The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H9 is an 8.1 Megapixel super-zoom camera with a 15x optical zoom. This gives it one of the longest optical zoom ranges of all super-zoom cameras and makes it usable in practice with Super SteadyShot to combat camera-shake.
The H9 also boasts a huge 3in screen and better still, it’s a flip-out model allowing easy composition at high or low angles. And the H9 wouldn’t be a Sony if it didn’t feature additional gadgetry, so let’s give a warm welcome back to NightShot in the Cyber-shot range, which uses infra-red illumination to take photos in complete darkness.
The Cyber-shot H9 is certainly a feature-packed camera which understandably piqued the interest of super-zoom buyers the moment it was announced in February 2007. It stacks up pretty well against the competition too. The 15x zoom range offers an equivalent range of 31-465mm, making it a little wider and longer than the 12x zooms of Panasonic’s Lumix FZ50 and FZ8 models, and beaten only by the whopping 28-504mm 18x range of the Olympus SP-550UZ.
While it’s easy to compare numbers in theory, the H9’s lens has a big advantage over its rivals in practice: it focuses very quickly indeed, making it much easier to grab action shots be they of wildlife or sports.
The H9 also trumps its rivals with its screen: not only is it much bigger at 3in, but you’ll also enjoy the flexibility of flip-out capabilities. It may not twist to be usable in portrait orientation or for self-portraits, but it’s still very impressive.
So has Sony produced the ultimate super-zoom camera? In our full H9 review we’ll detail its features and capabilities, along with comparing it against rivals from Panasonic and Olympus. As always we’ll also demonstrate the H9’s key features, including the zoom range, stabilisation, focusing speed and night capabilities, in our Sony Cyber-shot H9 video tour.
We tested a full production unit running firmware revision 0408. Following our convention of using default factory and best quality JPEG settings to test cameras unless otherwise stated, the Sony H9 was set to 8M JPEG mode with Auto White Balance, Balanced metering and the default D-R Contrast, middle sharpness and Normal Colour modes.