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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H90 Overview

Posted: 02/27/2012

If you're on a tight budget, but don't want to do without a powerful zoom lens and plenty of resolution to achieve it, the Sony DSC-H90 could present an interesting proposition.

The Sony H90 is based around a generous 16x optical zoom lens that dominates its front panel, and bears Sony G branding. When shooting still images in its native 4:3 aspect ratio, yields 35mm-equivalent focal lengths from a generous 24mm wide angle to a powerful 384mm telephoto. Maximum aperture falls from f/3.3 at wide angle to a rather dim f/5.9 at telephoto. The H90 includes Sony's Optical Steadyshot image stabilization, helpful for fighting blur from camera shake at the longer focal lengths.

The H90's 16.1 megapixel Super HAD CCD image sensor is a 1/2.3-inch type with a diagonal of just 7.75 millimeters. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 80 to 3,200 equivalents, although for movie shooting, the range is a much narrower 250 to 1,250 equivalents.

Images can be framed and reviewed on a 3.0-inch LCD panel with 460,800 dot / 153,600 pixel resolution, or around half the resolution of a VGA display, with each pixel being comprised of separate red, green, and blue dots. There's no optical or electronic viewfinder on the H90.

As well as still imaging, the H90 can also capture high-def 720p (1,280 x 720 pixels) MPEG-4 video, with monaural audio. There are also one reduced-resolution option: standard-def VGA (640 x 480 pixel). At either resolution, movies are captured at 30 frames per second. Two different stabilization systems are available for video: either the standard Optical SteadyShot used for still imaging, or a more powerful Active SteadyShot mode that combines optical and digital stabilization, with a resulting increase in the focal length crop. (Translation: wide-angle video is harder to achieve with this enabled, but you can manage an even greater maximum telephoto.)

The Sony H90 includes both USB 2.0 High Speed data and Mini HDMI high-def video connectivity. Images and movies are stored in a not-terribly-generous 27MB of built-in memory, or on SD / Memory Stick Duo cards. Supported SD cards include SDHC and SDXC types, while Memory Stick Duo compatibility includes PRO Duo and PRO HG Duo types, as well as Micro and Micro Mark 2 cards with an adapter. Power comes courtesy of a proprietary NP-BG1 or NP-FG1 lithium ion rechargeable battery pack, with the former in the product bundle. The H90 is rated as good for 290 shots on a charge, although it isn't stated with which pack type this figure was determined.

Available from March 2012, the Sony H90 is priced at around US$250. Body colors for this model include black, silver, and red.