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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H7 Review

July 2007 | By Simon Joinson

Almost exactly 12 months after the launch of the Cyber-shot DSC-H2 and DSC-H5 Sony announced the replacement cameras; the DSC-H7 (reviewed here) and the top-of-the-range mode the DSC-H9 (reviewed at the end of May). That Sony chose to increase the pixel count (to 8MP) and to include this year's 'must have' features (face detection and ludicrously high maximum ISO) can't have surprised many, but there are a few less predictable new features, and a few welcome changes. The former include a 15x zoom and HDTV (well, 1080i) output. The latter include an improved focus system, faster performance and a new (in the box) remote control. The H7 and H9 appear to be internally pretty much identical, though there are some feature differences that explain the $80 price difference (chiefly, the H9's screen and NightShot mode) - the H7 is basically the 'budget' model.

Note: Some sections of this review are taken directly from the Sony H9 review as in most respects the cameras are functionally identical. All test images are from the H7 unless indicated.

Cyber-shot DSC-H7 vs DSC-H2 - key changes

  • New sensor (8MP versus 6MP)
  • longer lens range (15x up from 12x)
  • Higher maximum sensitivity (ISO 3200)
  • Larger screen (2.5-inch vs 2.0 inch)
  • Lithium Ion battery
  • Control dial has moved to rear of camera
  • 9-point AF (was 3-point)
  • New Sports mode
  • HDTV (1080i) video output (via optional component cable)
  • Face detection
  • D-Range optimization (auto contrast)
  • In-camera retouching
  • Remote control included
  • Entirely new user interface
 

Sony DSC-H7

Sony DSC-H2
Sensor

• 1/2.5 " Type CCD
• 8.1 million effective pixels

• 1/2.5” CCD,
• 6.0 million effective pixels

Lens • Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar
• 31-465mm (35mm equiv)
• 15x optical zoom
• F2.7-4.5
• 36-432mm equiv
• 12x optical zoom
• Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar
• F2.8-3.7
Maximum Image Size 3264 x 2448
3072 x 2304
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 80-3200
• Auto
• ISO 80-1000
Top shutter speed 1/4000th 1/2000th
Autofocus modes • 9 Area Multi-Point AF
• Center AF
• Flexible spot AF
• 3 Area Multi-Point AF
• Center AF (selectable)
• Flexible spot AF
Scene modes • Twilight • Twilight Portrait • Portrait • Landscape • Beach • Snow • Fireworks • High Sensitivity • Advanced Sports Shooting • Twilight • Twilight Portrait • Portrait • Landscape • Beach • High-speed shutter • High Sensitivity
Continuous Shooting 100 shots, 2.2fps, 8MP (max) 1.1 fps, up to 7 frames
Flash range, Auto ISO Up to 9.8m (wide) Up to 9.0m (wide)
LCD screen • 2.5" TFT
• 115,000 pixels
• 2.0" TFT
• 85,000 pixels
Power • Lithium-ion NP-BG1 battery 2x AA
Battery life (CIPA standard, using LCD) 280 340
Weight (inc batteries) 514g 537g
Remote control Included No
Other • Face Detection
• HDTV output (optional cable)
• Bionz processing engine
• In-camera effects
 

Cyber-shot DSC-H9 vs DSC-H7

As with the previous generation (H2 and H5) there are two almost identical 'H' cameras. The camera on review here, the H7, is a cut-down version of the H9, though the differences are fairly minimal (the big one is the screen).

  • H9 has a larger (3.0 inch), higher-resolution tilting screen (H7: 2.5-inch non-articulated)
  • H9 has external buttons for metering and continuous shooting modes, H7 doesn't
  • H9 is around 32g (1.1 oz) heavier
  • H9 has NightShot function, H7 doesn't.

DSC H-7 specifications

Street price • US: $380
• UK: £245
Body Material Plastic
Sensor

• 1/2.5 " Type CCD
• 8.1 million effective pixels

Image sizes

• 3264 x 2448
• 2592 x 1944
• 2048 x 1536
• 640 x 480
• 3264 x 2176 (3:2)
• 1920 x 1080 (16:9)

Movie clips

• MPEG VX Fine / Standard
(640 x 480 @ 30 / 16 fps MPEG-1 with audio)

File formats • Still: JPEG
• Movie: MPEG VX (MPEG-1)
Lens

• Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar
• 31-465mm (35mm equiv)
• 15x optical zoom
• F2.7-4.5

Image stabilization Super SteadyShot®
Conversion lenses Yes
Digital zoom • 2x (24x total)
• Up to 30x Smart Zoom (dependent on selected resolution)
Focus • Auto
• Macro
• Single
• Monitoring
AF area modes • 9 Area Multi-Point AF
• Center AF
• Flexible spot AF
• Contrast detect
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance • Normal: 50cm (19.7 in) minimum (W), 120cm (47.25 in) minimum (T)
• Macro: 1cm (0.4 in) wide only
Metering • Multi-pattern (49 zone)
• Center weighted
• Spot
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
• ISO 3200
Exposure compensation • +/-2EV
• 1/3 EV steps
Exposure bracketing +/- 0.3, 0.7, 1.0 EV
Shutter speed

• Auto: 1/4-1/4000sec
• P: 1"-1/4000sec
• S: 30"-1/4000sec
• A: 8"-1/2000sec
• M: 30"-1/4000sec

Aperture F2.7-5.6 (w) F4.5-8 (t)
Modes

• Program
• Aperture priority
• Shutter priority
• Manual
• 9-preset select scene modes

Scene modes • Twilight
• Twilight Portrait
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Beach
• Snow
• Fireworks
• High Sensitivity
• Advanced Sports Shooting
White balance

• Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Fluorescent 1, 2, 3
• Incandescent
• Flash WB
• Manual

Self timer • 10 or 2 secs
Continuous shooting 100 shots, 2.2fps, 8MP (max)
Image parameters Natural, Vivid, Sepia, B&W, Sharpness, Contrast
Flash

• Auto
• On
• Slow Synch
• Off
• Red-eye reduction
• Front/rear synch
• Auto/Daylight synch
• Range: 0.2 - 9.8m (wide) 1.2 - 6m (tele)

Viewfinder • 0.2" EVF
• 201K pixels
LCD monitor • 2.5" TFT
• 115K pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0 high speed
• HD
• AV w/multi-jack
• DC in
Print compliance PictBridge, DPOF
Storage • Memory Stick Duo / Pro Duo compatible
• 31MB internal memory
Power • Lithium-ion NP-BG1 battery
• BC-CSG Charger
Weight (excl batt) 514 g (1lb 2.1 oz) - incl. strap, adaptor ring, lens hood, cap etc.
Dimensions 109.5 x 83.4 x 85.7 mm (4.6 x 3.3 x 3.7 in)


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 2007 Simon Joinson / dpreview.com and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey

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