For the last 3 years, I’ve relied on my trusty Sony Alpha 350 and 50mm f2.8 macro lens for the mouthwatering food pics on my blog. But since the arrival of our baby, it’s been a hassle to take photos with a bulky DSLR. Imagine going out and having to carry a 9-kg 8-month old baby, a bulging diaper bag, and a hefty DSLR (with spare battery and sometimes external flash)!
It’s also near impossible to shoot with a DSLR when you have a clingy and fidgety baby who insists on sitting in your lap. At least one hand is needed to hold the baby, leaving the other free. But how to balance a heavy DSLR, focus, and shoot with just one hand?
So when I was handed the latest Sony Cyber-shot HX200V for a test-shot, I was both excited as well as skeptical as to whether it would be able to match up to my existing gear. Would this point-and-shoot be able to take close-up shots of food with the same picture clarity as my beloved macro lens?
Well, I’ve only tested out this powerful ultra-zoom point-and-shoot for less than a week, but I’m pretty impressed so far. The Scene Selection mode has a “Gourmet” function for food photography.
The following food pics were shot in full auto Scene Selection “Gourmet” mode.
I snapped this chicken rice lunch with just my right hand holding the camera; my left hand was holding baby who was sitting in my lap.
Same for this chai tow kway (fried radish cake) dish – photo was snapped with just one hand.
Using my thumb, I even managed to easily zoom in with the zoom dial. No problem focusing on the close-up details at all — yay! And doesn’t this chai tow kway look absolutely yummy?
Here are some colorful mini ang ku kueh. For this pic, I only adjusted the exposure. The colors turned out to be vivid and saturated without any touching up.
This economic fried bee hoon breakfast was shot indoors under florescent lighting (auto white balance). Colors were not as warm or saturated but still sufficiently vivid.
Besides food, I also wanted to see how well the HX200V would photograph humans. Of course, my first subject is a very adorable one — my 8-month old baby Matilda!
For these 3 baby shots, I used Scene Selection – Background Defocus mode.
Photos taken with DSLRs often look beautiful because the lenses are able to deliver depth-of-field — meaning the background is blurred but the subject stays sharp.
But the Background Defocus function on the HX200V is able to deliver this effect just as effectively.
In case you’re wondering, Matilda was examining a fistful of grass she just pulled out. Yes, she’s a very curious baby!
Those who have taken pictures of animals will know how frustrating it is, because animals won’t stay still and pose for you! That’s when the Pet mode in Scene Selection comes in handy.
The greatest feature of the HX200V is its 18.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor (the highest resolution sensor currently offered in the mainstream “point and shoot” market) and a massive 30x optical/60x Clear Image Zoom, which promises incredible close-ups and amazing clarity.
The following images have not been edited, only re-sized to fit this post.
This was shot from an HDB block in my estate (Jalan Bukit Merah, opposite Singapore General Hospital). In the background, you can see Raffles Place (centre left) and Pinnacle@Duxton (near the right).
Let’s zoom in towards Pinnacle@Duxton.
This is the left-most tower. See that crane on top of the building? Let’s zoom in to get a closer look.
This is the maximum distance that the camera could zoom in. Wow, the details are amazing! From where I was standing, I couldn’t even see the crane!
Next, let’s zoom in towards Raffles Place.
This is the top of UOB Plaza at maximum close-up. It’s truly amazing that I can zoom in from such a far distance! No need for hefty telephoto lens!
First impressions: Despite being a point-and-shoot camera, the Sony Cyber-shot HX200V is versatile and powerful. It can be used for both macro and telephoto purposes with clear images and beautiful colors. I’m definitely looking forward to exploring more of its functions over the next few weeks!
The Cyber-shot HX200V will be available in stores from 11th April 2012 onwards.