Sony HX20V review

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

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Give the top plate power button of the Sony Cyber-shot HX20V a press and within two seconds the lens barrel has extended from flush with the body to its maximum wide-angle setting, soundtracked by the buzz of lens mechanics.

The display settings here are interesting, in that with subsequent presses of the rear dial the user can call up a live histogram displaying brightness levels across the image or an on-screen spirit level, thereby enabling straight horizons even when shooting handheld.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC HX20V review

Hold a finger down on the zoom lever and the camera zips through its focal range from extreme wide angle to maximum telephoto in all of three seconds, although once again there's that low waspish buzz.

To compensate for this, the zoom is much slower - and a good deal quieter - when used after the movie record button has been pressed, taking seven to eight seconds to travel the same distance. This isn't altogether a bad thing, as transitions are much smoother on the resulting footage.

Half squeeze the shutter release button in stills mode and there's the briefest of adjustments before the shot snaps into focus and a cluster of AF points appear highlighted on screen.

Squeeze the button fully and the shutter fires nigh instantly, the captured full resolution frame remaining on screen for a second or two, while it's being written to card.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC HX20V review

In terms of image quality, this being a Sony camera and with default settings in place, colours really pop when downloaded to your desktop computer, with vibrant reds and lush greens being particularly striking. Shots straight from the camera display a good amount of contrast and deep blacks too, subtly adding depth and dimension to its frames.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC HX20V review

In terms of low light performance, you'll probably want to stick to ISO 3200 and below, or at ISO 1600 if you want to avoid having any grain at all. Shots taken at ISO 6400 and ISO 12800 have an artificial look - the result of software trickery to boost the sensor performance while limiting noise.

At maximum setting there is a watercolour look for sure, but it's far from a deal breaker.

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