Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V Review

July 9, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 Rick

I’m not seeing any of the photos in the Image Quality section, is it just me or is there a problem with the photo upload? Thanks.

5:37 pm - Monday, July 9, 2012

#2 efew

is it just me, but excellent picture quality? all the ISO, sharpening/chromatic aberrations/cropped samples seem very smeary and not very sharp at all. even for a point and shoot, the quality looks pretty dismal.

9:49 pm - Monday, July 9, 2012

#3 Grey_Melbourne

I clicked on the ISO800 image of the books on the shelf and it doesn’t look good at full size. It is a pity that Sony have overcooked the jpeg processing otherwise this camera would be outstanding.
I am going to buy a new camera in the next two weeks, but this painting effect would drive me nuts. Images look great at small size though, so if you don’t look too closely you would probably be happy with it.

11:51 pm - Monday, July 9, 2012

#4 JS

You can’t blow it to 1:1, it’s a small sensor!

6:58 am - Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#5 Fabio

I work with photo equipment so I can use many cameras, if I like one I buy it . I really liked my HX9, but with new models being launched I decided to sell it to get a better value for it. I have other cameras but I can’t live without a good pocket camera, so I used a Canon Sx260 for about 2 weeks, but couldn’t like it , images too soft for me, the next one was the Casio ZR100, an excellent camera, really liked it , the same paint HDR that you find in the new Sony cameras, and a superb macro, but zoom is just 12,5 x .
    Reading the Panasonic TZ30 / SZ20 review here with the essential rating made me buy one and it is really an outstanding camera, very sharp lens, incredible focus , touch screen that changes the focus point instantly, macro is outstanding, LCD could be better and multi burst low light mode takes too long to give good quality pictures. I like the flash position, next to the lens in the body, just like the Casio, that’s the best position for macro shooting .
    I’m about to receive the new Sony HX30v, which is the same camera with wifi , I think that it will be my new favorite camera but I would like to have the touch screen , that feature adds speed to the operation and makes incredible videos.
    The new sensors allow you to do some cropping but looking at 100% is not always the best way to measure the quality of the pictures, my HX9 was awfull at 100 % , but looked awesome in a 42 ” screen and printed in normal sizes, the new Panny is not good at all at 100% , but like Sony, pictures are alive , both brands have excellent focus systems and lens, focus is fast and very sharp, Casio is also very fast and sharp. My SX260 was better at 100% but images are soft..
    Another thing about reviews is that they usually don’t use all the features of the camera , they test them as if they were DSLR, they try different combinatons of speed, aperture and ISO, but camera makers are creating new ways to overcome small sensor limitations, where are examples of the night shot without tripod feature ? I have night shots with the HX200 (same sensor and software as the HX20 and HX30 I believe) that rivals my Fuji X10 and Canon T3i because of multi burst .
  Paint HDR is extraordinary, tone mapped HDR with one click and no computer ? That’s mind blowing, I have posted some photos on Flickr of that feature with the HX200 and people don’t believe it was made in the camera . Where are the examples in this review?
  I’m absolutely sure that anyone will get better pictures than those posted here if they get to know the camera.
    If we look at the Monalisa at 100% it won’t look good too, for those who need to print giant size images, the new Nikon D800 is the answer but it won’t fit in a pocket.

1:54 pm - Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#6 ??????? ?????????


2:31 pm - Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#7 allen

I got one, HX30v, and love it.  I took a set of photos inside a dim museum and set it at iauto+ and just shot away. It takes up to 3 pictures and merges them to make a perfect photo. Many other features work very well.
As to ‘smearing’, yes at 100% it is frightening but, on a print, it is not seen.  Very good color rendition. I’ve only printed 81/2 by 11 so far and it looks great.

3:41 pm - Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#8 Mark

It’s good to read your comments Fabio, I get a bit put off from these cameras when people post comments about the image quality at 100%, but I think you’re probably right and I’m sure they’ll be fine for my amateur needs.
I’m still massively torn between the TZ30 and the HX20, and none of the reviews are really helping me to decide. I think the Sony is edging it but I do love the idea of the touch screen on the Panasonic, and the slightly smaller size is also a bonus.
It’s a shame you’ve not tried the Sony yet but would be interested to hear what you think when you have. Though I’ll probably have to decide quickly anyway with the Sony cashback offer ending soon.

3:43 pm - Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#9 allen

Fabio, I chose the Sony over the Panasonic for one main reason, I couldn’t easily read the dials.  The Sony dials have crisply etched/printed icons on black.  A small point to some buy my old, 76 years, eyes need all the help they can get.
Also, the touch screen is nice but once again age 76 fingers are a little shaky. So I opted for the menu method which is OK once you remember where everything is hidden.
I’m planning on a Paris trip and didn’t want to haul my Canon 60D along so I got this Sony and I love it.

3:57 pm - Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#10 Sokhoomora

Just another OIL PAINTING MAKER CAMERA and ESSENTIAL!!! I dont know what kind of review is this. Sony must add “built in real time abstract art and oil painting imaging technology” to the advertisement of these cameras…

9:29 pm - Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#11 Jason

I have had this bad boy for a month now and have been traveling since I got it, so far it is the best thing since chips n drink I leave my nex 7 at the hotel every day and take this wee ripper every where.
I can’t recommend it high enough and if you are a wanker pixel peeper then why are you even looking at this.
Cameras are for taking photos so get out there

2:24 pm - Thursday, July 12, 2012

#12 Allen

Right on!
I haven’t used my big Canon since getting the HX30v.

