Previous news story    Next news story

Just Posted: Sony Cyber-shot DSC HX20V Review

By dpreview staff on Jul 21, 2012 at 00:28 GMT

Just Posted: Sony Cyber-shot HX20V review. We've collaborated with Jeff Keller of the Digital Camera Resource Page to bring you a 10-page review of Sony's latest travel-zoom compact camera, the 18MP HX20V. The new model boasts 18MP resolution, a 20X optical zoom lens and built-in GPS. So how does it perform overall? Read our 10-page review to find out. 

This review is based on one originally published at the Digital Camera Resource Page, enhanced with a full set of our own product images, our usual studio comparisons and an expanded samples gallery, plus the addition of a standard dpreview score.

41
I own it
10
I want it
8
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 61
martin1g
By martin1g (Jul 23, 2012)

I bought one a few days ago...Today I returned it and got a Canon Powershot S100 instead. The Sony had good zoomreach, fast response, good movie mode, and was an OK camera. And the Canon is also very fast, (probably about the same speed as the Sony?) The thing it had not was low noise, clean and sharp images..On average prints it´s fine and most people will probably be happy with it since it is a travel zoom and not meant for "pixel-peeping" or very large prints. I printed the studio test shot from both the S100 and the HX20V in 20x30cm and can see no (oronly a VERY small differense..) and on screen/TV viewing it´s fine, just dont zoom in to 100%...But for me the Canon is the better choice, I´m used to quality from DSLR:s and the Sony is a OK compact travel zoom but the canon is...sharper...And a little smaller wich I also prefer.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
camcom12
By camcom12 (Jul 23, 2012)

My short list was HX20/30V, ZS20 and S100 also. These seem to be the best of the GPS-included pocket models. The ZS has good saturation at high ISO, but the HX appears sharper. The S100 is great but less zoom. It's all about trade-offs. I like the size and grip on the HX, custom button, auto/manual HDR, 3 user set-ups, fast AF. They all are valid choices.

Noted is the ever-present overkill in megapixel count. I agree, why 18MP on a 1/2.3 sensor? But pixel sites and image engines are getting better every year. Sensor fabs just aren't making 6,8,10 MP sensors anymore. Even the new 24MP D3200 has succombed, but its IQ is about identical to the 14MP D3100. The old 6MP D40 is noisier than these new models.

0 upvotes
Sephirotic
By Sephirotic (Jul 23, 2012)

18mpx, ouch. Sony will NEVER learn.

0 upvotes
rusticus
By rusticus (Jul 22, 2012)

The camera is great for video
Also, the further processing of 1080/60p no problem with Sony Vegas Pro 10 eg
I prefer for photo for FUJI X10

1 upvote
martin1g
By martin1g (Jul 22, 2012)

I bought this camera a couple of days ago after comparing it with the Panasonic DMC-ZS15 on the dcresource review. The photos from the HX20V there looked better than the ones from the Panasonic... But after using it in real life i´m not so sure anymore... It looks fine on the screen and on A4 prints it´s ok but I´m thinking about returning it..

1 upvote
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Jul 22, 2012)

Ouch, why the 18mp?! Keeping things in perspective might have made for a good camera, are consumers really so fooled into thinking this really measures resolution with such a minuscule sensor? Apparently so!

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Sephirotic
By Sephirotic (Jul 23, 2012)

+1

0 upvotes
Mannypr
By Mannypr (Jul 22, 2012)

I took a look at the sample photos original files and they are bad...I mean very bad . If you plan on leaving your photos at base size it's ok but if you are going to crop don't even think of it , its that bad.

3 upvotes
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (Jul 22, 2012)

well, they gotta have to continue to supply the consumers-led-by-the-megapixel-race market, right? i will not spend much time here saying how stupid is an 18mp camera with such a tiny sensor. i would never buy it (unless it had 10mp) and think rx100 is THE compact now.

but being positive about it, i liked the effectiveness of its image stabilisation system at full tele... and for not stopping here, i also liked dpreview using some dcr data to complete this review. and i didn't know dcr was the first review website. interesting to know that.

2 upvotes
Vlad S
By Vlad S (Jul 22, 2012)

Just a few years ago people were saying "I would not buy such a tiny sensor if it has more than 5 MP." The reality is that the sensor technology advances also in the area of efficiency when the new pixel density makes it necessary. This sensor may not be as good as it could be, but now there will be an incentive to develop new tech to further improve the output.

