmanship. However, that said, it appears that Sony has done a better job in this questionable race than the competition.

  33. pcaker the HX5 needed some PP to get the best out of the picture while the HX7V/HX9V already have a better firmware what uses selected sharpening and smoothening in a much more pleasing way

  34. Hi guys. I like to make videos of a concert ( bright lights and dark scenes ) in the best quality possibile. It seems to me that the HX9V is the best compact camera fot this. Does anybody know he exact relase date for the HX9V in USA ?

  35. But what about the huge distortions on stills images that happens on HX5V? They solve it on HX9V? http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1009&message=35577553

  36. Ricardo there was no huge distortion, there was just a bit of a barrel distortion in wide angle video which I never noticed in over 250 wide angle video clips. see my HX6 blog for more

  37. Joe, I'm no talking about video, I'm refering to stills. I own a H5XV and I'm really unhappy with it because of the dirtortions in almost every single picture that is been taken. Of course, it's worst with people pics, so the only way to minimize this flaw is to "force" people faces to be in the center of the picture. Just see the link I sent in other message or make a search over net and you'll see many examples of what I'm talking about.

  38. "Evgeny said...
    And what do you think today about Samsung WB2000? Is it competitor to new cameras from Sony?
    "Joe said...
    Evgeny, I am happy I did not wait for the Samsung. There is nothing on that camera what would tempt me today"

    Just a comment from me regarding the above comments about the WB2000 from Samsung:
    I have it - and it is the best ever in terms of IQ and noise compared to:
    SX1, SX30, FZ38, S5IS, G6 (cameras that I have owned)
    So this says a lot - in low light the WB2000 is very good !
    Regards, Claus

  39. 1) With Hx9v and 4GB memory card, for how long i can shoot video and store it in the 4GB SD card. I know one file cannot be more than 29min.
    2) with battery fully charged can it last long for photos(100) and video (30min)
    thanks for you update.

  40. srikanth you find that answer in the last parts of Sony HX9V on the net

  41. Joe, i got the answer for first question. but i am not able to find how long the fully charged battery will run. Does it drain more, if we shoot more video than pictures.

  42. srikanth, the permanent image stabilisation in movie mode takes it toll on the run time. Since it is the same mechanic, battery etc as with the HX5, you can check on my HX5 blog where I did the battery test for more info

  43. I'm going to buy a camera for this summer, mostly for sports pictures, what do you recommend, hx5v or the hx7v? I'm not that rich so the hx9v isn't a option.

  44. Koen the HX5 shold fit your bill nicely if you get it below $200

  45. But I do have the money for the hx7v, is there a main difference between the 5 and 7? Sony's site says that the hx7v can blur the background and the hx5 can't, is that true or is it possible to shoot pictures like that with the hx5. And are there other reasons why the hx7v is a better camera than the hx5?

  46. I have been going back & forth between the 7V & 9V.Is the $ worth the extra zoom? I can cough up the extra cash, but should I? I like to take pictures of my kids in school auditoriums and my kids ports. Can you please help me out with this. I just want a decent camera. I know you can get the 7V as a bundle at the local shopping wharehouse. The 9V is a good $100. more by the time you purchase the case and card. I have been disappointed with my canon, because it took lousy pictures in the school auditoriums in low light and 4X zoom is certainly not enough.

  47. go for the HX9V you got much more bang for the buck

  48. Any comparison in terms of speeds and accuracy of GPS? I've heard conflicting reports that the 5V may have had faster acquisition times.

  49. Bought the HX9V 2 weeks ago. The GPS fix takes too long and so far at least it's practically useless. As a result, almost no pictures have GPS info... E.g. open sea >10 minutes. Might be a problem with MY camera, but have seen other reviews complaining about GPS acquisition times.

  50. Should add though that apart from the poor performance of the GPS, the rest of the camera seems excellent:-)



  53. I just bought a Sony H70. I've owned tons of cameras (film and digital) over the last 30 years including pro DSLRs and Sony NEX5 and A200. This camera..the H70 is a piece of crap for the price! I can't wait for the store to open in the morning to get a refund or swap for something else. The H70 has no iris - just a two stage min/max like the cheapest crappy camera you could buy. You cannot adjust sharpness (only apply USM of unknown degree). There's no b&w, color, jpeg fine/normal etc. It's utter bullshit for the price tag. The Jpegs are crud from ISO 400 and up. I hope someone in the market for a decent pocket camera reads this and makes a better purchase. (IMO Lumix TZ of FUJI EXR).

  54. Is there an available accesory for HX9V that you may know that a filter can be attach?

  55. Does any one faces photo preview lagging in HX7? Switching to play from shoot mode isnt working for the first click. Image deleting also takes very long time.

  56. It's now Dec 12th in the USA (I'm assuming it's the same where you are). I think the HX-5 is no longer available. If it were, and all cameras were $1., which compact would you buy? In particular, the Sony HX9, HX7, HX5, and WX10 are of interest. I like the jpegs from Olympus and their xz-1 is lovely with a truly fast (at all focal lengths!)lens but it is rather large.
    What is your feeling?
    please advise and tx,

  57. Funny! it's Dec 12 th here and 13th where you are.

  58. Still undecided. HX7 or HX9? cost in the UK is a £50 difference, the other thing is its size hx7 being smaller, and the hx9 having that pop-up flash.....oooow cant decide

  59. I'm trying to decide between the HX9V and the NEX7. I know the prices are very different but I need something compact that has a good zoom for sports and is good for video. I use 20% for video work (weddings etc.) and 80% for stills, sometimes in low light conditions. Will the HX9V be OK for wedding stills without flash?

  60. Pierre, if you want to make money with the photos the NEX 5, 7 or A55 /A65 are the better choices

  61. Hi there Joe, you are doing a great job with all the tests and reviews of Sony DSC-H´s. I bought myself the HX5 camera about 1,5 years ago and have been quite happy with it. However, what bothers me really is the sound quality. Just as you confirm with some of your tests from 2010. I will attend an important concert in few weeks. Could you recommend any solution how to improve the recording audio as much as possible? Thanks a lot and have a cracker! ;-)
    PS: Will the possible replacement of HX5V with HX9V make me much happier, ie. will I see better quality pictures and videos with better audio quality?

  62. andre99 the answer is right on the front page! Get yourself a Zoom1 or something like that and never worry about audio quality from another camera ever again. This is the route I will go while keeping my HX5 and the 3D Fuji W3.


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