With the Sony HX30V and HX20V, Sony aims to bring highly desired features like high-powered zoom and very good low-light capabilities into a compact form-factor that consumers are accustomed to. Unlike their HX200V cousin, the HX30V and HX20V are definitely compact, although Sony has thinner and lighter models. In some ways, you can think of those as Sony’s “muscle compact cameras”.  Both models are nearly identical with a 3” display (921k pixels), 1080p video recording, 3D photography, multiple image stabilization (IS) techniques and GPS chip.However, the HX30V has built-in WiFi support, which can come in handy when it’s time to transfer files back to a computer for example. To be honest, I’m not sold on the WiFi feature, which is still a work-in-progress, not only for Sony, but for cameras in general. However, if you are really allergic to connecting over USB – it’s good to know that there is an option.

Finally, keep in mind that both come with Sony’s 18 Megapixel Exmor-R sensor, which has been built for low-light performance. It is fair to say that Sony has been quite successful with the Exmor sensors, including in the smartphone market where the additional sensitivity is great added-value. The price-difference is so small, that I think that Sony should have built a single SKU: At $419 and $399 respectively, those cameras are not cheap, but within this form-factor it’s hard to find a 20X zoom. Here are the official Sony specs:

  • 18.2 MP “Exmor R” CMOS sensor
  • 20x optical zoom lens (25-500mm in 35mm format) with 40x  digital “Clear Image Zoom” at full resolution
  • Wi-Fi enabled for sharing content directly with compatible smartphone, PC, tablet or other devices (HX30V only)
  • “Extra High Sensitivity” technology enhances low-light shooting capabilities
  • Lightning-fast AF speed of approximately 0.13 second in daylight, 0.21 seconds in low-light at 3 EV (speeds may vary based on shooting conditions)
  • 3.0-inch, 921k dot LCD screen
  • Captures 13MP equivalent still images while shooting video via “Dual-Record”
  • Full HD Movie Shooting capability (1920×1080/60p) and Optical SteadyShot Active Mode (3 way shake cancelling)
  • Photo Creativity interface and 9 “Picture Effect” options for creating unique, custom-styled photos and video
  • Embedded GPS functionality with newly added GPS Log Recording function
  • Manufactured with “SoRPlas” – Sony recycled plastic – a durable plastic containing 99% recycled materials

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