0 upvotes
Sephirotic
By Sephirotic (Jul 23, 2012)

Even the RX100 has too much megapixel.

They should stop already at 10mpx at 1/2.3 Ant 12~16mpx on larger1/1.7~1 sensor.

Instead of phisically increasing sensor size, why don´t they cread some kind of marketing gimmick like "super sample 20mpx", with software sharpening + super sampling process like oldschool cheappo chinese interpolated cameras used to do? Would catch some ignorante casual costumers, and appeal to more enthusiast who when read that the camera is not really 20mpx, but only 10mpx, would be pleased.

0 upvotes
Ben O Connor
By Ben O Connor (Jul 21, 2012)

Oh gosh, every year a "new" camera !!! or a new body with same technologies in past 3-4 years ! Come on consumers get up !!!

0 upvotes
camcom12
By camcom12 (Jul 21, 2012)

For a pocket camera, I'm quite satisfied with my HX30V. Out of the box the color was a bit flat, but that's easily fixed. The review lists a noise reduction adjustment, but I don't see it anywhere on my sample. Perhaps this is on the HX150, not HX10/20/30 series. I think the multi-exposure low light modes are good enough, better than other pocket cams I've used. At higher ISOs, the HX series come pretty close to a few of the 1.7" sensor models (P7x00 comes to mind) .

One commentor noted DPR's sample looked weak compared to DCR's. I might agree. In the jpeg compare page, DPR's HX30 V appears to have a slight right-biased focus. (btw, are the apostrophes ok?)

And yes, publishing the full manual on the web in html only is an insult, Sony.
Anyway, thanks for the good review; there were a few features I was previously unaware of.

0 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Jul 21, 2012)

Image quality is very limited - size and zoom range cause this. One of the few "superzoomers" with decent iq is (or better was) Panasonics FZ38.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Sephirotic
By Sephirotic (Jul 23, 2012)

SX260 for small superzoon will beat this crappy 18mpx any day.

yet, i miss my FZ35 quality. Even FZ150 hardly beats it with a much higher price point.

0 upvotes
Simon97
By Simon97 (Jul 21, 2012)

Resizing the images to 10 mp makes them usable, but there is still a lot of mottling around edges. The $350+ price is way to much to ask for such a lousy image quality. The 12 mp BSI sensor, while not great, was better then this.

1 upvote
dog46
By dog46 (Jul 21, 2012)

Why put out a camera like this with its good features and then use a mediocre lens? Makes no sense to me.

2 upvotes
TZ Photo
By TZ Photo (Jul 21, 2012)

Why is a painterly filter switched on in all of the images, even ISO 100? It's beyond me how can anybody even consider buying such a camera. As someone accurately said, it's a 18" rims in a 1 liter/60HP car scenario.

0 upvotes
George Veltchev
By George Veltchev (Jul 21, 2012)

An insignificant compact camera which can not compare even with the 100 years old Canon S95 in the image quality field .. I mean Big time ....after all the main purpose of these toys is to take pictures ...shame

3 upvotes
Mark B.
By Mark B. (Jul 21, 2012)

It's beyond lame that not only did Sony not include a full manual, but it can only be viewed online and cannot be downloaded. What is one to do if you're traveling with no internet access?

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
1 upvote
DaddyBit
By DaddyBit (Jul 21, 2012)

Dpreview, please consider to move down the section "This photo is in 1 album: " to the bottom of the "Sampes" page. So that one should not mouse-wheeling up and down every time to observe specs of the image.

As for the camera tested I would never recommend it. The IQ is just ...

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Jul 21, 2012)

I compared the output from HX20V to the output from its predecessors, HX9V. I saw an increase in the luma noise level, but no increase in definition of the details.

What was exatly the point of raising the pixel density ?

4 upvotes
maboule123
By maboule123 (Jul 21, 2012)

I have a HX9V also. I like it. It gives me great results. I was so happy that I wanted to buy either HX-20V or HX30V. But the user's reports were not uniform in their opinion. I'll keep waiting for the RX100 reports.

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Jul 21, 2012)

The point is that megapixels sell. It is the first number most consumers seem to look at when buying a P&S camera.