3:43 pm - Thursday, July 12, 2012

#13 Fabio

Hi Allen

  If I was going to Paris I would like to take with me a camera that can produce tone mapped HDR like this Sony,  that is awesome for buildings and can turn a common image into a work of art,  the watercollor will also be very interesting to use there, also my experience with night shot without tripod in Sony is much better than the same feature in ZS20 , you will have plenty of opportunities to use that , even though I haven’t tried the new Sony yet I’m confident that you made the best choice.
  I got the Panny because the new Sony was not available here but there are many things that I don’t like in it, you mentioned one, another irritating thing is the play/record sliding key and the zoom lever surface is so smooth that I can’t get a grip to make it work, I need to use my nail, but I must be fair ,image quality is impressive with good light and macros are absolutely incredible, I posted a link to some photos I took with it in the ZS20 TZ30 review.
  My HX30 will arrive this weekend , then I will post an amateur comparison between them . I would love to see your Paris pictures, I’m sure they will be awesome.

6:04 pm - Thursday, July 12, 2012

#14 Al

Great camera. Amazing macro and video and very decent photo quality in general. Better photo quality than the previous model (HX9V.) The superior auto mode works really well. I honestly don’t see a better travel zoom camera on sale right now, and I have tried most of them. The Canon SX260 is very good too, but I prefer the Sony because it has better macro and better video quality. The HX20V won’t dissapoint you unless you expect DSLR’s results in a compact, for which I would recommend the Canon G1X, but that is another league.

4:10 pm - Friday, July 13, 2012

#15 Mark

Got fed up trying to decide after a week and ordered the HX20V. Hope I made the right choice!

11:42 pm - Friday, July 13, 2012

#16 Al

It won’t disappoint you I wanted to say, hehe. Sorry, English is not my first language. Enjoy this little jewel.

1:25 pm - Saturday, July 14, 2012

#17 Sue

I was expecting to see the photos namedcwithbthe place they were taken.  Is this possible.

6:08 pm - Sunday, July 15, 2012

#18 Harold

People seem to have forgotten that at 100% of image size, most non-dslr’s look bad. I’ve owned several in the past decade and before cmos sensors arrived, when zoomed in, everything was pixelated. Now instead of pictures looking blocky or jagged, the image gets a smeary watercolor effect.

I don’t understand pixel peepers, what is the point of buying a small, cheap compact camera if you expect DSLR result? The image quality is phenomenal for its price and size.

The HD video recording is amazing, the macro capabilities are great, and the zoom is intense.

Go ahead and look at the pictures any people have uploaded already and see image quality for yourself.

9:57 am - Tuesday, July 17, 2012

#19 Nok

Thank you Mark for making my decision easy for me. I needed a quality pocked camera that won’t break the bank. After reading your review I have settled on this one.

9:07 pm - Tuesday, July 24, 2012

#20 Mike

Very nice work!!  Thank you for the thorough review and analysis.  I bought one yesterday and feel very confident with my purchase, after reading your review.  Traveling to Europe next month so need a small but good camera and the HX20 seem to be the perfect fit.  Cheers

1:13 pm - Thursday, July 26, 2012

#21 Fabio

Two weeks with my HX30v, wich is the same camera only with wifi that I couldn’t make work no matter what, so I think I have a HX20v, no apps for android or apple in my region, any help is appreciated.
    Based on the reviews I bought a Panasonic ZS20 TZ30 and I really liked the camera, but this Sony is a much more complete package. Handling, low light, LCD are much better and even macro that is outstanding with the Panasonic is even better with the new Sony.
    My only complain is the lacking of flash output control, but this problem forced me to find a solution and simply covering the flash with 2 to 4 layers of paper towel gives a wonderfull difuse light for portraits and macros.
    The ability to zoom in up to 4x while almost touching the subject makes this camera the best macro shooter I tried so far, and that includes some DSLR with macro lens.
    HDR modes are excellent, I can’t live without a camera that does the tone mapped HDR anymore, it’s addictive.
      Low light is excellent for a small sensor camera,  I also carry with me a Fuji X10 for low light but this new Sony is not that far, as long as you don’t look at 100%.
      I thought I would miss the touch screen , but not really, I do miss the point focus of the Panasonic, it’s more precise, but that’s the only thing.
      I already sold the Panasonic, it was very good for the price, but can’t match this little wonder from Sony, truly essential.

1:40 pm - Thursday, July 26, 2012

#22 Mark

I now have my HX20V and after spending so long deciding between this and the TZ30 I’m happy that I think I made the right decision.
Based on some comparison shots I looked at I do think the Panasonic edges it slightly on picture quality but there is very little in it and I think the Sony has more overall.
A few things I’ve particularly liked so far. Firstly I’ve been very happy with low light shots, I took some pictures just after the sun had set and it was almost dark but the sky was a nice red, using the hand held twilight mode these were brilliant, especially compared to one of the standard modes.
I’m also loving the sweep panorama, on hi-res mode it creates some wonderful huge shots, is a doddle to use, and I’ve had very few shots where I was able to spot a join.
The Macro mode also seems great, sadly I’ve not managed to get any particularly good shots yet but its not something I’ve ever tried before and my subjects are apt to fly away. I guess a lot of patience may be involved with this.
Overall a great camera, and I’ve still hardly used it.

8:48 pm - Thursday, July 26, 2012

#23 Fabio

Here are some macro examples
    In my flickr there are many examples taken with the HX30v and the Panasonic TZ30/ZS20.
    Hope that can help.

9:28 pm - Thursday, July 26, 2012

#24 Mark

Thanks for the examples Fabio, its good to see what can be achieved. I’d previously taken a look at those you posted on the TZ30 page and thought they were also really good.

I think I’m most interested in getting the insects but its slightly harder as they are apt to move. I think perhaps I should practice on just flowers a bit more initially. I also foolishly didn’t realise it was okay to zoom when taking these, I thought I was just meant to get the lens right up close, that should help.

