Menus and Playback


The first menu you encounter is an overlay-style menu that sits on the left side of the screen. The menu is quite long, and it can take a while to scroll all the way to the bottom. The notable options are listed below:
  • Picture Effect: special effects include HDR painting, rich-tone monochrome, miniature effect, partial color, and more; many of these can be fine-tuned to your liking
  • White balance: choose from the usual presets, plus a custom option for using a white or gray card; you can fine-tune things by using the white balance shift or bracketing features
  • Focus: select from multi-point, center, flexible spot, semi-manual, and full manual
  • Smile Shutter: waits for one of the people in the frame to smile, and then takes a picture; you can select how big of a smile is required
  • Face detection: a standard feature on all cameras these days, though the Sony has the added ability to give children or adults focus priority
  • Noise reduction: you might want to fool with this option (with choices of low, standard, and high) to improve the HX20V's image quality
  • GPS position info/logging: check out your signal strength and current location, and turn on the logging feature (which will put an extra strain on your battery)
  • MR set: saves current camera settings to the MR spot on the mode dial; you can store up to three different groups of camera settings
If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the overlay-style menu to the suitcase icon, you can access the HX200's other menu system. This is a bit of a pain to navigate because each 'tab' of settings doesn't 'wrap' around (this makes more sense when you use it). The camera gives a quick hint as to what each option does, and you can press the ? button for a longer explanation. The items of note in this menu are listed below:
  • Clear Image Zoom: this doubles your zoom power, with a minimal reduction in image quality (see below)
  • Wind noise reduction: for shooting movies outdoors
  • Mic level: choose from normal or low; for movies, obviously
  • Blink Alert: warns you when your subject's eyes are closed
  • Custom button: define what function this button handles; choose from exposure compensation, ISO, white balance, metering mode, or Smile Shutter
  • Display resolution: choose high or standard, with the latter sacrificing LCD/EVF quality for battery life
  • Beep: normally I wouldn't mention this but the HX20V has the world's loudest beep sound, so here's where you turn it off
  • Download music: using the included Music Transfer program and this option, you can provide your own soundtrack for slideshows
  • Airplane mode: turns off all functions related to the GPS and TransferJet
  • GPS assist data: load data from your PC to the camera using this option - it'll reduce satellite acquisition times
  • Auto clock/area adjust: let the GPS set the time and time zone for you


The Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V's playback mode is about average by compact camera standards. You've got your slideshows (for which you can supply your own background music), redeye removal (which you'll probably need), sharpening, and a couple of special effects.

You can jump through photos by date, folder, or by movie codec. Unlike Sony's NEX cameras, the HX20V doesn't separate movies from stills in playback mode - and that's a good thing. By default, the camera doesn't show you much information about your photos. However, if you press 'up' on the four-way controller, you'll get a lot more, including a histogram and the location where your photo was taken.

The DSC-HX20V flips through photos instantly. One thing I think could be a lot better is the playback zoom feature - it sort of 'glides' rather than 'jumps' when it zooms in, which is pretty, but sluggish.