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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V mini review


Had you told me a year ago that I would consider buying a SONY product, let alone owning one, I would of laughed at you, let’s just say my experiences with SONY are not the best. Then again, things change.

I needed a solid functional with reasonable resolution pocket camera and I mean “pocket”. Though the Canon Powershot G12/G13 and the Nikon Coolpix P7000 are great, they are cumbersome, not pocket stuff. I was left with The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V. By the way, where do the marketing department find these names anyways?

The considerations were as follows:

  1. It needed to fit in my jeans back pocket (This was non negotiable!)
  2. It needed to be really solid
  3. It needed to have a reasonable zoom range.
  4. It needed more than 10MP
  5. Rechargeable battery
  6. Optional: low light capability
  7. Optional: high frame rate
  8. Optional: HD 1080 video recording
How does it match up?

  1. Fits better than my iPhone, seriously!
  2. You could probably use it as a weapon, not that I’d try.
  3. 10x zoom (35mm equivalent to 25 to 250mm)
  4. 10.2MP just makes it.
  5. Yes it has a rechargeable battery
  6. I am amazed by its low light capability
  7. 10 frame a second burst makes it faster than my DSLR by 2 frames.
  8. HD AVCHD 1080 video recording
  9. And bonus… A GPS with compass.

The first thing I was reminded of when I got the camera was the fact that, as is with most point-and-shoot cameras, there is no RAW function. However, I do not believe that this function is required on point-and-shoot cameras. To me point-and-shoot cameras need to be practical and in reach, no more, no less.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V certainly has a comprehensive feature list that would satisfy most photographers from excellent low light capability to in camera HDR not forgetting two of my favourites, panoramic sweep and 10 frames per second burst. I found that leaving it in full AUTO I get far better results than trying to out smart it. The only time I take it out of AUTO is for panoramas, which it does very well if you know how to, and HDR which actually works well enough for my use, finally for video.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V also has some shortcomings, for one the aperture is rather limited from f/3.5 to f/8 and to be honest the GPS is really slow to acquire a fix. Lastly, this may surprise everyone, it’s heavy but that brings a sense of solidity not often found in this type of camera.

In short, it is not an SLR but it does a brilliant job for what it is a pocket camera that is always ready.


I posted some sample photos to my Flickr account.

You can find in-depth reviews here:


Panoramic Test

We are back!

If you visited my site in the last few days you would of noticed that Only in South Africa was missing. Goddady moved my hosting to a new server without resetting the DNS, which as a matter of interest they host! That simply resulted in my site vanishing. To add insult to injury not only is their support shocking but I had missing content and content I deleted month ago reappearing.

Bottom line, we are back and contemplating the launch of!

Shooting Grasshoppers

I was lucky enough to cross with a grasshopper this weekend, in flight it was magnificent. But how to catch such a fast and small insect (no more then 5 cm) in flight?

The truth is I was only armed with a 70-200mm, I can honestly tell you it is not the lens for this type of photography.

In my opinion this is how, though I have not tried you can be assured I will, I just need to find another co-operative grasshopper (this may be the biggest problem):

  1. A long lens, 300mm or above. I will try with a 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L USM.
  2. Ideally a fast f/2.8, I have to settle with f/5.6
  3. A high burst rate, 5 frames a second or higher.
  4. The camera set to continuous centred focus, this is debatable.
  5. A lot of luck and patience

For now though here are the “heavily” cropped photos I did this weekend.


Tolerance in South Africa

As I have written in the past, we have some serious issues in South Africa, but I suppose this applies to any country worldwide.

In this case I am going to focus on what I personally encounter every day while driving.

Our (South African) taxi industry, for those of you that are thinking “yellow cab”, it’s not that kind of taxi. These are minibus type taxis (Toyota Quantum Ses’fikile) usually capable of taking from 10 passengers upwards, most commonly 16 at a time..

In recent years, this industry has become more demanding and capricious, in fact I would offer the opinion that at this stage they have little if no regard for the law or any other vehicles on road.

Since actions to prevent this or even curb it are not evident, the lack of action would seem to suggest that the South African government merely bows to their demands. The latest tabled demand is the cancellation of the demerit “point” system as implemented in other parts of the world.

The case made by the Taxi Associations and drivers is that this will cause a large job loss and I can only agree. They drive so badly that within a month few will have a valid drivers license.  (See here and here)

The bottom line is the South African taxis are a danger to all that drive on South African road. Considering that as all South Africans are aware of the dangers that the Taxi Drivers pose, I was disgusted that MTN, one of our mobile operators, has leveraged from this on a advertising campaign on one of our main highways and even more so that nobody seems to care about the Taxi’s or supporting this clear and present danger on our roads.


Does this mean that we have given up? That we will continue to tolerate or accept such behaviour? I pay taxes and toll road fees. I know that I certainly will not.

[Editor’s note: The article was edited by the ever diligent Michelle Ashburner after publishing]

South Africans You Should Meet

It’s not every day that a friend come “online”, even less so when it is as ambitious as a podcast. Michelle Ashburner, someone I consider being a good friend, has just done that.

In her own words about South Africans You Should Meet:

Welcome… and we’re South African!

This forum is about South Africans who are doing amazing or wierd, funky?, different, world-rockin’ or breath-holding things.

So if you know a South African, anywhere in the world, that is doing anything amazing or different that we can all be proud of,  think about or support or there is a South African you would like to meet – then let me know, I would love to interview them and shout it out from the top of the Milky Way of the World Wide Web.

Proudly South African
Michelle Ashburner

Michelle I wish you the best from a proud South African, I can’t wait for the first instalment and may there be many in the future.

You can go over to for more information.