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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V Digital Review
sony20121112aa.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Ashley Akers

As a child, the excitement that comes from Christmas is overwhelming. While you may be encouraged to enjoy giving just as much as receiving gifts, it’s often hard to contain the excitement of receiving a new toy. Excitement is gained from unwrapping the gift and discovering a whole new world: What is this? How does it work? What can I do with it?
Unfortunately as you age this sense of excitement tends to wander so far that you think you’ll never be overjoyed with a gift or new gadget purchase again. When it gets to this stage, you’ve seen it all before, it’s only ever slightly better than the last, it never has any new features or exciting specifications. Will there ever be anything to entice your childlike excitement once again? The answer is a definite yes! And it takes the amazingly stylish, feature rich and specification stretched form of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V digital camera!

Appearance & Functionality

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC HX20V has a solid feel and made from the highest quality of materials, it’s certainly not that cheap imitation of your neighbour’s flashy new toy.  It’s a mixture of metal and plastic and where cheaper cameras may have a plastic camera grip this Sony Cyber-shot has a rubber or imitation grip making it much easier to hold and use.

sony20121112ab.jpgThis Cyber-Shot DSC HX20V is easy to use. The menus are greyscale in design, simple modern and stylish. They can be navigated up and down to select a category by pressing the edges of the scroll wheel on the back. The setting can them be adjusted by either pressing left and right on the same scroll wheel’s edges or by scrolling the wheel either way. All major functions are on dedicated buttons or each direction point of the scroll wheel for quick access outside the menu. This easy and stylish menu system makes this camera feel fresh, new and comfortable in your hands. If you’re newer to digital cameras you won’t feel overwhelmed and if you’re more experienced tech buff then you’ll easily be able to find the setting you’re looking for.

The HX20V has all the usual features you’d expect to see in a current model digital camera such as Intelligent Auto mode, Full Manual mode, scene selection, fast power up and fast continuous shooting. Add onto this GPS photograph positioning and you’ve already got yourself a winner. However it doesn’t stop there. Where this camera gets your childlike excitement tingling is several extra features that increase ease of use and may impress even the most tech savvy person.
One of these features on the DSC HX20V is it’s 3D mode. This mode has a couple of different options within it including a panorama mode and a 3D image mode. The panorama mode works easily enough and begins by pressing the shutter. The screen then clearly walks you through the action of swiping your camera across the scene. The Cyber-shot will then seamlessly and automatically stitch together the panorama for a spectacular wide angle view that transforms your snaps of your holiday view into works of art! sony20121112ad.jpg

The 3D image mode works similarly in capture but with extremely different results. You capture your scene in the same way by swiping from left to right. The camera will then stitch it together in a 3D image. You can view the image on the LCD screen by tilting the camera left and right which will alter the scene. It’s as if you’re looking behind objects by moving your head to the side to get a better look. Instead of your head it’s the camera itself that tilts and shows you an amazing 3D image of your surroundings.

On top of this there’s a nifty de-focus mode. You are potentially thinking. Well that’s not handy I want my images sharp and crisply focused! You’re also potentially thinking I wish I could take those cool photos with the shallow depth of field and blurry background. The de-focus mode on the Sony HX20V, does just that. It artificially re-creates this effect by blurring the background of a photo. While the results are surprisingly good to look at, it appeared to have a little trouble identifying the edges of the subject, sometimes not working and others it would mistake the edge and blur a part of the subject. Despite this in ideal circumstances this is a unique feature that adds professional quality to your images.

Image Quality/ Lens quality

Big name manufacturers such as Sony tend to excel in quality. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC HX20V is no exception to this. The image quality is good. Colours and skin tones are represented accurately and naturally. The specifications don’t extend further than they can handle and in turn produce clear images.

sony20121112ac.jpgLow light capabilities in the HX20V are certainly not an exception to this. ISO100 to ISO400 produced little to no grain in a dark setting. ISO800 and ISO1600 had slightly more grain however still presented a useable image considering the nature of the scene.  ISO3200 had slightly more grain again. When the Cyber-Shot made it up to ISO 6400 and ISO12800 it appeared to compensate for the high grain and noise potentially present in the image by what appeared to be taking several photos of the same scene. In these final two images there was a noticeable difference between the high grain of the ISO3200 image previously which did not use this technology. The images where slightly softer and more blurred in the distance however the large rough grain of the ISO3200 image was replaced with softer smaller grain instead, creating a much more useable image considering the circumstances.

