If you (or your wallet) aren't quite ready to succumb to the DSLR
urge just yet, but yearn for a solid megazoom to bridge the gap between your pocket-friendly P&S and that future money pit you're sure to eventually end up with, Sony's DSC-H9
offers an enticing list of options including a 15x optically stabilized zoom lens. Reviewers over at Megapixel were quite pleased with the "comprehensive bundle" that Sony includes in the package, and while the svelte three-inch flip-up LCD monitor, ridiculously long zoom, and "good image quality for printing past the widest angle" were praised, there seemed to be a negative vibe about the whole shebang. Among the lengthy list of digs were complaints that the compression was too strong, noticeable barrel distortion, purple fringing, and pincushion effects marred image quality, and a "convoluted menu system" kept operators on the verge of frustration. As if those weren't damaging enough, the battery was said to drain faster than other Sony
digicams, and the plastic enclosure was dubbed "too slippery" for their preferences. Of course, it's not unusual to see these megazooms suffer in one area or another while still offering incredible closeups for a relatively low price, but we'd recommend perusing the read link for yourself before pulling the trigger on the H9.