2007 was an interesting year for the digital camera industry as a whole. The reason I say this is because that year saw the introduction of a new breed of camera. We saw a cross breed between a compact point-and-shoot camera and a DSLR camera. The result is what digital camera enthusiasts are calling the super zoom camera. Read on to get a close look at Sony's take on the Super Zoom, specifically the Cybershot DSCH3.
The new super zoom cameras inherit traits from both the point-and-shoot cameras and DSLRs. Most of the new super zooms are smaller than a typical DSLR camera, and they are also easier to operate than a DSLR. Their ease of use is comparable to that of a typical point-and-shoot camera. Of course, the biggest attribute of a super zoom camera is the high optical zoom capability that it possesses. A typical super zoom camera has at least 10x optical zoom.
Today, I want to take a look at a 10x optical zoom camera from Sony called the Cybershot DSC-H3. This camera has every attribute of a super zoom camera, including small size and an easy to use interface. As a matter of fact, this is the smallest super zoom ever made. No, it won't fit into most pant or shirt pockets like an ultra-compact camera, but then again, super zooms are not designed that way. The H3 was designed to be as small as possible, but still fit a lot of power into the long-range lens.
The Cybershot DSC-H3 was one of the last cameras released by Sony for their 2007 summer campaign. It was officially released in August at an MSRP of $399. At retail stores, you can pick up an H3 for about $299 currently. That price isn't bad for this camera, although there are less-expensive alternatives out there. One alternative to the H3 is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8K, which you can currently find at a retail store for about $235. You can read my review of this Panasonic super zoom camera here on www.devhardware.com in the digital camera section. I will say, though, that the Sony H3 is an all-around better performer than the Panasonic DMC-FZ8K, so the extra $65 spent on the Sony is probably money well spent.
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