* Prices may differ from that shown
I have always owned some sort of Olympus camera until I decided to invest in the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3. I decided upon and purchased the Sony H3 after completing some research into shutter lag times and I wasn't disappointed.
Although the Sony H3 is a little bulkier than what I've used in the past, in terms of performance it doesn't disappoint. The Sony H3 is an 8 megapixel digital camera with a 10x optical zoom lens. The camera can be relied upon to produce really sharp photo's in 'point and shoot' mode but it also has additional features depending on your needs, these include image stabilisation and face detection technology.
Sony say that you can take 330 photos before the battery needs to be recharged but I've never counted. I've used the camera for a full day whilst on holiday without needing to swap batteries and I'm snap happy ! Out of all the cameras I've owned, the Sony H3 has performed the best in terms of long battery life and actually capturing the image I was hoping for due to it's impressive shutter lag time. The shutter lag time is affected by the use of the flash but the Sony H3 has still performed better than any other camera I've used.
I have produced some really sharp, great quality images using my Sony H3 and would definitely recommend this camera to others.
This is the second Sony cybershot camera I have owned, and it is a big improvement in only a couple of years. I take a lot of pictures, especially on holiday where I can easily take 100 a day, but the battery life is pretty reasonable (especially compared to the kodak easyshare camera I used briefly before this, which would eat 2 sets of AA batteries a day!)The manual ISO function for low light is very handy for taking pictures of my baby son without flash, especially when he's sleeping! I also use the macro function for close up focus and have got some great shots of his face, hands and feet with incredible detail. I find that the auto function sometimes struggles to adjust in low light, and I do need to lift the flash hatch up to get it to go off even when it is switched permanently on, but overall I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this camera.
This camera may be a little bulky but don't let that put you off. This is by far one of the best digital cameras I have used. It takes amazing photos and is extremely easy to use. If like me you enjoy going to concerts/gigs, this is the best camera you can use to capture the moment in places where lighting can be aproblem and where flash is not permited.
The camera takes the most amazing photographs without the use of the flash, and with the added bonus of being able to take multiple shots while "button" is pressed, you will get the most fantastic quality photographs, really clear action shots where most camers would leave you with an indistigushable blur.
The 10x optical zoom is brilliant ensuring that you can get fantastic close up shots of your subjects, and used in ultra close up mode, you can increase your optical zoom to 20x without losing the resolution quality.
The only fault i found with the camera was the fact that it does not have a built in lens cap. So when you turn off the camera you physically have to put on the lens cap, a small inconvenience for having a camera that always delivers the best quality photographs.
Overall, one of the best cameras I have used.
I love this camera it is by far the best camera that I have ever owned even though it is not the most expensive. I have it in black although I think they do it in silver also. The only bad point I can think of is that it is a little on the large size for throwing in the handbag for nights out. I use it for work to take photos of closeup items. I have always found that when you have the macro setting on other cameras without a flash they blur so easily. This one is very clear so perfect for me. The battery is great I use it every day and I charge the battery about once a week. Its no stunner but it takes great pics in my opinion and i would recomend it to anyone who needs a reliable camera that takes good clear pictures.
Here I go again with another camera review, hope I am not boring you all. I own several cameras from basic point and shoot for taking family snaps on days out or holidays to very high spec professional DSLR`s for my work as a professional photographer.
Along with all the cameras I own I also use many, many more at my photography club. The Sony cyber-shot range are very good cameras and this is not the first one I have reviewed. I do own a Sony camera but not this particular one. This one is one I have been using at the club recently both to try for my own personal interest but also so I could do a write up on it for the club.
I have stringently put this camera through its paces and have been very impressed with my findings. The Sony DSC H3 is an 8 megapixel digital camera with a 10x optical zoom lens. This renders it with the title of superzoom, most cameras fall into one of a few brackets such as DSLR, Point and shoot, bridge or the afore mentioned superzoom. Although tagged as superzoom I feel this camera also comes into the category of bridge which basically means it bridges the gap between point and shoot and DSLR.
It can be used to simply point and shoot letting the cameras on board settings do the work for you but equally if you enjoy setting things up your own way then there is plenty of options for you on this camera.
The built in shooting modes include, Programmed Auto, Manual, Scene, Landscape, Twilight Portrait, Advanced Sports Shooting, Soft Snap (blurred background), and High Sensitivity. Other Scene modes include Twilight, Beach, Snow, and Fireworks.
If you choose to set up manually then you can use the wide selection of options to set how your flash operates, your ISO range, your Aperture and Shutter Speed as well as choosing whether or not to use the image stabilisation to prevent blur, the facial recognition option which is available in Auto and Portrait modes, the Sony H3's Face Detection controls more than focus, extending its reach to exposure control, white balance adjustment, and flash control.
That's more important than it may sound. Finding the faces to focus is a pretty clear benefit, but controlling the flash so it illuminates them both at that distance and for that subject is a big help, as is the white balance adjustment. This particular Sony camera can find as many as eight human faces in the frame. It looks for a combination of eyes, nose and mouth so only heads facing you are identifiable.
I tested this camera to the full both on its factory installed settings and settings I had used myself to gain the desired effect. Obviously as I am in the trade I knew what I expected from certain settings and I was rarely let down. The factory settings as with most cameras give you a slightly watered down version of what you would get from the particular settings in a DSLR camera which you had set up yourself but are much closer to the real thing than what you get from most point and shoots.
The functions I set up myself came very close to what I would expect from a much more expensive camera and left me very, very impressed.
As with any camera short of professional quality this camera operates much better in natural light then it does indoors under a flash. When used in macro mode to shoot close up subjects with no zoom the camera gives you an almost perfect return, stretched to half zoom the returned image is still very clear and the colour shows no fade or break up however at full zoom the colour is not as bright and vibrant although the image is still more than acceptable and with a bit of work in photo shop could pass for perfect.
