Compared to... Olympus SP-550UZ

In the absence of the Canon PowerShot S5 (probably the H9's nearest direct competitor - not yet available) the camera most likely to be considered alongside the H9 is the Olympus SP-550UZ. The Olympus has fewer pixels (7MP vs 8MP) but has a longer zoom range (18x) that goes wider at the wide end and longer at the tele end. We've included studio comparisons at each camera's lowest ISO, ISO 400 and ISO 800 (for the H9's high ISO settings please see later in the review).

Studio scene comparison (H9 @ ISO 80, SP-550UZ @ ISO 50)

  • Sony DSC-H9: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.7 EV compensation
  • Olympus SP-550UZ: Aperture Priority mode (F5.0), ISO 100, Default Image Parameters, Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Sony DSC-H9
Olympus SP-550UZ
ISO 80, 1/60 sec, F5
ISO 50, 1/25 sec, F5.0
2,009 KB JPEG
3,712 KB JPEG

Although the differences are relatively subtle there's no doubt in my mind that the SP-550UZ is the winner here - by a whisker. This is thanks to a sharper, more detailed result, better corner performance and a considerably less 'processed' appearance.