Sony DSC H70 Review

Digital Cameras with Extended Zoom Lenses

Picture
Sony DSC H70 Ease of Use 8
Features 8
Movie Mode 8
Build Quality8
Colours 9
Photo Quality 8
Style 8
Lowlight 8
Macro 9
Value for Money 8
16 Megapixels
10x Zoom
3 inch LCD Screen
101.6 x 57.6 x 28.6
164g

Overview

The Sony Cybershot DSC H70 has 16 megapixels and a 10x optical zoom lens. The big attraction of this camera is the lens power it offers in a relatively compact body. You have plenty of choice if you are looking for a camera with these characteristics. Compared to other cameras in this category the Cybershot H70 sits somewhere in mid division when it comes to the range of features it offers and its price tag.

Sony have produced four different coloured versions. These are blue, red, sliver and black.

Why Buy The Sony DSC H70

The Cybershot DSC H70 has a touch of quality about it. If you are looking for a handy sized digital camera with extra lens power and you do not want to pay top dollar then this camera is a good choice.

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:

16
10x
3 inches
101.6 x 57.6 x 28.6
164g

Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

5cm
Yes
Yes
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
SD/SDHC

Top 12 Features

Compared to other cameras in this category the Cybershot DSC H70 has a mid range set of features.

Megapixels

You will be hard pressed to find a digital camera offering more than the 16 megapixels Sony have packed into the Cybershot DSC H70. As well as producing ultra high resolution photographs it also gives you the option of cropping your photos and still being able to make a print.

How to Get Up to 72x Power

Another advantage of having so many megapixels to play with is that you can trade using some of the megapixels in return for increasing the amount of zoom you can use. This works on a sliding scale. If you reduce the number of megapixels to the minimum VGA mode (less than 1 megapixel) you gain access to 72x zoom. There are plenty of points in between. For example at 5 megapixels you can use 17x zoom. When you have this amount of zoom to play with camera shake and blurred photos can become an issue. Sony help you to combat that by including image stabilisation in the specification.

How the Lens Can Handle Most Photo Opportunities

With up to 72x zoom available the Cybershot DSC H70 has the capacity to zoom in on distant subjects. It is also capable of capturing wide, scenic shots. This is because Sony have equipped the camera with a wide angle lens. The minimum focal length is equivalent to 25mm in 35mm format. That gives you almost as an extreme wide angle as you can get with the current crop of digital cameras.

Create Your Own Panoramas

Sony have introduced a feature called Sweep Panorama to their digital cameras. It provides you with a very easy way of producing panoramic shots. All you need to do is rotate the dial on the top of the camera to Sweep Panorama mode, press down the shutter button and sweep the camera round in an arc. Hey presto! You have your own panorama.

LCD Screen Size

The LCD screen is 3 inches in size. That is the standard size for this type of digital camera.

Macro Mode Can Get You in Close to Your Subject

Another standard feature is the macro mode. You can focus from 5cm away from your subject. If close up shots are of particular importance to you it may be worth looking around for a camera that is capable of focusing from 3cm.

A Few Extras to Help With Your Portrait Shot

To help you produce flattering portrait shots Sony have added in a couple of extra features. The first is a skin softening mode. Next up is face detection to ensure focus is on the faces in the shot. In playback mode there is feature that helps you to reduce any red eye in a portrait shot taken with flash turned on. There is also smile shutter. This automatically fires off a shot if the camera detects someone is smiling.

Manual Exposure Mode to Increase Your Creativity Options

So you can add a touch of creativity to your photos Sony have added a manual exposure mode. When you place the Cybershot DSC H70 in manual mode you can adjust the shutter speed and aperture size. Unlike some similar cameras aperture priority and shutter priority are not available.

Easy Upload to Social Networking Websites

With the growth of Social Networking sites such as Facebook camera manufacturers have started to introduce in camera software that makes it easier for you to upload your still images and video clips.

