Sony DSC H90 Review

Mid Zoom Digital Cameras

16 Megapixels    16x Zoom

Dimensions: 104.7 x 59.7 x 33.8mm    Weight: 222g

Good Points: Picture quality, lens flexibility, ease of use for this type of camera

Bad Points: Shutter lag with flash


Sony DSC H90 Shutter Lag Rating slow Ease of Use par Camera Name Rating

Overview

Buying the Sony Cybershot DSC H90 can save you a few pounds compared to other cameras with a 16x zoom lens. This is a relatively compact model that can also shoot High Definition Movies.

The main reason why the Cybershot DSC H90 is a little cheaper than some similar cameras is that it does not have some of the features those cameras have. For example it does not have GPS tracking and its movie resolution is lower, although it can still produce HD quality. Therefore if those features are not of interest to you there is no need to pay out for them.

Compared with other digital cameras with a similar length of lens the Cybershot DSC H90 has the following:

Plus Points

  • 16x Zoom
  • 360 Degree Sweep Panoramas
  • Image Stabilisation for Video as well as Stills
  • Manual Exposure Mode
  • 24mm Wide Angle Lens

Negative Points

  • No GPS
  • No 3D

Why Buy the Sony DSC H90

The Cybershot DSC H90 offers a good balance between features, picture quality and price.

Features

Megapixels and Zoom

The Cybershot DSC H90 has 16 megapixels and a 16x zoom lens. The lens has a focal length equivalent to 24 - 384mm in 35mm format. This gives you a good deal of flexibility to take advantage of just about all standard photo opportunities. This flexibility can be further enhanced by adding a conversion lens to either increase the amount of zoom available or to increase the angle of view for wide scenes.

Memory Cards

Sony digital cameras are compatible with additional types of memory card other than the standard SD, SDHC and SDX cards. This camera is also compatible with memory stick duo, memory stick micro and microSD cards.

Batteries

Power is supplied by a lithium ion battery. A battery and charger is supplied as standard by Sony. They estimate you should be able to take around 290 shots in between charges.

Movie Mode

High Definition Movie clips can be recorded. The maximum resolution is 1280 x 720 pixels. The top recording speed is 30 frames per second. Some digital cameras in this category now offer a higher resolution. You may find that higher resolution is referred to as Full High Definition if you are reading details of other digital cameras.

LCD Screen

The LCD screen is 3 inches in size. That is the standard size for this type of camera. The screen is made up of around 460,000 dots. That is twice as many as you will find on more basic cameras. The extra dots help to make the screen easier to view.

Shooting Modes

Sony have equipped the Cybershot DSC H90 with a small number of preset scene modes. This helps the camera to select the ideal settings for the picture you are about to take. The scenes modes available are: Soft Snap, Soft Skin, Night Portrait, Night Scene, High Sensitivity, Beach, Snow, Fireworks, Gourmet, Pet Mode and Advanced Sports Shooting.

Macro Mode

For your close up shots the Cybershot DSC H90 is able to focus from 5cm away from your subject.

Image Stabilisation

Image Stabilisation has been built into the camera to reduce unwanted blur in still images and to give your movies a smoother look.

Sweep Panorama

Sweep panorama shots have been around for a couple of years now. Sony were the first leading brand to introduce them and they remain in the driving seat. With this camera you can create 360 degree panoramas. All you need to do to create one is switch the camera into panoramic mode, press down the shutter button and sweep the camera round in a circle.

Manual Exposure Mode

There is a manual exposure mode available. This allows you to take extra creative control through choosing the aperture size and shutter speed. The maximum aperture available is f/3.3 (wide) and f/5.9 (tele). Shutter speeds can be set between 30 seconds and 1/1600 seconds.

If a digital camera offers manual exposure there are usually also aperture priority and shutter priority modes available. That is not the case with the Cybershot DSC H90.

Portrait Self Timer

If you would like to appear in a picture you can use the portrait self timer. When you turn this on the camera will not take a picture until it detects a typical portrait type shot is ready to be captured.

Image Quality

Picture Quality Summary

Unless you are looking for ultimate picture quality this type of digital camera should be able to meet your needs. Test pictures taken with the Cybershot DSC H90 were sharp and bright.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

On the whole the camera handles a potentially tricky scene well. There are a lot of lighter and darker areas in this scene. Sharpness is good as is the level of detail showing in areas of light shade around the names of the boats. The one weaker area is the amount of detail the camera is unable to capture in the lightest areas of the shot.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

Considering the fact that Sony have used a lens with a very wide angle of view the quality of the test picture is good. Sharpness right across the shot is better than a lot of cameras manage. The one downside is signs of purple fringing, but this is not to a level where you are likely to notice it unless you make supersized prints.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

Moving to the other extreme of the zoom range quality is similar. Again the shot is sharp. The sharpness is also maintained away from the centre of the shot. As in the previous shot there is evidence of purple fringing. Although this appears to a greater extent than most cameras produce with a similar length of zoom it is unlikely to be a problem if you are sharing photos across the Internet or making reasonably sized prints.

Outdoor Building

The Cybershot DSC H90 is able to lock focus onto the building. Despite being a large block of a very similar colour the camera is able to show a good level of detail. There is also very little fall off in focusing as you move out towards the edges of the shot.

