I have owned Olympus cameras with a generous zoom capability for many years. At the time of writing, this camera had only recently been released. It is a considerable advance on previous Olympus models, and is an excellent camera, having a zoom of 12.5 X, and a massive 16 Megapixels. Its capabilities are sufficient for most people's needs.
The first thing you notice about it is that it is about half the size and weight of its predecessors, but still sports a generous zoom capability, as well as the facilities of the previous Olympus Ultra Zoom series of cameras. On switching it on, the ample 2.3 inches width screen (3 inches diagonal) shows many improvements on previous versions. It is exceptionally easy to use. The main information for changing the function of the camera is in the top right hand corner of the screen. A touch on one side of the control wheel produces choices for changing the camera's way of working, from intelligent auto through various pre-set features, to a remarkable panorama mode which you simply pan your camera to make work. There are program modes which give you as much or as little control over the camera as you choose. It also offers a 3D facility, which I haven't tried yet, and various photographic effects which you may or may not find useful. It doesn't need a lens cap, which eliminates the fiddling necessitated by the UZ series of cameras.
When taking a photograph, digital cameras suffer from shutter lag, (a delay between pressing the shutter and the photograph being taken). This is far less noticeable with the SZ-20, which often takes photographs instantaneously.
It is the additional features built into this camera that prompted me to upgrade from my 550UZ. The reduced size and weight is a real advantage. It takes movies at an incredible 1080p. This is true high definition, and the best definition you can get on a TV at present. To take a movie, just press the red button on the back of the camera. When played back on my 22 inch computer screen it fills the screen with its picture, instead of producing a small box in the centre, as with most digital cameras.
The camera has higher sensitivity than previous models, and will take photographs indoors without using the built in flash. This can help avoid reflections from windows, mirrors, etc.
I have two cats, who seem to like being photographed. The `cat' facility built into this camera allows it to detect when a cat (or a dog) is looking at the camera, and automatically takes the photograph then. (It does tend to detect the back end of one of my cats as her face, which makes her the object of some amusement).
The camera works well with my computer. I don't have to install the accompanying software to be able to transfer photographs. As with previous models of this camera, it works fine with the built-in features of Windows. I haven't tried the accompanying software, but have installed the manual from the CD to replace the very poor printed version which comes in the box, whose print is so small it is unreadable for me. The manual is also downloadable from the Olympus web site, so you can read the manual before purchase if you wish.
It takes the Li50B battery, which is standard in many Olympus cameras. The camera is too small for standard AA batteries to be used.
The SZ-20 does have small problems. It seems to have difficulty focusing at extreme zoom. The USB lead is so short as to make it very inconvenient to attach the camera to the computer.
It takes a long time to be ready for the next photograph to be taken after snapping at full resolution, which means that faster SDHC memory cards are probably better for this camera. It takes SD, SDHC or SDXC cards, but not the ill fated XD cards, which Olympus seems to have abandoned now. It accepts the new eye-fi cards. Olympus doesn't include a memory card with the camera, you'll need to purchase your own. With the large file size of the pictures it takes I suggest that you'll need at least 8Gb size cards, which will hold almost 2,000 photographs at full resolution. I recommend faster SDHC cards, such as class 10.
I have found it very difficult to get a suitable Olympus case for it. The only case I could find was on E-bay, from Hong Kong. No UK dealer stocked any. The Olympus web site, incredibly, recommended the case for the 550UZ, which I already have, and which is totally unsuitable.
Don't expect the cheapest price from Amazon. Uncharacteristically, Amazon was the most expensive at the time I bought mine.