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Sony Cybershot DSC-H50
Sony's 9.1 megapixel superzoom features exceptional image quality and a multitude of features
By Robert Jensen

Besides the "super thin keep in your pocket/purse all the time model of compact digital cameras" there seems to be a new kid on the block nowadays, the superzoom. Such is Sony's DSC-H50 (available in chrome or black finish).

It sports the equivalent to a whopping 31mm~465mm focal length lens (that's a 15x zoom if you don't happen to have your calculator with you at the moment). This is perfect for bringing in distant subjects such as boats or airplanes, getting tight in on the action at sporting events, or getting a few quick shots of that bikini clad beauty walking down the beach.

I should point out that the lens is also a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar. Ok, I've lost a few of you with that statement. Carl Zeiss has long (in Germany since the 1840's) been the maker of some of the very best optics in the world. They've long been coveted by pros everywhere.

I've shot with a few cameras sporting Carl Zeiss optics and I have to agree, they are some of the best I've ever used. The 'Vario' means its a zoom and the 'Tessar' denotes a particular lens design. Another couple of pluses in the design are the use of one ED type glass element, and four aspherical elements. The use of these exotic elements means you get a picture with less distortion, more contrast and better sharpness than with a lens using only traditional glass.

Zoom Range. Click for full view

It also accepts up to a monumental 16GB memory card (Sony Memory Stick DUO Pro).

Not so big is the battery, and that's a good thing. They are so compact you can easily carry extra four when you go on vacation. Hint " you should buy a second battery when purchasing your camera and keep it charged up and in your camera bag at all times. One of Murphy's Laws, I think #428, is that your battery will go dead at an important picture taking moment. It happened to my sister when her son graduated high school a few years ago. Carry a spare!

Besides sporting a generous 3-inch LCD panel on the rear of the camera, the DSC-H50 designers at Sony have also added the ability to unlock it and swing it up or down. It comes in handy when shooting low to the ground, like taking shots of your baby crawling, or shooting over the heads of a crowd at your favorite concert. I do wish it could also swing around to face the front of the camera like the LCD finder on my ancient Canon G-1 digital. It makes taking self portraits (like your typical MySpace portrait), so much easier. 

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