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on 11 June 2012
I ummed and ahhed over this for ages and actually was looking for the famous Sony HX9 that won all the awards last year which I managed to track down. I am certainly no "pro" just a keen amateur with limited budget. I didnt want anything too detailed as it was just a point and click I was after, my SLR would be for the keener days.
I was looking for a simple travel camera for a trip and didn't want the hassle of taking my Nikon D60, which I cant fault for Image quality and toyed with the idea of getting another lens-but size, weight and price were against it. I actually bought both Sony cameras and did exact comparisons on several images with the Sony HX9 and my D60, with the HX20 winning the deal for me on several counts:
* The zoom is genuinely amazing, really blew me away with the clarity of shot on full zoom.
* The panoramic feature is genuinely astounding, for a city break to New York I really made use of the feature
* The Super I Auto mode is brilliant and highly consistent in taking good images without having to think too much
* Very easy to use, I personally don't see the need for a manual when the in camera help/ functions are this easy to use. The Help menu is great....
* The HDR mode blew me away, I never even used the flash taking some great shots in very low light which really blew my Nikon away much to my dismay...
* The HD mode is brilliant, totally negates the need for a separate camcorder for me which is great-the fact you can also take image stills whilst recording in the second from highest HD mode is also great for things like Kids birthdays where I wanted to get the movie and the still image.
I also have a Mac and was initally peeved about the issue with iMovie, but this is a Mac issue -not Sony! Apple are so arrogant they do their best to ignore Sony and Vice-versa, i just used a lower quality rating and imported into iMovie-but there are conversion software/apps about to do this is you sniff about. COnsumers have to be quite savvy these days with tech so it pays to do your homework, I knew about this imovie issue and just have to accept it-but you can plug the camera directly into your tv via HDMI and watch them in full HD. If you have a PS3 you cna downlaod Sonys video editing software and edit it through that-all quite easy. Again, the quality of the video really blew me away-sound is very good and NO noise from the zoom at all. The Zoom feature on the PS3/Panoramic mode shots were fantastic.
The weight and size were no issue for me, yes its a touch bigger than most but then its got an amzing zoom, great battery life (but i got a spare just in case) and still fitted in my pocket no problem.
I read a hundred reviews and used several different cameras-for me I think you really need to get your hands on one to use it and see for yourself, but for me I was totally sold on it after just a day of using it. The Sony summer cashback made it a a no brainer for me for a shade off £250.
Yes the camera does have a few toys like 3d, and selective colour modes-which i really like. I dont want/have the time to spen hours touching up images anymore so a few neat little tricks in camera are ok with me.
Im now thinking about selling my D60 SLR, which I love. The Sony HX20 just does such a good job on so many different levels I just cant justify the need of keeping a SLR now as this camera fits my needs so well. Ill also be selling my camcorder-its that good.
Several "pro" reviews harped on about some factors that edge this model out of contention due to over processing of the image. But again, im no pro-just an average Holiday snapper-but i do have the ability to see quality images-and this camera is pin sharp more often than not. The alternative was carrying around large slr and lenses which i just cant justify anymore.
So in summary, for me, as a travel camera/camcorder for the price I really couldnt find anyhting to beat it. I looked at Canon, Nikon and Samsung in stores and Sony really have nailed it as far as im concerned. I am a very Happy customer..!
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on 21 February 2013
i did lots and lots of research and i had settled for a bridge camera until i saw a review on this. i'm glad i went for it, it's small enough to still be compact and fit in your pocket, takes brilliant pictures and video so far from my limited use at this point.
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on 24 November 2017
Not 3D unfortunately 😟
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on 4 May 2017
Great camera and quality
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on 29 May 2017
Excellent
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 22 June 2012
Colour: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V is a high performance compact camera that is designed to excel in all expectations of a general compact camera, without pushing the price tag and advanced features into the field of a camera geared for much more professional use.

So what have you got? Well, the first thing that is instantly noticeable about the camera is the hefty weight of the beast. For an (almost everyday) compact camera, this certainly is a heavy one to lug around. Weighing in at 222g, the weight of the camera is something to bear in mind if planning on taking this around with you on an extensive trip.

However, it's certainly a sturdy and solidly built piece of equipment. The main rubber grip located on the right-hand side of the camera feels comfortable and secure in the user's grip. The additional thumb grip on the reverse of the camera shows clear ergonomic designing at work, and really makes the camera feel snug in your hand during use.

