Viewfinders have long been sacrificed for the sake of space--not so with the Sony HX90. Sony is claiming yet another the "smallest" title, this time for the smallest compact 30x zoom with a viewfinder. That's a lot of qualifiers to claim a title, but the Sony HX90 seems like it's worthy of a little nudge. If a viewfinder doesn't sound like a dig deal to you, just wait until bright sunlight makes it impossible to read your LCD screen.
While the viewfinder may be the most exciting feature compared with Sony's earlier compact zoom models, there's still quite a bit of imaging power packed into such a small camera. The sensor is still the expected 1/2.3" standard for point-and-shoots, but that is paired with a 30x optical zoom lens. The maximum f/3.5-6.4 is also a bit expected.
What's not expected is the inclusion of manual modes and a design that may even perk the interest of casual enthusiasts. Like Sony's advanced compacts, there's a control ring around the lens for easy adjustments. Enthusiasts might be disappointed though that there's no RAW shooting. Despite having such a big zoom and a handful of advanced features, the Sony HX90 is quite small, weighing less than nine ounces, and could even slip into a pocket.
The burst speed is also excellent at 10 fps. That's limited to just ten shots, but should still allow users to capture the right moment. Paired with the 30x zoom, it could even handle a t-ball game.
The Sony HX90 looks like a solid all-around camera, good for a variety of uses from traveling to sports. Sony generally has pretty good image quality coming from their compacts. At nearly $500 though, it's a bit pricey. We'd like to see a bit larger sensor at that price, or a bit smaller price for a compact camera. It does include quite a few advanced features, but we'll wait for a hands-on test to decide if it's really worth the price tag.