I’ll get practicing and will hunt around the internet to see what guides and stuff I can find. :)

11:35 pm - Thursday, July 26, 2012

#25 Giannis

I would like to buy a compact camera.
I am between Sony HX20V and Canon SX260 HS.
Which is the best?
What is your opinion?

3:22 pm - Saturday, August 18, 2012

#26 Mark

@ Giannis

I think it depends which features are important to you. I’ve only used the Sony but from what I have read the Canon has better picture quality, though the differnce is minimal. So if picture quality is the most important thing then the Canon may be the way to go. However the Sony is said to be better at video, it also has HDR and much better macro capabilities. I’m sure there are other differences, sorry if this isn’t much help but I think you need to look at the features on both and see which best matches your needs.

8:54 pm - Monday, August 20, 2012

#27 Fabio

To Giannis

  I sold m Sony HX9 to get the new Canon SX260 and I regret it, the Canon is really thin and I think that was the reason why the lens are not good , it’s too soft , besides that it’s not a fun camera like Sony or Panasonic, even panoramas are stitched, Canon is years behind other makers in top compacts, focus is another area where Pana and Sony is much better, macro too.
  Sold the Canon and got the new Panasonic ZS20, a very good camera, much better than Canon, but low light is not Very good.
  Now I have the Sony HX30 V and In my opinion, after actually owning the 3 cameras , Sony is the best package of all, much more shooting modes and usefull efects like paint HDR, outstanting macro and movies, lens are sharp and low ligh is very good for a compact, Besides that, it has the best auto mode of them all, it’s more expensive but really worth it.

10:03 pm - Monday, August 20, 2012

#28 Chris

I have had this camera for a month. And over 1000 test shots later I have to say it is pretty damn good.

What I like…

1) The Colour - Rich, bright and punchy, tho a little too saturated for my taste.
2) Sharp lens.
3) The zoom range is incredible.
4) Sharp when hand held at max telephoto.
5) Easy to dial in exposure compensation with live histogram.
6) Fast accurate focus.
7) Good low light performance.
6) Nice blue skies and lush greens.
8) Is very small. A 500mm lens in your pocket.
9) Hi res panoramas incredible.
10) Flash is often very good.
11) A good amount of data can be recovered from the shadows areas (best with Lightroom).

I am not so keen about…
1) White balance often so so.
2) a little sluggish when processing multiple exposures.
3) a little slow when changing modes.
4) battery life not bad.
5) The exposure sometimes needs human input.
6) Feels a bit plastic.
7) Rear dial feels really cheap.
8) Dynamic range (when in smart Auto) not bad.
9) Highlights clipped a little too much for my liking, some careful metering and exposure compensation helps.

I even like the watercolour effect, only noticeable when pixel peeping, more so after multi exposure or high ISO. But the effect is nice, and actually increases the perception of sharpness. On a standard A3 print when viewed at 1m, you won’t notice it.

When compared with my Olympus E1 and EP2 using Olympus Pro lenses the image quality is not that far behind at the low ISOs.

Wish List..
1) Better white balance.
2)  Metal body and buttons would be great.
3) As fast as the focus is, faster is always nice.
4) Faster changing modes and processing of multiple exposures.
5) Blending of multiple exposures/HDR backlight could be improved to increase apparent dynamic range.

Overall a very compelling package.  A camera with a 25mm to 500mm lens in your pocket.

My Top Features
1) The colour. It is really very good.
2) The fast focus.
3) Amazing stabilisation, even at max tele.
4) Very small.

No, I don’t think you’ll regret buying. I downloaded loads of full res samples at all sorts of ISO from the HX20’s rivals. I don’t regret purchasing and I am glad I did. As a former professional wedding photographer (using EOS 1Ds kit), I would totally recommend this in-your-pocket travel camera.

1:17 pm - Tuesday, September 4, 2012

#29 Anik

Hi friends,
I am going to buy a new point & shoot.
But I am a bit confused which one to buy…
Which will you prefer—Panasonic FZ150 or Sony HX20V?
Please suggest,
Thanks in advance.

6:30 pm - Sunday, September 9, 2012

#30 Janez

If anyone noticed - when you use camera without zoom and with flash, lens shadow is seen on picture on the bottom right. Not critical, but still…

2:24 pm - Wednesday, September 12, 2012

#31 Mike Souter

I love the camera, with one notable exception. The movie button is far too easy to press and, on countless occasions, I have started shooting video by mistake. I am really surprised that more people have not complained about this. It turns an otherwise excellent camera into one that is not fit for purpose.

11:31 am - Sunday, September 16, 2012

#32 Mark

I guess not many people have found that to be a problem, personally I haven’t accidentally pressed it once and looking at the positioning I’m not sure I ever will.

12:07 pm - Sunday, September 16, 2012

#33 Fabio

Interesting how things can be different from person to person. I find the movie button hard to find and press, never started shooting by mistake,  but it was common for me to press the button and the movie didn’t start or didn’t stop,  I really need to be sure to press it, it is small and almost on the edge of the camera body, for me hard to feel.
  Ergonomics is not an exact science, but Mike’s problem is much worst than mine, starting movie all the time is quite annoying, had other cameras with that problem too, but this Sony is worth some training, maybe trying to always place the thumb on the rubber pad , it’s very easy to feel it.
  A lot of people also hold the camera blocking the flash , I did that too but soon I learned that holding it with my left thumb on the side and my left index on the bottom makes a much more stable position, it’s important to notice that the flash must not be pushed down, always use the dial to close it.

