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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V Super-Advanced High Zoom Camera (18.2MP, 20x Optical Z

by Sony

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  • Digital Camera, 20X Opt Zoom, 18.2MP, Black

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX50V (Black)
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Digital Camera, 20X Opt Zoom, 18.2MP, Black

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 221 reviews
543 of 561 people found the following review helpful
Big improvement from HX9V, but compared to Canon PowerShot SX260HS.. 18 May 2012
By Eric T. - Published on Amazon.com
First, I didn't buy this from Amazon. I was walking around my local electronics store and played with it and bought it. Overall this is a good improvement from the HX9V. Few months ago, I purchased a Canon PowerShot SX260HS for $349.00 (you can get it for $299 now) and it's one of my favorites. How does the SX260 compare to this camera?

Resolution:
The Sony is an 18MP camera, Canon is 12MP.. besides the bigger JPG size, can't tell the difference both look decent when printing on 11x17..

Size/Weight:
Both are nearly identical. The Canon weigh 8.5oz, the Sony 8.8oz

Zoom:
Both have 20x optical zoom, but in comparing pictures, it looks like the Canon's optical "zoom" is closer. Canon has a combined 81x digital zoom, Sony's 40x. Canon's 81x combined digital zoom sounds nice, but there's so much noise that it may not be worth using. With the Sony, even at 40x the picture is still acceptable.

Flash Control:
With the Canon, you can adjust the flash power, with this, you can't....major disappointment especially for a camera that cost $399.00

Menu/Navigation/Ease of use:
This is more of a preference. I used Canon and I used Sony; personally I like the Canon because I think it's more logically ordered

Flash position:
Both are pop up flash. I know it's going to require people to change their grip but I kind of like the pop up flash.

AWB (Auto White Balance)
This is one area that I think Sony made a big improvement with this camera. The AWB on the HX9V was terrible and required manual tweaking. The Canon does a very good job with the AWB. I used this Sony for about a week and went through about 500 shots. The AWB has NOT missed it's mark; not even taking photos indoor with florescent lighting that can cause yellow tinting with improper AWB.

Speed:
One of the reasons why I got rid of the HX9V was because of the slow processing speed. This camera, the image processor performance has improved quite a bit. With the HX9V, it would take up to 6 seconds to save/process images. With this, I think the longest was 3 seconds. The speed is on par with the SX260.

Picture Quality:
In auto mode, the Sony does an excellent job reproducing accurate colors. The colors are more natural looking, but on occasion (especially in landscape mode) the blue and red looks amplified.

Manual Controls:
This camera DOES NOT have a "Shutter Priority" and DOES NOT have a "Aperture Priority" mode! The Sony's manual mode is practically useless. Sony what were you thinking!!! Canon has the Aperture and Shutter mode, and the Canon's manual mode give you more control although it doesn't compare it with a DSLR

ISO Speed:
This Sony goes up to 12800 AMAZING!!!... the Canon comes no where near this..

3D Feature:
I don't have a 3D TV so can't comment on it. I did try to take some 3D pictures (supposedly you can now view 3D pictures on the LCD screen; something the HX9V was not able to do) but I don't think it's working correctly, or maybe I just can't tell the difference. The Canon has no such feature.

Video Quality:
Sony's video quality hands down. This beast is fast capturing full HD. One of the thing I loved about the HX9V was the video quality. It was perfect for those quick moment. This Sony looks just as good if not better.

Memory Card:
The Sony has built in memory, it's not much but better than nothing. I used a Patriot SDXC and a SanDisk SDXC, performance identical. The SanDisk cost twice as much as the Patriot because it's suppose to be faster. I can't tell the difference, and neither can my cameras. Both camera recommends Class 6 of higher, but if you plan to record video, go for the Class 10. A 64GB card can capture close to 10,000 picture.

Battery Life/Charge:
With the Canon, I got about 250 shots before the battery indicator started flashing. The Sony was about the same based on mixed use. One thing about the Sony is that it DOES NOT come with a battery charger. But, you can charge it with a micro USB able. Call me old fashion but if you're going to charge $399 for a camera give me a battery charger! The Micro USB charge may not be a bad thing if they didn't put the port on the bottom of the camera. So when you're charging the camera has to lay on it's side. As others have commented, you can buy a decent aftermarket charger for under $5.00.

Live Mode:
The Canon has a dedicated "live mode" that allows you to adjust the color on the LCD screen before snapping a shot; kind of like a "what you see is what you get". Sony has this built into their auto mode. Press the down navigation wheel to activate this feature.

