It's not a bird or a plane, but another superzoom camera from Sony. This budget Cyber-shot DSC-H10 model keeps things similar to Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-H3, but does this £219 younger sibling outdo its big brother? Let's test the rivalry.
At 380g with battery and Memory Stick Duo Pro card, the H10 is one of the lighter superzooms, and as compact as any of them. We found it comfortable to hold and use. It sports a 230,000-pixel, 76mm (3-inch) LCD, compared with the 115,000-pixel, 64mm (2.5-inch) version on the H3. The LCD is easy to see in direct sunlight -- an essential characteristic, since the H10 lacks an alternate viewfinder.
With zoom ranges as long as 18x, it seems odd to refer to a 10x lens as a 'superzoom', but the H10's f/3.5-4.4, 38-380mm-equivalent lens still seems a big reach. The smaller range as well as the relatively narrow angle of view and absence of an electronic viewfinder tend to be what distinguishes the budget models from more expensive siblings such as the .
The 8-megapixel sensor and hardware image stabilisation -- optical, in the case of the H10 -- are typical for its class. As with its predecessor, the H10 only provides a choice between two aperture values at any given focal length: f/3.5, f/4.0 or f/4.4, and f/8 or f/10, depending on where you are in the zoom range.
It seems to be that the camera doesn't have a controllable aperture at all; according to the manual, it sounds like it just toggles a neutral density filter to decrease exposure: "When the zoom is set fully to the W side, you can select an aperture F3.5 or F8.0 (using the internal ND filter)." If that's true, then you can't control the depth of field at all. All in all, these make the camera's manual exposure mode a joke.
The H10 delivers above average, but not outstanding, performance, and comes in just slower than the H3 in most respects. It wakes and shoots in a reasonable 1.7 seconds. Its shutter lag for high- and low-contrast scenes -- 0.5 seconds and 1.1 seconds, respectively -- are typical for this class, as are its 1.7-second typical shot-to-shot time.