As cameras become more and more advanced, their usual capabilities become higher and higher. One camera is the Sony Cyber-shot H55, which is a whopping 14-megapixel s with 10x Optical Zoom and Optical SteadyShot image stabilization so you get less shake while shooting HD videos and if you want to take those faraway landscapes. There’s also a large 3-inch LCD display built into one very compact body. It measures 103 x 58 x 29, weighs about 200g with battery and card, and comes in either black or silver. Other features include Sweep Panorama, 720p HD movie recording, Face Detection/Smile Shutter and Intelligent Auto mode for fuss-free shooting in any situation.
The design itself looks like it’s made for heavy-duty shooting as it isn’t exactly the slimmest or the lightest camera in the market. But with the features it comes with, a little meat isn’t all that bad.
Handling the camera may feel a bit different at first especially if you’re used to those super-slim cameras that only take about a couple of fingers of strength. However, the H55 does shine in its simplistic form with easy-to-read and maneuver buttons and functions. It has a curved right hand front for your forefingers and an indented thumb groove along the back of the camera for better grip. It also comes with a camera strap for added security.
The H55’s top panel is decorated with the on/off button, shutter release wrapped around with the zoom collar and a 7-position mode dial—movie, sweep panorama, manual, program auto, intelligent auto, easy and scene modes. Beside the LCD screen on the lower right hand side is a playback button, conventional four-way control pad which activates the screen display, flash, timer, and smile detection, menu and delete buttons. The rechargeable battery and card compartments are located on the bottom of the camera and share one door. The black review unit I had already came with a 2GB Memory Stick PRO Duo but it can also use SD/SDHC, memory stick duo and pro hg duo. The USB port is located just beside aforementioned door while the cable that connects to this port has a standard USB plug, composite video and stereo audio connectors so you can connect to a computer or a standard definition TV.
Once I was familiar with the H55’s nooks and crannies (and my hand familiar with the weight), shooting with it was as easy as Sunday morning. I mean, everything you need to know is already indicated for you in any one of the illustrated functions and buttons. You just need to fiddle with it a bit to figure out the sub-menus. I did, however, have a bit of trouble with the mode dial as my finger would sometimes accidentally switch the mode while I was taking a picture or it would turn by itself while it was in my bag. Now the other functions may already be familiar to anyone who’s seen or owns a digital camera but Sony’s Intelligent Auto Adjustment was one feature I’d only encountered with this model. Basically, as it is aptly named, it adjusts the kind of setting the picture you’re taking may need. If there’s a lot of light, then it will act as if you had put it in auto mode. But if take a picture in low light using this mode, it will take two pictures for you with just one click—one with the flash and one without. It’ll also indicate on the screen once dual shot is complete.
But one feature that I particularly like on the H55 is the Sweep Panorama mode. Though there’s nothing new about capturing panoramic images, the H55 does away with the complications of stitching and basically just acts like shooting a short video clip as you pan the camera. It comes in two available sizes, standard, 4912 x 1080 pixels and wide, 7152 x 1080 pixels. Not only is it easy to use, the results are really great. You don’t even have to be all that careful and slow. Just make sure you don’t have any moving subjects to avoid blur.
Intelligent Auto Adjustment
Sweep panorama mode
Shutter and dial mode are too close to one another
Buy meter: 8
Bottomline: If you want a sturdy, powerful camera that’s easy to use, the Sony Cyber-shot H55 makes a great option.
Megapixel count 14-megapixels
Zoom and optics 10x optical zoom
Physical Dimension 103 x 58 x 29
Weight 170g (without battery)
Estimated battery life Approx. 300 shots
Memory used/internal capacity SD/SDHC, Memory Stick Duo, Pro Duo and Pro HG Duo