Summary: The Sony Cybershot DSC-H9 is a feature-rich ultra-zoom camera with good overall performance. Compared to its predecessor, the Sony Cybershot DSC-H5 , Sony augmented several major specifications: a wider 15X optical zoom (instead of 12X), a maximum ISO of 3200 (instead of 1000) and a 2.2 FPS continuous drive (instead of 1.1 FPS). However, Sony unfortunately cut-down on the quality of the viewfinder and the use of AA batteries.
Pros: Vibrant image colors, Good exposure and focus accuracy, Extremely fast focusing near wide-angle, Very fast focusing near telephoto, Quite responsive with short shutter-lag, Good control over noise, Above average indoor white-balance, Great LCD visibility, Pressure-sensitive zoom controller, Very good macro coverage, Powerful flash
Cons: Very high purple fringing, Auto ISO goes to 800, which is rather noisy, Strong edge softness, more so near telephoto, Slight general image softness, Noticeable lens distortion at wide-angle, Useless ISO 3200, Very inconsistent white-balance under low light, Rear buttons easily pressed accidentally, Below average battery life, Tiny low-resolution viewfinder, Strong blue tint in viewfinder image, LCD blanks between shots during continuous shooting, Supplied charger is v...
Excerpt: Sony's top end Superzoom promises big with a whopping 15x optical zoom at full resolution and a huge 3-inch tiltable screen. But is it really better than the somewhat disappointing little brother – the Cyber-shot H7? Or does it shine as a must-have among superzooms? There's only one way to find out! The H9 has a build you can't complain about, with its comfortably deep handgrip and a good size of 110 x 83 x 86 mm.
Excerpt: The H should stand for Hooray. The Cyber-shot DSC-H9 ($459, street), the new flagship in Sony's line of superzoom electronic-viewfinder cameras, has a 15X optical zoom, 8-megapixel capture, image stabilization, and a slew of fun and useful features. It's almost as good as a DSLR, with the added benefit of a 31-465mm equivalent f/2.7-4.5 Carl Zeiss zoom.
Conclusion: I have to say that the H9 was a camera I really expected to like, and I started this review expecting to be able to rave about how a great camera had got even better. In reality my experiences with the new flagship Cyber-shot zoom were decidedly mixed, and at times downright disappointing. We'll start with the good news.
Pros: Good resolution, great color, excellent exposure, accurate focus, Bright, punchy results that produce pleasing prints without the need for post-processing, Very little highlight clipping, DR-optimization works, though the effect is pretty subtle, Generally very responsive, focus very fast (in most circumstances), Packed with features; comprehensive photographic controls, Versatile, genuinely useful 31-465mm equivalent 15x zoom range, Powerful flash, Image stabilizatio...
Cons: New user interface slow, convoluted and often confusing, Rear control wheel huge step backwards from the H5's 'turn and click' dial on the grip, Images quite soft and not that clean, Excessive noise reduction robs images of fine texture at anything over ISO 100, Occasional strong NR ('watercolor effect') artefacts at ISO 80 and ISO 100, No JPEG quality options (and default setting too highly compressed), Some focus hunting at long end of the zoom (especially in low li...
Excerpt: The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H9 digital camera is Sony’s flagship model in the "super-zoom" arena and does so with quite a list of features. Included are the 15x optical zoom Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens, a new night shot (IR) mode, a 3-inch LCD, and the now ubiquitous face recognition feature, with image stabilization and 8 megapixels to boot.
Pros: Large 3 inch LCD, Carl Zeiss 15X lens, Diopter adjustment on viewfinder, Good quick AF and shutter, Face Detection, Multiple Metering Modes, Macro Mode, Histogram Display, Steady Shot (Image Stabilization), Flash Adjustment, Exposure Compensation, Grid Lines settable on LCD, 1/4000s Top Shutter Speed
Cons: Dim LCD in Bright Light, Poor Viewfinder, Mode Dial easily moved, Soft details in shadows, Image noise above ISO 400, No Raw Mode, Full battery charge requires 5.5 Hours, Aperture ranges only to f8
Excerpt: The Cyber-shot DSC-H9 ($479) is Sony's top-of-the-line ultra
zoom camera. It features a whopping 15X optical zoom lens, optical image stabilization,
tilting 3-inch LCD display, full manual controls, infrared "NightShot" shooting,
and much more. It also uses the same Bionz image processor as Sony's Alpha
digital SLR, which promises improved performance and photo quality over previous
Pros: 15X optical zoom lens, Optical image stabilization, Large, tilting 3-inch LCD display; sharp, with good low light visibility, Full manual controls, Fast focus, shot-to-shot speeds, AF-assist lamp; good low light focusing, Nice continuous shooting mode, Face detection and redeye removal features work well, though limited to just two shooting modes, Optical zoom and image stabilization can be used in movie mode, Fun (though not terribly useful) NightShot feature, Remote...
Cons: Soft images with smudged details due to heavy noise reduction, Strong purple fringing for an ultra zoom in 2007, Build quality a step down from previous models; slippery right hand grip, Redeye a problem, though it can be removed in playback mode, Below average battery life, Clunky, confusing menu system, No image compression options or RAW support, Small electronic viewfinder, Poorly placed command dial makes it too easy to change settings accidentally, Lens retracts...
Summary: The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H9 certainly has a great deal going for it, but equally a number of aspects which really let it down. On the upside the 15x lens offers a great range bettered only by the Olympus SP-550UZ and the stabilisation really works. The H9 is additionally one of the quickest focusers in its class, so at last we have a non-DSLR which can genuinely take a stab at action or wildlife shots.
Pros: 15x optical zoom with stabilisation., Large and adjustable 3in screen., Very quick focusing for a non DSLR., Closest focusing distance of just 1cm.
Cons: Noise becomes a problem above 200 ISO., Coloured fringing visible throughout range., Relatively poor battery life., No RAW, compression or NR options.
Summary: A strong choice if you're after an ultra zoom camera, the Cyber-Shot DSC-H9 sports a 15x optical zoom and captures some good shots, however it does have issues with haloing and purple fringing, which will be irritating for many users.
Pros: 15x zoom, Sharp pictures, Good noise response, Image stabilisation
Cons: Very poor haloing and purple fringing issues, Chunky and somewhat flimsy design