Sony Cyber-shot H1 Review
The H1 has five white balance presets (daylight, cloudy, fluorescent, incandescent and flash) in addition to the default auto white balance and a custom (manual) option. In our tests the auto WB system worked perfectly in all outdoor situations, coped very well with fluorescents and mixed light sources, but struggled to correct the orange cast caused by shooting under incandescent (tungsten) lighting. If you want neutral tones in such situations you need to switch to the incandescent preset or use manual white balance.
Outdoor - Auto WB
|Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red -0.3%, Blue 1.2%
|Incandescent - Auto WB
Red 15.2%, Blue -20.3%
The built-in pop-up flash has a range of up to around 6.8 m (22 feet) at the wide end of the zoom, dropping to 5.2 m (17.1 feet) at the long end. We found exposure and color to be very reliable, with the flash quenching well at distances down to about 10cm. There is the tiniest measurable warm tone to flash photos, but in most cases this is better than too cool, and produces nice skin tones. One minor complaint is the flash shot-to-shot time (partly due to the pre-flash metering used), which stretches to just shy of four seconds when red-eye reduction is turned on. If the batteries are low or your subject is a few feet away flash recycle times can rise to as much as 6 or 8 seconds.
|Skin tone - Very slight warm tone,
|Color chart -Just measurable warm tone,
The H1's macro mode lets you get as close as 2cm at the wide end of the zoom, capturing an area of just under 40mm (1.5 inches) across - roughly the same as the Panasonic FZ5. Interestingly, this is roughly the smallest area the Canon S2 IS can capture using it's much-trumpeted Super Macro mode before the lens gets so near to the subject that it blocks out all light. At the wide end of the zoom there is inevitably some corner softness and distortion (and some visible chromatic aberration), but it's better than most of its direct competitors, and there is little or no vignetting. Obviously at a shooting distance of 2cm there is a real danger of the lens casting a shadow on the subject, but it's not a serious issue.
Here for visual comparison are three identical shots taken at 64, 100, 200 and 400 ISO settings in our studio. ISO 64 and 100 are very smooth, and even ISO 200 has very little visible noise or noise reduction at ISO 200. At ISO 400 the image is slightly less noisy than most cameras in this class, though there is some visible color blotchiness (chroma noise) in the shadows and evidence of fairly aggressive noise reduction.
|ISO 64 100% crop||ISO 100 100% crop|
|ISO 200 100% crop||ISO 400 100% crop|
Barrel and Pincushion Distortion
The H1 exhibits fairly low distortion given the huge focal length range - 1.2% barrel distortion at the wide end, and only the tiniest amount of measurable distortion at all at the full 432mm telephoto end. There is also only barely measurable - and hardly noticeable - vignetting.
|Barrel distortion - 1.2% at Wide angle
Equiv. focal length: 36 mm
|Pincushion distortion - 0.1% at Telephoto
Equiv. focal length: 432 mm
Specific image quality issues
It's hard not to be impressed by the bright, vivid and detailed results produced by the H1; exposure is very reliable, color excellent and focus generally very accurate (save for the occasional missed focus at the extreme telephoto end of the zoom). The default contrast is a little high for my liking, and can cause highlight clipping in bright conditions (see below), but you can reduce the contrast setting (see next page). Likewise I found the images a touch over-sharpened, which is fine for printing without post-processing, but will look way too harsh for those who like to do some tinkering in Photoshop. Turning the sharpening down in-camera produces a very soft result, but there's still plenty of detail there and the results sharpen up well in post-processing.
We also found sharpness drops fairly dramatically at apertures of F7.1 and higher (due to diffraction effects), though this is by no means unique to this camera - it's just useful to know you get the sharpest results in the F4.0 to F6.3 range.
Aside from the mild fringing issue mentioned below (and the high default contrast/sharpness) our only complaint is the usual lack of dynamic range seen with all 5.0 MP cameras (not helped by the high default contrast) - though the H1 is by no means the worse offender.
