I think I have found the ideal v2 camera: the HX99

When Vine was still around, I thought about searching for a zoom compact that I could carry everywhere. The idea that phones can replace dedicated cameras is not a valid one, and as we all know, phones can’t - and won’t - do everything. The phone camera is fine for most things, of course.

For macro videos I just ‘made’ my own macro lens from an old 35mm compact at a charity shop. It cost me $4. I also bought a cheap telephoto lens for $20. It wasn’t very good but for Vine, it didn’t matter. I got some cool footage with it, such as very distant traffic, some aircraft, tight close-ups of birds, etc.

But I wanted a small camera with a lens that had a very narrow angle of view that gave good quality video. The camera didn’t have to have full HD video, or RAW output, or anything like that. But it had to have manual controls like exposure, focus lock and WB. Some kind of slow-motion would be nice, too, but not essential.

I started researching and I think I found some Fuji models which caught my attention. And then Vine died.

My quest was now officially over. But when v2 was announced, I thought that maybe the quest could be restarted, even passively. But nothing was really catching my eye.

For instance, take the Panasonic LF1 (or Leica C) from 2013. Terrific camera for photographs, as it has RAW, manual controls, a good zoom (28-200mm equivalent in Pentax K1000 terms) and better quality than an iPhone. It also fits in a shirt pocket. But the video is automatic exposure only. No go, but for some it would be perfectly acceptable.

But, recently Sony announced two very interesting cameras, being the HX95 and the HX99. The latter is only slightly more expensive, yet offers a couple of nice, albeit not critical, additional controls.

Okay, so why these? Well, according to the specifications, you get full manual control in video mode, which is very important. These are very small units and can fit in the proverbial shirt pocket. The zoom range is even more than the Panasonic (24-720mm equivalent).

Of course, the sensor is smaller than the one in the Panasonic. It’s basically the size of a phone sensor. Which is no bad thing for Web use, BTW. You can’t expect a huge zoom range in a small package with a big sensor. Not going to happen.

And 4K video? Overkill! I won’t need that, although if it’s there I may as well use it. Video looks slightly better when down-sampled, so it’s not really a bad thing.

There are quite a number of cameras which have the following features:

  • Pocketability

  • High zoom ratio

  • Manual control for video

I cannot say that you will prefer brand A over brand B or C. But do look at the details carefully, so you are under no pretenses as to what you are buying. These sorts of cameras are not generally suited for professional work, so just beware of that.

So, what would be your pick for a v2 camera?