Sony Cyber-shot H5 Review
The H5 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 mixed light sources, but struggled to correct the color cast caused by shooting under artificial (indoor) lighting. If you want neutral tones in such situations you need to use manual white balance.
|Incandescent - Auto WB
Red 9.7%, Blue -11.9%
|Incandescent - Incandescent preset WB
Red 7.1%, Blue -8.4%
|Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red 5.6%, Blue -16.2
|Fluorescent - Fluorescent preset WB
Red 7.5%, Blue -5.5%
The built-in pop-up flash has a range (using auto ISO, which goes to 200) of up to around 9.0 m (29 feet) at the wide end of the zoom, dropping to 6.8 m (22 feet) at the long end - better than the H1 and better than many competitor models too. 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 being 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 over three 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 - Warm tone, good exposure||Color chart -Slight warm tone,
The H5's macro mode lets you get as close as 2cm at the wide end of the zoom, capturing an area 40mm (1.5 inches) across - roughly the same as the Panasonic FZ7. Interestingly, this is roughly the smallest area the Canon S3 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.
Barrel and Pincushion Distortion
The H5 exhibits fairly low distortion given the huge focal length range - 1.2% barrel distortion at the wide end, and no measurable distortion at all at the full 432mm telephoto end. There is also only barely measurable - and hardly noticeable - vignetting.
|Barrel distortion - 1.3% at Wide angle
Equiv. focal length: 36 mm
|Pincushion distortion - 0.1% at Telephoto
Equiv. focal length: 432 mm
Specific image quality issues
We were impressed by the bright, vivid and detailed results produced by the H2 (and predecessor the H1), and the H5 offers more of the same. 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). At ISO 80 there is a very slight resolution advantage over the H2, but to be honest in real world photography you won't see it - and more importantly it's lost at anything over ISO 200 because the H5 has to use slightly stronger noise reduction.
Like the H2, the results don't look as processed as those produced by the H1 (certainly not as heavily sharpened), and even at the default settings they can bear a little unsharp masking. Of course there's only so much you can expect from such a small sensor and such a huge zoom range, but the H5 can be relied on to pull detail from a scene at all zoom settings (especially at lower ISO settings), and I was impressed by the very high 'hit rate' even in the fully automatic 'point and shoot mode'. In common with its competitors there is smearing of low contrast fine detail (such as hair) at higher ISO settings, but if you stay below ISO 200 the results are excellent.
Compared to the H2, if you're really going to nit-pick, the noise reduction blurs away any extra detail captured at ISO 200 or higher (at ISO 200 you simply cannot see any extra detail), and the saturation is very, very slightly lower at the red end of the spectrum. The bad news is that the purple fringing is if anything worse than we saw on the H2, though on a positive (and possibly more important note) the H5 is less prone to highlight clipping in contrasty scenes.
Again we found sharpness drops fairly dramatically at apertures of F6.3 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 at F5.0 or wider. We also saw a slight drop in contrast and sharpness at the very long end of the zoom, but again this is normal for a camera of this type.
Chromatic Aberration & Purple Fringing
All super zoom cameras suffer from some fringing (though Panasonic's processing removes it before you ever see it), but on occasion the H5 takes it to a whole new - and at times totally unacceptable - level. The chromatic aberration fringes (red one side, blue the other) are mild enough that you have to look for them - if you can find them at all - in everyday shots, but the purple fringing is at times bad enough to be painfully visible in larger prints. You only really see it at very high contrast edges, particularly where there are clipped / blown highlights, but it is more prevalent then we saw on the H2 or Canon's PowerShot S3 IS. You won't see it in lower contrast images and it's worse when you're at, or near, the widest aperture. The examples below are the worst we could find, but they do show how bad things can get!
|100% crop||432mm equiv., F4. -1.0 EV|
|100% crop||100% crop|
|100% crop||36mm equiv., F2.8|
The optical image stabilization ('Super Steady Shot') system used on the H5 works, though I would say it is perhaps marginally less effective than those found in the Canon S3 IS and Panasonic FZ series. The H5 has two modes: Continuous (IS on all the time) and 'Shooting' (stabilization is only activated when the button is half-pressed to lock exposure). The first option makes framing easier - the Steady Shot system steadies the preview image - but obviously uses more battery power (it's on all the time).
I certainly found it made handheld shots at 2, 3, or even 4 shutter speeds slower than normal perfectly possible. Impressive stuff. The 100% crops below show the effectiveness of the IS system when shooting at long focal lengths at speeds as low as 1/15 sec.
Although we've no definitive test for IS systems in real-world use, I was impressed with the H5's system, though as mentioned above, at very slow speeds I don't think it's as effective as the Canon or Panasonic system, especially Panasonic's 'mode 2' option (which only activates when the shutter is actually pressed, minimizing the amount of travel needed to correct the movement). To be fair we're not talking a huge difference here. These tests are rather extreme - around 4 or 5 stops slower than you could safely use without IS - and in 'real life' shots - where you are maybe using a shutter speed 2 or 3 stops slower than normal - the system is pretty much 100% effective, as always this will depend on how steady you are in the first place!
|IS off||IS on|
|1/15 sec, 432mm equiv. 100% crops|
|IS off||IS on|
|1/20 sec, 421mm equiv. . 100% crops|
|IS off||IS on|
|1/6 sec, 432mm equiv. . 100% crops|
|Spring evening by Kaappo|
from Landscape #1
|Bringing Home the Bacon by Domenick Creaco|
from My Best Photo of the Week
Well-known photography educators Tony and Chelsey Northrup recently won $40,000 from an Australian company who used one of their most popular portraits on product packaging without so much as asking permission. Check out the video for the full story.
