Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H7 Review
The H7 has seven white balance presets (daylight, cloudy, fluorescent 1, 2 and 3, incandescent and flash) in addition to the default auto white balance and a custom (manual) option. In our tests the auto WB system worked pretty well in all outdoor situations (though we did notice a slight warm tone to daylight shots), coped very well with mixed light sources, but struggled to correct the color cast caused by shooting under artificial (indoor) lighting. In fact as the results below show, when pushed, the system is pretty poor. If you want neutral tones in such situations you need to use manual white balance. Interestingly the H7 produced slightly different results to the H9, though there is no pattern to the difference and we put it down to sample variation.
|Incandescent - Auto WB
Red 9.1%, Blue -13.3%
|Incandescent - Incandescent preset WB
Red 6.8%, Blue -9.2%,
|Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red 5.7%, Blue -23.8%,
|Fluorescent - Fluorescent preset WB
Red 7.3%, Blue -10.5%,
The built-in pop-up flash has a range (using auto ISO) of up to around 9.8 m (32 feet) at the wide end of the zoom, dropping to 6.0 m (19.7 feet) at the long end - pretty impressive for a camera in this class (though be aware that at great distances the ISO may get pushed too high for really great quality). We found exposure and color to be very reliable, with the flash quenching well at distances down to about 10cm. There is a slight 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,
(H9 example shown)
|Color chart -Slight warm tone,
The H7's macro mode is even better than its predecessor, and lets you get as close as 1cm at the wide end of the zoom, capturing an area 35mm (1.37 inches) across. Obviously there are some limitations on the usefulness of a macro mode than requires you to get so close to the subject for really impressive magnifications. The biggest is the issue of the camera casting such a large shadow over the subject that you can't see it. If you prefer to shoot your close ups from a more respectable distance the long end of the zoom does allow you to get down to around 120cm (about 47 inches) to capture an area just under 10cm across, which isn't bad at all for a zoom this big (though there is some corner softness and mild distortion).
Barrel and Pincushion Distortion
Although the measurements aren't terrible for a camera with such a huge focal length range, the H7 produces images with visibly more distortion than most of its competitors. There is fairly strong barrel distortion at the wide end and noticeable pincushion distortion at all longer focal lengths (not just the longest setting). Of course it always looks worse when shooting test charts, but if you need straight edges (such as copying documents or artwork) then this ain't the camera for you.
|Barrel distortion - 1.7% at Wide angle
Equiv. focal length: 36 mm
|Pincushion distortion - 0.8% at Telephoto
Equiv. focal length: 465 mm
Specific image quality issues
Everything we said about the H9 holds true here too, so we'll repeat it:
Away from the studio in the 'real world', overall impressions of the H7's output are mixed, to say the least. On a positive note the focus, exposure and color are generally excellent (though the default settings may produce output that is a little 'overcooked' for purists). Highlight clipping is fairly well controlled (unless you push the dynamic range too hard), and the sheer versatility of such a wide zoom range - combined with fast focus and an effective stabilizer - means there are few photographic challenges it can't handle.
But look a little closer - particularly at a pixel level - and you start to see the compromises involved in squeezing a 31-465mm equiv. lens and 8 million pixels into such a compact form. We're not sure if it's noise reduction, poor demosaicing or over-compression, but viewed on-screen the images just don't look very pleasant, with visible artefacts and more than a fair share of optical issues.
The main issues are chromatic aberration, purple fringing, particularly at the wide end of the zoom, and excessive noise reduction. The latter causes smearing of low contrast detail (hair, foliage etc) even at low ISO settings and can add a watercolor-like dappling to out of focus areas and other soft details.
In fact at the very widest zoom setting it's kind of hard to find anything really positive to say about the H7's photos; at wider apertures there is a noticeable fall off in sharpness at the edges, strong fringing and an overall lack of crisp detail. If you stop the lens down you get less fringing but diffraction starts to soften the images.
