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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200 Review

Budget ultra zoom from Sony with 26x optical zoom lens and 20 megapixel sensor.

|  Sony Cyber-shot H200 in Compact Cameras
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Sony Cyber Shot DSC H200 Large (1)

The Sony Cyber-shot H200 is an entry level bridge camera with DSLR styling from Sony featuring a 26x optical zoom lens, 20.1 megapixel Super HAD CCD sensor, HD 720p video recording, 3inch screen, manual controls, and takes 4x AA batteries.

Sony Cyber-shot H200 Features

Sony Cyber Shot DSC H200 Large (4)

The H200 features an ultra wide-angle 26x optical zoom lens, equivalent to 22.3mm - 580mm. The camera features optical image stabilisation, which is also is active when using the 720p video mode, coming into its own when using optical zoom while recording video.

Manual mode lets you set the aperture, shutter and ISO speed manually. Intelligent Auto and intelligent Auto + will automatically select the best mode for the scene, including automatically detecting scenes with high contrast, and will use the Backlight / HDR mode if needed. Panoramic sweep mode will create panoramic photos as you pan the camera from side to the other.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC H200 Large (5)

Key Features

  • 20.1 megapixel CCD sensor
  • 26x optical zoom lens, 22.3mm - 580mm equivalent
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • 3inch screen, 460k dots
  • Manual mode
  • 720p, 30fps video
  • ISO80 - ISO3200
  • Sweep panorama mode
  • Intelligent Auto, Beauty Effect, Advanced Flash
  • Backlight HDR mode in Auto mode

Sony Cyber-shot H200 Handling

Sony Cyber Shot DSC H200 Large (3)

Handling - There is a large textured handgrip, with a textured area for your thumb on the back making it easy to hold the camera. Despite the plastic construction the camera feels well built with a metal tripod socket underneath. The top features the manual pop up flash, which is opened with a button on the side. Underneath is a large flap for 4 AA batteries as well as SD or Sony Memory Stick.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC H200 Large (2)

Menus options are easy to navigate with a set of common photo options appearing when you press the menu button with an overlay shown on screen, letting you continue to see what you are photographing. Scroll to the bottom of this and you can enter the full setup menus. The 3inch screen is clear with a 460k dot resolution.

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 350 shots according to Sony / CIPA test results using 4 x AA Alkaline batteries, providing a decent amount of battery life, as well as the convenience of being able to easily replace the batteries.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC H200 Large (6)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

  Sony Cyber-shot H200
Shutter Response 0.15s
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.6s
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.75s
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 3.1s
Shot to Shot without Flash 1.9s
Shot to Shot with Flash 2.4s
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A

Focus speeds were slower than we would have hoped for, and the shutter response was also quite slow. When using the camera, the menus and buttons on the camera can feel slow to respond at times.

Sony Cyber-shot H200 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Sony Cyber-shot H200 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - There is no red-eye visible in the portrait photo shot with flash. Colour reproduction is good with pleasing colour, although exposure needs to be monitored as the camera regularly appeared to over-expose photos.

Sony Cyber-shot H200 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Detail in photos is reasonable, although noise is noticeable even in bright outdoor shots. Macro performance is much better than the 20cm closest focus suggested in the specifications, with the camera focusing on objects just 1 centimetre in front of the lens when zoomed to 5.3x optical zoom. Another sweet spot is at 8.6x optical zoom where the camera can focus on objects roughly 10cm from the front of the lens.

Purple fringing is generally low, except at the telephoto end where it is more noticeable, and chromatic aberration is also visible. Vignetting is visible on wide-angle shots with some barrel distortion at the wide end, as well as some pincushion distortion at the telephoto end of the lens, although for the most part this isn't too worrying. The camera can struggle with over-exposed skies, and use of exposure compensation can help here, or alternatively in the intelligent auto mode the camera will automatically switch to a backlight / HDR mode if it feels it is necessary.

Sony Cyber-shot H200 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Some noise is visible at the lowest ISO setting of ISO80. Noise increases at ISO100, but detail remains good. At ISO200 detail suffers as noise increases, and at ISO400 fine detail suffers as the noise increases. Noise becomes quite destructive at ISO800 with a further loss of detail, and this is probably the highest ISO setting we'd recommend using. At ISO1600 noise is excessive, destroying detail as well as colour, and best avoided. ISO3200 is an option that should be avoided at all costs with shocking noise.