1:07 pm - Sunday, September 16, 2012

#34 Mike R

Thanks for the banter/comments, they often can be more helpful than the review.
Ive been looking around for a decent travel zoom…even a bridge camera you often feel inclined to leave in the car! So I wanted a good all around point n shoot, that could do a wide angle shot, reasonable zoom, ability to video on occasion, take a decent (without the anal whinging ‘its not as good as my DSLR’ brigade good)...yet you can throw in a pocket!
Technology is wonderful, and these new travel zooms are fabulous for the average person who likes to take a good photo without being mega fussy.
I opted for this Sony, after debating about both Canons & Panasonics. I don’t think you would go wrong with any of those three really, but I had an older cybershot and it was fantastic (it’s only drawback was lack of wide angle), so opted for this.

Cheers guys.

4:24 am - Saturday, September 29, 2012

#35 Fernando

Now I have it. I appreciate all your comments, especially as Fabio for his detailed comments.


8:57 pm - Wednesday, October 3, 2012

#36 saru sinden

thank u all for your comments , now I can decide which one I have to go for Sony of course..Cheers

9:12 am - Friday, October 5, 2012

#37 Fabio

This camera is very good in general but there are 2 things that it is really great, in my opinion much superior than others, macro and HDR,  here are some examples of the tone mapped HDR, or paint HDR and macro

    I think it’s easy to see why it’s my favorite camera

12:02 am - Saturday, October 6, 2012

#38 Fabio

Finally the Playmemories software is availabe to my region and I downloaded it to the Ipad and my Droid phone, works like a charm, transfer photos very fast and then I can do whatever I want with them, it’s great to take photos of my family and be able to share with them immediately via email or bluetooth, makes the experience of taking photos much more fun.
    The wifi is the only difference between the HX20 and the HX30, and it’s really worth the few dollars more. I wish I could also control the camera remotelly but that feature is available only to some NEX cameras, I used that feature in a Samsung camera but there’s a delay and image quality on the phone screen is not good, I’m sure that Sony can do better.
    The Sony system makes the camera a wifi router that you connect to another device so you don’t depend on wifi connection while the Samsung uses a wifi network, Sony is much better and faster . Excellent !

2:14 pm - Tuesday, October 16, 2012

#39 Ann

I just got this camera and it looks great.  Fabiola, what settings do you use for your amazing macros?  I love close ups too but used to just use auto macro in my old canon.. Any suggestions here about P vs Intelligent Auto or other settings?  Also, forgive my ignorance, what is tone mapped HDR?  Thank you!

11:18 am - Thursday, October 18, 2012

#40 Ann

Ps Fabio, please forgive me - my ipad auto-corrected your name when I typed it in and I did not catch it before posting!

11:20 am - Thursday, October 18, 2012

#41 Fabio

Hi Ann
  I’ve also sent some weird messages from my Ipad too, that auto correction is awfull.
  What really makes this the best macro camera is that you can zoom in up to 3,6 x and stay at less than an inch from the subjec.  There’s no need to set macro mode, that’s a great feature, no time to waste and no photos to waste if you forget that feature on. So , turn on the camera and first thing is to set zoom to 3,6 x. That makes an equivalent of a 90 mm lens with minimum focus distance of about an inch, that’s the difference, ist’s easy to find reviews here that says “macro is great. Minimum focus distance is 1cm ” but that’s at widest angle, The lens blocks all light and flash is usuleess.
    Flash always on in macro, if we get too close to the subject tha camera may cast a shadow on it, or if we rely on natural light, the sun will limit our composition, besides that, there will be shadows on some part of the photos, the flash will fill in those shadows.
    Always use P mode or M if speed gets too slow on P mode, since I always use the flash , there"s no differnce in lighting on the subject if you use 1/60 or 1/500, because flash speed is very high , the difference is background lighting where the flash won’t reach and you need to relly on ambient light.
  Focus is very fast, and that’s very importany for moving subjects like those bugs that I like so much, but it’s best to set the focus mode to point and move the focus point to somewher close to the intersections of the LCD grid ( enter the settings menu and turn it on) , this way we can use the rule of thirds and make the photo more interesting.
    The real problem with this camera for macros is that the flash has no output control (that can be compesated to some extent with EV control on P mode) and that it’s located on a place that may cause the lens to cast a shadow on the lower right area of the image.
      A flash difusor solves those problems, I use a small white plastic cup that covers the flash, or those small paper cups used with ketchup dispensers, most of the times I use 3 of these plastic cups to control flash power and difuse the light to that shadow area.
      I always go to a park where there are many other “photographers” with those heavy equipments tripods and big lenses, sometimes I can see they smiling when I get my camera from my bike bag and put those small cups on the flash, I use to be one of those too, but it’s very, very hard to get good macros with moving subjects, wind and the very shallow DOF of DSLRs , that’s why most of those wonderfull macros are taken in a studio with a frozen or dead bug and using many pictures assembled together in focus stacking software.
    Sometimes they want to show me what a real photgrapher can do, of course I show them my pictures too, that’s when when they stop smiling, I’ve already converted some to macro shooting with compact cameras.
    Tone mapped HDRs or as Sony calls Paint HDR is made from at least 3 photos of the same subject taken witn different exposures, usually ranging from -2 to +2 or even more, those pictures are then blended into one in a image editing software that also changes contrast , saturation and equalizes lighting and dynamic range to create a artistic effect.

2:10 pm - Thursday, October 18, 2012

#42 Ann

Thanks Fabio!  That is great information about the modes. I’ve been using an old Canon SD1100 8Mp for years and have done some amazingly beautiful macros with nothing but autofocus and the macro setting, even without a flash in diffused or full sunlight. It was dumb luck and a love for little things!

I love the tip about the ketchup cups.  Great idea.  Thanks so much for demystifying the settings. I read the entire user’s guide but nothing beats first hand experience.

3:48 pm - Thursday, October 18, 2012

#43 Greg

I really enjoy this camera but how can I watch video directly onto a TV?
I have a Samsung LED HD with a UBS outlet but when I plug the cord from the camera into the UBS; I get nothing?  Not even a slide show for the still pictures?

