Nikon Z50 vs Sony HX99
The Nikon Z50 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2019 and August 2018. The Z50 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the HX99 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (Z50) and a 1/2.3-inch (HX99) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 20.7 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 18 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon Z50||Sony HX99|
|Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Nikon Z mount lenses||24-720mm f/3.5-6.4|
|20.7 MP, APS-C Sensor||18 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-51200 (100-204800)||ISO 80-3200 (80-6400)|
|Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (638k dots)|
|3.2" LCD, 1040k dots||3.0" LCD, 922k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Tilting touchscreen|
|11 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|320 shots per battery charge||370 shots per battery charge|
|127 x 94 x 60 mm, 450 g||102 x 58 x 36 mm, 242 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Z50 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon Z50 and the Sony HX99. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony HX99 is considerably smaller (50 percent) than the Nikon Z50. It is worth mentioning in this context that the Z50 is splash and dust resistant, while the HX99 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the HX99 has a lens built in, whereas the Z50 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Nikon Z50»||127 mm||94 mm||60 mm||450 g||320||Y||Oct 2019||859||Nikon Z50|
|Sony HX99«||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449||Sony HX99|
|Canon M50« »||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779||Canon M50|
|Canon G9 X Mark II« »||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529||Canon G9 X Mark II|
|Nikon D6« »||160 mm||163 mm||92 mm||1270 g||3580||Y||Feb 2020||6,499||Nikon D6|
|Nikon D5500« »||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon 1 V3« »||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799||Nikon 1 V3|
|Nikon D5300« »||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799||Nikon D5300|
|Panasonic G90« »||130 mm||94 mm||77 mm||536 g||290||Y||Apr 2019||999||Panasonic G90|
|Sigma fp« »||113 mm||70 mm||45 mm||422 g||280||Y||Jul 2019||1,899||Sigma fp|
|Sony A6400« »||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||n||Jan 2019||899||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6100« »||120 mm||67 mm||59 mm||396 g||420||n||Aug 2019||749||Sony A6100|
|Sony HX95« »||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429||Sony HX95|
|Sony WX800« »||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||233 g||370||n||Oct 2018||399||Sony WX800|
|Sony A6300« »||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999||Sony A6300|
|Sony HX90V« »||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429||Sony HX90V|
|Sony HX400V« »||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499||Sony HX400V|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The HX99 was launched at a lower price than the Z50, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon Z50 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony HX99 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the HX99 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 5.6. The sensor in the Z50 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the HX99 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 20.7MP, the Z50 offers a higher resolution than the HX99 (18MP), but the Z50 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.22μm versus 1.25μm for the HX99) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the Z50 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the HX99, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon Z50 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Z50 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.8 x 18.6 inch or 70.7 x 47.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.3 x 14.8 inch or 56.6 x 37.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.6 x 12.4 inch or 47.1 x 31.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony HX99 are 24.5 x 18.4 inch or 62.2 x 46.6 cm for good quality, 19.6 x 14.7 inch or 49.7 x 37.3 cm for very good quality, and 16.3 x 12.2 inch or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Z50 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon Z50 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 100-204800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Nikon Z50||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon Z50|
|Sony HX99||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX99|
|Canon M50||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Canon M50|
|Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65||Canon G9 X Mark II|
|Nikon D6||Full Frame||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon D6|
|Nikon D5500||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1438||84||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52||Nikon 1 V3|
|Nikon D5300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.9||1338||83||Nikon D5300|
|Panasonic G90||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Panasonic G90|
|Sigma fp||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sigma fp|
|Sony A6400||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24||13.6||1431||83||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony A6100|
|Sony HX95||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX95|
|Sony WX800||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony WX800|
|Sony A6300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85||Sony A6300|
|Sony HX90V||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX90V|
|Sony HX400V||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX400V|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the Z50 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the HX99 (2360k vs 638k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon Z50 and Sony HX99 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Nikon Z50||2360||n||3.2||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Nikon Z50|
|Sony HX99||638||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX99|
|Canon M50||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Canon M50|
|Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y||Canon G9 X Mark II|
|Nikon D6||optical||Y||3.2||2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Nikon D6|
|Nikon D5500||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n||Nikon 1 V3|
|Nikon D5300||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5300|
|Panasonic G90||2360||n||3.0||1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||Y||Panasonic G90|
|Sigma fp||none||n||3.2||2100||fixed||Y||1/8000s||12.0||n||n||Sigma fp|
|Sony A6400||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6100||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6100|
|Sony HX95||638||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX95|
|Sony WX800||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony WX800|
|Sony A6300||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6300|
|Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX90V|
|Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX400V|
The Nikon Z50 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The Z50 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX99 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The Z50 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the HX99 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon Z50 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon Z50||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon Z50|
|Sony HX99||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony HX99|
|Canon M50||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M50|
|Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon G9 X Mark II|
|Nikon D6||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y||Nikon D6|
|Nikon D5500||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon 1 V3|
|Nikon D5300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5300|
|Panasonic G90||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Panasonic G90|
|Sigma fp||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||3.1||-||-||-||Sigma fp|
|Sony A6400||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6100||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A6100|
|Sony HX95||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony HX95|
|Sony WX800||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony WX800|
|Sony A6300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6300|
|Sony HX90V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony HX90V|
|Sony HX400V||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony HX400V|
It is notable that the Z50 has a hotshoe, while the HX99 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the Z50 and the HX99 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. Neither of the two has a direct predecessor, so perhaps they will constitute the origins of new camera lines for Nikon and Sony. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Nikon Z50 better than the Sony HX99 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Z50:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.7 vs 18MP) with a 9% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2360k vs 638k dots).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 1 month after the HX99).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99:
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the Z50 necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 127x94mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the Z50).
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (370 versus 320) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2018).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Z50 is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 8 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon Z50 and the Sony HX99 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Z50 or the HX99 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Nikon Z50 vs Sony HX99
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon Z50||Sony HX99|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-720mm f/3.5-6.4|
|Launch Date||October 2019||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 859||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon Z50||Sony HX99|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.7 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.95 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.7 Megapixels||18 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5568 x 3712 pixels||4896 x 3672 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.22 μm||1.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.60 MP/cm2||64.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-51200 ISO||80-3200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-204800 ISO||80-6400 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 6||BIONZ X|
|Screen Specs||Nikon Z50||Sony HX99|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots||638k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon Z50||Sony HX99|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||No Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon Z50||Sony HX99|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon Z50||Sony HX99|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||320 shots per charge||370 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
127 x 94 x 60 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)
102 x 58 x 36 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||450 g (15.9 oz)||242 g (8.5 oz)|
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