123 of 127 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2007
Out of the box impressions: Ultimate point and shoot. There may be downsides for those into serious digital photography but for semi-advanced idiot shooters like me, this is tops. Biggest advance for me: No shoot-the-head-get-the-tail lag in sports mode. 15X zoom is great. Movie mode works seamlessly and seems of high quality. I've seen critiques of the H9 on Amazon that were long and scathing and so I was somewhat skeptical. Those with concerns about advanced color and a real need for 8 mp should check them out. They're well done. But the serious critiques seem to come from those looking for a pro SLR, not a point and shoot. Which to me is like saying a great family car isn't like a sports car. Two different animals. But for my needs, which include some shots for publication and web publishing, this is an enormously big camera at a reasonable price. Battery pack works great. Strobe is big. One annoyance: not sure if sound-effects can be shut off. Serious problem for wildlife fotogs. Updates...See comments on how sound can be turned off. Also, after a few months of use, still feel great about the camera. Con: On close photo shots, if you have the lens attachment on, the lens attachment will throw a shadow as it blocks the strobe.
44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2007
I did a lot of research on "bridge" cameras (digital cameras that fall between "point and shoot" and DSLRs) and finally decided on the H7 for two reasons. First, I owned a 3.2 mp Sony camera prior to this one. I was pleased with the way it worked and found the in-camera menus easy to use. I wanted to upgrade to more megapixels and larger optical zoom, but still have an "easy to use" camera. Second, Sony cameras had ALL the features I wanted (steady shot, face recognition, high ISO, etc) whereas other brands tended to only have one or two of these options.
The camera was easy to set up and I started taking pictures within 5 minutes (the battery was 2/3 charged out of the box). The camera came with a remote, carrying strap, lens cover, and lens shade. You have to buy a memory stick, but I just used my extra one from my PSP.
-8.1 megapixels with 15x Optical zoom: These two features are hard to find together in a camera. I found with other cameras I had to compromise on one or the other. The mix of these two features creates some great pictures.
-Steady Shot: Like other reviewers said, I found this helps a lot when you are at maximum zoom
-Face recognition: It takes some fiddling to make it work right, but it does help center your pictures on the people rather than the background.
-Menus: Having owned a Sony camera before, learning the in camera menus wasn't that hard. However, it may take some time for folks not used to Sony products.
-LCD screen: The screen smudges very easily and quickly. The resolution on the screen isn't very good for what I expected from Sony and is the main reason I can't give this product 5 stars.
-Body style: While the construction of the camera gives a very professional look, it can be hard to hold. You will probably need two hands if you're doing a lot of shots.
-Accessories must be Sony made: As with all Sony products, you must buy only their accessories. I know this is a big factor for folks who already own a large collection of lenses.
-Action shots: I probably need to work the settings on the camera, but all my action shots seem to come out blurry. I had seen some reviews of this camera that said this was an issue.
All in all, this is a great camera. As a previous reviewer said this camera is not for folks looking for a DSLR. It is a step above the first generation of "point and shoots." However, for all the features you get, it is a great value.
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2007
I've used the Sony DSC-H7 for a couple of weeks now and I've gotten a good sense of the strengths and weaknesses of this camera. Overall a strong recommendation and only a few minor flaws.
Here's the breakdown:
- Incredibly high quality 8 megapixel photos
- Serious 15x optical zoom (not pixelated digital zoom)
- Takes pictures in very quick in rapid succession, 3 per second if desired
- In camera picture editing including red-eye reduction
- Extremely solid physical construction overall (one exception below)
- Powerful flash that lights up even far away targets
- Long battery life (200+ shots in my tests with still half power left)
- Has high-quality Sony add-ons for wide angle and telephoto lenses
- Screw on light baffle (included) seems cheap and doesn't stay in position and can ruin shots
- Automatic settings mode can lead to blurry photos in action sequences unlike other Cybershots
- Face recognition mode doesn't seem to work more than 8 feet away or so
- Long battery charging time if you use more than a quarter of the charge.
- Smallish rear LCD screen makes checking photos more difficult than it should be, expected larger in a camera like this
- Flash pops up and is auto-activated more than any other camera I've used before and more than seems needed
Overall a really solid performer and happy with it, you just have to get used to its personality, it's definitely not a grab and go as the thin Cybershots, but with a tiny bit of study you can produce pretty amazing results.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2007
Pros: Image Quality, Color Reproduction, Macro Mode, Face Detection
Cons: Flash can be too bright sometimes; proprietary battery; hard to find a good case
I picked this camera up about a week ago and have take about 100 pictures and 4-5 mini-video clips with it. Overall, it's a good camera, but I can't give it a 100%. First the pros:
The image quality and color reproduction are very admirable. Reds are reds, blacks are blacks. With the camera cranking out full resolution, you get really good pictures when viewed on a computer or on a HDTV (note though that the HD mode only works with HDTVs with an OPTIONAL cable). Even zooming in on the pictures gives you great clarity on the point of focus.
