Compared to...Canon SX100 IS and Ricoh R8

The H10's dimensions are fairly compact considering the camera's 10x zoom range. The number of cameras competing in this market segment is quite small. For the purpose of this review we've picked the similarly specified and priced Canon SX100 IS for comparison. It too offers a 10x zoom lenses and an 8 MP sensor in a fairly compact package. If compact dimensions and a fairly long zoom are on your shopping list, the Ricoh R8 might be worth a look as well. It comes with a slightly shorter lens than the Sony and Canon (7.1x) but makes up for that with a considerably more useful zoom range starting at 28mm. At 10 MP it also offers a slightly higher resolution.

Note: The H10 doesn't have a true manual/custom white balance setting, so the studio shots in this review are as near to 'neutral' as we can get using one of the presets.

Studio scene comparison (DSC-H10 @ ISO 100, SX100 @ ISO 80, R8 @ ISO 64)

  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H10: Program mode, ISO 100, Default Image Parameters, cool white fluorescent white balance, +1.0 EV compensation

  • Canon Powershot SX100 IS: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters, Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation

  • Ricoh R8: Program mode, ISO 64, Default Image Parameters, Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Sony DSC-H10
Canon SX100 IS
Ricoh R8
ISO 100, 1/100 sec, F4
ISO 80, 1/60 sec, F4.5
ISO 64, 1/52 sec, F4.2
2,753 KB JPEG
3,295 KB JPEG
3,518 KB JPEG

As usual, at base ISO there is not an awful lot of difference between the contenders. Color and contrast are on similar levels (H10 white balance issues aside), with the H10 marginally accentuating the red tones. Sony and Ricoh apply more in-camera sharpening to the images than Canon. In fact, in the Ricoh's case it is almost a little too much.

It's worth mentioning that the lens in our particular copy of the H10 had a slightly soft left side (worse in the top corner, the Ricoh is soft in the bottom right). Otherwise edge-to-edge and corner-to-corner sharpness is pretty good on all cameras. The Canon is offering the best edge to edge consistency but is overall a little soft (this is down to in-camera processing and can easily be rectified with a bit of sharpening in an imaging software). The Sony and Canon images are pretty clean at base ISO. There are considerably more visible processing and sharpening artifacts in the Ricoh's output.

The H10's output at ISO 100 is good. Images are clean from artifacts and (apart from the soft corner) sharp. The Carl Zeiss branded lens does a decent job (again, not taking into account the soft corner of our copy) especially when you consider the camera's 'budget' pricing and long zoom range.