The pop-out flash located on the left-hand side of the camera is something to get used to if you haven't used a camera of this style before. Quite often a user will try holding the camera with two hands, with the left hand supporting the camera with a finger placed along its top. However, doing this will prevent the flash from popping-up when required. This is just something that you need to get used to. And after using the camera for a couple of days on our holiday, I soon became accustomed to holding the camera in just my right hand.

Now on to the main part of the review - the camera's performance. We've had the camera now for just over a month. During which time we took the camera away with us on a ten-day holiday to Scotland. During this period I hoped to become properly accustomed to the various ins-and-outs of the camera, putting me in a good position to review it. Already owning the Sony DSC-WX50 Compact Digital Camera helped enormously, due to the vast majority of the on-screen function displays and menu's being pretty much identical.

Like with the DSC-WX50, the simple user-friendly aspect and overall ease of use of the camera is one of the undoubted principal points. Yes there are plenty of additional and more advanced features included on the camera. But these can be explored and played around with once the user has become more familiar with the camera. For the basic use of the camera, say for everyday shots and video footage, this really is a simple case of learn as you go (and it'll probably only be a few minutes before you're snapping away with absolute ease).

The zoom is more than impressive - it's possibly the strongest feature on the camera. We're talking 20x zoom with up to 102x digital zoom. And the detail on the screen / photos is quite frankly awesome.

The picture quality produced by the camera is like nothing that my wife or I have previously experienced. It's just so simple to take stunning photos, seemingly always with perfect light along with sharp, crisp colours. After uploading the pictures on to the computer, the end results are incredible. The photos are also goliath in size, allowing you to zoom in without any loss of quality resulting in blurred pixelisation.

The HD video footage is equally as mind-blowing. Expect to be bowled over by video footage that looks so perfectly clear that it's almost as if you're viewing real life. I'm in no way exaggerating here, the end results are beyond anything that my wife or I have previously expected.

The large 3 inch LCD viewing screen reproduces the images in rich and incredibly detailed HD that shows the user exactly what the photo / video footage will be like. Zooming into the pictures 'on screen' is a doddle, with the menu dial allowing the user to easily move around the image whilst zoomed-in in order to see exactly what they've captured.

The panoramic function is as unbelievably breath-taking as with the previously mentioned DSC-WX50. Expect absolutely stunning panoramic shots that are produced with such ease, by simply selecting the panoramic setting and sweeping the camera in a fluid clockwise motion. A couple of examples of these panoramic shots using this camera are included in the video.

As for the GPS malarkey and all those monstrously impressive additional features. Well, they're there, on the camera, and I've fumbled around with them for a few minutes, but to be honest, those advanced features are something that will undoubtedly take a lot more time to get used to.

However, all in all this camera has proved to perform way beyond our expectations. The picture quality is absolutely breath-taking. The video footage is incredible. The general ease of use, for an everyday layman (like myself) is a definite bonus. The camera is strong, sturdy, ergonomically designed and packed with more features to gradually become acquainted with than you can shake a stick at. Quite frankly, for a compact camera of this sort, this really is the bee's knees.
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on 1 January 2013
Have only had this camera for a very short time but used it extensively on a trip to Mauritius.
I found it extremely easy to use,mainly set in the automatic mode, and it has given me some excellent results.
I found that it could be used in low light conditions without having to use the flash and in most cases the results were better without the flash.
This is the first camera i have used without an eye level viewfinder so i was a little apprehensive as to whether the bright sunny conditions in Mauritius would make it difficult to compose the pictures on the screen, but there were really very few difficulties here. I also bought the screen protection and this did not make it more difficult to view the image.
The 20x zoom, going out to 40x, is spectacular and I have some wonderful pictures of people/events etc over 100yards away coming out as clear as if they were only a few feet away.
The only problems I have found so far are using the panoramic and movie modes but I put this down to lack of use and practice in getting used to the features.
Battery life is good and the advantage I had with this model is that the battery from my previous Sony camera fits this model so I didn't have to buy a spare. The same with the memory cards with the added advantage that this camera will also take the SD card.
All in all this has been the best ever camera I have used and with the then current offer of "cash back" extremely good value.
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on 25 August 2012
I've owned many cameras over the years, from a Zenith E, a Halina 35mm, an Olympus OM10, to a 7MP Canon IXUS, and I've just spent the last 3 years with a Panasonic TZ7, which I thought, back in 2009, was all I was ever going to need to take pictures and record video on (it was after all 720p, which was streets ahead of the old VGA). It took perfectly good images which looked great on the HD tv and had 12X optical zoom - who in their right mind would want or need more than this?! In fact I was so impressed with it, I bought the GF one too, and she loved it.
The only thing I eventually wished for was more optical zoom, and thats when I started reading reviews of 20X compacts, and after the usual for and against dilemmas, I pointed my credit card in the direction of the Sony.