Scene Modes:
With the HX9V, the scene modes were terrible; the difference were so subtle. This Sony is a HUGE improvement. With the Sony, you can see there IS a difference now. I am especially impressed with the "food" scene. With this mode, when you take a picture of food, it's suppose to enhance the color to make it more appealing. With the HX9V, it's a gimmick, but with this it's a 180 degree improvement. My best description of this is when you see those professional pictures of food at restaurants, this Sony can produce that type of quality. Canon does a good job with most of the scenes, but I prefer the Sony now. The Auto and Super Auto mode works great. For the regular outdoor or well lit environment the Super Auto won't be much difference. For those complicated lighting situation, the Super Auto does a better job. But the Super Auto mode will take about three seconds to process the image. With the scene mode, just because its designated as a "food" mode does not mean you just use it to take pictures of food. I used the "food" mode to take other beautiful indoor pictures that are not food (without flash) at fancy steak houses, and they came out beautiful. The difference with this mode (and the ISO mode) is that the food mode enhances the colors a notch making them appear more vibrant.

Defcocus Mode:
One of the feature I like is the defocus feature. This is one feature that distinguish this camera from other Point and Shoot. With the more expensive DSLR camera, you can take a picture where the portrait is in sharp focus but the back landscape is blurred. Sony does a decent job with this (in fact, I haven't seen this feature on any other brand camera). This feature does not work with the flash because what the camera does is take two shots and combine them to create this effect. But do note that when you use this mode, the LCD screen will tell you how far the subject should be and if you ignore it and take a picture, the Defocus will not work (you still get a decent picture though)

LCD Screen:
Both units have a 3-inch LCD screen, but I think the Sony camera has a sharper, clearer display.

GPS:
Both units have GPS, I haven't used it on either units though.

Camera Body:
The Canon has a more solid feel to it. The HX9V had an "expensive" look and feel. With this Sony, it's just all black and nothing to distinguish this camera for others. The Canon has that expensive camera look and feel, but this Sony does not. It looks plain and boring.

Cost:
The Sony cost $399, Canon cost $299.00, $100 difference.. Is this camera worth $100 more than the Canon SX260HS? You decide...

Sony, if you want me to rate this 5-Star, please do the following:
1. Put the Shutter and Aperture mode back in this camera
2. Give me flash exposure control
3. Give me a battery charger
4. And, give it to me for no more than $349
101 of 105 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful Travel Zoom 28 April 2012
By Geoffrey A. Erickson - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Okay, this is going to be a multiple day review over a period of time.

Day 1 - First impressions. I am upgrading from a much loved Panasonic TZ3. I have thoroughly enjoyed this 10X travel zoom since the day I bought it and the travel zoom style definitely fit my needs. I was less interested in upgrade for the zoom than I was the low light. I had always been disappointed with the Panasonic low light which seemed to fall to pieces above ISO 800 and not look that great at 400.
Enter the HX20V. Like some of you, I had read and read and read reviews and everything seemed to indicate that this Sony camera had the answer to my low light issues. When I read all the other amazing aspects of this camera, I decided to try it out. The reviews were right. This thing takes amazing low light photos. With IA+ I have seen photos at ISO's I wouldn't have dared come out looking quite nice on my 52 inch screen. I have taken many shots in total darkness in IA+ mode and had the multi-shot process make it look almost like a normal daytime photo. Yes, if you zoom a lot you can see both softness and noise when you pixel peep, but bottom line, I don't believe there is a point and shoot this small that does better.

Other first impressions. It's not as pretty as the Panasonic line. I don't know, something about the Pana black and steel look that I just love. This Sony is pure black and a little ugly in its indistinctness. It looks all muscle and business, but I am starting to get used to it. And it's what's on the inside I bought it for anyway. The look of the Pana was just a bonus.

I will say that the build quality does not feel as solid as my old TZ3 or even the new ZS19/20/TZ30. Still it seems to be of high enough quality it will last. Just a little less solid and more plastic feeling than the Panasonic.

The pop up flash is as annoying as people have described. In fact, I thought I would have to take it back since I REALLY like the stability keeping my finger their gives me. Still, the photo quality in low light, the video, and the zoom have convinced me to recondition myself on how to hold my camera. It's totally worth it.

The menu system took some getting used to, especially after the Panasonic menu I was used to. Now I am starting to love it. Things seem pretty organized and easy to see on the LCD (which is vibrant). I have to say, some of the Panasonic quick menus were more intuitive and easy to get to than the Sony, but I can definitely see getting used to the Sony menu system and some things are placed better on the Sony.

I like most the buttons on the Sony compared to the Panasonic approach. Particularly, I like the movie button on the Sony. The dial on the HX20V is bigger and less stiff than the ZS19 out of the box. The onboard help is actually, pretty helpful!