The Sigma 105mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens—colloquially referred to as the 'bokeh master'—will cost just $1,600 USD when it ships for Canon, Nikon, and Sigma mounts in 'late June.' That's $600 less than the Nikon 105mm F1.4E.
'Recall shooting functions' lets you recall previously saved exposure settings (including shutter speed and aperture) by simply pressing and holding specific controls. The function is designed to allow for quick shooting parameter changes in variable light conditions.
Zeiss has announced a new lineup of 13 'Supreme Prime' lenses for large format cinematographers who want smaller and lighter glass that still produces top-quality results. The kind of lenses that make your salivary glands work... and your wallet groan.
The new HP DesignJet Z6 and Z9+ supposedly offer "the fastest printing capabilities available on the market today," all while using fewer ink tanks, and featuring useful add-ons like a built-in vertical trimmer.
In an effort to streamline production and minimize confusion, RED has announced that it is simplifying its product lineup to three main cameras. As an added bonus, this change dramatically drops the prices for all three options.
Fujifilm's new X-T100 is an SLR-style mirrorless camera that takes the internals of the X-A5, including phase-detect AF, and adds a fully articulating LCD and high-res OLED viewfinder. The X-T100 is priced at a very reasonable $599/€599 body-only and $699/€699/£619 with a 15-45mm lens.
Panasonic's latest firmware update for its GH5S, GH5 and G9 series of cameras was leaked in Japan earlier today and is now being officially announced a week early. But don't get too excited – you still won't be able to download it until May 30th.
We've been saying for years that the term "lens compression" is misleading, but Lee Morris over at Fstoppers has put together a useful video that explains why this is the case, and demonstrates it with two easy-to-understand examples.
Last week, some 'leaked' photos were published online that purported to show a DJI Phantom 5 drone with interchangeable lens camera and several prime lenses. The rumor was widely reported, but DPReview has learned that those images do not, in fact, show a Phantom 5 at all.
The bezel-free Vivo Apex concept phone with its pop-up camera might be more than a concept. A new teaser video and ad seem to hint at a similar smartphone to be released June 12st.
Skylum has teamed up with its sister company Photolemur to create Skylum AI Lab, where the duo will work on AI-powered image solutions including image segmentation, tagging and upscaling.
Award-winning fashion and celebrity photographer Markus Klinko recently tested out the Godox EC-200 flash extension head. Actually, he tested out four of them, creating a quad-flash ring light alternative that works great for both beauty and close-up work.
According to a recent investor presentation, Sony intends to occupy the top slot in the overall camera market by the end of 2020, beating back Canon and Nikon by boosting its interchangeable lens systems.
HTC brings back the dual-camera on the newly-announced U12+, which features a secondary tele-camera with 2x zoom factor, as well as 4K video recording at 60 frames per second.
Google has finally added the ability to mark your favorite images in Google Photos, so they can be filtered into a dedicated album. The service is also planning to a social network-like "heart" button that lets you like other people's photos.
We've been messing around with Apollo, an iOS app that allows you to add 3D lighting effects to images using depth information, and have to say we're impressed with what it's capable of – but that doesn't mean we don't have a few requests for the next version.
The new lightweight laptop packs a whole lot of photo- and video-editing punch. The laptop can be specced out with a Core i9 processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD storage, NVIDIA graphics with 4GB of GDDR5, and a 4K display with 100% Adobe RGB coverage.
It looks like Canon is getting into sensor sales. The three specialized CMOS sensors the company recently demoed—including a 120MP APS-H model and an ultra-low light sensor—have been listed for sale through a distributor in the US.
Instagram has finally launched a "Mute" button, and is testing an "All Caught Up" feature that will let you know when you've seen all new post from the people you follow from the past 48 hours.
45-year-old photography magazine Shutterbug announced today that it is shutting down its print publication, focusing instead on reaching its readers online as a web-only publication.
Kodak Alaris has launched a new single-use disposable camera in Europe. Called the Kodak Daylight Single Use Camera, this 800 ISO film camera is supposedly ideal for parties, weddings, and similar events.
Computer vision company Lucid and cinema camera maker RED have partnered to create an 8K 3D camera that can capture 4-view (4V) holographic images and video in real-time. The camera is designed to work with RED's upcoming holographic Hydrogen One smartphone.
If Canon and Nikon do get into high-end mirrorless, it's almost certain that they'll do everything they can to maintain compatibility with their existing mounts. But, asks Richard Butler, wouldn't it be more interesting if they built a small, niche system to live alongside their existing DSLRs?
It seems RED's Hydrogen One super-phone will make it into the hands of customers in the near future. The phone is now officially slated for a Verizon and AT&T release in the US sometime this summer.
You know that feeling when you're already all suited up and out on a spacewalk outside the International Space Station, and only then do you realize you forgot to put the SD card in your GoPro? No? Us either... but one astronaut on the ISS sure does.
From 2015 to 2017, filmmaker Macgregor and his crew spend many months traveling back and forth on the famed Mauritanian Railway—the so-called 'Backbone of the Sahara—to document the grueling journey endured by merchants who regularly travel atop this train. This beautifully-executed short doc is the result.
You can now insert another user's Instagram post into your own Stories as a customized sticker, the first official "regram" feature we've seen from the Facebook-owned photo sharing app.
Synology has added a new 6-bay NAS to its DiskStation+ series, and it's aimed squarely at photographers and medium sized businesses. The DS1618+ can handle up to six 12TB drives, giving it a max capacity of 72TB, or up to 60TB in RAID 5.