Now then, we've just returned from a week in Northumberland and last night reviewed the pictures back on the HDTV via a 3m mini HDMI to HDMI lead. I went first with the HX20 (the GF's still got her trusty TZ7) and all I can say is - 'STUNNING'. Superbly clear images, and great shots too with the 'miniature' and 'part colour' features. The low light shots were fantastic too, much better than I remember the TZ7 being. And as for the 1080p video, well are you sitting comfortably - ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING in every conceivable way. It was as though you are actually 'there', and seemed even clearer than broadcast HD tv pictures. Amazing.

The final jaw dropper, though, was when we reviewed the TZ7's images. Even the GF (who is now a little fed-up) had to admit that the Panasonics images, and we never thought we'd say this, actually looked 'rough' in comparison to the Sony's. We were both really quite stunned.
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on 11 September 2012
I've had my Sony DSC-HX20V just over a week now and have found it a real pleasure to use.

It has to be said for all it's capabilities it is 'just' a compact camera; the image quality can't be compared to a DSLR or Compact System Camera; the images it takes generally don't bear close inspection but I think the whole point of this camera with it's 20x optical zoom, powerful flash and excellent image processing is to allow you to take pictures that won't need 'post-processing'.

Nearly all the pictures I've taken look stunning on a 1080 screen. I've not printed any yet but I'm sure they'll look similarly good printed up to A4 size.

My previous camera was a Panasonic FZ38 'superzoom' (27-486mm equivalent) and the Sony generally compares very well to that.
I'm particularly pleased with Macro shots. The flash is really powerful for a compact camera although in some shots was a little too bright. Generally the camera lens compares well with my old FZ38; the HX20V loses out at the zoom end of the lens where it struggles for light even when it's quite bright (occasionally optimistically 'popping' the flash up for shots of distant objects!).

Battery life with GPS on is quite good, although I've already invested in an external charger and spare battery. From full charge to fully drained I managed 330, 280 and 117 images and videos on consecutive days (on the first two days I took a number of high speed continuous shots and on the third day was spending a lot of time 'playing' with settings)

I'll list some of the things I don't like about the camera:

The "Clear Image Zoom" seems to be little better than "digital zoom" with images clearly showing distortion of the detail at 1080p.

At wide angle there appears to be some barrel-distortion; generally you won't notice this but in shots with strong vertical lines toward the edge of the picture it is really apparent; for instance radio masts leant quite obviously inwards. You can correct for this by shooting with a little 'zoom'; however some shooting modes (e.g. panorama) prevent the use of zoom.

As the camera is somewhat larger than a standard compact you'll probably want some form of case - it seems a little tight-fisted by Sony not to include one.

An external battery charger is not supplied (you can't charge the battery outside of the camera). I don't like having to leave the camera laying around outside of it's case and am a little worried the connector may become damaged after a few knocks.

I find using the P (program) or M (Manual) modes quite a chore as all the settings are buried within the layers of menu (although you can program the awkward to find custom button with one function). In general it took quite a while for me to adapt to the constantly changing menus (as you select different modes and functions).

The video button is awkwardly placed and quite hard to press; there is also quite a delay between pressing the button and the camera starting or stopping shooting. I've missed a few good shots and have some lovely shots of my feet at the end of clips. Because of the poor location and having to press firmly my videos usually jump around a little as I struggle to end recording.

When shooting in dappled sunlight the camera choose to use "sunshine" white balance instead of "shade" resulting in all the colours being muted. You cannot make changes to things such as white balance or ISO in the 'Auto' modes.

I found the video mode to be generally very good; although even with "wind noise reduction" on a lot of wind noise was recorded; far more than on my old Panasonic FZ38.

Panorama mode isn't as good as I've seen on some cameras and can be a bit hit and miss; especially if there is anything in the foreground (like power lines, nearby roofs or people) then these can end up 'sliced' or blurred. Unfortunately you don't see it until you display the image on a large screen. I've given up and am stitching photos outside of the camera in the old-fashioned way ;-)

I have an obsession with shots of the moon; unfortunately the HX20V can't produce a decent image turning sharpening down leaves no crater detail while with sharpening the moons disc shows straight lines and craters become hexagonal.

