The Good Has 10x optical zoom lens; small size; optical image stabilization; face detection.
The Bad Noisy images at higher ISOs; no place to put your thumb.
The Bottom Line If you don't like electronic viewfinders, but want a superzoom, this Sony packs a 10x zoom lens and 8 megapixels into a tiny package, but image quality at higher ISOs is a bit lacking.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3
If you're reading this, then you probably already know that there are a lot of different kinds of cameras in the world. This year, we saw the birth of a new variation with the advent of superzooms that don't have electronic viewfinders, such as the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3 I'll be writing about here. The upside is that the cameras can be smaller than their EVF-laden counterparts, and if you despise peering into a tiny hole at an LCD while framing your shots, then you'll welcome this evolution. However, if you've discovered as I have that an EVF can come in handy when shooting certain subjects (I like using one when shooting baseball batters), then you might want to check out one of Sony's other superzooms, such as the DSC-H7 or DSC-H9.
While the H3's small body design (for a superzoom) is definitely handy when trying to fit it in a bag or jacket pocket, it leaves few options for the button layout. Sony basically had to put the zoom rocker smack in the middle of where your thumb should naturally rest, which might seem good at first, but I ended up accidentally nudging it often when shooting, throwing off my zoom setting and messing up the framing of my shot. If Sony would've moved the shutter button a little to the left and the mode dial forward, the zoom rocker could've been moved farther right and given room for your thumb. However, as the body design goes, that's the biggest flaw. The grip, though small, is effective--curl your middle finger over the top of the grip, and the rest of your fingers fall nicely into place, though it does leave your pinky dangling, which always irks me. It seems as though camera makers have begun to despise the pinky finger. Most entry-level dSLRs and almost all superzooms have grips that can't fit a pinky.
Dominating the front of the camera is a Carl Zeiss-branded Vario-Tessar 10x optical 38-380mm equivalent f/3.5-4.4 zoom lens, which feeds light to an 8.1-megapixel CCD sensor. Around back you'll find a 2.5-inch, 115,000-pixel LCD. Caffeine addicts should be pleased to know that the H3 includes Sony's Super Steady Shot optical image stabilization to help compensate for hand shake. In case the built-in lens isn't wide or long enough for you, Sony offers both a 0.7x-wide angle converter (VCL-DH0758) and a 1.7x telephoto converter (VCL-DH1758). The necessary adapter ships with the camera and can also accept 58mm screw-on filters. The camera also comes with a lens hood that attaches to the front of the adapter. Unfortunately, it's so large that it obscures a large portion of the flash, which makes the use of fill flash almost useless if you use the hood. However, the adapter itself can likely provide enough shade from the sun when the lens is zoomed to its widest, which means that the hood is only really necessary when shooting telephoto shots, in which the camera's built-in flash probably won't be able to provide fill flash anyway.
Panasonic GH5S hits new lows at CES 2018 -- and that's good
By dropping back to a lower-resolution sensor, Panasonic promises to dramatically increase its low-light sensitivity.
The 12 best Black Friday camera deals we've found so far
Rather than dump every available Black Friday discount on you, we've hand-picked the seasonal deals we think are actually worth your money.
Nokia's fancy VR Ozo camera is no more
The Finnish tech company is switching its focus to digital health.
Nikon bails on advanced compacts and that's not good
Opinion: The company announced that it was dropping the attempt to produce its ill-fated series of enthusiast-targeted fixed-lens models and it doesn't sound like it plans to try again.
Capturing our refugee stories on a single fixed-lens camera
Commentary: I only took a 35mm Sony RX1R camera to document the stories we found on Road Trip 2016. Here's why.
Sony A6500, RX100 V cameras focus on fast performance and movie-making
The RX100 V has the world's fastest autofocus system for a compact, while the α6500 interchangeable lens camera is equally speedy with in-camera five-axis optical image stabilization.
Top-shelf camera reaches a whopping 100 megapixels
Phase One's camera comes with a price tag beyond the reach of most consumers, but its high-end technology could eventually finds its way into mainstream cameras.
Light's bizarre -- and a little bit brilliant -- take on camera tech
This will either be the camera of the future or another toy to send to the island of misfit cameras.
Sony's latest Cyber-shot cameras offer intensely high frame rate
Sony's new cameras can shoot 960 frames per second for two seconds and can reach 1/32,000 second shutter speed -- for under $1,300.
Get a Xiaomi Yi action camera for $68.88 shipped
Before you drop $300-$500 on a GoPro, consider this extremely capable competitor.
Canon, Pentax power forward to lure high-end camera buyers
Trying to coax consumers toward a world beyond smartphones, camera makers at the CP+ trade show reveal plans for dramatically better premium products.
How a $47,000 camera learned to go mirrorless
The A-series cameras marry Phase One's digital sensors with Alpa's lenses. It's a new-era approach to an old-school photography technique.