10:01 pm - Tuesday, October 30, 2012

#44 Tom

What a great travel camera the HX20 is. The quality of both the photos and HD movies are far superior to my old Lumix TZ20. Just got back from Disneyworld and the vivid sony colours really enhance the picture when viewed on my TV. Got some great shots at the water parks using an Aquapac waterproof camera case. The HX20’s exposure performed really well in the glare from the water and from the painted white surfaces used to simulate snow.

7:23 pm - Tuesday, November 20, 2012

#45 Jman

Thanks to everyone for their comments…these comments are very helpful.

Like many others, I have narrowed my search for a new camera to the Sony HX20v, Panasonic ZS20, and Canon SX260. The input here has convinced me that it is the Sony that I really want…but I have one last concern about a review I read at another site claiming images produced by the Sony are dark and over processed.

Is this a real concern and if so, what can be done to compensate for this?

Thanks again!!

1:36 pm - Wednesday, November 21, 2012

#46 Mark

I certainly wouldn’t say the images are dark. You could argue they look over processed but only if you pixel peep, they are fine when viewed normally.

If you are still considering the Canon then it’s in the Amazon Black Friday lightning deals this afternoon, so you might be able to get a bargain.

1:04 pm - Friday, November 23, 2012

#47 Fabio

To Jman
  I had all three cameras , didn’t like the Canon at all, images ate too soft to the point that the digital zoom with the processing is sharper than the optical zoom, aberrations were common too, panoramas are stitched , macro sucks. The Panasonic is excellent in evrything except low light, the LCD is not high resolution but is touch , focus speed and precision is excellent, macro is also very good but Sony is even better.
  The best is the Sony, better LCD, outstanding macro, very good low light, focus is fast and precise , pictures are not dark at all , they are bright and full of life, of course there’s an EV control and I ususally set it to -0,3, what is the contrary of that information.
  Images are overprocessed if you look at 100%, no camera in this category will look good at 100% and doing so is absolutely irrelevant, pictures must look good in normal sizes, if you are going to print giant posters then not even an entry level DSLR will look good.
  If low light shooting is not important maybe the Panasonic is the best deal, Sony also has the HX30v wich is the same camera as he HX20v but with WiFi.

2:13 pm - Friday, November 23, 2012

#48 Jman

Thanks very much Mark and Fabio -

As I have gathered from this forum, much of the criticism of the point and shoots in general is based on scrutinizing photos at 100%, which I know I never do, and many others do not either I take it.

I have used a Canon A720 IS for a number of years and have always thought the photos seemed “soft”. I have really liked the sharpness of my dad’s Sony digital camera but was put off by the cost.

I just pulled the trigger on the Sony HX20v this morning for $290! I will check back here with some thoughts once I have a chance to use it…thanks again!


3:04 pm - Friday, November 23, 2012

#49 Digger

Fabio, what do you use 3 ketchup cups for? I can one of them goes over the flash but what about the others??

3:51 pm - Friday, November 23, 2012

#50 Fabio

Hi Digger
  I use small plastic cups that cover perfectly the flash, 3 at the same time because that creates the light I need for macros, but that. Is for my cups , any other material may create the right flash with more or less layers .

9:10 pm - Friday, November 23, 2012

#51 Fabio

Just another 2 examples of macro using the plastic cups, as usual 3 of them covering the flash creates the light that I need, focus is very, very fast, and those shots would be impossible without it and the absence of shutter lag. Went to a park and spent 10 minutes there, took about 15 shots, all were good but chose these ones

    Try to get them with a DSLR, it’s very difficult, this camera is a terrific macro tool and that feature alone is worth the price .

3:11 pm - Monday, December 3, 2012

#52 Nairobi

Hello Janez,

In my case, yes, I have noticed!

I bought my camera last week and I was really happy until I discovered what you are mentioning, that when you use the camera without zoom and with flash, lens shadow is seen on picture on the bottom right. And now I´m feeling sad and disappointed about it. I have been reading reviews trying to find comments with this “problem” but I´m really surprised that more people have not complained about this until I finally found your comment! I actually thought I have had bad luck and my camera in particular had the problem, so I went back to the store, they checked the camera and they decided to give me another one. But this another one is doing the same! So I´m really confused because I read only wonderful things about this camera but no complains or comments from anybody else experiencing the same :( ¿Shall I keep it or return it? That question is breaking my head at this moment.

12:11 am - Friday, December 7, 2012

#53 Fabio

Hi Nairobi
  If you read my former comments you will find a solution to that problem. That happens not only with this camera,  but it’s easy to solve with a difuser made with a small white plastic cup placed over the flash, one of them creates a perfect light for portraits, and 3 of them makes a perfect light for macro , of course you will need to test with the material you find.
    Professionals use difusers on their flashes in order to create a more natural light and eliminate hard shadows and they work great too in compacts.

2:55 am - Friday, December 7, 2012

#54 James

Hi Fabio,

Your analysis above has been incredibly helpful to a rank ‘amateur’ such as myself and your pictures on Flickr, especially the macro + HDR are amazing!

Clearly this camera will take great snaps but I will be using the camera a lot to make videos which I will be posting on my “Youtube Channel”(related to my business as a health, fitness + nutrition consultant).

Having done very little video before can you confirm the following for me…

1. Will I be able to take videos, download them onto my Youtube channel, do some basic editing and have the videos turn out in good quality?

2. I’m not sure about this AVCHD v MPEG-4 business? In order to download video onto my Youtube channel will I have to use AVCHD or MPEG-4? Will I have to reduce the quality of the videos when downloading to Youtube? And will this affect my ability to also do some basic editing?

