Sony DSC-H5 Review

 
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Sony DSC-H5 Performance


Timing and Performance

Good to average speed for a consumer camera.

Startup/Shutdown
Power on
to first shot
2.3 seconds
Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy.
Shutdown
2.4 seconds
How long it takes to retract lens and stow in your pocket.
Buffer clearing time
4 seconds
(Large/Fine JPEG,
Five shots in
continuous mode)
Worst case buffer clearing time. This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.
Mode switching
Play to Record,
first shot
0.2 seconds
Time until first shot is captured
Record to play
2.4 seconds
Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture
Display
recorded image
0.5 second
Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.
Shutter response (Lag Time):
Full Autofocus Wide
0.51 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.
Full Autofocus Tele
0.99 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.
Continuous Autofocus
0.51 second
Typically no advantage to Continuous AF mode, and we have no way of reliably measuring performance with moving ones.
Manual Focus
0.51 second
Usually a bit faster than AF. In the case of the H5, brings telephoto shutter lag times down to the same level as wide angle ones.
Prefocused
0.011 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.
Full AF with Flash (Wide Angle)
0.75 second
When the flash is enabled, the need for a metering pulse often slows shutter response slightly.
Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
1.6 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots. This fast all the time with a Memory Stick PRO Duo card. (No limit due to buffer capacity.)
Single Shot mode
640x480 JPEG
1.47 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots. This fast all the time with a Memory Stick PRO Duo card. (No limit due to buffer capacity.)
Early shutter
penalty?
No
Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.
Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.91 second (1.1 frames per second);
5 shot buffer capacity;
~4.6 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 5 shots. After buffer fill, a pause of 4.6 seconds, then back to 0.91 second/shot.
Continuous mode
640x480 JPEG
0.77 second (1.3 frames per second);
No apparent limit
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots. No apparent buffer limit.
Multiburst mode
(576x768 pixel sub-frames)
0.033 second (30 frames per second);
16 shots then wait a second or so.
Time per shot, averaged over 16 shots. In this mode, 16 low-resolution images are captured very rapidly and stored in a single full-size image. Frame rates of 7.5, 15, and 30 frames/second can be set via a menu option.
Flash recycling
17 seconds
Flash at maximum output. (This is very slow, but the H5's flash is much more powerful than average.)
Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
5,084 KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
Greater than 770=USB 2.0 High

The Sony DSC-H5's performance ranges from quite fast to just average, though its flash recycling is markedly slow. Start-up time is reasonable considering the long lens, but not fast. Shutter lag at wide angle zoom settings is quite good, at telephoto zoom it's on the slow sided of average, but "prefocus" times (half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure) are blazingly fast, with a shutter delay of only 0.011 second. Shot-to-shot cycle times are a little better than average these days, at about 1.6 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, and the camera captures frames continuously at this rate. Continuous-mode speed is on the slower side, at a bit over one frame/second, for up to five shots in succession. That said though, Multiburst mode captures 16 frames at up to 30 frames per second (0.33 second cycle time), albeit at a 576 x 768 resolution. The flash is quite slow to recycle at 17 seconds after a full-power shot, however. Connected to a computer, download speeds are exceptionally fast, so you won't feel a need for a separate card reader. Bottom line, the DSC-H5 is responsive enough for most family photo opportunities, but its standard continuous shooting mode is a bit slow for sports or wiggly kids, and shutter response at maximum telephoto is a little laggardly. Those issues aside, overall performance is pretty good.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Short battery life with standard AA alkaline cells, but much better life with NiMH rechargeables.

Operating Mode
Number of Shots
AA alkaline batteries
Rear-panel LCD
50
AA alkaline batteries
Eye-level viewfinder
60
AA NIMH rechargeable cells
Rear-panel LCD
340
AA NIMH rechargeable cells
Eye-level viewfinder
370

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H5 uses two AA batteries for power, and a pair of NiMH batteries and a charger are included with the camera. Though runtimes are increased with the NiMH batteries over alkalines, I strongly recommend picking up a spare set and keeping them freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings. (See our battery shootout page for information on actual measured capacities of various NiMH brands and capacity markings.)

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The DSC-H5 accepts Memory Stick Duo cards, though no card is included; 32MB RAM is built into the camera.

Image Capacity with
32MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal
3,072 x 2,304 Images 8 16
File Size 3.6 MB 1.8 MB
2,592 x 1,944 Images 11 22
File Size 2.6 MB 1.4 MB
2,048 x 1,536 Images 19 33
File Size 1.6 MB 906 KB
1,632 x 1,224 Images 30 57
File Size 1.0 MB 537 KB
640 x 480
Images 183 459
File Size 168 KB 67 KB

We strongly recommend buying at least a 512MB card, preferably a 1GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings.

 

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