Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3

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.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 7.0
  • Image quality 7.0
7.0 Overall

Compare

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3 (black)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3
Nikon Coolpix P900
Nikon Coolpix P900
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
Panasonic Lumix FZ300
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300
Canon PowerShot SX60 HS
Canon PowerShot SX60 HS
Price $200 Amazon.com $499 42nd Street Photo $698 Amazon.com $498 Amazon.com $369 42nd Street Photo
Design
7
8
8
8
8
Features
7
8
9
9
8
Performance
7
7
9
8
8
Image quality
7
6
8
8
8

Review

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.

Continue Reading

Specs / Prices

  • MSRP $400
  • Brand Sony
  • Digital Camera Type Bridge
  • Weight 9.31 oz
  • Sensor Resolution 8.1 pixels
  • Optical Sensor Size (metric) 10.2 mm ( 1/2.5" )
  • Optical Sensor Type Super HAD CCD
See full specs
model black

Report errors

How To

10 things I wish I knew before shooting 360 video

10 things I wish I knew before shooting 360 video

How to set up your dSLR for beginners

How to set up your dSLR for beginners

How to extend your camera's battery life

How to extend your camera's battery life

Five tips for a perfect exposure

Five tips for a perfect exposure

Control camera playback using a TV remote

Control camera playback using a TV remote

How to buy a used dSLR

How to buy a used dSLR

Make Sony NEX-7 videos more natural

Make Sony NEX-7 videos more natural

Best picture styles for SLRs

Best picture styles for SLRs

How to buy a second-hand digital SLR

How to buy a second-hand digital SLR

How to create a retro stop-motion film with Instagram or Hipstamatic

How to create a retro stop-motion film with Instagram or Hipstamatic

Five tips for taking sports photos

Five tips for taking sports photos

Latest News