3. As an ‘amateur’ will the above be overwhelmingly complex + confusing for me or should it be manageable after a number of hours of practice and trial + error..?!

3:40 am - Thursday, December 13, 2012

#55 James

Hi Fabio,

Your comments have been incredibly helpful for a rank ‘amateur’ like me and your pictures on flickr, especially the Macro + HDR shots are awesome!

Clearly this camera will take good quality travel snaps etc but I will also be using it a lot of the time to record video which I will be downloading to my Youtube Channel (relating to my business as a health, fitness + nutrition consultant).

I would be grateful if you could shed some light on the following questions…

1. I am confused by this AVCHD v MPEG-4 business.
Will I need to significantly reduce the quality of the video in order to download it onto my Youtube Channel?

2. Will I still be able to do some basic editing after I’ve downloaded the video to Youtube or do I need to do the editing in-camera?

3. Will I be able to learn how to do the above video recording, downloading + editing myself relatively easily (after a few hrs practice) or is it all quite technical + complex for an amateur like me?

4:02 am - Thursday, December 13, 2012

#56 Fabio

Hi James
  Videos are very, very good. Stabilization is awesome and there’s a lot of options for movies. AVCHD is a problem, it gives you the best quality but it’s hard to edit and view. MP4 is a more common format and it’s easier to deal with. The quality will depend on the editing software, but I don’t think that it will be a problem , you will be dealing with high quality video from this camera and that’s always a good start.

4:53 am - Thursday, December 13, 2012

#57 James

Oh, 2 more things, Fabio!

The HX20v apears to be the perfect, big zoom, pocketable, fully-auto, easy to use travel camera with great pics + excellent video, for my purposes.

2 questions…

1. I’ve noticed that the Sony DSC WX150 is getting excellent reviews everywhere + is significantly smaller, lighter + less expensive… apart from only having a 10x zoom is there much difference in pic + video quality between the 2 cameras?

2. Are you still of the opinion that the HX20/30V is the best fully-auto, compact, big zoom camera around for pics + video, in your opinion?

4:54 am - Thursday, December 13, 2012

#58 James

Thanks for your helpful + speedy response, Fabio!

5:50 am - Thursday, December 13, 2012

#59 Fabio

I can’t give you my opinion about the WX 150, never touched one, but after actually owning the Canon SX260 and the Panasonic ZS20, I’m very comfortable to recommend the HX20/30 as the best of all. Also tried Nikon and Fuji , but don’t think they come close to this Sony.

4:26 pm - Thursday, December 13, 2012

#60 Don

I have a Sony HX30v that can record videos in AVCHD 60fps or MP4 30fps. Which gives me the highest quality output, if I can’t edit AVCHD video:

1. Shoot in AVCHD and then convert to MP4 for editing, or
2. Shoot directly in MP4


6:21 pm - Thursday, December 13, 2012

#61 James

Thanks Fabio + Don!
That’s great information…

1:30 am - Friday, December 14, 2012

#62 Jackie Mclennan

Hi Guys
I am trying to convert my Mum to the digital age. She has a point and shoot non digital canon which used to be really good. As she is now 75 and has a very minor hand shake occasionally, her picture quality has really gone down. She would only really use any camera in auto as she is a bit of a technophobe, and would not do any post action processing. Which of the cameras do you think would be the best. Am also looking at the Canonpowershot 220 and 240, although the 220 takes 6 actions to get rid of a photo I understand which would not be great. Can’t see on this review how easy it is. Most of her pictures are family, especially the kids, and landscapes.
Any help greatfully received!

12:14 pm - Wednesday, December 19, 2012

#63 Donna

Just about to buy this camera.  Was using a sony HX9 and noticed overly bright reds and a general red tinge to whole picture in low light (on the screen).  Has anyone noticed this on HX20 and can the settings be adjusted to avoid it?  Thx if anyone can help

5:42 am - Saturday, January 19, 2013

#64 Mizzo

Bought a hx20v wanting to love the camera.  Returned and am a HAPPY owner of a canon sx260.  Picture quality on the canon is SO much better.  Has anyone taken a picture, flash on at 25mm??  Casts a shadow EVERY TIME in the bottom right hand corner!!!  Unacceptable Sony.  No shutter and aperature mode…deal breaker!  Loving my sx260!!

6:58 am - Monday, January 28, 2013

#65 Ann

Hi Donna,

The pictures are definitely on the warmer end of the spectrum indoors in low light but I’ve not noticed a red tinge. Outdoors in low light it seems pretty true to the natural setting.  I’m really happy w/this camera.

7:04 am - Monday, January 28, 2013

#66 Donna

Thanks Ann for the feedback….much appreciated.

9:55 pm - Monday, January 28, 2013

#67 Fabio

To Donna
  In order to reduce that red tinge , select real color , when using flash select white balance for flash .

12:37 am - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

#68 Donna

Thanks for your help Fabio.  I will test it out in the shop. 
Have to buy a pocket/handbag camera before our family trip to disneyland and it is so hard to find one to love after using my Canon EOS….I think I am a bit spoilt.

12:41 pm - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

#69 George

To Fabio and Mark,
Thank you for the very informative postings regarding the ZS-20 and Sony HX-20/30.  You have helped me to decide to buy the Sony HX-30.  I am hoping the WiFi is worth the extra $20.  Some reviews say it will not work.  I will let you know how I do with it after using it a few weeks.