Macro mode is really really cool. I'm just a casual photographer, but this camera churns out some professional looking macro shots. I took some closeups of my dad's fruit trees and you can see every little bump on apricots and the veins of the surrounding leaves.
Face detection works well too, although I'm still on the learning curve. The face detection is where this camera truly shows it's a point-n-shoot. Just whip out the camera, and squeeze off the shutter and you'll most certainly get an in-focus shot.
The cons: I've found the flash really fills in the frames when it's used indoors especially. I'm not sure if there's a way to decrease the vividness of the flash but i'm not too happy with that for now. I'm still on my first charge with the battery, and it's about 75% drained. Obviously i've been using it more to take test shots, but it worries me that when I go on a trip, I'll need to take the charger with me, or worse, shell out another 40-50 bux on an extra battery. But that was something I anticipated beforehands. As for the case, I haven't really found one that fits the camera well. I wish there was a glove-fit case for this cam but I haven't come across it yet.
A couple other good things about this camera: It comes with a pretty good bundle, including the remote control (with which a tripod would be great) and the lens hood.
Overall, I recommend this camera.
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2007
I have the H7/B version, which is essentially the same camera as this. Having owned another SONY camera before, I was glad to see that most of the functions on the back had not changed all that much, therefore, not a steep learning curve. Pros: flash automatically flips up when needed for a shot. Cons: 1) When you turn on the camera, the lens automatically pops out, causing the lens cover to fall off. 2)only takes Sony DUO memory sticks (can't use old ones in new camera, but vice versa ok with adaptor.)3) Cover for USB port seems flmsy, doesn't like to bend out of the way, and is probably going to break off. 4) software required to view photos on PC. Pros: Recording in movie mode is pretty good. Quality is good, speed is good. Shutter lag is minimal for stills, less than half a second typically. Face recognition technology does seem to work well, making faces perfectly lit in any light. Beware of bright back-lighting though, which will trick camera into thinking no flash is needed. Result: silhouettes. Zoom is great, and steady shot seems to really work well, as evidenced when my 8-yr-old took a picture using zoom to its full extent. Despite shaky small hands, picture came out clear.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Although the "flat" Cybershot I bought three years ago still takes great photos, and can still fit in my pocket, its fatal flaw--a screen which becomes useless in bright sunlight--led me to buy this model, which has an electronic "viewfinder" which can be seen in any light. The photos I've taken so far are terrific.
Other mechanical aspects are amazing: the hand-hold is very comfortable and secure, the camera body is light and easy to handle (so light that it feels like a toy until you realize what great photos you're getting), and the viewfinder can be focused, with just enough difficulty that it won't adjust inadvertently.
Unfortunately, the charger which comes with the camera requires five hours to charge the battery (which must be removed to do so). This didn't bother me much until I started reading the "Accessories" folder while I was waiting for it to charge so I could start playing with the camera, and learned that a charger is available at additional cost which will charge the battery in ninety minutes. This should be included with a camera costing more than three hundred dollars!
Similarly, the camera's internal memory isn't sufficient to take more than a few pictures, so to use the camera you will immediately need to purchase "accessory" memory. (While you're at it, given the time it takes to charge a battery, you probably want to buy another battery, too).
(It's been so long that a camera came with even a rudimentary case that I won't even list that deficiency. I consider myself lucky that a strap, lens hood, and lens cap are included!)
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2007
I just upgraqded from a dsc-h2 and wonder a few things about the design of this camera. First, the Sony DSC-H2 was a fantastic camera for the money and I only owned it briefly but absolutely love that cam.
After first opening this box and turning the Sony DSC-H7 on, it left me with some doubts..
#1 the lens cap fits on the lens in such a way that it pops off when you turn on the camera... what gives?? The DSC-H2 knew when the lens cap was in place and did nothing until you manually removed the cap. Turn the DSC-H7 camera on and the lens cap pops off from the lens moving outward.. annoying if you only wanted to connect it to your computer to transfer photos, etc.
-additional update: I have now had the camera come on while placing it in my camera bag and of course the lens cap came off and the lens popped out while in the camera bag leaving it open to any dust in the bag or even rubbing the inside of the bag... not good.
#2 The hood is large and bulky and won't fit in my camera case I used for the DSC-H2. Maybe this is not really a problem, but I was used to leaving the hood on my dsc-h2 because it was not bulky and it protected my lens even if it wasn't really needed all the time and fit in my case that isn't much larger than the DSC-H2 camera.
#3 The camera is not as ergonomically comfortable as the DSC-H2.. it also doesn't have the nifty scroll wheel that was in front of the shutter button on the dsc-h2.
