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Sony Cyber-shot H2 Review

June 2006 | By Simon Joinson


Review based on a production Sony DSC-H2

The Cyber-shot DSC-H1 was Sony's first foray into the increasingly crowded compact, image stabilized 'super zoom' market, and it was a very successful one too. The DSC-H2 (along with big brother the DSC-H5) arrived almost exactly a year later in February 2006. In truth the H2 isn't a major upgrade - a bit of a re-style, a few new features and an extra megapixel - but some of the refinements, though small, are significant. Let's find out if the H2 has what it takes to compete with the likes of Canon's PowerShot S3 IS, starting with the headline specifications:

  • 6.2 effective megapixels
  • 36-432mm equivalent (12x optical) F2.8-3.7 Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar zoom lens
  • Super Steady Shot optical image stabilization
  • Wide ISO 80-1000 range
  • Clear RAW™ noise reduction technology
  • 2.0” LCD (85,000 pixels) & 0.2" (200,000 pixel) Electronic viewfinder
  • Full photographic control
  • Real Imaging Processor & 14-bit DXP A/D Conversion
  • Optional wide and tele lens converters
  • Scene selection (7 modes)
  • Histogram indication
  • 32MB internal memory, plus a Memory Stick/PRO Duo slot

Cyber-shot DSC-H2 vs DSC-H1; what's changed?

Aside from the move to the new 1/2.5" 6 megapixel sensor (and a boost to the maximum ISO), a bit of a re-style and a smaller screen, the changes are minimal, though most are welcome!

  • New sensor (6MP versus 5MP)
  • Lens now branded Carl Zeiss, not Sony
  • Change from full size Memory Stick to Memory Stick Duo
  • Zooming during movies allowed
  • Higher maximum sensitivity (ISO 1000)
  • Smaller, lower resolution LCD screen (2.0-inch versus 2.5-inch)
  • Higher resolution Electronic Viewfinder
  • Better battery life
  • Slightly lighter
 

Sony DSC-H2

Sony DSC-H1
Sensor 1/2.5” CCD, 6.2 million pixels 1/2.5” CCD, 5.3 million pixels
Effective Resolution 6.0 million pixels 5.1 million pixels
Maximum Image Size 2816 x 2112
2592 x 1944
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 80 - 1000
• Auto
• ISO 64 - 400
Max Digital Zoom 52x (VGA mode) 48x (VGA mode)
Use Optical Zoom
during movies?
Yes No
Shutter speeds

• 1/4 - 1/2000 sec. (Auto)
• 1 - 1/2000 sec. (Program Auto)
• 30 sec – 1/1000 sec. (Shutter Priority, Manual)
* Shutter speeds of 1/2000th are only available at apertures of F5.6 and higher.

• 1/8 – 1/2000 sec (Auto)*
• 2 – 1/2000 sec (Program Auto)*
• 30 – 1/1000 sec (Manual)
* Shutter speeds of 1/2000th are only available at apertures of F5.6 and higher.
Scene modes • Twilight • Twilight Portrait • Portrait • Landscape • Beach • High-speed shutter • High Sensitivity • Twilight • Twilight Portrait • Portrait • Landscape • Beach • High-speed shutter • Candle.
Continuous Shooting 1.3 fps, up to 7 frames 1.3 fps, up to 9 frames
Storage • Memory Stick Duo/ Memory Stick PRO
• 32 MB internal memory
• Memory Stick / Memory Stick PRO
• 32 MB internal memory
LCD screen • 2.0" TFT
• 85,000 pixels
• 2.5 " TFT
• 115,200 pixels
Viewfinder • Electronic, 0.2-inch LCD, TTL
• 201,000 pixels
• Electronic, 0.3-inch
• 115,200 pixels
Battery life (CIPA standard, using LCD) 400 290
Weight (inc batteries) 537g 591g
Launch Price (RRP) $399 $499

Sony DSC-H2 Key specifications

Street price • US: $370
• UK: £280
Body Material Plastic & metal
Sensor

• 1/ 2.5" Super HAD™ CCD
• 6.0 million effective pixels

Image sizes

• 2816 x 2112
• 2592 x 1944
• 2592 x 1728 (3:2)
• 2048 x 1536
• 1280 x 960
• 640 x 480

Movie clips • 640 x 480 @ 16 / 30fps
• 160 x 112 @ 8fps
• MPEG 1 (with mono sound)
Lens

• 36-432mm equiv
• 12x optical zoom
• Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar
• F2.8-3.7
Super Steady Shot
• 2x Precision Digital Zoom
• 11 Elements in 9 Groups (1 ED and 1 Aspheric Element)

Focus • 3 Area Multi-Point AF
• Center AF
• Flexible Spot AF
• Contrast detect
• Manual focus
• Single, Monitor or Continuous
• 2 cm macro mode (Wide)
Shooting mode

• Program (with Program Shift option)
• Manual
• Twilight
• Twilight Portrait
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Beach
• High-speed shutter
• High Sensitivity
• AE compensation -2.0EV to +2.0 EV in 1/3EV steps

Shutter Speeds 1/4 - 1/2000 sec. (Auto)*
1 - 1/2000 sec. (Program Auto)*
46-step 30 sec – 1/1000 sec. (Shutter Priority, Manual)
* Shutter speeds of 1/2000th are only available at apertures of F5.6 and higher.
Apertures f2.8-8.0 (W)
f3.7-8.0 (T)
10-step f2.8-8.0 (Aperture Priority, Manual)
Metering • Multi-pattern
• Center weighted
• Spot
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1000
White Balance • Auto
• Manual
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Fluorescent
• Incandescent
• Flash WB
Image parameters

• Saturation (3 levels)
Contrast (3 levels)
• Sharpness (3 levels
• Color effects (Sepia, Black and White, Vivid)

Continuous 7 Shots at 1.3 fps (6MP JPEG fine), 100 Shots VGA at 1.4 fps (JPEG std.)
Flash • Pop-up
• Auto, On, Off, Slow synch
• Red-eye reduction
• Range (ISO Auto): 1’ to 29’ 3" (0.3-9.0m) (Wide)
• Range (ISO Auto): 35.5 ’ to 22 ’ 4 " (0.9-6.8m) (Tele)
• Range (ISO 1000): 2’ 11" to 52’ (0.9 -16m) (Wide)
Storage • 32MB internal memory
• Memory Stick Memory Stick DUO / Memory Stick DUO PRO slot
Viewfinder • Eye-level 0.2-inch LCD, TTL
• 201,000 pixels
LCD monitor • 2.0-inch
• 85,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-speed
• AV out
Power • 2x rechargeable AA battery (NiMH, alkaline, NiMH)
• Charger included
In the box*

DSC-H2 camera
NH-AA-DB Rechargeable AA Batteries (2500 mAh),
BC-CS2 Battery Charger and Cord
A/V and USB Cables
Shoulder Strap
Lens Cap
Lens Cap Strap
Lens Adapter Ring
Lens Hood
Software CD-ROM

Other features

PictBridge- and PIM II-compatible
DPOF
• Autofocus Illuminator
• Real Imaging Processor
• Clear RAW NR
• Filter Diameter: 58mm (with supplied Adapter Ring)
Optional Flash units, converter lenses, filters

Weight (inc batt) 537 g (1 lb, 3.7 oz)
Dimensions 107.8 x 81.4 x 91.2 mm (4 1/4 x 3 3/16 x 3 5/8 in)

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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This article is Copyright 2006 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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