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|Product:||Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V|
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX20V Digital Camera Review - The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX20V is a digital compact camera with an impressive 18.2 megapixel sensor, Daniel Bell tests the camera to see how this new sensor performs.
Sony announced the Cybershot DSC-HX20V in February 2012, a premium digital compact camera, with its headline features being an 18.2 megapixel sensor and 20x optical zoom lens. It is available in black and brown for £379.00.
For beginners there is Easy Shooting mode with on-screen instructions and an in-camera guide. Superior Auto mode adjusts settings automatically for images with low noise and high dynamic range. There are advanced manual functions to give you DSLR-like creative control and the Photo Creativity interface is designed to make it easy to make quick adjustments to colour, brightness and other picture settings, which can be previewed in real time on the screen. There are also Artistic Picture Effect modes to make your images even more creative.
The HX20V has a number of panorama modes, including Intelligent Sweep (standard, wide and high-resolution), 3D Sweep and Sweep Multi Angle. The Digital Level Gauge will help you keep your images straight and GPS geotags your images and video clips as well as log your journey and act as a compass. Other modes include Background Defocus, High-speed Continuous shooting at up to 10 fps, Face Detection, Smile Shutter, Backlight Correction HDR and Soft Skin. Images can be edited via the in-camera retouching menu.
Videos are recorded at full 1080i HD with zoom available and Optical SteadyShot Active Mode correcting shaky handheld camera movements. You can even capture high-resolution images at the same time as recording movies. Videos can be viewed on a HD TV via a HDMI cable.
- 18.2 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor
- 20x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 25-500mm)
- 3 inch XtraFine TruBlack LCD screen
- GPS and Log Record with Compass
- 1080i Full HD movie recording
- ISO 100-12800
- 1cm minimum focusing distance
- Artistic Picture Effect modes
- 10 fps high-speed continuous shooting
- Digital Level Gauge
- Intelligent Sweep Panorama
- Available in brown and black
On the rear is a rotating d-pad which has options to enter photo-creativity mode, where you can change the brightness, colour (warm/cold), vividness and picture effect. The menus are clear with good explanations as to what each option controls. The 3 inch LCD monitor is bright and clear to see in all light and from acute angles. When you first switch the camera on you can choose the display colour, activate GPS and display resolution (high/standard). The GPS only takes a few seconds to activate.
The battery has a CIPA rating of 320 shots, it managed nearly 600 before going flat after its first charge and this included using the GPS. We tested the cameras performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.
|Shutter Response||0.1 seconds|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.15 seconds|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.3 seconds|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||1.8 seconds|
|Shot to Shot (without flash)||1.25 seconds|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||3.6 seconds|
|Continuous shooting High||6.4 fps|
|Continuous shooting Low||2 fps|
Continuous shooting High shoots full resolution images, Sony claim it can shoot up to 10 fps, although we managed just 6.4 fps.
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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V Sample Photos
Background Defocus | 1/30 sec | f/3.2 | 4.5 mm | ISO 250
High Sensitivity - Low Light | 1/6 sec | f/3.2 | 4.5 mm | ISO 1600
Pet | 1/250 sec | f/3.2 | 5.0 mm | ISO 100
Portrait With Redeye Fix | 1/60 sec | f/4.5 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
Sample Photos - Images are well exposed, with good colour reproduction. Background Defocus mode gives the effect of using a large aperture on a DSLR, blurring the background while keep your subject in focus. High sensitivity modes gives well exposed, bright pictures in low light. When using Superior Auto mode, the camera will (if it decides it's necessary) take multiple frames and combine then into a single image to reduce noise. Portraits have pleasant skin tones, but they have plenty of red-eye when using the flash, fortunately this can be fixed easily and quickly in-camera via the retouch menu.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V Lens test images
Wide Angle | 1/1250 sec | f/3.2 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Fulll Optical Zoom | 1/400 sec | f/5.8 | 89.0 mm | ISO 100
40x Clear Image Zoom | 1/250 sec | f/5.8 | 89.0 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/15 sec | f/3.2 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Lens Performance - Images have plenty of detail whether shooting wide or close up, although there is purple fringing and chromatic aberration evident in contrasting areas. When shooting close-ups, the camera doesn't require you to switch to macro mode, and with a minimum focusing distance of 1cm, it is capable of taking excellent, well detailed pictures.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V ISO test images
ISO100 | 1/13 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm
ISO200 | 1/25 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm
ISO400 | 1/50 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm
ISO800 | 1/100 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm
ISO1600 | 1/200 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm
ISO3200 | 1/400 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm
ISO6400 | 1/800 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm
ISO12800 | 1/1600 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm
ISO Noise Performance - The HX20V takes a crisp, noise free image at ISO 100, with a minute amount appearing at ISO 200 and again at ISO 400. Noise at ISO 800 begins to soften images, with sharpness and detail further reduced at ISO 1600. Images are very soft at ISO 3200, but it is not until you switch to ISO 3200 and 6400 where you see lots of detail lost due to noise, with these two highest settings best used for images which are to be resized for use on the web, with colour reproduction remaining fairly good.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V White-balance test images
AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/20 sec | f/4.0 | 7.7 mm | ISO 100
Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/20 sec | f/4.0 | 7.7 mm | ISO 100
AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 7.7 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent preset 1 - fluorescent lighting | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 7.7 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent preset 2 - fluorescent lighting | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 7.7 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent preset 3 - fluorescent lighting | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 7.7 mm | ISO 100
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) copes well under our studio lighting. The incandescent and AWB settings take an almost identical picture under our incandescent lights. There are three different fluorescent presets available, none of which coped as well as the AWB setting, with a magenta cast when using preset 1 and orange casts for presets 2 and 3.