#4 The battery pack is expensive and you can't just pop in some AA batteries if your pack runs out like you could with the dsc-h2, so be ready to buy another battery pack if you want the protection of having spare power. My guess is that this was necessary to give this camera the computing power it possesses. The capability to use AA's was nice but I will surely manage with the power packs.
-update, I bought a second battery pack as insurance and another 45$ was spent to make sure I'm not in the field with a dead camera and no batteries.
#5 The manual does a poor job of describing functions. I couldn't get the remote to work and tried to find info on using the remote in the manual and no useful information was present in the manual. I was referred to the cd which also didn't seem to have very much useful information about the remote... so far my remote isn't working. I would think it would be relatively straight forward and either it doesn't work or it requires study before using it.
-update: the lens hood was on the camera and it blocks the remote sensor. After removing the lens hood, the remote worked perfectly.
These are all things I probably wouldn't have noticed if I didn't own the dsc-h2.. except for the lens cap which is actually pretty annoying.
As for pics.. it takes excellent pictures and I'm sure I will be happy with the camera after getting used to the quirks that were unexpected when upgrading. The speed of picture taking is impressive and I took a lot of pictures of family and it was neat to pick the ones in which people had just the right expressions on their faces to keep. It should be terrific for nature shots.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2007
I'm really enjoying testing out this camera and give it a 90% approval rating. I find it easy to use and a good buy for the average hobbyist like myself. I have found a few of the problems mentioned by other DSC-H7 and H9 users, but most have not been that serious (like the easy to fingerprint window...I simply learned how to hold the thing to avoid touching the screen). If I can figure out a way to end the unexpected fuzziness I found in a few shots, the pluses will definitely outweight the minuses and I'll be keeping it.
PROS: Fast (doesn't have the typical digital camera click/record delay), great image stability, good focal range, lightweight (for ME that's a plus), easy to hold (I like the more extended right side for gripping), menus easy to read/understand, (I did not have a problem finding any of the options other people have mentioned like sound off, change in pixels, whatever), the book is very basic, but I haven't felt like I needed anything else yet (comes with a more detailed CD instruction manual I haven't even opened, so who knows what's there) does a good job with moving targets, slim battery charger is easy to use/store. (Personally, I did not want to be using regular batteries again. Bulkier, heavier, and I doubt they hold a charge longer. I've used other Sony products in the past where the batteries held up great. Hoping this is the same. Last camera took AAs and drained them in no time.)
CONS: only takes Sony specific add ons (read other reviews), does not come with a DC cord, does not have an eyepiece that tilts up so I can see what I'm shooting at low levels (and I don't think the H9 screen will tilt enough to make it worth the extra money for me), cover port for USB is flimsy, but I've had others similar so I think if I'm careful it will last. One note: I did find the purple streaking with two sun shots, but it only appeared on the screen, not in the final pictures. Also, I am considering trading this for something with less "fringing" (I've done about 80 test photos with different settings, and while most turned out great, the yellow flowers and butterflies look fuzzy.) I'm totally torn on whether or not to keep this camera. Compared to the 4MP, less zoom, less stability camera I was using before it's a huge improvement and I don't feel like going over $500 total with camera and add ons. But like I said, I did see a "smearing" problem in a few situations. My advice...be sure to do a lot of testing within the return period and see for yourself whether the image quality will meet your needs.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2007
A Good Camera
- Picture quality is much better as compared to the DSC W-80 I have.
- Very Good Quality pics even at 15x zoom in daylight.
- Ability to zoom in/out of video is very good and handy.
- The flash light is very strong, and illuminates distant objects as well.
- Has a convenient playback button.
- Has a convenient LCD/ViewFinder selection button.
- Battery, Memory card and USB cable can be used interchangeably with DSC W-80.
- Menu options are the same as DSC W-80
- As with DSC W-80, lens comes out once even when connected to PC in USB mode. It causes more inconvenience when lens cover is on, which gets popped off.
- The flash light hood which opens up automatically in low light photography, does not go back automatically on switching off the camera.
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2007
An excellent camera, functions essentially as I hoped. Video quality is very high. I have two concerns about the proprietary nature of this camera:
1. The USB cable is difficult to plug in to the camera and is of a type I have never seen before (it is either very obscure or proprietary). Which means if you don't have the cable with you, you aren't transferring any pictures.
2. The battery pack is proprietary and expensive! I have no idea why Sony decided to move away from AA batteries (which are cheap and available everywhere) to a proprietary battery pack (which is expensive and difficult to obtain). The previous incarnation of this model used AA batteries and suffered no decreased battery life. If you are out and about with a dead battery and haven't purchased a $50 backup battery pack, you are out of luck.
As I mentioned, netiher of these changes to this model improve it in any way, they only decrease it's usefulness. Other manufacturers still utilize mini USB connectors and AA batteries which makes them more user friendly.
The only reason I can imagine for these changes is so Sony can make extra cash selling accessories. Didn't they learn their lesson with Beta Max?