Sony Cyber-shot H200 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) gives a slightly warm result under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a better result. AWB performs well under fluorescent lighting, with the fluorescent presets giving a noticeable colour cast. Manual mode was used to set a different aperture and there is a choice of two apertures, open f/3.1 or f/11.3 at the focal length used for these shots.

Sony Cyber Shot H200 Panoramic DSC00018 | 1/640 sec | f/9.7 | 4.0 mm | ISO 200
Panoramic | 1/640 sec | f/9.7 | 4.0 mm | ISO 200

Panorama mode - The camera features a panoramic sweep mode where you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other, and stitching is good, however detail is quite low, but should be fine for sharing on the web.

Sony Cyber-shot H200 Digital filters

Digital Filters - The camera has a number of creative effects that can be applied to images, however there aren't as many as other Sony Cyber-shot cameras. The H200 doesn't have a manually selectable auto-HDR mode, instead has DRO (Dynamic Range Optimisation) with Off, Standard and Plus being the three options, and in Superior Auto+ mode it features a "backlight HDR" mode which will take a number of shots and combine them for improved dynamic range.

Video - The camera records video at 720p, and optical zoom can be used while recording. Optical image stabilisation is extremely effective when using the full optical zoom, as this handheld video demonstrates.

Value For Money

The Sony Cyber-shot H200 is available for around £149 - £169 which makes it reasonable value for money, but it is up against an increasingly competitive and price conscious market, with alternative budget ultra zoom cameras below:

Panasonic Lumix LZ20, 21x lens, 25-525mm equivalent, £99
GE X600, 26x lens, 26-676mm equivalent, EVF, £118
Kodak PixPro AZ251, 25x lens, 24-600mm equivalent, £119
Fujifilm FinePix S4800, 30x lens, 24-720mm equivalent, £139
Nikon Coolpix L320, 26x lens, 22.5-585mm equivalent, £148
Panasonic Lumix LZ30, 35x lens, 25mm - 875mm equivalent, £158
Pentax X-5, 26x lens, 22.3-580mm equivalent, EVF, Tilting screen, £165

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Sony Cyber-shot H200 Verdict

Seemingly any advantage of using a 20 megapixel CCD sensor has been obliterated by the amount of noise shown in all images. In fact, it's difficult to see any additional detail in images from this camera than a good 16 megapixel camera, and in fact, a 12 megapixel mirrorless camera can shoot a similarly detailed shot, but with much less noise. While these cameras are not directly comparable as such, featuring different zoom and price points, it's to show that the megapixel race when used in compact cameras with small sensors sometimes gives us little real gain in image quality, instead simply delivering larger, noisier files.

With many other models available for less, or with additional zoom or features, it's difficult to recommend the Sony Cyber-shot H200, however it does look quite good, as well as having good colour reproduction. If you would like a wider than normal lens, are patient, shoot in bright conditions (sticking to lower ISO settings), and are familiar with setting exposure compensation, then you might like the H200, but in all honesty you'd be better off looking at one of the other cameras listed above.


Sony Cyber-shot H200 Pros

Wide-angle lens
Good macro performance
Optical image stabilisation
AA batteries easy to replace
Manual mode
Good colour

Sony Cyber-shot H200 Cons

Little extra detail gained from 20mp sensor
Slow shutter response and focus
Overexposure common
Noise in images


Sony Cyber-shot H200 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.1 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent22.3mm - 580mm
Optical Zoom26x
Image Sensor
Pixels20.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5184
Pixels (H)3888
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.3
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460k
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus20cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1500sec
Shutter speeds longest2sec
Bulb modeNo
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting0.8fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30fps
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • Memory Stick (Sony)
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeAA
Battery Life (CIPA rating)350shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsAA battery, Shoulder Strap, Lens Cap, Multi USB cable, Instruction Manual, Lens Strap

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Photographs taken using the Sony Cyber-shot H200

Yawning MonkeyLone ForestMr. LionSuperMoonIndian TigerBug Bee CatcherSnakeSunsetMoonriseIndian Horse in GrasslandButterflies in the SkyI got a bug

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kruns 7
13 Sep 2013 5:21PM

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