The HDTV Picture Show Page 7
If a 10x zoom isn't quite enough, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H9 ($500) gives you a 15x optical zoom with optical stabilization, making it a good choice for sports or wildlife shooting. Like other "superzooms," the H9 has eye-level viewing by way of an electronic viewfinder (much like a camcorder LCD eyepiece) as well as a rear 3-inch LCD monitor that can tilt up for easier low-level or over-the-crowd shots. The H9 leans toward the still-image side of the equation, with 8.1-megapixel capture, a 16:9 framing option, and a slideshow function that lets you add MP3 downloads. Video is limited to 640 x 480 pixels at 30 frames per second (MPEG VX Fine) with stereo sound. Connection is by HD component cable; storage is on Memory Stick Duo or PRO Duo cards.
Of all the models here, the Samsung Digimax L85 ($240) looks most like a conventional still camera, but it's the first digicam with an HDMI interface, which can be connected to a TV with an optional cradle for added convenience. This 8-megapixel camera can shoot stills in 16:9 with voice clips and has a slideshow editor. Curiously, video is limited to 640 x 480 resolution at 30 fps (MPEG 4) with mono sound, but it does allow in-camera editing. There's a 5x zoom, and framing is done with the 2.5-inch LCD monitor. Storage is to SD cards.
Cabling a camera to a TV remains a hassle, since it ties up the camera and runs down the battery unless you connect it to an AC adapter. Panasonic, Hitachi, and Mitsubishi include SD card slots in certain HDTV models for easier still playback. Another alternative is a camera dock or cradle that can be left attached to the HDTV. Sony's CSS-HD1 Cyber-shot Station ($80), for example, accepts Sony T- and W-series pocket cameras for playback. - Dan Richards (Senior Editor, Popular Photography & Imaging)