Sony Cyber-Shot DSC H50
The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC H50 is 11x9x8cm, the middle figure can increase by 3.5cm when the lens is fully extended. It weights 440grams, this again makes it an in between unit, it comes with two fairly substantial anchor points for the supplied neck strap, again I am undecided about this.
The rear has a huge 6x4.5cm TFT display and this not only sits flat but can be tilted either up or down by up to 90degrees by a very clever articulated arm. However there is also a viewfinder for those times when the sun shines and makes the TFT hard to read.
I counted a total of twelve buttons on the top and back as well as the ubiquitous five position joystick. While this is a 9.1mega pixel offering there are many cameras out there even pocket ones offering greater resolution I doubt any will get near the 15x (yes 15x) optical zoom. While any image taken at this sort of zoom is likely to suffer from some shake if not on a tripod Sony have a technology called Super SteadyShot that negates this.
There is a twelve position wheel and I normally recommend the novice sticks it on ‘Auto’ and let the camera make the choices but Sony have a real novice mode called Easy where any choices you have are really basic but I would expect anyone to soon promote themselves to Auto mode as almost everything is decided by the camera in Easy mode.
The battery supplied needs to be removed for charging and behind the same door is where you put any Memory Stick Pro Duo card you might use, none is supplied with the camera. There is a small amount of internal memory it will store 4 images at the highest resolution and 6 images at 5MP. Needless to say movies are not for this small internal memory. A card even say 512MB is really an essential.
There are four image sizes 9MP, 5MP, 3MP and VGA. There are three modes 3:2, 16:9, and 16:9+ these choices are accessed under the same menu option. The other Auto choices are Face Detection with four choices, off, Auto, child priority, adult priority. Three Scene recognition choices off, Auto and Advanced. Red Eye Auto, Off and On. Finally the Advanced menu that has a total of nine options.
As with all cameras you are assumed to be right handed and there is a nice finger wrap round grip that should give you a nice firm and steady hold leaving the thumb clear to use the shutter. However remember 15x zoom and if you are taking any shots with a reasonable amount of zoom a tripod or at least a firm surface are really required.
As always the TFT needs protection and as always no case is provided as standard. I tend to use bubble wrap during my trips out as I always try to think of the next reviewer. You might prefer to find someone who bundles a card and a case (maybe also a tripod) in the price, remember to anyone buying in bulk a case costs very little as do cards although Memory Stick are always a lot more expensive than SD.
In movie mode you can shoot either 640x480 or 320x240, at the higher resolution it takes around 21MB per minute of video, image quality is good even when zooming but although the sound stays in sync (with some digital cameras in movie mode this gets interrupted) it is not that loud and perhaps not ideal when trying to capture music with the video or sounds from more than a few feet away.
I remain unsure as to which camp to put this in, it has some excellent features not found on pocket cameras but it is not a DSLR. It’s nice to have the viewfinder and the 15x zoom, perhaps it is an intermediate camera.
Doing my Internet searches found the Sony Cyber Shot DSC H50 at a best price of £215 from Amazon, which includes delivery.
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