The Sony DSC H7 is an 8 megapixel camera with a 15x optical zoom lens. As well as the long zoom lens the DSC H7 boasts a number of advanced features, including manual exposure modes. This means that the camera is suitable for someone who is looking for a serious camera with plenty of zoom power, but does not want the expense of a digital SLR.
110 x 83 x 86mm
Memory Stick Duo
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light
Outdoor 1 (Medium Zoom):
There are a number of good points about this picture. To start with the DSC H7 manages to produce a bright photo. It is well balanced when it comes to colours and focusing is above average. The camera also handles the glare of the sun better than a lot of other cameras do.
One area where there was a problem was with light turquoise lines being added to the edges of some of the white and shiny objects. This is often a problem with super zoom cameras, although this problem is usually more noticeable only when the zoom is near to full extension.
Outdoor 2 (No Zoom): This is another good effort. As you will be able to see for yourself the photo produces some strong colouring, especially in the sky. Focusing is again above average.
Outdoor 3 (Maximum Zoom): I really like this photo. It highlights the benefits of the extra zoom as the camera is able to get in close and pick out a lot of detail. It is another bright photo, with sharp focus. There is some purple fringing in the shot though.
Outdoor 4 (Building): This is a new test. Therefore I haven't many other test shots to compare this one against. I like the result though. It is similar to the third outdoor shot in that the brightness is good, as is sharpness.
Even though I used the cloudy white balance setting to boost colours this photo lacks a little oomph! I would like to have seen some extra brightness and stronger skin tones.
Indoor Portrait with Flash: By way of contrast with the outdoor portrait this shot has plenty going for it. Colours are stronger, without being over done. No red eye shows in the shot and the DSC H7 has managed to use just the right amount of flash power.
Indoor Portrait without Flash: There is plenty of detail showing in this shot. It is another photo I am happy with. The lighting used is quite good, so you will have to get to know the camera in order to judge when you need to use flash and when you can get away with using natural light.
Macro, Colours and Noise
Once again a small amount of purple fringing shows. This is not likely to be a problem if you are taking nature based macro shots. Focusing is roughly average and a very slight blue caste is evident.
Colours: The colours produced by the DSC H7 are stronger in most cases than those delivered by a number of other brands. In my opinion they stay the right side of being over strong.
ISO 400: At ISO 400 picture quality remains impressive. Again this photo was taken in favourable light, so expect more noise to become apparent as lighting levels fall.
ISO 1600: By the time you reach ISO 1600 most picture quality has disappeared. I would look on this as an emergency only setting when the conditions are dark and you are outside the range of the flash.
Overall the DSC H7 passes most of my tests. The fact that this lens is even longer than a normal super zoom means that is a fair feet.
The DSC H7 is similar in style to a digital SLR camera. It has a toughened finish and is available in black.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Ease of Use
Despite the range of features the camera has it is still quite easy to use. In fact compared with other super zoom cameras this is one of the easier ones to get used to.
Points I Like
Picture quality - fast shutter lag times - build quality - design
Where it Could Improve
Purple and turquoise fringing issues.
There is a lot to like about the Sony DSC H7. It is a fairly solid offering and in my view does the job it sets out to. Most of my test shots were a success and it is hard not to be impressed by the shutter lag times.
Top Rated Cameras in this Category
Panasonic DMC FZ48 Rating 87/100
The Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ48 is very hard to beat. It is up against some stiff competition, but the combination of features, image quality and pricing makes it the outstanding model in its category. When it comes to picture quality it has few weaknesses and its length of lens means it can cope with more or less any photo opportunity.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC FZ48 Review
Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Rating 86/100
The Fuji Finepix HS30EXR does offer a number of differences to rival Super Zoom or Bridge digital cameras. The main difference is the twisting lens barrel, but there are other handling aspects that make it that bit closer to a Digital SLR experience. In terms of features Fuji have packed in just about everything they can think of. Picture quality compares well against rival cameras and shutter response times are also impressive. This makes this camera a very attractive proposition if you are looking for a fully featured camera with a great deal of zoom power.
Read Review: Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Review
Nikon Coolpix L810 Rating 79/100
The Nikon Coolpix L810 offers something different as it gives you the power of an extra long lens, but with the simplicity of a point and shoot digital camera. This helps to make it somewhat cheaper than the more fully featured models with similar zoom power. Picture quality does not match up to the more expensive models in this category, but it is only if you are planning to make extra large prints that you are likely to see much difference between photos taken with this camera and those that give you that bit of extra quality. This camera is a good choice if you are looking for simple operation and a powerful lens.
Read Review: Nikon Coolpix L810 Review