12:11 am - Wednesday, February 6, 2013

#70 clare

Can any one help I know little about cameras / photography, I need a camera to take pictures of reborn dolls very high detail, good close upmacro I think I need and good indoor lighting I think iso is it, I need very high quality pics viewable onmebay etc to upload, would this be anygood? Or what wud be best dnt want a dslr as wud not know how to useit and outta my price range.hellllpppp

12:23 am - Wednesday, February 6, 2013

#71 George

Hi Clare,

I think the Sony would do exactly what you want.
Either the Sony HX-20 or HX-30.  I suggest you read the comments posted by Fabio on this blog. He is much more experienced than I am.  He also has posted examples of macro pictures he has taken. They are outstanding and sure they would be like you are looking for for ebay.

2:58 am - Wednesday, February 6, 2013

#72 Fabio

To George
    The wifi works very well , just download the playmemories for Apple or Android, I have both and the Android version works better, you can choose the resolution.
  To Clare
    Given the high price of the reborn dolls , I strongly suggest a Fuji X10 or the new X20, just put it in EXR mode in high resolution and you will get outstanding pictures, even better than an entry level DSLR simply because the Fuji has an extraordinary lens, the better the pictures, the easier the sell, it’s worth the extra money.

3:00 am - Wednesday, February 6, 2013

#73 Don

I love the Wifi. I never thought I would. I thought it was a useless feature I’d never use but, as soon as I used it once, I could see what a great feature it is. I come home from a shoot, I turn on the camera,, hit the Wifi button, and go away.

The photos are seamlessly transferred to my Mac. Fifteen minutes later I checked the computer and there they are. No cables, not menus, no forms on the computer, etc. Perfect.

4:01 am - Wednesday, February 6, 2013

#74 Shanker

4 GB memory stick I have received with HX20V. But I want to have additional higher capacity memory stick for my HX20v. Can anybody suggest upto which capacity it supports. Or what would be best?

12:57 pm - Wednesday, February 6, 2013

#75 Rajat

I have bought this camera last week and I am finding a lot of difficulties in taking pics under background defocus mode. Actually, it is not consistent. Sometimes it takes and 80% it failed to do so.
Any help would be highly appreciated.


12:18 pm - Thursday, February 7, 2013

#76 Don

You have to get far away from your subject and zoom in a lot to get defocus to work right.

2:37 pm - Thursday, February 7, 2013

#77 Rajat


And what would be the appropriate distance between subject1 (Main) and subject2 (Need to be defocused) ?

4:41 pm - Friday, February 8, 2013

#78 brian

This sony looks great.. does anyone know if this will do video in slow motion >120 fps?

9:23 pm - Sunday, February 10, 2013

#79 Maureen

I have a HX20V the problem I have is taking pictures outside the LCD screen is really dark and I have trouble seeing my subject.

3:43 am - Saturday, February 23, 2013

#80 Good Hpoe

I’m interested to buy this stuff. But before going to the store, I really like to know
something about this camera which I didn’t find anywhere in the web. So please help…

1. Recording highspeed videos- Can I record vids in slow motion?If yes,please specify its resolution and fps.
2. Option for AV cable- HDMI ok. But is there any option to connect AV cable(ie;RCA cable) from this camera to TV?
3. Can I recharge battery via USB? Without taking out the Memory card,can I Transfer fotos from SD Card to PC via USB? Watch fotos & vids in PC via USB?
4. What will be your comment if you are comparing this camera with finepix f750exr / f800exr?.

4:12 pm - Tuesday, March 5, 2013

#81 Waseq

Hi all,
I am an amateur in terms of Digital Camera.I want to buy a camera and my main focus is good picture quality and performance. After a bit of research I narrowed my targets to Sony cybershot dsc hx20v,  canon powershot sx260hs, nikon coolpix p510, fujifilm hs30exr and Fujifilm FinePix F770EXR.
Please suggest me which one to have.
Thanks in advance

5:40 am - Tuesday, March 12, 2013

#82 majors

Please help. I want to buy an cam (hx20v) but I want to know if I could capture like DSLR say for example “jumpshot”??

1:49 am - Friday, March 15, 2013

#83 majors

Hi All.. I would like to buy a cam, (hx20v) but I’m not sure if I could take/capture pictures like “jumpshot”..???

1:53 am - Friday, March 15, 2013

#84 Fabio

To Majors
  If you mean basketball jumpshots, the HX20 can do it but the best camera for those shots is the Panasonic FZ200, The 2.8 fixed aperture makes the difference, the sensor is not good but you can keep ISO at low levels or get higher speeds to freeze the action. If you need a pocket camera for those shots, the HX20/HX30 is the best choice.

5:43 am - Friday, March 15, 2013

#85 chaitanya

what is best choice between sony hx20v & canon sx 260 pl. suggest. ..... thanks

2:43 pm - Saturday, March 16, 2013

#86 Hitesh


please help me out. I have 2 questions for you :

1) Is it a worth to spend 60-70$ more to buy HX20v than HX10v ???

2)Is there any difference between the image quality of hx10v and of hx20v. Which gives better result ???

3) Please suggest me the best camera for good image quality .... i just want better image quality ...... among Panasonic-ZS20, HX20V, HX10V,  Canon sx260 ??????

9:54 am - Saturday, March 23, 2013

#87 Fabio

Hi Hitesh
  I don’t know the HX10 well enough to give you an advice , but it’s the successor of the HX9 and reviews were not good when compared with the previous model and it’s now discontinued.
  I had the ZS20 and the SX260, the Panasonic is excellent with just low light performance being a problem, the Canon was too soft and aberrations were abundant, didn’t like it , and macro was awfull, but low light was good.
  There are new models now from Panasonic and Canon and new models from Sony will be soon released.
    The HX20/30 is a very complete camera , lots of usefull modes, not just those color choice and toy modes that we almost never use, but excellent HDR modes and outstanding movies, but not everything is perfect, I don’t like to use it for portraits or bird photos, but it has the best macro, low light is very good, focus is very fast, stabilization excellent.
    If it wasn’t for over processing it would be close to perfection, that makes cropping limited . But if you Look at the pictures in normal sizes that is not a problem.

