Sony’s DSC-H3: 10x zoom in a very compact body

Sony's DSC-H3 packs a 10x optical zoom into very compact dimensions.

August 23, 2007 Five short years ago we ran a story on Sony’s then-amazing F707 digital camera, which delivered five whole megapixels of resolution and a whopping 5x optical zoom for a bargain price of around $2500. Compare that with Sony’s latest release, the DSC-H3, which takes eight megapixel shots at 10x zoom, sells for around $300, and is beginning to approach compact camera dimensions that make the F707’s lens look like a shoulder-mounted bazooka. It’s an astounding demonstration of the pace of technology.

The new 8-megapixel Cyber-shot DSC-H3 camera packs a powerful Carl Zeiss 10x optical zoom lens into a body not much larger than the compacts.

The DSC-H3 features high-definition component output, putting a high-resolution spin on the family slideshow. By connecting the new camera to any HDTV set with Sony's VMC-MHC1 high-definition component cable (sold separately), families can see their digital photos the same way they watch their favorite TV shows - in full 1080 HD resolution. The camera is equipped with a built-in slide show function so you can view photos, complete with transitions choreographed to your choice of programmed music clips or by adding your own.

When the camera is connected to a new Sony BRAVIA television photos are optimized for television viewing with Sony's new "Photo TV HD" mode. This mode brings the look of actual printed photography to the television set, reproducing high-quality digital photos by fine-tuning image parameters, like sharpness, gradation and color specifically for photographs.

The DSC-H3 model also includes a long-range flash that lights up subjects farther from the camera, and Sony’s face detection technology, which identifies up to eight faces in the camera's 2.5-inch LCD screen, and automatically adjusts for correctly exposed, sharp photos.

The high-zoom camera also includes Sony's advanced sports shooting mode, which combines high shutter speed shooting and intelligent continuous auto-focusing. The camera quickly refocuses on fast-moving subjects by predicting where they will be in the next frame. This technology also helps to reduce shutter lag - the time it takes for the camera to focus and shoot.

To reduce chances of blurry photos, the H3 model incorporates Super Steady Shot optical image stabilization that minimizes blur caused by camera shake - an important feature when shooting at slow shutter speeds at full zoom. The unit's high sensitivity (up to ISO 3200) will also capture well-exposed, natural-looking photos, even in challenging low-light conditions.

Equipped with Sony's Dynamic Range Optimizer, originally developed for the Alpha digital SLR system, the new camera can analyze captured image data, and instantly determine the best exposure and tonality of each picture before JPEG compression. Other helpful in-camera functions include red-eye correction and photo retouching effects with filters.

The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H3 camera will ship next month for about US$300. Additional accessories will include wide and telephoto conversion lenses, filters, batteries, travel chargers, sports packs and cases. The VMC-HD1 high-definition component cable is currently available for about US$40. All can be purchased online at, at Sony Style retail stores, at military base exchanges, and at authorized dealers nationwide. Pre-orders begin on Aug. 23.

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