Although by no means as bad as, say, the Canon S2 IS, the H1 does show some chromatic aberration at the edges of wide shots, especially, as here, on high contrast edges. The fringing (red on one side, blue on the other) is worse at wider apertures, and gradually reduces as you move up the zoom range. It is hardly visible in lower contrast images, and is not significant enough to mar more than a handful of the 1000 or so test shots taken for this test.
|100% crop||36mm equiv., F4|
Purple fringing... and clipped highlights
This image perfectly illustrates the other two problems found when using the H1 in bright, contrasty situations; purple fringing and clipped highlights. The former (fringing) is nowhere near as bad as earlier 'big zoom' Sony cameras (step forward the F828), and only really shows its face in situations such as this, at the edge of an overexposed area of the frame. The clipping ('blowing') of highlights is partly due to the inherent lack of dynamic range (common to all cameras in this class), partly due to the high default contrast (which you can turn down) and partly due to a slight tendency to expose for the shadows, resulting in occasional mild overexposure. As you learn to use the H1 you learn to (i) turn down the contrast on bright days and (ii) watch the histogram, adding -0.3 or -0.6 EV exposure compensation when needed.
|100% crop||81mm equiv., F4|
|Hot Air Balloons Over Bagan by User9320321874|
|Yellow Warbler by LeeS|
from A Big Year - birds
|Waiting for the Parade by tcoker1103|
from - La Vida Loca - (Black and White Street Photography+ A Border)
Peak Design's 'consider every detail' approach shines in the Everyday Backpack. While expensive, it's one of the best options out there for a photographer who needs to pack a lot of stuff in addition to gear.
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not known as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you know where to look. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.
Tamron has announced the longest all-in-one zoom lens currently available, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Designed for Canon and Nikon crop-sensor cameras, the lens will be available in July.
When you're ready to step-up to full-frame from an entry-level or midrange camera, the choices can be overwhelming. Find out which models came out on top in our $1200-2000 enthusiast ILC roundup.
Just a guy wearing a VR headset, smashing invisible Goombas in Central Park.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this gorgeous aerial photo of the Martian landscape. And if you look really close, you can actually see the Mars Curiosity rover in the very middle.
The city of Laguna Beach, California has provided some clarification around the kinds of photography permits it offers.
Later this year, a VR180 camera will be Joining Yi's Halo and 360 VR cameras, which will offer stereo 3D capture, yet be as easy to use and compact as a 2D camera.
Caltech researchers have developed an 'optical phased array' chip that uses time delays instead of a lens to focus the incoming light.
Pricing and shipping have finally been revealed for two highly anticipated lenses from Sigma, announced in February.
These macro photos of clouds of paint billowing through clear water might look like high-quality CGI, but they're real photographs. And photographer Alberto Seveso told us how they were made.
Facebook is testing a feature that prevents people from saving, sharing, or even taking a screenshot of your profile picture.
We've reshot the Sony a9 in our studio. The short story: it's sharper! The long story... well you can read it all here.
The collection will be officially launched during the Europeana Transcribathon Campus Berlin 2017 crowdsourcing event which will be held on 22 and 23 June at the Berlin State Library.
Light gives us some insight into the preparations for the launch of the pre-order shipments of its much anticipated L16 multi-lens camera.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has confirmed in a tweet that the second lens on the back of the OnePlus 5 uses a 1.6x optical zoom and that digital zoom is used to reach the claimed 2x zoom factor.
Fujifilm recently unveiled the second in its series of affordable cine lenses, the MK50-135mm T2.9. We got our hands on it for a couple days and took it for a spin.
Leica's first attempt at an M-series digital rangefinder was rough around the edges, but set a pattern for all of the cameras that came after it. In this week's Throwback Thursday article, Barney remembers the M8.
No stranger to extreme situations, legendary climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin talks to Outside Magazine about his career, and the challenge of filming Alex Honnold's rope-free solo climb of El Capitain.
A company backed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin is attempting to make video conferencing less terrible.
Rangefinder magazine asked five professional portrait and wedding photographers about posting on Instagram; no surprise, they got five different answers.
This captivating stop motion film was created by stripping away one layer of wood at a time. It's hard to look away.