Despite the problematic handling, the Sony H50 churns our reasonable results, once you've spent most of the morning setting it up. Colours and exposures are generally pretty good and Dynamic Range Optimiser makes a good job of evening out contrast in more extreme conditions.
At times the sharpening algorithms can be a little over enthusiastic though, with some halo effects occasionally appearing. The effects of fringing further compound this, which is slight but noticeable when images are viewed at 100% on screen, especially at the image edges. However central sharpness is good and images look crisp and respectable at normal viewing size.
Noise is okay at the lower ISO settings, but even by ISO 200, images begin to look a little gritty, while by ISO 800 noise is noticeable but acceptable. ISO 1600 and 3200 have more noticeable image noise, which I would state as average for this type of camera and those speeds.
The combination of all of this is that although the images look okay, they have a slightly unreal digital look to them. It's not they are bad, just not as good as some other cameras, and certainly don't measure up as an alternative to a DSLR with larger sensor and better processing.
On paper the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H50 looks promising. It's got good resolution, a long lens and a really nice LCD. The viewfinder is better than most and the high ISO and fast shutter are eye grabbing. Its feature list is impressive too with pretty much every headline making technology included.
However the images are average, and the handling is horrible. If the camera was just slightly larger and had better manual controls it could probably pass muster but as it is, it doesn't.