Every digital camera that I have ever owned has been made by Sony. I have always enjoyed the layout of their features and the quality of their cameras. Every camera that I owned I never had any problems with, but instead I upgrade them to stay current with the technology that consistently develops with the cameras. Currently, I own the Sony DSC-T5 and the Sony H1. Both of these cameras are great, but each also serves their own purpose.
The DSC-H1 is a 5.1 MP digital camera with a 12X zoom. It also sports a 2.5″ LCD screen which makes it wonderful to view the pictures that you have snapped. You are also capable of manually controlling many features of the camera, such as shutter speed.
I purchased this camera as a replacement to my Sony Mavica MVC-CD500 which was also a really nice 5.1 MP camera. The size of the H1 is comparably smaller than the Mavica which makes it a little nicer to carry around and to handle. The Mavica only had a 3X optical zoom which was nothing when compared to the H1’s 12X optical zoom.
The H1 has an image stabilization feature which is found on many camcorders. This feature has recently become popular on digital cameras and is super nice to have. There are some images that I take that it is hard to keep the camera still, and the image stabilization makes a noticeable difference when compared to the Mavica which lacked this feature.
When looking at replacing my Mavica I did examine the market. I looked at cameras such as the Canon S2 which has many comparable features. The S2 does have a smaller LCD screen but it swivels out. This allows the user to hold the camera above them while still being able to view the contents of the picture. While this was a nice feature, it did not compensate for the smaller screen. Also, the placement of the zoom controls was not what I was accustomed to. On the Sony H1 it is in the normal position (where your right thumb can easily control it), however, on the Canon S2 the zoom is placed on the shutter button (it is a kind of ‘slider’). This made me a little weary that I would be trying to zoom but instead would be taking photos.
A nice feature of the S2 is the movie capabilities. It allows a user who is taking video to zoom in and zoom out while recording, which is something that the Sony H1 does not do. You can record movies on the H1 but you cannot zoom in/out without stopping the recording and starting it again. The Canon S2 will not let you record over 7 minute segments at one time (just a limitation for some reason), even if you have a 2 GB memory card. When I put my 2 GB memory card in my H1 it says I have 1.5 hours of recording time left at highest quality.
Battery power is of course a top concern for many people. The Sony H1 comes with 2 rechargeable AA batteries and the charger. These batteries seem to last me around 200-300 photos (about half of which use the flash). That number isn’t bad considering that I transfer the photos off of the camera for every 15-20 pictures. While the H1 only uses 2 AA batteries at one time the Canon S2 uses 4 AA batteries. They estimate that the batteries for the S2 will last almost 600 photos of standard use.
Finally, here is the last comparison that I will make. With the Canon S2 you have to manually open the flash in order to use it (even if it recognizes that you are in a low-light condition), but the Sony H1 will have the flash automatically pop-up for you.
I just have one memory card between my Sony H1 and my Sony T5 because my T5 takes a Sony Duo Memory Stick and the H1 takes the Sony Memory Stick. When I bought the memory card for my T5 it came with an adapter to convert the Duo card to a normal memory stick. This is really nice because I purchased the 2 GB Sony Duo Memory Stick High Speed version which was $130 on eBay so I didn’t really want to spend more money on another card.
The reason that I have a Sony T5 and H1 is because of portability issues. I like the idea of keeping my camera in my pocket but I also like the power of a fully manual camera. Having two separate cameras was the only solution I was able to find and it seems to be working very well. The T5 is really really nice to just throw in your pocket but I do have to say that the H1 takes slightly nicer photos.
My decision to purchase the Sony H1 was a great one because the camera was very well designed. I got it for $385 (with shipping) from Electronics Expo. They shipped it the next day and I was very pleased with their service.
If you have any questions that you would like me to answer feel free to leave a comment here so that I can answer it for everyone.