Summary: If you shoot primarily outdoors in daytime--especially sports, children, and animals--the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H7 is a good choice. The more expensive DSC-H9 has a larger, flip-out LCD, infrared shooting, and has a few interface differences, but is otherwise identical.
Pros: The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H7 has a relatively wide angle for a megazoom; tons of manual and automatic features; fast continuous shooting.
Cons: Small EVF; lens aberrations and vignetting; image noise and some processing artifacts; lacks hotshoe and raw file support.
Conclusion: The last generation of big zoom Cyber-shots (the H2 and H5) offered purchasers an interesting choice; two almost identical cameras with a $100 price difference that bought you a bigger, higher resolution screen and an extra million pixels. That the H2 produced better high ISO output and showed marginally less fringing made the choice even more difficult.
Pros: Good resolution, great color, excellent exposure, accurate focus, Bright, punchy results that produce pleasing prints without the need for post-processing, DR-optimization works, though the effect is pretty subtle, Generally very responsive, focus very fast (except at the long end of the zoom in less-than-perfect light), Packed with features; comprehensive photographic controls, Versatile, genuinely useful 31-465mm equivalent 15x zoom range, Powerful flash, Image stab...
Cons: New user interface not conducive to quick operation, 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 and errors at lon...
Excerpt: The recently released Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H7 fills the place of the H2 and is the slightly cheaper version of Sony’s flagship superzoom model, the Sony Cybershot DSC-H9 . Both sport a 15x zoom, which translates into a massive 31-465mm. As with most superzooms both of these cameras offer great versatility by giving you both wide and telescopic options in a small and incredibly lightweight package.
Excerpt: There has been a growing demand for superzoom digicams in recent months. Sony probably had this in mind when it recently introduced the DSC-H7. We decided to give it the works as usual. The overall build of the camera is quite simplistic, with a basic clutch of buttons. The screen doesn't pop out to tilt or swivel in any direction, which is surprising and rather sad for a camera of this caliber.
Excerpt: The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H7 Digital Camera Develop your photography with the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H7, which features an impressive 15x optical zoom lens, 8.1 effective megapixels, and all the latest technology from Sony. CARL ZEISS 15x Optical Zoom Harness the powerful 15x optical zoom to take both detailed close-up, and clear distance shots.
Excerpt: Anche la Sony, nel mese di febbraio 2007, ha voluto ampliare il focale della sua saga Cyber-shot DSC-H, le cui nuove rappresentanti, chiamate Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H7 e Sony Cyber-shot Dsc-h9 , hanno tra i loro punti di forza uno zoom ottico addirittura di 15 ingrandimenti. Le ottiche di Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H7 offrono un generoso focale di 31-465 millimetri, estendendo così i due estremi dell'obiettivo di 36-432 millimetri impiegato nelle fotocamere precedenti.