Sony Cyber-shot H2 Review
Operation and controls
Although it took some getting used to - we are talking about a sophisticated photographic tool - with the H1 Sony managed to reach almost SLR-like levels of usability, meaning more time spent concentrating on taking pictures and less finding controls hidden in deep menus. The H2 retains exactly the same qualities. A lot of the credit for this goes to the inclusion of a 'jog dial' on the front of the substantial grip, directly below the shutter release. The jog dial (which can be pressed to make selections and turned to change settings) controls aperture and/or shutter speed (depending on the mode you're in), program shift and AE compensation - all without having to take your eye away from the viewfinder (if you're using it), so you're always ready to shoot in an instant.
Elsewhere image stabilization, flash, macro, focus and burst modes get their own buttons, as does image size. My only complaint is that ISO and white balance really, really need to be easier to access, and I'd love to see an external ISO control on the next generation Cyber-shot H models, as the menu system is nowhere near as fast or intuitive as some competitors.
Rear of camera
The back of the camera is where we find the most important external difference to the H1; the screen has shrunk from 2.5 to 2.0 inches, and some of the controls have been moved around. At the top, next to the electronic viewfinder, are (from left) the finder/LCD button, a new play mode button (which has moved from the mode dial) and zoom rocker. Below the zoom controls, to the right of the textured thumb grip, are the menu button and display button (for changing the amount of information displayed on-screen). Moving down the body we find the ubiquitous 4-way controller and an image size button that is also used for deleting images in playback mode. Each of the four directional keys has a secondary function when used in record mode; flash mode, macro mode, self-timer and AE compensation (a welcome addition, missing from the H1). Our only (minor) complaint about the rear panel layout is that it is easy to accidentally press buttons with your thumb when attempting to use the H2 with one hand.
Top of camera
Display and menus
The on-screen display and control system is excellent, though to be honest I don't really like Sony's menu system, which isn't a patch on that used by Canon or Panasonic on their 'prosumer' models. Getting to things like ISO or White Balance could be a lot easier and a lot faster, and some fairly basic options (focus and image stabilization modes, for example) are hidden away in the setup menu, which takes a fair few button pushes to get to. Overall though, in normal use I found the H2, like the H1 before it, to 'get in the way' of taking pictures a lot less than most of its competitors (helped by the fact that it remembers where you were in the menus each time you go back, so switching ISO regularly - if you don't change anything else - isn't too painful). New for the H2 (and H5) is a 'function guide' that offers short descriptions for scene modes and basic functions.
|Pressing the display button cycles through three display modes; basic (showing only the focus brackets, flash mode, macro mode), advanced and advanced with histogram (as shown here). You get exactly the same display if you use the electronic viewfinder.||Half-press the shutter release and the camera will calculate exposure (AE) and focus (AF) indicating the aperture and shutter speed chosen. The focus frame turns green and a camera shake warning is displayed if the shutter speed falls below a certain level.|
|AE compensation, available in most modes, is easily changed using the jog dial.||In program mode you can also use the jog dial to highlight and change the aperture/shutter speed chosen without altering the exposure value ('program shift') - very useful.|
|The jog dial is also used to change the aperture and or shutter speed in Manual, Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority exposure modes.||The H2 offers the choice of four focus modes; 3-area multi point AF, Center AF, Flexible Spot AF (manual positioning of focus point virtually anywhere in middle 80% of frame), shown above.|
|The H2 has a newly refined manual focus system that features an optional, customizable visual feedback system for indicating in-focus areas ('peaking'). The blue areas show peaks of contrast (as used by the autofocus system), giving clear, obvious feedback about which areas will be captured sharply.|
|Image size - as is normal with Sony cameras - gets its own menu, with a dedicated button on the rear of the camera. New for the H2 is an indication of the recommended maximum print size for each setting||The record menu (not available in full auto mode). The left and right arrows scroll through the various menus, the up and down arrows select the menu options. Here you'll find options for everything from metering and drive mode, to ISO setting, white balance and image parameters.|
|Choose setup from the menu (in either record or playback mode) and you're presented with five pages of options covering basic camera settings. The first two - shown here - cover shooting settings, including Autofocus mode (single, monitor and continuous) and image stabilization mode (more of which later).||Next up is the Memory stick menu - for formatting the card and creating/editing folders. The final two tabs cover global settings such as language, audio, file numbering, video output and date/time.|
|As with record mode you have three choices when it comes to the amount of information overlaid on images viewed in playback mode; none, advanced (including full exposure information) and advanced with histogram (shown here).||Pressing the right (tele) zoom key allows you to magnify images up to 5x. You can also scroll around magnified images using the four-way controller.|
|Pressing the left (wide) zoom key brings up a display of 3x3 thumbnails of saved images.||The play menu offers the usual range of options, including protecting, rotating and deleting images, plus slide shows and print ordering (DPOF).|
|Waffles with fruits by Coolinarka|
from Food photography (desserts)
|Vestrahorn Frozen Reflection by Will B Milner|
from Ice cold
Canon's new EF-S 35mm F2.8 Macro lens is not only compact and affordable, but it is a pretty good performer as well. We put it to the test with eyeballs, flowers and even some antique cameras. Read more
Google has updated its Photos mobile apps to support the recently announced service for creating and printing physical photo books.
Europeana Photography is a new online image archive that includes more than 2 million historical photographs from European collections in 34 countries, covering the first 100 years of photography. Read more
Manufacturers love to state CRI (color rendering index) numbers to prove that their LED lights will provide great color, but a single CRI score doesn't tell the whole story.
NASA's Juno spacecraft is sending back its first images from Jovean orbit, and they're beautiful. Read more
We got our hands on the first zoom lens available for Fujifim's new digital medium format system. Check out the samples
As summer really gets going over here in the Northern hemisphere, the team at Imaging Resource has put together a list of the best cameras for backpacking.
The Ukrainian Parliament banned statues of Lenin in 2015. Two years later, the monuments no longer adorn public buildings or stand watch over town squares, but they're still there.
If you had to choose one camera to bring along for the ultimate West coast road trip, what would it be? DPR's Sam Spencer choose the X100F. Read more
The a9 boasts impressive capability. As more examples of it in practice pour in, Sony's claims hold up. Watch the a9 track and maintain focus on a rapidly approaching basketball.
Last week, more than a million tonnes of Californian coastline slid into the ocean, taking part of Highway 1 with it. Check out the remodeling in photos taken before and after the landslide.
Even after eighteen months of reviewing the latest, greatest, shiniest and must-buy-me-est new gear, DPReview staffer Carey Rose has continued to use older DSLR cameras for his freelance work. But now, that might be changing. Read more
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.