Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55: Video and Image Quality

by Howard Creech Reads (1,213)
Editor's Rating
7.25

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 8
    • Features
    • 8
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 7
    • Performance
    • 6
    • Total Score:
    • 7.25
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Video Quality
The H55 records HD video at a maximum resolution of 720p (1280×720) or at lower VGA resolution (640×480) at 30 fps with monaural audio. Video clips tend to be properly exposed and run smoothly. Video quality is slightly better than average. The video that accompanies this review was shot near mid-day in very bright light. Colors are accurate and movement is smooth, even in macro range.

Image Quality
Sony digital cameras are well known for their highly saturated native (default) color and the H55 is no exception. Like most compact point-and-shoots, image files produced by the H55 are optimized for the bold, bright colors and slightly flat contrast that generally characterize digital point-and-shoot images.

Sony H55 Test Image

Captured colors are generally hue accurate but brighter and noticeably more intense than real life colors. Reds are very warm, blues are bold, and greens, yellows and oranges are vibrant.

Outdoors, the H55 does an impressive job – image quality is reliably very good to excellent and exposures are generally accurate, but lots of sky in an image often results in slight overexposure with the sky fading from blue to white. Highlights are sometimes burned out in brightly lit outdoor scenes and fine detail is often missing in shadow areas. Indoors the H55 manages noise fairly well and captures high contrast detail nicely, but saved images are a bit flat and noticeably darker than average.

Sony H55 Test Image
Auto White Balance, 5500k white fluorescent light

*Editor’s Note: We’ve switched from incandescent studio lights to some new 5500k white fluorescent bulbs. All other aspects of our testing procedures remain unchanged.

The H55’s Auto White Balance mode is dependably accurate over a wide range of lighting conditions. The H55’s Auto White Balance mode did a very good job outside, but it struggled a bit to get colors right indoors. In addition to the auto setting there are user selected Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2, Fluorescent 3, Incandescent, Flash, and One Push Set options available.

The H55 provides a decent range of sensitivity options, including Auto and user-set options for ISO 80 to 3200. Low ISO images show bright colors, slightly softer than average native contrast, and very low noise levels. ISO 200 is also very good, but with a little less snap. At the ISO 400 setting, noise levels are noticeably higher and there’s a perceptible loss of minor detail.

Sony H55 Test Image
ISO 80
Sony H55 Test Image
ISO 80, 100% crop
Sony H55 Test Image
ISO 100
Sony H55 Test Image
ISO 100, 100% crop
Sony H55 Test Image
ISO 200
Sony H55 Test Image
ISO 200, 100% crop
Sony H55 Test Image
ISO 400
Sony H55 Test Image
ISO 400, 100% crop
Sony H55 Test Image
ISO 800
Sony H55 Test Image
ISO 800, 100% crop
Sony H55 Test Image
ISO 1600
Sony H55 Test Image
ISO 1600, 100% crop
Sony H55 Test Image
ISO 3200
Sony H55 Test Image
ISO 3200, 100% crop

Indoor image quality is acceptable, on par with competing digicams, but as sensitivity (automatically) rises to overcome lower levels of ambient lighting, noise rises exponentially and color intensity (saturation) suffers a bit. Noise levels are quite reasonable up to ISO 400, but they increase substantially after ISO 800. All the sample images included with this review were recorded at the 14 megapixel fine JPEG setting.

Additional Sample Images

Sony H55 Test Image Sony H55 Test Image
Sony H55 Test Image Sony H55 Test Image
Sony H55 Test Image Sony H55 Test Image


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