At its best--and only at the lowest ISO sensitivity settings--the H9 renders crisp, saturated, and sharp photos.
The best burst-shooter of the megazoom pack thus far, the H9's continuous shooting not only keeps up with life--as long as life doesn't move in and out of the frame too quickly--but so does the focusing system. Usually burst speed takes a hit when it has to refocus every shot.
Overall, the H9's exposures are very good. Like many cameras in its class, it blows out highlights, as you can see from the bright sun on the mystery lunch-napper's pink shirt.
As with lenses on the other megazoom models, the H9's displays some asymmetrical distortion on the left side at its widest (shown here with grid overlaid in Photoshop) and pincushioning at its narrowest. However, the H9's distortion is about the same at a shorter focal length--31mm--than other models at 36mm and longer.
In addition to barrel distortion at its widest angle, the H9's lens displays fairly severe vignetting (inset adjusted for better visibility).
Below ISO 400, the H9's photos remain reasonably detailed; at ISO 400 and above, however, the combination of noise and noise supression artifacts obscure most detail.