Behold, the world’s smallest superzoom camera

by Haadi Bakar
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Just when you thought point and shoot cameras are dead, Sony announced a new compact camera that people would actually want in the age of smartphones.

The hook? This one has a 30x optical zoom lens, yet still can fit in your pocket.

The new Cyber-Shot DSC-HX80 would certainly please the camera nuts for that satisfying extra zoom without carrying a bulky dSLR or a mirrorless camera with a telephoto lens.

Sony is able to cram a 24-720mm equivalent Carl Zeiss lens in a super lightweight and highly pocketable camera. The lens barrel retracts into the body as if it disappears into thin air. That is impressive engineering.

This isn’t the first time Sony’s done a marvelous job in shrinking a powerful superzoom camera into a point and shoot.

Last year, Sony introduced the HX90V compact camera, which also boasted a 30x zoom.

But the new HX80, which was announced earlier this month, is an even smaller camera than the HX90V.

Let’s also not forget that Sony makes the award-winning RX100 series, the point and shoot camera that could take on a dSLR or a mirrorless.

A lot of the design elements on the new HX80 are borrowed from the RX100, though it lacks the mightly 1-inch sensor.

Instead, the HX80 uses a standard 1/2.3-inch sensor found in typical point and shoots, but despite the smaller sensor size, it still packs a punch.

Camera sensors have really gotten better over the years. The advancements of smartphone cameras are a testimony to that.

As the Japanese electronics giant markets the HX80 as a premium camera in its point and shoot lineup, expect its 18.2 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor to deliver great quality photos. Coupled with that satisfying extra zoom and 5-axis image stabilisation built in, the HX80 can handle pretty well in situations where you need a professional digital camera.

Other features of the HX80 include a retractable OLED electronic viewfinder, 1080p Full HD video recording and a wireless lighting control system which allows users to work with Sony’s external flash units.

There’s WiFi and NFC too, so you can easily transfer media to your smartphones via Sony’s PlayMemories app.

The HX80 will be available next month for US$350 (around B$500). That’s actually not bad for a high-end point and shoot camera considering the overall package the HX80 offers.

Still, many would find it difficult justifying that $500 price tag when their smartphones are already good enough in taking photos.

Unless you’re a professional photographer or hobbyist,Probably a good reason to get a standalone camera these days is if you want a step up in image quality and versatility which the smartphone could not achieve.

Those who’ve always wanted that extra zoom reach but don’t want to lug around a heavy camera will find the HX80 highly appealing.

Having a separate camera also means not worrying about your phone’s battery or memory running low.

But even if you don’t have a reason to get a point and shoot, all that innovation put into the HX80 is a technological wonder to behold. It’s truly designed for the mobile world.

Had Sony come up with the HX80 about a decade ago, this camera would definitely be at the top of everybody’s gadget wish list.

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