The lens on the Cyber-Shot HX20V is no exception to the quality expected from a Sony product. The 20x optical zoom and 25mm wide angle equivalent make this camera excel in a wide range of circumstances from school plays to holiday views. There’s also a digital zoom option available, this is titled “Clear Image Zoom”. Instead of pushing the digital zoom to the extent that the image becomes unusable it appears as though they’ve limited it to produce the same quality throughout all levels of zoom. Images at the extent of the zoom are slightly lower quality but are still completely useable.
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sony20121112af.jpgThe LCD is large at 3inches and images are displayed accurately. The information provided on the screen is satisfactory for most users and will give you an overview of the numbers you most need to know. In terms of onscreen information, if you’re less accustomed to digital cameras and all their complex settings and feel overwhelmed by the thought of having to use one; never fear because easy mode is here. Easy mode will simplify the information displayed, removing the less important ones and increasing the size of the remaining. A lot of the menus and settings won’t be accessible and are instead replaced by a simple three button menu with the most basic of settings. If you’re most comfortable just shooting auto and don’t have any worry for anything else. Then this is the mode for you!


With the extent of the specifications on the Cyber-Shot HX20V video comes as a natural addition to this camera. It allows you to capture stable Full HD, 1080p video of any setting in high quality. The zoom range, wide angle and low light capabilities make these videos all the more enjoyable to watch as you’re able to capture more of the scene and are not limited by the camera. Whether it be family functions or holidays the capabilities of having digital readily available on a dedicated button in a small compact camera is definitely a necessity.



When it comes to the digital camera market, there are many cameras that provide similar specifications and image quality. The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC HX20V is no exception to these specifics and the quality of manufacture and quality of the images it produces can be assured when coming from one of the big market players. Where this Cyber-Shot excels is it’s feature department. GPS, 3D images, panorama images, de-focus functions and easy mode are a few of the features that’ll get you excited again. Relive your childhood memories of gift opening excitement and unwrap and explore a Cyber-Shot HX20V.

Accessories Used In Testing

SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s SD Card

Tamrac Pro Compact Digital / 5689 Camera Bag 


Recommended Retailer

View / Buy Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V Digital Camera  


Appearance rating 3 stars
Functionality rating 4.5 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Video quality
3 stars
Lens quality
4 stars
LCD screen 3 stars
Value for money 3.5 star
Street Price $449 (AUD)
Effective Pixels 18.2 megapixels
Sensor Type
1/2.3 type (7.76mm) Exmor R CMOS Sensor
Image Sizes 6 Sizes / 2 Aspects / 3D Mode
Lens Interchangeable
Lens Mount
Sony E-mount lenses
Resolution Settings - Stills 16:9 : 13M(4,896×2,752) / 2M (1,920 x 1,080)
4:3 : 18M(4,896×3,672) / 10M (3,648 x 2,736) / 5M (2,592 x 1,944) / VGA
Sweep Panorama : HR (10,480 x 4,096) /  Wide (7,152 x 1,080/4,912 x 1,920) / Standard (4,912 x 1,080/3,424 x 1,920)
Sweep Multi Angle Image Size : 2M (1,920 x 1,080) 
ResolutionSettings - Video AVCHD 60i:28M PS (1,920×1,080/60p) / 24M FX / 17M FH (1,920×1,080/60i) / 9M HQ (1,440×1,080/60i)
MP4 12M (1,440×1,080/30fps) / 6M (1,280×720/30fps) / 3M
VGA (640×480/30fps) 
Shooting Modes - Stills
Face Detection Yes, 8 Faces (Auto / Off / Child Priority / Adult Priority / Key Selected Face Memory)
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds iAuto (4" - 1/1600) / Program Auto (1" - 1/1600) / Manual (30" - 1/1600)
Shutter Priority Yes
ISO Auto / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400 / 12800
LCD Monitor LCD Type : 3.0” Xtra Fine LCD™ TruBlack™ display (921K dots). Brightness Control : 5 (Bright) / 4 / 3(Normal) / 2 / 1 (Dark)
Viewfinder -
Flash Flash Modes : Auto / Flash On / Slow Synchro / Flash Off
Flash Coverage : ISO Auto: Approx.0.4m to 7.1m(1 feet 3 3/4 inches to 23 feet 3 5/8 inches)(W) / Approx.1.7m to 3.9 m(5feet 7 inches to 12 feet 9 5/8 inches)(T), ISO3200: up to Approx.10.0 m(32 feet 9 3/4 inches)(W) / Approx.5.5 m(18 feet 5/8 inches)(T)
Hot Shoe No
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Fluorescent / Incandescent / Flash / One Push, One Push Set / White Balance Shift
Self Timer Off / 10sec. / 2sec. / portrait1 / portrait2
Stills Format/s
Video Format/s MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, MPEG-4 AVCHD / Audio: AAC
Video Recording Time/s -
Storage Type - External Memory Stick Duo and SD/SDHC/SDXC Compatible
Storage Type - Internal
Connectivity Mini HDMI, Micro USB, Hi-Speed USB (USB2.0)
Power Source AC Adaptor ACUB10
Battery Options Rechargeable Battery NP-FW50
Battery Life Approx. 320 shots / 160 mins
Dimensions 106.6 mm (W) x  61.9mm (H) x 34.6mm (D)
Weight 254g (not including battery, memory card or accessories)















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