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Compared to... Sony DSC-H5

We'll start by looking at how the H9 compares with its predecessor, the seven megapixel DSC-H5. We've included comparisons at ISO 80, 400 and 800 (for the H9's higher ISO settings please see later in the review).

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 80)

  • Sony DSC-H9: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.7 EV compensation
  • Sony DSC-H5: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.7 EV compensation
     
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Sony DSC-H9
Sony DSC-H5
ISO 80, 1/60 sec, F5
ISO 80, 1/80 sec, F4.5
2,009 KB JPEG
2,743 KB JPEG

As these crops show the extra million pixels or so you get with the H9 don't bring a lot to the table; there's a small increase in detail, and the H9 output looks a touch more sharpened and has marginally better corner to corner consistency (unless you zoom right out).

Whilst both images have a nice consumer-friendly color and good contrast, neither is particularly impressive - the H9 inherits most of what we complained about with the H5: a slight softness, a touch of fringing, a slightly over-processed appearance. It also has very mild noise reduction artefacts in areas of solid color, and it's worth noting that the H9's image is much more compressed than the H5 - and there's no way you can change that: the H9, shockingly for a camera at this level, has no 'quality' settings at all. The lack of raw is one thing, but no control over JPEG compression is incomprehensible.

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