Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3 Optics


An impressive 10x optical zoom with good performance. Digital zoom performance is very good.

38mm 380mm 2x Digital Zoom

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3's optical zoom covers the equivalent of a 38-380mm lens, which is quite generous in the world of consumer digital cameras. Details are fairly sharp at full wide angle, with low levels of coma distortion and only slight blurring in the corners. At telephoto, results are also good, though some minimal blurring is still visible in the corners and chromatic aberration is visible in the house siding, even in the very center. The camera's 2x Precision digital zoom did a great job of enlarging the image without compromising too much in terms of resolution and quality, much better than average digital zoom.

A very small macro area with excellent detail and resolution. Flash is blocked by the long lens, resulting in strong shadows.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3's macro setting performed quite well, capturing a very small minimum area of 1.26 x 0.95 inches (32 x 24 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both very good, with only a small amount of softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) Exposure is slightly dim, however. The Sony H3's flash had trouble throttling down for the macro area and was blocked by the camera's long lens, resulting in a very uneven exposure with extreme shadows. You'll want to use external lighting on your closest macro shots with the Sony H3.

Moderately-high barrel distortion, though low pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 38mm is 0.8%
Pincushion at 380mm is 0.2%

This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto). The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3's 0.8% barrel distortion at wide angle is on the high side of average, and pretty noticeable in many of its wide angle images. At the telephoto end, the DSC-H3's 0.2% pincushion distortion is reasonably low.

Chromatic aberration
High and quite bright. Noticeable effect on images in the corners at both zoom settings.

Wide: Moderate but bright,
top left @ 200%
Wide: Bright,
top right @ 200%
Tele: High and bright,
top left @200%
Tele: High and bright,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is high and bright at both wide angle and telephoto. At wide angle, about 15+ pixels are visible. Pixels are very bright at both zoom settings, and noticeable in many images. (This distortion is visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)

Corner Sharpness
Very slight blurring in the corners of the frame at wide angle, stronger at telephoto.

Wide: Slightly soft in the
corners (upper left).
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Softer in the
corners (lower left)
Tele: Sharp at center.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3 produced slightly soft corners of the frame at full wide angle. At full telephoto, blurring was stronger. Still good results overall, especially at wide angle.


Excellent accuracy from the LCD monitor.

38mm eq., LCD 380mm eq., LCD

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3's LCD monitor showed about 102% coverage accuracy at wide angle, and about 100% at telephoto. Excellent performance, though a little loose at wide angle.


The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3 Photo Gallery .

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