Breen: Comparing sample photos I have to say it loudly.. People were complaining about Sony HX200 picture quality, but in fact Sony camera is far more superior to Canon SX260. I know that HX200 is a bit different camera and it has 30x zoom instead 20x in Canon. However if Dpreview will test Sony HX20V I'm sure the results will be even better..
Why Sony HX200 has better quality? Please download sample photo with house and palm trees.. Even 1:1 image from Sony camera has far more detail. When you scale down 18 MP to Canon's 12 the advantage of Sony HX is even bigger. Image is more crisp,when SX260 produces very soft image, especially in the corners(compare the look of the windows, trees).
I wrote this because lot of people think that only Canon makes good cameras. These sample photos show how they are wrong!
I've used the HX20V back to back with the SX260HS at a store, the Sony blew it away from a hands on perspective. Obviously wasn't able to do a high res quality comparison, but speed (focus, lag, everything) was noticeably better on the Sony, build quality was as good or even better. My only gripe is that the screen output may be too pumped up for contrast and saturation, but it sure made the screen "pop" versus the Canon while looking sharper. I've never been surprised in this manner by a Sony compact before, had to share.