Panorama Standard | 1/500 sec | f/3.2 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Panorama Wide | 1/500 sec | f/3.2 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Panorama High Resolution | 1/400 sec | f/3.2 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Panoramas are impressive, with a good amount of detail and no sign of any stitching issues. The High Resolution mode is difficult at times to complete, leaving a small black strip which can be easily cropped.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V Scene modes
Fast Shutter Speed | 1/1250 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm | ISO 1600
HDR | sec | f/3.2 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Landscape | 1/640 sec | f/3.2 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Picture Effect - Miniature | 1/400 sec | f/4.5 | 22.3 mm | ISO 100
The HX20V can be switched to manual mode to give you control over shutter speed and aperture, with an example above using a fast shutter speed to capture the water droplets. You can also use bracketing to take three shots at different exposure. We have done this in testing and have combined the three images in Photoshop to create a HDR image.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V Digital filters
Colour Mode - Black And White | 1/8 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm | ISO 100
Colour Mode - Real | 1/8 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm | ISO 100
Colour Mode - Sepia | 1/8 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm | ISO 100
Colour Mode - Vivid | 1/8 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm | ISO 100
Picture Effect - Black And White | 1/8 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm | ISO 100
Picture Effect - Illustration | 1/8 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm | ISO 100
Picture Effect - Painting | 1/8 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm | ISO 100
Picture Effect - Partial Colour | 1/8 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm | ISO 100
Picture Effect - Pop Colour | 1/8 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm | ISO 100
Picture Effect - Soft High-key | 0.4 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm | ISO 100
Picture Effect - Toy Camera | 1/13 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm | ISO 100
Picture Effect - Watercolour | 1/8 sec | f/4.5 | 16.1 mm | ISO 100
Digital Filters - The HX20V has a range of colour modes and picture effects which can be applied while shooting, with examples of each above.
Video - Below is a video shot at full 1080p HD, optical zoom can be used during recording, an example of which can be found on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.
The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX20V is currently priced at £379.00. So far, Sony are the only providers of compact cameras with 18 megapixel sensors, which can also be found on the WX100 (£229), HX200V (£429) and HX10V (£329). Other premium compact cameras with a similar amount of zoom to consider include the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 (£369), Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ30 (£299.95), Canon PowerShot SX260 HS (£299), Fujifilm FinePix F770 EXR (£279), Olympus SZ-31MR (£264.95), Nikon Coolpix S9300 (£259.99) and Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ25 (£249).
Value For Money
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
|The Sony HX20V is a feature packed travel zoom compact with good image quality.|
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX20V ProsFeature packed
Image quality is good
Excellent battery life
Decent noise performance up to ISO 3200
Good colour reproduction
Panoramas are free of stitching issues
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX20V ConsMost settings rely on navigating in menus rather than buttons
Occasional purple fringing and chromatic aberration
Red-eye in portrait shots
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.2 - f/5.8|
|35mm equivalent||25mm - 500mm|
|CCD pixels||18.2Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Type||Exmor CMOS|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/1600sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||4sec|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 12800|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||Lithium N NP-BG1|
|Box Contents||Rechargeable Battery Pack (NP-BN), AC Adaptor (AC-UB10/UB10B), Multi USB Cable, Wrist Strap, Paint Pen, Tripod Adaptor, Instruction Manual, AC Power Cord|