Written on: 30/11/2006 by Reviewer100 (25 reviews written)
Large 12x optical zoom, coupled with quality Carl Zeiss lens.
Clear 7.2 MP sensor, allowing a useful (but frowned upon) digital zoom.
Has a good battery life, and uses standard batteries.
Clear, large 3" LCD display.
Light and compact (for a bridge camera).
Very easy to use.
Silver version looks cheap.
Build quality could be better, and it isn't up to the standards of a Fuji or Ricoh build.
The Sony CyberShot DSC-H5 is a digital camera for amateur photographers, who want the features and performance of an SLR, but not the price or bulk of one. Has fully automatic modes for when you 'just want to take a photo', plus many manual options for budding Lord Litchfield's.
This is now my third camera, and given my budget and need for a good zoom (as a safari holiday is approaching), this was the only real choice. I opted for the all-black version, as the silver plastic looked a bit cheap. I also wanted the flexibility of using normal off-the-shelf AA batteries, which are available from nearly everywhere. This is especially handy for holidays in remote areas, or when you don't fancy leaving your camera charging in a hostel dormitory.
The 12x optical zoom is pretty awesome, although it can be a little slow to focus. The on-board anti-shake software helps, but ideally you should invest in a mono/tri pod for clarity.
The large, bright and clear LCD to the rear of the camera makes the eye-piece somewhat redundant, and provides very informative feedback on current functions. The H5 is a doddle to set-up and operate, and it comes with the typical brand assurance (but slight premium) of being a Sony product. The camera comes with a useful 30Mb on-board memory to get you started, rather than the usual courtesy, but effectively useless 16Mb cards most manufacturers provide.
As usual, I shopped around before buying this product, with most high street retailers offering £50 off the RRP of £398. Internet companies are offering the H5 for £260 excluding P&P. I got Jessops to price-match a UK website at £260, so I had the added benefit of somewhere local to return it to if it failed. Jessops are also one of the only suppliers who can offer the smarter all-black version.
Verdict: Superb, and worth every penny.