In addition to being a little uglier, it's a tad heavier and larger than my old TZ3, which was a bitter pill seeing Panasonic reduce size on the ZS20. I would have liked a smaller camera, though truthfully the TZ was never a problem and this one is only a fraction bigger and heavier. It fits in the same camera case I am used to, so it really makes no difference to me.

I will post more as I use this wonderful device and try to get some sample photos to you as I get used to it. I have to say, I am glad I got it so far and think I will enjoy it for many years. 4 Stars only for the popup flash positioning and the bulkier, more plastic build. Everything else is fantastic!

Finally, Amazon and JR Music World got it to me in record time, well packed, in good working order, without any hitches. Thank you both for excellent service.

Update 05/05/2012

I have been putting this camera through its paces for a couple of weeks now and can say I absolutely love it. I am actually finding this is the first time I can treat a travel zoom as a true point and shoot. I am coming to trust the IA+ mode pretty thoroughly. Even on other more manual settings I let it auto select the ISO. Something I didn't dare do with my TZ3. Part of the reason is that the higher ISO settings do SO well on this camera, the other part is the Sony firmware does a really good job at selecting the best settings for a given situation. I have also used digital zoom for the first time on a camera...and while I still think it may be better to limit yourself to just optical zoom, for now I am enjoying trying it out and getting some decent photos. As far as my cons, I am still getting used to the pop up flash and yes I still block it accidentally, but then I need the flash so rarely it doesn't matter. The other annoyance is the movie button because I keep hitting the shutter button to start it and it reminds you that you need the other button. I know they had to do it in order to allow the photo capture during movie record (what a handy feature at sporting events btw.) But they could have made the shutter button the primary for starting and added a button for capture.

Both of these are minor annoyances given the camera's performance. One last thought before I go. I saw a lot of Dad's with the full DSLRs at the track meet today and while I can say I did have some justified envy, I enjoyed gloating about how much performance I was getting out of such a small and convenient package without switching lenses. I had a heck of a lot more camera packed in a much smaller space that could be easily tucked away. And with the 10 FPS continuous capture, I felt almost like I had a DSLR (well not quite, but close). Oh, if I could have a wish Sony? Don't limit me to 10 photos. Do it like Panasonic did and make it 10fps for the first 10 and then slower after that if you have to.
69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
Another Gem by Sony! 28 April 2012
By P. Baek - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Overall, this is a terrific, feature-laden compact camera. I have a Sony HX9V also and this is a nice, although small upgrade. The still photo quality isn't that much improved from the previous HX9V even though the pixel count is now at 18.2MP(as a matter of fact, most of the time, you can hardly see any difference at all, esp. when you print the photos). The video portion (now w/AVCHD 2.0) now has 1080p at 60fps which is very nice and looks amazing on a big HDTV (24p recording is also available). One of the biggest improvements seems to be the increase in zoom range--now at 20X. You can also view 3D images on the lcd screen now (without 3D glasses) which is cool. Build quality seems to have gone down a little bit....when compared to the HX9V....it's lighter and there's no chrome or metal trim...making it look "cheaper" and less elegant. However, overall, I'd say this is probably one of the best compact cameras in the market right now. If you already have a HX9V, it might not be worth the money to upgrade (esp. if your priority is still photo capability). However, if you need longer zoom and better video, it should definately be worth checking it out.
51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Moon Craters! This camera captured it! See my uploaded pics! 4 May 2012
By Turiya - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Check my uploads on the 'View and share related images' link below the main pic, for some reason they are not showing up on the 'See all the images' link. Just got this camera and its amazing. Casually snapped some pictures of the moon last night and was shocked to see moon craters in the image! This 18.2MP 20xZoom is ASTOUNDING! On the other end of the spectrum I did some macro photography and the level of detail is equally astounding. Check out my uploaded images of grains of sand, the end of a screwdriver and a faucet. Keep in mind I had to greatly crop these images and size to upload to Amazon, the part showing is just a small section of a huge picture. the real full pictures are the best I've ever achieved with any camera. There are so many other great features, like night time shooting, etc that I may review later. For now I will let the images speak for themselves. I LOVE THIS CAMERA!

Recommendations:

for only $4, I recommend this battery charger for the cameras battery, includes car charger, works great:
SONY NP-BG1, NP-FG1, NPBG1 NPFG1 Battery Charger for Sony DSC-W Series Camera Models

For an extra Battery I recommend the NP-FG1 battery - it shows the remaining minutes on your camera display, the camera comes with an NP-BG1, the NP-FG1 is a new model of the battery.
Sony NP-FG1 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack for Select Digital Cameras
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
nice camera with many features 3 Jun 2012
By Terry R. Nye - Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V is my first experience with a Sony digital camera. For years I have had interest in owning a Sony digital camera but was turned off by their usage of proprietary memory sticks. This camera, though, can be used with several standard types of flash media including SD, SDHC, SDXC, micro SD, and micro SDHC in addition to Sony's memory stick media. All will work for still images and video except only Mark 2 Sony memory sticks or other media rated Class 4 or higher should be used for video. You have many choices, and no flash media comes with the camera, so plan on purchasing some form of memory media along with your camera. For testing purposes, I used a SanDisk class 10 SDHC memory card for this review.

