Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1
Review Date: October 31st 2005
(out of 5 stars)
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1 is Sony's first attempt at an ultra-zoom digital camera, and on the whole it is a very successful one. It's easy to see why - the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1 is stylish, well-built and takes good 5 megapixel photographs that produce great A4 prints. As well as offering full auto and scene modes for beginners, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1 also has shutter and aperture-priority modes for intermediate users and a manual exposure mode for the more experienced photographer who wants to take full control. This is a digital camera that will suit both the novice and more experienced photographer, as you can take as little or as much control as you like. Styled like a digital SLR camera, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1 has an amazing focal length of 36-432mm, a large 2.5 inch LCD screen, fast response times and advanced functionality. It could be the only camera that many people need.
It's not quite the perfect ultrazoom digicam though. Noise is the main problem with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1. Squeezing 5 megapixels onto such a small 1/2.5 inch CCD sensor inevitably results in noisier images at lower ISO speeds. Here, noise is fairly obvious at ISO 200, which isn't a particularly fast speed, and at the fastest speed of ISO 400 the image starts to take on a blurry look. The image stabilisation system thankfully makes up for this to some extent, as you can keep shooting at a slow ISO speed in lower light conditions than usual. It's the equivalent of gaining 1-2 exposure stops, or extending the ISO range from 64 up to 200. Unfortunately this does come at a price in the form of reduced battery life. If you typically take a lot of photos using fast ISO speeds then the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1 is not really for you. There aren't too many other negative points - only the small electronic viewfinder springs to mind. If you mainly take photos outside, or indoors with flash, and if you keep the image stabilisation turned on, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1 is a great ultra-zoom digital camera and definitely worth considering.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.