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).|
|Patrick Finds Inner Peace by ecastellon|
from Your best photo of the week!
|Forks by Kukla|
from Arranged everyday objects
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.