Unfortunately this now seems to have crossed the point where the IQ is going down in these cameras as a result - except where they increase the size of the sensor as well (as they did in the RX100).

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
KoKo the Talking Ape
By KoKo the Talking Ape (Jul 21, 2012)

10th paragraph: "PlayMemories Home is essentially a re-skinned version of Picture Motion Browser, which does it's job pretty well."

That should be "its", not "it's".

I knew a copy editor who would search the document she was working on for every instance of "its" and "it's" just to make sure they were used correctly.

I don't recall finding such errors in the material written by DPR staff.

1 upvote
GeorgeZ
By GeorgeZ (Jul 21, 2012)

You HAVE to be kidding. There was a time when I found at least 4 spelling errors in every dpr review within 10 minutes of beginning to read it. I even asked them how that can be, it'd take a poorly paid college student 1 hour to proofread a review that had been woprked on for 8 weeks.
I really have to defend Jeff here.

2 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (Jul 21, 2012)

I emphatically agree with GeorgeZ. DPReview gets better and better in this regard. Remember the good old days when Phil Askey wrote the reviews? :-)

0 upvotes
xpatUSA
By xpatUSA (Jul 21, 2012)

Where I'm from, which is also where the language is from, we say "it's". I've been corrected here in the USA a few times on that one but, although I do try to write good American, there are times when the proper way is better ;-)

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
FTW
By FTW (Jul 21, 2012)

George Z, what is that "to proofread a review that had been woprked on". Never heard that word "woprked". May be you should pay a student for one hour to ....

0 upvotes
KoKo the Talking Ape
By KoKo the Talking Ape (Jul 21, 2012)

@GeorgeZ, I imagine you have been reading DPR much longer, and more extensively, than I have. Generally I have been impressed with the quality of writing here.

@xpatUSA, I was surprised and fascinated to hear that British English was different in that way, namely in using "it's" to indicate possession, so I did a bit of research. According to the British Council's website, the proper possessive form of "it" is "its".

http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/possessives/possessives-adjectives

Are you sure you are right about the British usage?

1 upvote
boogieboogie
By boogieboogie (Jul 21, 2012)

xpatUSA is incorrect...in Britain it's = it is and therefore makes no sense in this context.

0 upvotes
deep7
By deep7 (Jul 21, 2012)

"It's" is an abbreviation of "it is".
"Its" indicates the possessive.
Two different words with two different meanings.
Now back to cameras...

0 upvotes
Greg Henry
By Greg Henry (Jul 21, 2012)

There seems to be quality control issues between the two (?) cameras used in this review.

Jeff's sample that he used for Bay area shots doesn't really seem that bad. You can see some of the noise reduction issues mentioned in the article, but honestly, the pics are pretty decent. However, when you get to page 2 where some of the Dpreview shots were done, you can tell this was from a different sample unit because the images are noticeably worse - to the point of almost looking like watercolor paintings at full size. Jeff's photos are *not* nearly that bad on full inspection.

Either Dpreview got a dud review model or like we unfortunately see far too often these days, Sony has a quality control issue that could mean a range of inconsistent quality in this unit.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 21, 2012)

Examining the images, I put it down to different treatment of low and high-contrast detail. If you look at Jeff's picture of the cats, which is a perfect example of a low-contrast but very detailed test subject, you'll see precisely the same 'painted' appearance at 100% as you've noticed in some of our test shots.

2 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Jul 21, 2012)

Geez Jeff, you are smoking out the reviews! :)

1 upvote
IcyVeins
By IcyVeins (Jul 21, 2012)

Are these travel zoom compacts ever going to have good IQ?

0 upvotes
schaki
By schaki (Jul 21, 2012)

Yes. But unfortunately only the Canon Powershot SX240, SX260 and also the Fujifilm Finepix 770EXR when the later is used in Raw. The jpeg output is ok but not splendid.
Having already had a look at many full size images before these tests began to drop in.
Pentax Optio VS20 are also trash like this HX20V at full size and so are the Olympus SZ-31 MR iHS.
The first full-size samples from Samsung WB850 is not promising either with smudging going on.
Ricoh CX6 is merely ok. Default NR could be lower and can be set to Off. I'm just not sure how much it helps to pull out the details. CX4 have lower default NR than CX5 and CX6.