Create Your Own Movie Masterpieces

This type of camera tends to have a High Definition movie mode. There are different High Definition movie resolutions available. Although the movies available with the Cybershot H70 are in High Definition they are recorded at a lower resolution than some of the more advanced cameras in this category.

Just Starting Out? Try These Shooting Modes

If you are looking for point and shoot simplicity you can switch this camera into Easy Mode. This cuts down the number of menu options to reduce any confusion and increases the size of the on screen guidance text. There is also an Intelligent Auto Mode. When you place the camera in this mode it attempts to identify the type of scene you are photographing. Once it recognises the scene it is able to use what it considers to be the optimum settings.

A Few More Advanced Features for You to Try Out

Tucked away in the menu you will find settings to give you some extra control over the way your photos will look. These include bracketing, white balance, exposure compensation, ISO (up to ISO 3200), focusing area (multi point, centre, spot) and metering (multi point, centre weighted, spot).

Handling

Taking a Firm Hold

As with any camera that is a bit larger than a small pocket camera there is that bit more to get hold of. This generally gives you a better grip. Sony have also included some design features specifically designed to help you take a good grip of the camera. To start with there is a raised, grip area on the front of the Cybershot DSC H70. This gives you something to lock your finger onto. On the back of the camera is a grove for your thumb. Sony have also avoided placing any controls on the back of the camera. This increases the room you have to place your thumb.

Flash Unit Placement

Sony have placed the flash unit next to the grip on the front of the camera. It makes sense to place it there for two reasons. The first is it is far enough away from any fingers to avoid them blocking any light from the flash. The second is that by placing it away from the lens Sony have slightly reduced the possibility of red eye being caused by light from the flash bouncing back off a subject's eye into the lens.

LCD Screen Quality

The quality of the LCD screen is a weak point. Compared against other digital cameras it can be difficult to see the screen clearly. This problem is accentuated on bright, sunny days.

How Fast Does the Camera React?

The shutter delay test timed a single photo at 0.51 seconds. That is the time in between pressing the shutter button and the picture being recorded. That is on the slow side with a good time being between 0.30 and 0.35 seconds. The Cybershot DSC H70 recorded a time of 0.71 seconds when flash was used. Although a slower time than when no flash was used this compares more favourably against times recorded by other digital cameras.

Controls on the Top of the Cybershot DSC H70

Sony have used the space on the top of the camera wisely. The controls on the top of the camera are the on / off button, the shutter button, a zoom ring and also a control dial. The control dial allows you to select the shooting mode. By placing the control dial on the top of the camera Sony have freed up precious room on the back of the Cybershot DSC H70.

Controls on the Back of the Cybershot DSC H70

The first control on the back of the camera is a button to review still images and movie clips. This is situated half way down the back of the camera. Beneath this is a typical circular control pad. Each one of the four tips of the control pad give you access to a setting. The four settings are to change the information on the LCD screen, select the flash mode, set the self timer and activate the smile shutter. The smile shutter will automatically fire off a shot if it detects someone is smiling. In the centre of the control pad is a button to confirm a setting. The control icons on the pad are in the same dark grey as the pad itself. This makes it that bit harder to see what each control does. Near the bottom are two further buttons. The first gives you access to the menu system. The second has a dual purpose. Its default setting displays help text. The function of the button changes in review mode to allow you to delete an image.

What's in the Menu?

There are 12 items in the standard menu. This includes options such as white balance, ISO and metering. The separate Setup Menu is divided into four sections. The first general section includes 7 options, the next section gives you a further 17 options for fine tuning items such as beep sound, language and menu display colour. Next are 6 options relating to the memory card and internal memory. The final section gives you access to the date and time.

