Recently purchasing our Bushwalking Camera was a very successful, deliberative, exercise:
- Determined our requirements
- Investigated possibles and narrowed the field
- Chose the best (for us): Sony HX5V
We were extremely happy with the purchase, performing well on the Six Foot Track and the Mittagong to Katoomba walk. It was even a great little camera to take when you don't want to lug around the bigger DSLR.
Everything was wonderful until I accidentally dropped it into a toilet I'd just used. I dried the camera out (in a plastic bag in the sun with drying crystals) and everything was good -- at least it powered on -- except the smudge that covered 50% of the display and photographs. I discussed cleaning it with the local tech guy: $66 just to look and if it's the lens it'd be $200 to change; plus the boards are susceptible to corrosion after such abuse ...so, after a lot of soul searching, finally decided that our bushwalking camera was too important to take the chance of it failing on a walk (especially the Bibbulmun!).
So the Camera is dead: Long Live the Camera!!
The new Best Bushwalking Camera is the HX5V's recent replacement: the Sony HX9V. I've had it in hand only a couple of days, and not fired it in anger yet, but I am very impressed as Sony have addressed a couple of issues that were just a little soft on the HX5V. Physically they are very similar, the HX9V feels a little heavier, a little bigger and more secure in your hand. I'm assuming that the new model has a stronger flash (which was an object of criticism on the older model) because it's moved to the top left-hand corner and become a much bigger pop-up unit.
The important differences are:
- The Camera now charges the battery (still a NP-BG1) in-camera through the USB port. This one change has a huge impact on our walking:
- Camera battery now charges from the Voltaic FUSE battery (I tried it last night -- went from 50% to full in a couple of hours)
- This means the battery can be charged over-night (from the FUSE Battery), as well as
- During sunlight hours (directly from the solar panels using the charging cradle)
- The HX9V now sports a slightly wider and longer lens
- 16X Optical Zoom: The HX5V's 10X Zoom was just adequate... but zoom is something you always want more of
- 24mm wide angle compared to 25mm in the HX5V
- The LCD is incredibly brilliant!
- The new model has a 3" 921K pixel LCD compared to 3" 230K pixels
- I found the older model could be a challenge sometimes in the sun when walking -- it'll be interesting to see how the new model goes; but inside it's awesome!
I have not had an indepth look for any differences in the software, but I'm assuming that they are basically the same. There are a couple of new modes that soften the background and blur around the subject, but I do that on the computer if I want... it must be there for those without graphics software?
The new HX9V also sports 3D mode in still images and Sweep Panorama -- but not having a 3D display device, this isn't that important to me.
So, pretty much the same camera, only better! Now I can't wait to get it out in the field... Long Live the Camera!!
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