The Sony Cyber-shot HX1 proves to be a veritable Swiss Army Knife of a midsize camera. Need to grab some sports shots? It has the lens and the speed to do it. Headed to the zoo? Again, you're covered. Summer vacation at the Grand Canyon? The HX1 counters with perhaps the most useful panorama mode ever installed on a digicam. Plus, you can get video clips worthy of your 42-inch HDTV from the same device. It really is hard - doubly so if you exclude extreme low-light shooting - to find a situation where the HX1 won't be able to turn in nice shots with ease.
In truth, the HX1's biggest detractor may not come from its performance so much as its price. An entry-level DSLR certainly lacks the Cyber-shots versatility. But in terms of across-the-board shooting speed and outright image quality, a large-sensor, interchangeable-lens camera wins hands down. And given that the HX1, which lists at nearly $500, will set you back nearly as much as a basic SLR kit, potential buyers may have good reason to think twice.
As a technological achievement, though, the HX1 truly shines. Sony has always been known for their gadgetry: lately, it seems, they're figuring out how to make all of this novel tech less novel and more useful. And with phenomenal continuous shooting, a nifty panorama mode, and home-movie-ready HD video capture, the HX1 makes some giant leaps in fusing uniqueness and utility.
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