Little Sony HX9v that punches above its weight – test video by documentary shooter Jeen de Vos

By Dan Chung

The Sony HX9v

I know it’s not a DSLR or even a camcorder – but it is not often that footage from a camera takes me by surprise. This film shot on the diminutive Sony HX9v has done just that. Jeen de Vos’ video shows just what the little point and shoot camera is capable of in expert hands – the footage seems to rival that of far bigger and more expensive camcorders.

Like most other compacts the HX9 has a small sensor, no manual exposure or exposure lock and no manual focus in video mode. Jeen has somehow managed to overcome these challenges. I was so curious that I had to contact him to see how he’d done it. This is what he had to say:

“The film was shot on the Sony HX9v with tripod. In normal conditions I turn the exposure 1 or 2 stops down (the camera tends to blowout the highlights). I used the ‘ISO’ setting which allowed me to choose a colour setting. ‘ Daylight’ seems to be the best choice for most normal outside situations. The AF tracking works perfecty! It seems to know what you want – which is of course not possible! AF tracking is fast most of the time but in some conditions where there is lots of movement its a bit slow, perfect to create some strange shallow DOF focus pull effects. The 24-380mm equivalent lens is amazing. The image stabilizer function on the HX9 is also something special although I didn’t use it in this film. Really its a great little camera, it was a bit of a shock to me that it gives better results to my eyes than my 10.000 Euro JVC ProHD. The video was edited on Adobe Premiere CS5. The footage works perfect in AVCHD. No colour correction, I just turned down the sharpness and contrast a bit – camera is way too sharp!”

The image stabilizer function that Jen talks about seems to be the best video IS yet in a compact judging by some of the examples around the web.

Sound will probably require sync sound with an external audio recorder like the Zoom H1, but even so I can see plenty of journalistic situations where this camera would be advantageous.

Andrew Reid over on EOSHD.com has also been using the camera and advocating it’s use – head over there for more info. He even has is working with a Zacuto Z-finder.

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