Image Quality - See Sample Images Below

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

The Cybershot DSC H70 handles this test well. It produces a bright picture. If there is a criticism it is that some of the detail is lost from the lightest areas of the shot. The flip side of this is that the level of detail in areas of light shade is impressive. In these areas any noise is kept to a minimum.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

This is the standout picture in this set of tests. This is the hardest test in the set, but the Sony G lens really comes in to its own. That is even more impressive when you take into account that the lens offers an extreme wide angle for a digital compact. More often than not that leads to picture quality problems. In this case the sharpness of the shot is some way above standard. There is no evidence of purple fringing either. That is another issue often seen with this test.

If you are planning to take a lot of landscape type shots or wide scenes you may well find the Cybershot DSC H70 has an edge over a lot of its rival cameras.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

Zooming in produces similarly impressive results. The level of sharpness is more or less consistent right across the shot too. Colours are well balanced and some of the darker trees show deep colours.

Outdoor Building

This shot does not quite match the heights of the previous three test shots. This picture takes on a slightly hazy look.

Outdoor Portrait

Moving in close produces another sharp photo. The quality of the lens used by Sony gives you plenty of sharpness across the entire zoom range. The colours are warm too.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

Using flash the picture has some very strong skin tones. You may feel there is a touch too much pink on the skin. There is also a fairly heavy shadow cast by the Cybershot DSC H70.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

With flash turned off the shot just lacks pin sharp clarity. It is also lacks a little extra brightness that some cameras manage. The lighting conditions at the time the picture was taken were bright. Therefore you may find it difficult to take any shots indoors without resorting to using flash. You will certainly need plenty of light to get the best out of this camera.

Macro

Although the sharpness of this shot catches the eye the colours are very impressive too. There is a vividness to them that gives you an idea of what the Cybershot DSC H70 is capable of when it comes to drawing the maximum colour depth out of a scene or subject.

Colours

The Cybershot DSC H70 can pack a punch when it comes to colours. In most cases it manages to do this without overdoing the power. This stops the colours it produces from becoming harsh and taking on an unnatural look. The only area where colour was overdone was in the skin tones of the indoor portraits.

Noise

Noise levels are controlled well. If anything the Cybershot DSC H70 errs on the side of over exposure. This brightens darker areas and tends to help to reduce noise levels as much as possible.

Picture Quality Summary

The picture quality produced by the Cybershot DSC H70 is very good. When it comes to judging picture quality from this type of camera there is often very little to choose be different models. It is therefore likely that when you assess this camera alongside others you will be taking the range of features and price tag into consideration too.

Shutter Lag Times

Shutter Lag Rating Slow

Single Shot
Five Shots
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time

0.51 seconds
17.97 seconds
0.73 seconds
19.52 seconds
2.85 seconds


Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Par Any camera with a manual exposure mode and the range of features the Cybershot DSC H70 has will take a while to get fully up to speed with. This is especially true if you are new to this type of digital camera. The camera does have an Easy Mode and there is also plenty of in camera help if you get stuck.

Points I Like

Outdoor wide angle shot - depth of colours - amount of zoom for camera size

Where it Could Improve

Picture with flash creates strong skin tones - shutter lag for a single shot

Verdict

There is a lot to like about the Sony Cybershot DSC H70. It is a clear step up in many ways from a more basic digital camera. Picture quality impresses as does the build quality of the camera and range of features. If there is a problem it is the fact the Cybershot DSC H70 sits in a crowded part of the market where there is not a great deal of difference in quality between a lot of cameras.

Test Shots

outdoors 1 outdoors 2 outdoors 3

building macro colours

portrait-outdoors portrait-indoors indoors

See sample images link arrow

Product Shots

Front View

Front View

Back View

Back View

Top View

Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4

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Read Review: Panasonic DMC FZ48 Review

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Canon Powershot SX40 HS Rating 85/100

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Read Review: Canon Powershot SX40 HS Review

Related Pages

Sony DSC H70 Review Sony DSC H70 Specification Sony DSC H70 Sample Images Sony Digital Cameras

Review Date

May 2011

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