I should stress that unless you're in the habit of printing your images at large sizes or peeping at pixels the H7's output is unlikely to disappoint, and it has a remarkably high 'hit rate', with few focus or exposure failures (obviously the focus 'hit rate' drops as you move towards the long end of the zoom range). But for us the output was uninspiring.
A couple of side notes; firstly the lens hood is definitely useful for reducing flare and should be left on whenever possible when shooting outdoors. Secondly we were surprised to find that even in sunny weather the H7's program mode tended to default to rather small apertures and slow shutter speeds (we're guessing this is to reduce the fringing and edge softness).
This is doubly problematic; over about F5.6 diffraction effects start to soften the H7's output - the lens' sweet spot is around two stops in from the maximum aperture (resolution drops fairly rapidly at higher F numbers), and you can easily end up with shutter speeds too slow to guarantee a blur-free result.
This problem reaches its zenith in the new Advanced Sports Shooting mode, which on a bright day was giving me 1/60th second at F7.1!! This means that all that predictive focus cleverness is totally wasted. This can only be described as a bug in the firmware, and needs to be fixed (there's no way round this either - unlike normal program mode the sports mode doesn't have program shift or ISO control).
Chromatic Aberration & Purple Fringing
All super zoom cameras suffer from some fringing (though Panasonic's processing removes it before you ever see it), and this camera's predecessor (the H5) was the worst offender. The H7 seems to be just as bad, and it is fairly prevalent at the edge of the frame when shooting at the wide end of the zoom and around high contrast edges. Unusually we found evidence of purple fringing even where the edge wasn't particularly high contrast (see example below). There's also fairly strong chromatic aberration at all focal lengths (though most obviously at longer zoom settings), although to be fair it's harder to spot this in normal prints as the fringes are only a few pixels wide in most shots. Either way this whole fringing issue - be it lens related or CCD related - is something Sony really needs to sort out in future models.
|100% crop||92mm equiv., F5.6|
|100% crop||31mm equiv., F4|
|Tomatillos and Red Jalepeno Peppers by Kukla|
from Herbs, spices, sauces, or condiments
|Little Kickers by Gfancher|
from sports T&I including banners
|ABD_9819 Bald Eagle by kasjun|
from A big year - birds 2018
|the eyes by aarif|
from -Portrait Challenge 2018-
At this year's CP+ show in Yokohama, we sat down with senior executives from several major manufacturers, including Canon. Topics of conversation included Canon's ambitions for high-end mirrorless cameras, and the importance of responding to the demands of the smartphone generation.
We were recently able to follow local frame builder Max Kullaway as he created one of his AirLandSea bikes. Here are our picks of the photos we got, as the project progressed from bare tubes all the way to rideable bicycle.
On paper, the Sony a7 III is a tempting option for photographers who've been considering a switch to full-frame mirrorless. But how does its image quality stack up? We compare it to the Mark II and a few of its other peers.
Erez Marom shares the details behind this beautiful aurora photograph, captured on Haukland Beach in the Lofoten Islands, Arctic Norway, on a moonless evening.
Google Lens uses artificial intelligence and 'computer vision' to identify and provide information about businesses, landmarks and other objects using your phone's camera. And now it's available for iPhone users, too.
The company posted a record quarterly revenue of $2.08 billion for the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year. That represents incredibly healthy year-over-year growth of 24 percent.
In the job posting, the Times' describes this role as "one of the most important and high-profile jobs in visual journalism." If you're looking for a high profile job in photojournalism, you could do a lot worse than being Photo Director at The Gray Lady.
According to a recent report out of South Korea, Samsung is increasing production of its ISOCELL image sensors in a bid towards market leadership for image sensors. To reach this goal, Samsung will have to dethrone current market leader Sony... no small task.
In this video, large format photographer Ben Horne shows off the incredible resolving power of 8x10 slide film by pixel peeping a massive 709.6-megapixel drum scan of one of his landscape shots. And you thought 100MP medium format was big...