I now realise I could write for quite a while listing minor deficiencies; but the bottom line is that this is a really capable compact camera and I'm very pleased with my choice.

UPDATE:

WARNING - Be careful if filming a rock /pop concert. I took photo and video at a few concerts and the camera sensor was damaged by the lighting; there was a 'snail trail' of black near the centre on all images - it wasn't caused by a strobe or laser, but just a very bright stage light.
I've filmed at many concerts with other cameras, maybe I was unlucky, or maybe this camera is particularly susceptible to such damage.
Sony needed two attempts to fix the camera; but at least the turn around was fast and I have a camera in time for Christmas.

At the concerts the camera did struggle a little with focus (it didn't cope well with the fog machines being used), but generally was very good. Sound recording was a disappointment compared the my FZ38; perhaps due to the location of the microphones on the top of the camera. Lots of crowd noise was picked up. Using a low or normal microphone level didn't seem to affect this; the only other adjustment is wind noise reduction which dulled the crowd noise but also distorted / unbalanced the music and vocals.

UPDATE-2: I've already had two repairs (the first was for a light damaged sensor and the second for dust in the camera following the first repair); I've now seen there is more dust in the camera so it will be going back for a third time :(

At wide angle there is always some lens shadow in the bottom right of photos; effectively this means you can't get a good flash photo at full wide angle unless you're prepared to crop your photo afterwards. Zoom to 1.2x or 1.3x and the lens shadow has gone. This is a hassle, but I know what to expect and compensate. Unfortunately friends and family using the camera invariably don't notice the shadow and quite a few shots have been spoiled.

I've also given up trying to trim AVCHD videos in PlayMemories home on my Windows 7 laptop - I get an unsupported format error, their suggestion is to remove all free codecs (such as those that VLC player uses) and install proprietary codecs (but they don't supply any and won't tell me which I need!). Unfortunately having been imported to PlayMemories the videos cannot be edited without conversion by any of the free AVCHD software I've tried and I'm yet to find a solution to editing these.

Due to the accumulation of issues I've dropped my review rating from 4 star to 3 star.
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VINE VOICEon 24 May 2012
Colour: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Sony's latest compact powerhouse camera is, no doubt about it, impressive right out of the box. It's easy to use whilst also having an impressive feature set. The 20x optical zoom is fantastic, and with Sony's digital zoom technology added on you are able to get closer to 30-40x without a horrible blown-up grainy effect.

It seems incredible that such a high zoom can be squeezed in to such a small chassis, but Sony have managed it. On top of that, you get GPS, HD video (including stereo sound), 18 megapixels, panoramic mode, 3D, smile detection and more. It's all quite intuitive to use, and the camera's built-in help function fills in some gaps when you aren't too sure what a particular function does.

Just in Intelligent Auto mode, I was getting great pictures straight off the bat. The auto focus and face detection works a treat. But photos alone are not the whole package nowadays. One important feature for me in a camera like this is video, and the HX20 offers full 1080p HD with stereo sound. Again, with just automatic settings switched on, video is great. The auto focus really comes into its own here, keeping up nicely with camera movement. The picture is generally crisp and colourful, and sound is great too.

One feature Sony are clearly proud of is the Exmor R CMOS sensor, for low light photos and video. And it's sensational, especially on video. Prior to this I was using a Pansonic Lumix TZ20, a decent camera but pretty shocking in low light. Not with the Cybershot HX20, it loves it. A dimly lit room holds no fears for this camera.

Loads of great features, easy to use, a fantastic zoom lens, this is a very good package. But it's not without its cost (and I'm not just talking the slightly over-the-odds price tag either). The camera is a bit spartan in the looks department, but it's OK. However, at 250g it's not the lightest in its class, and overall I've found it a little heavy and chunky. It has a pop-up flash, which I'm really not keen on as I keep having to remember not to hold the camera there. And finally, for some reason, the USB connector is on the bottom of the camera, which is also where you charge the battery.

But having said all that, it's a joy to use and takes great photos and video. The weight isn't ideal, but the camera is generally still on the small side so quite pocket friendly. If you're looking for a compact, class-leading camera for your travels, I think the Cybershot HX20 is well worth consideration.
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