1:25 pm - Saturday, March 23, 2013

#88 Stacey

Fabio….I rarely find the time to take macro shots. My use of the camera would be portraits, action shots. I have two kids and most of my pics are of them or scene shots when we are away. School pictures I’m torn between The Panasonic and the Sony. Who say you don’t like the Sony for portraits and I think that is most of my pics. I do like the blurred background in the Sony, does the Panasonic have that feature? Could use a little advice. Thanks.

3:00 pm - Thursday, March 28, 2013

#89 Fabio

Hi Hitesh
  I don’t like it for portraits because I have better cameras for that, a Fuji X 10 is outstanding in that area and even action shots and low light, it delivers professional quality pictures. When I am with my grandchildren I use a X10 or a Panasonic G3 , a micro 4/3 camera.
  The background defocus doesn’t work very well, you must be at a certain distance and the subject must stand still because it’s made from 2 consecutive pictures, again a Fuji X10 or even better a micro 4/3 will be much better in that area.
  But for general use the HX20/30 is excellent, your children will love the illustration mode that gives a cartoon like look.. It’s compact, can be used with just one hand , no lens caps to worry about and movies are great, I always carry one with me , along with 2 more cameras.

3:18 pm - Thursday, March 28, 2013

#90 Stacey

Fabio…The only other camera I could tote around would be my cell phone camera! So I really need an all purpose camera. Trips, school, kids, pets, day at the beach, christmas cards. ZS20 or the HX30v? That is the question….vacation is in 1 month so I need to finalize my decision. I keep reading that the HX30v takes long to store rapid fire pics. Is that the card? Do you know does this happen with all photos? Your Flikr macros are amazing for both cameras. I’m torn. I’m sure I wouldn’t be disapointed with either camera. But I really like the blurred background on the HX30.

3:48 pm - Thursday, March 28, 2013

#91 Jen

Our screen has gone green and pixelated. It wont take photos or allow us to view them. We brought it 1 month ago. Is this a fault?

1:16 am - Friday, March 29, 2013

#92 Joe

Just about to buy a Sony DSC-HX20V, in view of the excellent comments, then noticed that Currys and PC World are selling a Sony DSC- HX20BB. Does anyone know what the difference in spec is…if any!

10:26 am - Thursday, April 4, 2013

#93 Jeph

About to buy a Sony DSC HX20V, but just noticed that Currys & PC World are selling a Sony DSC HX20BB, Anyone know what the difference in spec is?

10:46 am - Thursday, April 4, 2013

#94 Jeph

About to buy one but just noticed that Currys & PC World are selling a Sony DSC HX20BB anyone know the differences?

10:59 am - Thursday, April 4, 2013

#95 Telboy

Hi All,
Could I please seek advice about the GPS feature on the HX20V? I would like to use the feature while geocaching but find that the displayed co-ordinates are some way from the actual position. Can anyone explain why? I don’t rush into the feature use.

4:31 pm - Monday, April 29, 2013

#96 Dr. Yogesh Sharma

Fabio,thank you very much for so many helpful comments and the a doctor i often need macro pics to put on some thesis es,projects,presentations and i was very confused to buy a good camera for my purpose.your pics really helped me out.buying today,HX30.

5:57 am - Sunday, July 7, 2013

#97 lottis

total beginner here, but really like the way your talking about all this. So…Sony HX50v or Lumix FZ70? All these numbers used to mean exactly what kind of picture you get, but now everyone has different systems..and I just cant get through the numbers.

5:49 am - Thursday, July 25, 2013

#98 pradeep chasta

Sony DSC-HX20V buy and using from march 2013. Picture Quality best, Zooming awesome.  macro very good.
But color isn’t so natural, for moving object its program mode I feel that not so good.

overall its good DC. Thanks

5:27 pm - Friday, August 23, 2013

#99 Cira

Hey there!
I’m thinking between Canon Powershot SX270 HS, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V and Canon PowerShot SX510 HS.
Which one has the best picure quality? Which is the best buy for their money?
Thanks for your answers!

11:53 pm - Saturday, September 28, 2013

#100 AR

Cira, at this level (travel zoom and normal compact digital cameras) I would dare to say that Canon is the best for image quality and Sony for video quality. I have a Canon SX240 (all of Canon’s travel zoom cameras have pretty much the same image quality)and I am content with its image quality. Not bad at all. Better than the Sony. Not so happy about Sony HX20V’s image quality, mainly due to Sony’s aggressive noise reduction on-camera software. The Sony has a sharp lens but when you enlarge the photos you can see what I just mentioned. Pictures look like watercolors! I don’t like that. But if you don’t enlarge them they look ok, of course. Apart from the SX240 I have a Canon G1X, which is the best compact in terms of image quality, albeit at the cost of little zoom (4x) and poor macro capabilities (40 cm). Think what your main priority in photography is. If it is video quality, go for the Sony HX20V or HX50V. You will get an amazing little video camera that does also take photos. If it is image quality and you require a lot of zoom, any of the Canon travel zoom cameras is the best option, in my opinion. And if you demand the best possible image quality at compact size, and don’t mind spending a bit more and an slightly bigger size, do go for the Canon G1X, which will give you the same amount of image quality than an entry-level DSLR at a more convenient size. You can always buy them, test them, and return them until you decide and buy the chosen one. I do that. I hope that helps!

8:46 am - Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Entry Tags

hd video, review, hd, 3 inch LCD, 1080p, test, wide-angle, sony, travel-zoom, travel, 10fps, travel zoom, GPS, 25mm, 18 megapixel, cybershot, panorama, 20x zoom, 3D, hx20, hx20v, dsc-hx20v, dsc hx20v, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V Review

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