The camera arrives securely and well-packaged with a carrying strap, Lithium ion rechargeable battery, USB connecting cable, and an AC adapter for usage with the USB cable. A detailed printed manual is provided, although an electronic manual is also installed in the camera's memory that can be viewed on its LCD screen.

The camera itself feels solid. Another reviewer commented about it feeling cheaply made, but that was not my impression at all. To me it feels sturdy yet very compact. I like its black color. When it is turned on the lens telescopes outward, and when turned off the lens fully retracts into the camera and is protected by a built-in lens cover. The LCD display screen on the back is huge and provides very vivid previews of photos or video. Controls are well-placed and easy to operate. Much of the camera function is quite intuitive. The battery and memory card are easy to access, and the bottom of the camera is threaded for installation onto a standard monopod or tripod.

The camera has a preloaded software program, "Play Memories Home", that can be downloaded and installed onto your computer from the camera. You cannot download this software from the internet, so you must connect your camera to your computer to install it. The manual tells you that you need to install Play Memories Home on your computer to import AVCHD movies to your computer (this is the default format for movies shot with this camera). I found this not to be true, however. You can import movies to your computer with freeware such as Google's Picasa (which cannot play the movie) and you can play the movie or convert it to another format with the standard Windows Media Player. Play Memories Home is not compatible with a Mac computer, but it is not needed for Mac. Even after downloading and installing the additional features for Play Memories Home I found it to be very basic software at best and not useful at all for photo or video editing. Picasa is a far better choice for importing, organizing, and optimizing your photos, and Windows Live Movie Maker (also free) is an easy way to view, convert, and optimize your videos. Of course none of these would compare with other software that you might purchase, but they can handle basic functions quite well.

As for photo-taking, the Sony Cyber-shot is capable of taking some very nice photos with good color balance even in low light situations. Its 18.2 megapixel resolution allows you to take photos that would be more than suitable for printing. The camera can also shoot video in high-definition. The cost for this high resolution, though, is very slow processing speed between photos. Even using a class 10 SDHC memory card it took a few seconds after taking a photo before I could preview it on the LCD screen. Compared with my Canon Powershot camera this seems like an eternity. The photos and video I took, though, looked very good even in low light. The 20x optical zoom is quite amazing, and I was impressed with the image stabilization despite using the zoom at higher levels. There are numerous settings available to shooting photos with different effects including a watercolor effect, illustration effect, partial color, and panorama along with adjustments to ISO, color saturation, contrast, sharpness. Since I have Adobe Photoshop I have little need for and did not test those functions, but they are available for those who want to use them.

Shooting video is extremely easy. You aim and push a button. Video starts automatically and can be stopped or restarted with the push of the same button. You can also take still photos while shooting video. The video resolution is very good for such a small camera, and the video is not at all choppy. As mentioned previously, it records in high-definition. Sound is recorded, too, although sound from usage of the telescoping lens control will also be recorded and is very audible. There is no way to attach a separate microphone to defeat this problem. This camera is not going to replace a digital camcorder by any means in terms of quality or capability, but it does make recording video quick and easy.

An unusual feature with this camera is a built-in GPS function. The manual says very little about it, but it alludes to recording information about the route taken while carrying the camera. I really don't know why anyone would want or use this feature. According to the manual the GPS function consumes battery life but there is a way to turn it off in the camera settings to prevent this. I leave it turned off in mine.

My main complaint with this camera is the built-in flash. It is located on the top left of the camera and pops up out of the camera when a flash is needed. As such it completely eliminates the ability to hold the camera with a finger on the top left like one would normally hold a camera this small. Therefore it is awkward to hold the camera steadily while taking pictures. I would love to grab the Sony engineer who came up with this design and ask "what were you thinking?" This is the primary reason I docked the rating a star. With better flash design this camera would have been a 5-star camera.

In summary, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V digital camera is a feature-packed pocket camera with all the bells and whistles that most would ever want or need for a competitive price. The more I use it the more I like it, even though I do have to alter how I hold the camera to contend with the pop-up flash. With better flash design it would be a very tough camera to beat, but those willing to modify how they hold the camera will be rewarded with very good photos and video.
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