The Bottom Line
Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-H70 has some very strong features for a camera in its price range, and its image quality is very good. In fact, for a sub-$200 camera with a small built-in flash, I found in my Sony H70 review that the H70's image results in low light are surprisingly good, some of the best I've seen in a camera in this price range.
The H70 has some issues with response times, as its autofocus can be a bit slow, in both low light and in outdoor lighting, which means you may miss a few spontaneous photos. The camera's shot-to-shot delays are troublesome, too, but its image quality is strong enough to overcome these issues most of the time.
- Image quality is very good
- Flash photo image quality is outstanding for a camera in this price range
- LCD is clear and bright, even in direct sunlight
- "Intelligent auto" mode works very well, making H70 easy to use
- 10X zoom lens also offers some good wide angle capabilities
- Autofocus seems to work a bit slowly
- You might miss some spontaneous photos because of some less-than-ideal response times
- Outdoor photos taken in sunlight sometimes are slightly overexposed
- Camera only offers minimal manual control options
- Resolution: 16.1 megapixels
- Optical zoom: 10X (25-250mm equivalent)
- LCD: 3.0-inch, 230,000 pixels
- Maximum image size: 4608 x 3456 pixels
- Battery: Li-ion (rechargable)
- Dimensions: 4 x 2.38 x 1.19 inches
- Weight: 6.8 ounces (with battery and memory card)
- Image sensor: CCD 1/2.3 in.
- Movie mode: 720p HD video
Guide Review - Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H70 Review
Compared to other cameras in its price range, the H70's image quality is very good, especially in an area where sub-$200 cameras typically struggle -- indoor flash photos. The H70's built-in flash is pretty small, but it still works extremely well. You'll rarely have a washed-out flash photo, and I found in my Sony H70 review that the camera does a nice job, even on close-up flash photos.
Unlike most budget-priced cameras, the H70 also does a nice job with subjects that are strongly backlit, which is impressive.
With outdoor photos where plenty of light is available, the H70's results aren't going to "wow" you, but the camera tends to do a decent job overall. A few outdoor photos will be a bit overexposed.
With 16.1 megapixels of resolution, you can make large prints with your H70 photos. You have four resolution options for shooting the standard 4:3 ratio photos, and two resolution options (including 12MP) when shooting at the widescreen 16:9 ratio.
The biggest problems for the H70 come with its autofocus mechanism, which seems to lag a bit, leaving you with some out-of-focus photos. Give the H70 time to focus before fully pressing the shutter button, though, and it's focus accuracy is outstanding. This Sony model also does a nice job with sharp focus for macro mode for extreme close-up photos, as long as you remain within the recommended range for macro mode.
Because of the autofocus speed, the H70 has some shutter lag on occasion. Another problem is the camera's shot-to-shot delays, and these two problems combine to make it tough to shoot a fast-moving subject. You may miss some spontaneous photos because of the H70's issues with response times.
Most low-priced cameras tend to have more problems with response times in low light than in outdoor light, but the available light doesn't seem to affect the H70's response times much.
The camera's 10X optical zoom lens works extremely well, and camera shake doesn't seem to be a problem with the H70, which is rare in a low-priced camera with a large zoom lens.
The H70 is extremely easy to use, and it works very well in fully automatic mode. It has a mode dial on the top of the camera to switch between video, fully automatic, and partially manual modes. You also can access the H70's impressive panoramic mode through the mode dial. Using Sony's "sweep panorama" mode, it's really easy to shoot panoramic photos, and the results are very good.
I thought this camera was very easy to use one-handed. It has a small handgrip for your right hand, and it's comfortable to use.
Sony has included a 3.0-inch LCD screen with this camera, and you can adjust the screen's brightness level, making the screen easy to see, even in direct sunlight.
The overall look of the H70 is pretty basic. Some people might find it a little chunky -- at 1.19 inches in thickness, it is larger than many low-priced cameras introduced this year. You'll have plenty of body color options with the H70, including red, blue, silver, and black.