Photographer Wendy Teal tells the heart-breaking story of a wedding she shot at a hospital on just 24-hours notice. The mother of the bride had been given one week to live, and Wendy responded to the couple's desperate social media plea for someone to capture their special day.
This tiny little plug-and-play VR/AR camera for Android phones uses a pair of greater-than-180° FOV fisheye lenses to offer both 360° video/photo capture and 360° livestreaming at 1440p resolution.
Syrp has announced the Magic Carpet Pro: a slider that offers filmmakers an 'infinitely extendable' range thanks to built-in track levers that let you connect lengths of track without the use of tools.
At CP+ we sat down with executives from several major manufacturers. Among them was Kenji Tanaka, of Sony, who talked to us about the a7 III as well as its plans to attract more pro shooters – without ignoring APS-C and entry-level customers.
How do you shoot macro photography on an 18x24cm large format wet plate camera? You 'connect' two large format cameras together! That's how wet plate photographer Markus Hofstaetter did it, and you can read about the whole process in this article.
The Fujifilm X-H1 is a top-of-the-range 24MP mirrorless camera with in-body stabilization and the company's most advanced array of video capabilities. We've tested the X-T2's big brother extensively to see how it performs.
Motorsports photojournalist Jamey Price recently flew to Canada with Lamborghini for the car company's Winter Accademia 2018, where clients get to drive the latest Lamborghini supercars on snow and ice. Yes... it is exactly as awesome as it sounds.
For the Pixel 2 smartphone's Motion Photos feature, Google built on its existing Motion Stills technology by adding advanced stabilization that combines software and hardware capabilities to optimize trimming and stabilization.
This "high-capacity advanced spider tripod" system can handle a maximum load of 65kg / 143lbs thanks to its reinforced design and 8-layered carbon fiber legs.
Photographer William Briscoe captured the beautiful two-for-one timelapse just outside Fairbanks, Alaska on January 31st, braving -31°F (-35°C) temperatures to get the shot.
"After his camera was stolen from his room in the orphanage, he switched to an iPhone for his photography, reasoning that the image quality of a big, heavy camera was less important than the freedom of a cell phone. 'Quality? Screw it, I’d sketch things with a pencil if I could draw,' he wrote in a blog post."
Chinese manufacturer Vivo has announced some AI-powered Super HDR tech to compete with Google's HDR+ system. Both systems combine multiple images to create a final shot with more dynamic range and less noise, but Super HDR claims to do so more intelligently.
The YouTube channel JerryRigEverything recently tore down (or rather, tore apart...) the new Samsung Galaxy S9, giving us the closest look at yet at the new smartphone's camera hardware.
The Leica l Model A, dating from between 1926 and 1927, comes with a card signed by Earhart herself. Unfortunately, this is the only 'proof' that the camera really did belong to her.
The Rokinon AF 35mm F2.8 FE is a budget-friendly option for users of Sony's a7-series that are looking to get into the 35mm focal length.
The 'semantic image segmentation model' categorizes every pixel in an image and assigns it a label, such as “road”, “sky”, “person” or “dog.” And now, Google has released its latest version as open source, making it available to any developers whose apps could benefit from the tech.
Huawai is teasing the upcoming P20 smartphone's low-light and zoom capabilities in a couple of tongue-in-cheek teaser videos on YouTube.
Fuji's latest firmware update for the GFX 50S adds two new features: a focus stacking mode, and a 35mm format mode that takes 30.5MP photos using the center portion of the camera's medium format sensor.
The crash has raised serious questions about 'startling safety gaps' in the doors-off photo tour industry. After a brief safety video, passengers are strapped in with heavy-duty harnesses and given only a knife to cut themselves loose in case of emergency.
For the first time in five years, Adobe is raising the price of some Creative Cloud subscription packages. The good news for photographers: The $10/month CC Photography plan that includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, and Lightroom Classic CC will stay the same.
In a statement, Canon CEO Fujio Mitarai said the company will "go on the offensive" in mirrorless cameras, aiming to clinch 50% of the entire interchangeable-lens camera market.