Outdoor Portrait

This is a fairly standard effort. Most digital cameras produce similar results when working close in and lighting is bright, without being harsh. You should be able to take pleasing portraits of friends and family with this camera.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

Sony digital cameras tend to throw out a bit more light from the flash unit than a lot of other brands. This makes the shots brighter, but you can lose some skin colour. Looking at the test shot taken by the Cybershot DSC H90 the camera gets it just about right. It is certainly a bright looking shot with the light spread right across the picture, but there is also enough colour showing in the face.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

Even without flash the camera is capable of producing a bright picture. Areas that can be darker than ideal with some cameras, such as the hair, have enough light to show the natural colour. You should be able to take indoor portraits without flash, but you will need to ensure lighting levels are bright.

Macro

For close up shots the Cybershot DSC H90 is able to focus on your main subject and throw the background out of focus. It can produce sharply focused images in macro mode.

Colours

Colours have a fairly natural look to them. They have enough depth to bring your pictures to life. Brightness levels are impressive too.

Noise

Noise levels are controlled well. Having recently reviewed the Sony Cybershot DSC WX100 the Cybershot DSC H90 seemed to handle any noise or haze that bit better.

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Nikon Coolpix S9300 Rating 86/100

For a camera that is small enough to take anywhere the Nikon Coolpix S9300 has a lot of features packed into it. If you are planning to take a holiday GPS tracking will tell you where you were when a picture was taken. The length of the zoom lens also gives you plenty of scope when it comes to picture opportunities. Although there is plenty of completion in this category the picture quality on offer here combined with the features makes this camera very attractive indeed. Recommended.

Read Review: Nikon Coolpix S9300 Review

Canon Powershot SX260 HS Rating 86/100

The Canon Powershot SX260 HS is one of the very best digital cameras in this category. In fact if you are happy to miss out on features such as 3D photography and 360 degree panoramas it is very hard to beat. It has a great set of features packed into its relatively compact body size and picture quality helps to make it stand out from the competition. Although it is one of the more expensive cameras in this field it still offers good value for money.

Read Review: Canon Powershot SX260 HS Review

Sony DSC HX20V Rating 85/100

There is a lot to like about the Sony Cybershot DSC HX20V. As well as being crammed with features it is a very reliable when it comes to taking pictures. It can handle most photo opportunities without breaking sweat. The amount of zoom power and other features available gives you a great deal of flexibility. Competition between similar cameras is very tough, but this model performs very well when put up against its main rivals. I would happily own this camera.

Read Review: Sony DSC HX20V Review

Related Pages

Sony DSC H90 Specification

Sony DSC H90 Sample Images

Digital Camera Reviews

Sony Digital Cameras

Review Date

Review Date: June 2012

Verdict

If you are looking for extra zoom power in a compact sized body, but do not want to pay out for a top of the range model then the Sony Cybershot DSC H90 may well fit the bill. Picture quality is very good. With a few bells and whistles missing such as GPS and Full High Definition Movies, Sony have been able to shave money off the price of the camera. The lens still provides you with a lot of scope and some of the missing features help to keep this camera that bit easier to use.

Ratings

Ease of Use:
Features:
Movie Mode:
Build Quality:
Colours:

8
8
8
8
8

Photo Quality:
Style:
Indoors:
Macro:
Value for Money:

Total:

8
8
8
8
8

80

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:
Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

16
16x
3 inches
104.7 x 59.7 x 33.8mm
222g
5cm
Yes
Yes
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
Memory Stickā„¢ Duo SD / SDHC / SDXC plus some micro formats

Shutter Lag Times

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

0.49 seconds
14.92 seconds
1.69 seconds
16.15 seconds
3.1 seconds

Shutter Lag Table

Handling

General Handling

The Cybershot DSC H90 is large enough for you to be able to take a firm hold. To help you do this there is a grip to wrap your right hand fingers around on the front of the camera. Sony have also found room for an indentation for your thumb on the back of the camera. There is a microphone on the top of the camera. It is important to ensure you do not cover this with your fingers when shooting a movie.

Flash Positioning

The flash unit pops up on the top of the camera. This can make holding the camera a little trickier when flash is in use.

LCD Screen Quality

The LCD screen is easy enough to view unless direct sunlight is falling on it. The quality of the screen is no better or no worse than most digital cameras.

Turn on Time and Shutter Delay

Shutter delay times were a bit longer than expected, especially when flash was being used. The time taken to turn the camera on and take the first picture was slightly slower than standard.

Design and Build Quality

By adding the grip to the front of the camera Sony have produced a digital camera that looks a more solid and imposing camera than a smaller, pocket sized model. The lens unit dominates the front of the camera. Build quality appears to be good.

Camera Controls

On the top of the camera is the on / off button, shutter button and a ring to control zoom. There is a control dial that you use to select the shooting mode. This has five mode positions: automatic, program auto, manual, panoramic and movie.

On the back of the camera are buttons for reviewing images, accessing the menu system and one that provides help text when the camera is a in a picture taking mode and allows you to delete an image when you are in review mode. There is also a circular control section. This has controls to change the LCD display, change the flash mode, set the self timer, turn on the smile shutter and confirm a setting.

Product Shots

Front View

Sony DSC H90 Front View

Back View

Sony DSC H90 Back View

Top View

Sony DSC H90 Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4

Buy the Sony DSC H90

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GBP 99.29
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GBP 164.81
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