Do the same kind of testing indoors and the results vary. Again with no zoom and the flash set to red eye reduction the image is a s good as perfect but taken even just to half zoom and there is a noticeable fading of colours and also slight graininess. At full zoom indoors under flash the image is actually quite poor and even after some photo shop work still does not reach acceptable standards. The good thing about this is the fact that when indoors it is very unlikely you will ever need full zoom to be activated.
This again showed the difference of shooting in natural light as opposed to under flash conditions. The outdoor portraits I done were very impressive from a non DSLR camera but the indoor work even when red eye reduction was used still showed signs of red eye and needed to be put through a few paces in photo shop to bring them up to standards.
THE ISO SETTINGS
This is a feature that most cameras of less than DSLR standard should forget about. As with most other cameras of this type the ISO settings at low level around ISO 400 is where the camera operates best as you raise your ISO the picture quality decreases greatly. Once pushed to extreme levels around ISO 3200 picture quality more or less disappears. This setting should only be considered in very poor light when there is no other way of capturing the image.
OVERALL PICTURE QUALITY
I cant really say anything bad about the overall quality produced from this camera because to the untrained eye the images produced will seem very good its only when they are put under real scrutiny will they be found out.
The images produced are of high enough quality to be blown up to poster size and beyond without their colour or focus being affected unless they are taken at a high zoom or high ISO.
THE FUNCTIONS IN GENERAL
Again not really a bad thing to be said about the functions this camera has to offer because designed for the non professional market it compares admirably with any other camera in its range and is far superior to many of them. Some of the functions are more of a token gesture and if put to use by a professional they will as I have already said fail badly but this camera doesn't pretend to be a professional camera at any stage.
EASE OF USE
There is very little complicated about this camera especially for those of you who have some sort of previous experience with using the settings manually. If you have no previous experience then taking time to have a good read of the manual will let you know what each and every setting does as well as why and how they should be used. I would have to say it is one of the easier cameras of this type to get used to. The dials are clearly marked and the on screen instructions are very simple to follow even for first timers.
The camera has 31mb of memory built in and is compatible with the following memory cards: Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo High Speed, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo.
106 x 68.5 x 47.5mm
Always an important factor in any camera the battery in this one is a Lithium ion (NP BG1) which Sony claim will allow you to take around 330 shots before a recharge is needed. I cannot disagree with this unless you are constantly messing around with the settings and going back to check on images you have previously taken then this drops to around 250 photos. Regular zooming in and out can take serious toll on the battery life also.
In the same bracket as this camera you will find cameras such as the Canon Powershot SX100 IS and Panasonic DMC TZ3 along with others, the others in the range I cant comment on because I have not used them but the two I mention I have used and I personally prefer the Sony both for its range of functions and its ease of use.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
This camera can be found in Argos, curry`s, Comet and various other high street stores as well as online and at specialist camera stores. The price as with most items varies depending on where you purchase. It can be found at prices between 165 and 209 pounds. I always suggest buying from a specialist camera store as you are more likely to get a package of offers along with the camera and usually an extra 1 years guarantee also but if you are happy with just the camera itself then online would be the place to look.
TO SUM UP
Along with what I have already mentioned about the camera I should also say that like most point and shoots the Sony DSC H3 can record video as well as shooting still images. Whilst there is no substitute for a proper cam-corder this camera will do you proud when you need to capture short clips that perhaps a still image just wont do justice (providing there is decent light).
After using this camera daily for a week then twice weekly for a further month at professional level I would be happy to recommend this camera as a point and shoot, superzoom or even as a bridge camera although there are better bridge cameras out there for only a few pounds more.
Along with the camera comes some free software to connect your camera to your pc or laptop and also some basic photo enhancement software. There is a manual and also a help guide included with the software (there is also a paper manual in booklet form).
All of the software is useful and very easy to install and operate. If you want to get serious into photo enhancement then this software will not suffice but if your limits are cropping, rotating, re-sizing and removal of red eye then this will do you just fine.
Give this one a go as with most Son products you will not be disappointed!
THE CAMERAS FEATURES AS DESCRIBED BY SONY
8.1 effective megapixels
10x optical zoom, 20x digital zoom, up to 51x smart zoom
Face Detection automatically tracks and focuses on faces in the picture
Photo TV HD output with music (using optional cable)
Bright 2.5-inch (6.35cm) LCD screen
Carl-Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens
BIONZ processor for improved picture quality and very high speed operation
Stylish compact black aluminium body with two layer lens ring and firm grip
Double anti-blur solution:Super SteadyShot and ISO 3200 High Sensitivity (REI)
2cm macro for close-up shooting
DRO technology to automatically correct contrast and exposure
MPEG Movie VX (VGA 30 fps movie mode with audio)
Worry-free 31MB internal memory
Scene selection menu for automatically adjusting camera settings to suit the scene
In-camera retouching, including red-eye correction and trimming
Easy operation with an on-screen function guide
STAMINA battery life, up to 330 shots (CIPA standard with LCD screen on)
On-screen menu in choice of 17 languages: Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish
Supplied with: rechargeable battery, charger, lens adaptor ring, flower type lens hood, lens cap, strap, AV & USB cables and software
Compatible with a wide range of optional Sony accessories
I hope this review has been useful without becoming boring.
Thank you all for reading, much appreciated as always.
This review also appears over on ciao and on there you can see images I have taken with this camera!
when i purchased the DSC-H3 i was a bit optimistic of the quality of pictures i would be able to take, considering the low £179-£210 price range. As soon as i started to play around with the macro and long range shots i soon feel in love with this camera. it is easy to use, and very simple. I recommend it to all my freinds and family