Sony HX20V review

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

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If you're in the market for a travel zoom camera that delivers remarkably consistent, colourful and detail rich results, offers a solid-feel build that should withstand bouncing around in your backpack - plus you're prepared to pay a top-end price - then the Sony HX20V should come high up on your wish list.

We liked

A high-quality metal construction including padded rubberised grip provides a firm hold when shooting towards the telephoto end of the zoom, which, when coupled with SteadyShot image stabilisation, means that sharp shots can be achieved handheld in a wide variety of conditions

We disliked

Aside from the odd performance niggle, the £349/$398 asking price of the Sony Cyber-shot HX20V is the issue here; it is on the high side. This money would alternatively buy you a bridge camera with an even larger zoom, such as the 30x Fuji HS30, or stretch to a lower-end compact system camera, such as the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1.

Final verdict

The chief selling point here remains the ideal compromise between the broad zoom range and compact dimensions, and on the Sony Cyber-shot HX20V such far-reaching scope as afforded by a 25-500mm equivalent focal range will deliver a huge amount of compositional opportunities without you needing to take a step forward or back.

The Sony HX20v isn't the cheapest travel zoom on the market, but a high-ish asking price for what at the end of the day is just a snapshot camera has to be set against the value of a consistent performance.

This camera provides very usable results throughout the zoom range, and even when shooting handheld at maximum telephoto setting. Add in GPS, Sweep Panorama and 3D options and we have a capable jack-of-all-trades.

Further good news comes in the fact that we were seeing street prices of £299.99 in the UK and $350 in the US for the Sony Cyber-shot HX20V as we were putting the finishing touches to this review, which removes a healthy chunk of any barrier to purchase.

Simply put, this is one of the better travel zoom cameras we've encountered to date, and, as we're due to be heading off on our own holidays soon, we're loathe to let it go.

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