Sony HX20V review

18.2MP travel compact with a 20x optical zoom, Full HD movies and GPS

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With the grip at the front providing room for your two middle fingers and a further pad at the back for the thumb, it's possible to shoot one-handed at maximum telephoto with the Sony Cyber-shot HX20V, leaving the forefinger free to squeeze down on the shutter release button or toggle the zoom lever that surrounds it.

A body-only weight of 221g, without the 320-shot rechargeable battery or choice of SD or Memory Stick Pro Duo inserted at the base, further adds stability when held in the palm.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC HX20V review

18 megapixel stills and Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels video clips captured at 50fps are composed and reviewed via the 3-inch, 4:3 aspect ratio LCD screen on the backplate, the 921k dot resolution ensuring that visibility is good, both indoors and out.

There's no additional viewfinder, and clean lines are further preserved by the fact that the flash is sunk into the top plate when not in use.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC HX20V review

Sony has, however, found room for a tiny shooting mode dial, ridged edging providing greater purchase for the thumb. If we're nit-picking we could have done with the dial's action being slightly stiffer to avoid slipping accidentally onto an adjacent setting when fetching the camera out of a jacket or back pocket.

On the dial itself, we're provided with the usual complement of intelligent auto and creative settings - 10 in total. Here manual options are divided between Program mode and Manual mode, the latter also including the ability to adjust aperture value and shutter speed.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC HX20V review

The two fully auto modes are similarly divided, to provide exposure-adjusting and sharpening Superior Auto, plus subject-recognising Intelligent Auto. Also present and correct are separate scene, 3D and panorama shooting options.

Video also gets a dedicated setting on this top plate dial, as does, interestingly, a shallow depth of field-aping Background Defocus mode, while a red video record button features top right of the backplate. This button is inset, so requires a deliberate dig with a thumbnail to activate.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC HX20V review

While separate playback, menu and delete buttons on the backplate keep operation straightforward and intuitive, readily falling under the thumb, the centrepiece here is a jog dial-come-scroll wheel. With a thumb press to one of its edges this can be used for gingerly tabbing through settings, or it can be spun to progress quicker.

Ranged around this are display, flash, self timer and continuous shooting settings, while when in Intelligent Auto mode a press of its bottom edge will access the Photo Creativity options.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC HX20V review

This enables brightness and saturation to be tweaked in the camera pre-capture using an on-screen slider, while a few digital filters - including a pop art and toy camera style effect - can also be applied.

Missing here is a miniature mode option, but in truth filters are only likely to be applied in moderation, if at all.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution18.2 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product FamilyCyber-shot H
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedMemory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick PRO High Speed Duo, Memory Stick Micro, Memory Stick Micro (M2), microSD Card, microSDHC Card, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Eye-Fi Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom20x
Digital Zoom40x
Brand NameSony
FeaturesBlink Detection, Smile Detection, Live View, Self-timer, Continuous Shooting Mode, Orientation Sensor, Face Detection, 3D Panorama
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4, AVCHD
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)221 g
Image Sensor Size1/2.3" (6.17 mm x 4.55 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4896 x 3672
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height61.9 mm
Width106.6 mm
Depth34.6 mm
Product SeriesH
Focal Length4.45 mm to 89 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
External FlashNo
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelDSC-HX20V
Product NameHX20V Digital Compact Camera
Product LineCyber-shot
Exposure Control


Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDSCHX20VB.CEE8
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Your powerful travel partner

Packed with easy-to-use features for better-looking images and HD videos, the compact, high-zoom Cyber-shot™ HX20V with Extra High Sensitivity Technology and GPS is your ideal travel partner. Experience detail-packed stills, 3D and Full HD 50p video.

Package Contents
  • HX20V Digital Compact Camera
  • Rechargeable Battery Pack (NP-BG1)
  • Wrist Strap
  • Micro USB Cable
  • AC Adapter (AC-UB10/UB10B)
  • Instruction Manual
Limited Warranty1 Year