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The 16-megapixel Cyber-shot DSC-H70 is the least expensive of Sony's 2011 compact megazooms and offers little more than a resolution bump from the camera it's replacing, 2010's 14-megapixel DSC-H55. The extra resolution doesn't make the photos any better and they aren't any more usable for enlargements or cropping. However, they aren't necessarily any worse, either; the H55 produced very nice photos, particularly at and below ISO 100, and so does the H70.

Photo quality from the H70 is very good to excellent for its class, but like most compact cameras it still stumbles at higher ISOs. Photos at ISO 80 and 100 are sharp with very good fine detail and low noise. At ISO 200, subjects soften some, losing a touch of sharpness and fine detail. At ISO 400, images get noticeably softer and there's an increase in noise in darker areas of images. However, this is really only visible when they're viewed at 100 percent. If you're printing at and below 5×7 inches and not doing heavy cropping, the results are very good. Photos at ISO 800 and 1,600 look painterly from noise reduction, so subjects will appear soft and smeary. Smaller prints with little or no cropping are possible, but not much else. ISO 3,200 isn't good for much beyond Web use at small sizes, and even that's questionable.

Sony does an excellent job of controlling barrel distortion at the wide end of the lens and pincushion distortion at the telephoto end. I saw little to no evidence of either in my test shots. Fringing around high-contrast subjects was minimal, too, and only really visible when photos are viewed at full size. However, there is some pulling toward the center from the corners at the wide end as well as edge and corner softness. Whether you can see these things is really dependent on your subject and, again, how large you're viewing your photos.

Dimensions (WHD)

4.1×2.3×1.1 inches

Weight (with battery and media)

7.1 ounces

Megapixels, image sensor size, type

16 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD

LCD size, resolution/viewfinder

3-inch LCD, 230K dots/None

Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length)

10x, f3.5-5.5, 25-250mm (35mm equivalent)

File format (still/video)


Highest resolution size (still/video)

4,608×3,456 pixels/ 1,280×720 at 30fps

Image stabilization type

Optical and digital

Battery type, CIPA rated life

Lithium ion rechargeable, 200 shots

Battery charged in camera

No; external charger supplied

Storage media

Memory Stick Pro Duo; SD/SDHC/SDXC cards

Picture Motion Browser 5.5, PMB Portable 5.0 (Windows), PMB Portable 1.1

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