0 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (Jul 21, 2012)

Please review the Samsung WB850F. Let's see what Samsung can do in this arena. There has been an incredible flush of new models, doesn't even make sense, but that's why Group Reviews would be welcome.

0 upvotes
Jefftan
By Jefftan (Jul 21, 2012)

dpreview no longer do group comparison like last year?
waterproof and superzoom group test would be nice

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 21, 2012)

It's something I really want to do, but we may simply not be able to given how much other kit we have to cover this summer. I am going to try though. A roundup of travel zoom and super zoom cameras is definitely in the plan for 2012, but in Photokina years best lais plans can often go awry.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 21, 2012)

best laid plans. Long day....

2 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Jul 21, 2012)

i always thought your charming way with words was wasted in a single forum, Mr Till. Being this offensive and ignorant of the facts is a skill you need to share with as wide an audience as possible. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?!

3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 21, 2012)

I agree completely - more please, Paul! You gave me a laugh over my morning coffee.

2 upvotes
PAUL TILL
By PAUL TILL (Jul 21, 2012)

You get a coffee break in between doing nothing! Wow I'm in the wrong game.

0 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Jul 22, 2012)

cough saturday cough

0 upvotes
PAUL TILL
By PAUL TILL (Jul 23, 2012)

Back in the day you could be interested in a camera, do a search on the WWW and come up with a review on drpreview.

These days you only seem to review cameras that interest yourselves.

Just looking at the Fuji reviews, or lack of should I say.

HS30 No review
F770EXR No review
XS1 No review
HS20 No review
X10 Only took 9 months to bring that one to us.
F550EXR You say there is a review but have you actually read what you wrote?

Very poor showing if you ask me.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 23, 2012)

GO AWAY, PAUL.

0 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (Jul 21, 2012)

The score just doesn't seem to match the conclusions.

5 upvotes
Mannypr
By Mannypr (Jul 21, 2012)

I agree

0 upvotes
ijustloveshooting
By ijustloveshooting (Jul 21, 2012)

horrible jpeg artifacts or noise even at iso100....

0 upvotes
zigi_S
By zigi_S (Jul 21, 2012)

Typical Sony. Only good quality compacts are Canon. I mean IQ, not facebook shortcut.

0 upvotes
snapshot09
By snapshot09 (Jul 21, 2012)

Does Dpreview actually review any cameras anymore or just bases them off other sites????

3 upvotes
magneto shot
By magneto shot (Jul 21, 2012)

This review is based on one originally published at the Digital Camera Resource Page, enhanced with a full set of our own product images, our usual studio comparisons and an expanded samples gallery, plus the addition of a standard dpreview score.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 21, 2012)

@snapshot09 - in answer to your question, take a look at this page - the majority of content on which was produced in-house:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews

We're using external contributors (like Jeff) to cover products that we would not ordinarily be able to cover ourselves. As you'll see from the large number of reviews and previews that our staff writers have posted so far this year, we're still keeping pretty busy...

4 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (Jul 21, 2012)

@Magneto Shot , R U part of DPR staff?

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Jul 21, 2012)

Sounds like DPR needs more staff.

0 upvotes
PAUL TILL
By PAUL TILL (Jul 21, 2012)

Or the ones they do have should spend less time browsing the comments section and get out and do some testing.

0 upvotes
magneto shot
By magneto shot (Jul 21, 2012)

1/2.3 sensor...with 18 mp ? sigh...thats like putting an 18inch sports rim on a 1.1 liter car and thinks it will perform better.

10 upvotes
Greynerd
By Greynerd (Jul 21, 2012)

In a big technology store the display compacts cameras had a card behind them and at the top all alone was the megapixel number. It is probably the only bit about the camera most people think they understand. Just count yourself lucky that you know that you should go for the one with the lowest number. The people who buy this camera are not really going to notice any problem so I doubt if it really does any harm. The Sony forum will soon be billing and cooing over each others' pictures taken with this camera in perfect contentment.

0 upvotes
John Koch
By John Koch (Jul 21, 2012)

All the camera makers are more or less complicit in the promotion of more pixels every year. Sony's $650 RX100, which is supposed to be a compact for "sophisticates," has 20 MP on a 1" sensor, though 10MP would have been quite enough. Why does the 5DMiii have more pixels than the Mii?

0 upvotes
Kuturgan
By Kuturgan (Jul 21, 2012)

abra kadabra

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Total comments: 61