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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-7 and DSC-H9

8.1-megapixel SLR-style cameras with massive 15X zoom, 3-inch LCD (H9), and advanced technology.
(from Sony press release)

February 27, 2007 - Long zoom cameras are increasingly popular because they let you get close without disturbing or distracting subjects. In response to this growing demand, Sony introduced two new super-zoom Cyber-shot models, the 8-megapixel DSC-H7 and DSC-H9.

Sony emphasizes that these affordable cameras (pictures show the H9) are especially suitable for families with budding athletes in their ranks as they both feature Sony’s new advanced sports shooting mode. This mode combines high shutter speed shooting and intelligent continuous auto-focusing so the cameras can quickly focus on fast-moving subjects by predicting where those subjects will be in the frame. A much appreciated by-product is that this predictive technology also helps to reduce shutter lag, the gap of time between depressing the shutter and the camera actually taking the shot after focussing.

Both the H7 and H9 come with Carl Zeiss 15x optical zoom lenses that lend themselves for sports and other close-ups. But that's not all: Sony also throws in its new face detection technology so the camera will focus on the subject on the field rather than some background clutter. In fact, the technology can identify up to eight faces and automatically adjust white balance and flash as well as focus and exposure for correctly exposed, sharp photos.

Displaying in High Definition

With more and more households having lage high definition TVs, it makes sense to view pictures on the rather than the camera's LCD or a computer screen. In response to this, Sony equipped the H7 and H9 with high-definition outputs. Those require the Sony VMC-MHC1 high-definition component cable that is sold separately.

Speed is everything

It'd make no sense to offer new ultra-long-zoom cameras designed to capture sporting action and then they can't keep up. So Sony made sure the new H-Series models can capture fast-moving action via a number of features and technologies. First, the new Sonys can shoot at up to 1/4000 of a second. That's needed for capturing fast-moving sports activity and getting those terrific action shots where a crucial moment can be frozen in time.

On the electronic side, both new cameras use Sony's Bionz processing engine that was first used in Sony’s Alpha digital SLR. The (oddly named) Bionz circuitry accelerates response times and has enough image processing speed to generate rich, detailed pictures that make for thrilling high-definition photo viewing.

One problem with capturing fast action, especially via longzoom lenses, is blur. To combat that, the Cybe-shot H9 and H7 use "Sony's Super Steady Shot" optical image stabilization to minimize blur caused by camera shake. This optical anti-shake system is helped by the cameras' very high maximum sensitivity of up to ISO3200.

On the ergonomic side of shooting high-speed action, Sony designed the H9 with a flip-up LCDs, and a huge one at that -- a full 3-inches. That means picturs can be taken comfortably from many positions. The camera can be held low for eye-level shots of children, or it can be held high to shoot above the heads of a crowd. The H7 doesn't have this feature and must do with a fixed 2.5-inch display.

Shooting in low light

Sony's "Nighthot" technology has been around for a while and certainly has its uses. This year, the new H9 is the only Cyber-shot that features NightShot technology. This means you can take pictures take photographs with virtually no light, such as a late night game. The very high sensitivity of both cameras means you may not need the flash, thus preserve the "mood" of a scene while still producing well-exposed, natural-looking photos, even in challenging low-light conditions. Higher ISO means you can shoot at higher shutter speeds without using the flash. High sensitivity pictures are often grainy, and minimizes that with their Clear RAW noise reduction technology.

In-camera editing

We always love to play around with pictures in our favorite imaging program, but sometimes it comes in handy to do some editing right in the camera. The new H-series models incorporate a number of in-camera editing functions and also come with Sony’s Dynamic Range Optimizer that originally developed for the Alpha digital SLR systems. This technology can analyze image data and instantly determine the best exposure and tonality of each picture before JPEG compression. Other in-camera functions include red-eye correction and a number of filters that allow fun and artistic effects. A partial color filter, for example, can highlight a subject in color while the background goes black-and-white.

The Cybe-shot DSC-H7 and DSC-H9 ship in April 2007 for $399 and $479, respectively. The VMC-HD1 high-def component cable runs about $40. >

Specifications Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H7 and H9
Status Added 03/2007
Camera Type SLR-style
Size unknown
Weight (oz.) unknown
Effective Pixels 8.1 mp
CCD Type 1/2.5" Super HAD CCD
Max pixel size unknown
File formats unknown
Compression fine/standard
Movie recording (best) 640 x 480 at 30 fps til full
Voice recording/sound annotation Unknown
Lens Carl Zeiss® Vario-Tessar, 13 Elements in 8 Groups, 4 Aspheric Elements/ 1 ED
Focal length 5.2 - 78mm (31 - 465mm)
Optical/digital zoom 15X/2X
Aperture f/2.7 - f/8
Focus modes AF illuminator
Focus minimum/macro 8 inches with 14-42mm and 30 inches with 40-150mm
Shutter speed 1/4-1/4000 sec. (Auto), 1-1/4000 sec. (Program Auto), 8' - 1/2000 (Aperture Priority), 30" - 1/4000 (Manual/Shutter Priority)
Sensitivity (ISO) Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Autofocus system 9 Area Multi-Point AF, Monitoring AF, Flexible Spot AF
Metering Multi-Pattern Measuring
White-balance modes Automatic, Cloudy, Daylight, Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2, Fluorescent 3,Incandescent, Flash, Manual
Shooting modes Scene Mode(s) --- H9: Advanced Sports Shooting, Beach, Fireworks, High Sensitivity, Landscape, Portrait, Snow, Twilight, Twilight Portrait; H7: Beach, High Sensitivity, Landscape, Snow, Soft Snap, Twilight, Twilight Portrait
Exposure compensation ±5 EV in 1/3, 1/2, 1 EV steps selectable
Viewfinder Type 0.2" 201k LCD, TTL EVF
LCD size 3.0" Flip-up Clear Photo LCD (201k pixel); 2.5"
LCD type outdoor viewable
LCD construction H9: flip-up, H7: fixed
Flash type pop-up
Flash range unknown
Flash modes Auto, Forced On, Forced Off, Slow Synch
Internal memory 31MB
Storage Medium Memory Stick DUO, Memory Stick DUO PRO
I/O Multi-Use Connector (USB, AV, HD output)
Battery type Lithium-Ion NP-BG1 (3.6V, 960 mAh)
CIPA Battery life Approx. 500 shots (optical viewfinder)
List Price H7:US$399.99, H9:US$479.99
Contact www.sonystyle.com

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