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545 of 564 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big improvement from HX9V, but compared to Canon PowerShot SX260HS..
First, I didn't buy this from Amazon. I was walking around my local electronics store and played with it and bought it. Overall this is a good improvement from the HX9V. Few months ago, I purchased a Canon PowerShot SX260HS for $349.00 (you can get it for $299 now) and it's one of my favorites. How does the SX260 compare to this camera?

Resolution:
The...
Published on May 17, 2012 by Eric T.

versus
62 of 71 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plusses and minuses
I was looking for a small high-zoom camera that can double as an HD camcorder. My impressions so far are as follows:

Pro's
* The 20X zoom is good (but note that the minimum focal distance to your subject is about 6 feet when zoomed in all the way).
* The image stabilizer in this camera does a good job of compensating for motion.
* USB...
Published on July 18, 2012 by The Engineer Critic


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545 of 564 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big improvement from HX9V, but compared to Canon PowerShot SX260HS.., May 17, 2012
This review is from: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
First, I didn't buy this from Amazon. I was walking around my local electronics store and played with it and bought it. Overall this is a good improvement from the HX9V. Few months ago, I purchased a Canon PowerShot SX260HS for $349.00 (you can get it for $299 now) and it's one of my favorites. How does the SX260 compare to this camera?

Resolution:
The Sony is an 18MP camera, Canon is 12MP.. besides the bigger JPG size, can't tell the difference both look decent when printing on 11x17..

Size/Weight:
Both are nearly identical. The Canon weigh 8.5oz, the Sony 8.8oz

Zoom:
Both have 20x optical zoom, but in comparing pictures, it looks like the Canon's optical "zoom" is closer. Canon has a combined 81x digital zoom, Sony's 40x. Canon's 81x combined digital zoom sounds nice, but there's so much noise that it may not be worth using. With the Sony, even at 40x the picture is still acceptable.

Flash Control:
With the Canon, you can adjust the flash power, with this, you can't....major disappointment especially for a camera that cost $399.00

Menu/Navigation/Ease of use:
This is more of a preference. I used Canon and I used Sony; personally I like the Canon because I think it's more logically ordered

Flash position:
Both are pop up flash. I know it's going to require people to change their grip but I kind of like the pop up flash.

AWB (Auto White Balance)
This is one area that I think Sony made a big improvement with this camera. The AWB on the HX9V was terrible and required manual tweaking. The Canon does a very good job with the AWB. I used this Sony for about a week and went through about 500 shots. The AWB has NOT missed it's mark; not even taking photos indoor with florescent lighting that can cause yellow tinting with improper AWB.

Speed:
One of the reasons why I got rid of the HX9V was because of the slow processing speed. This camera, the image processor performance has improved quite a bit. With the HX9V, it would take up to 6 seconds to save/process images. With this, I think the longest was 3 seconds. The speed is on par with the SX260.

Picture Quality:
In auto mode, the Sony does an excellent job reproducing accurate colors. The colors are more natural looking, but on occasion (especially in landscape mode) the blue and red looks amplified.

Manual Controls:
This camera DOES NOT have a "Shutter Priority" and DOES NOT have a "Aperture Priority" mode! The Sony's manual mode is practically useless. Sony what were you thinking!!! Canon has the Aperture and Shutter mode, and the Canon's manual mode give you more control although it doesn't compare it with a DSLR

ISO Speed:
This Sony goes up to 12800 AMAZING!!!... the Canon comes no where near this..

3D Feature:
I don't have a 3D TV so can't comment on it. I did try to take some 3D pictures (supposedly you can now view 3D pictures on the LCD screen; something the HX9V was not able to do) but I don't think it's working correctly, or maybe I just can't tell the difference. The Canon has no such feature.

Video Quality:
Sony's video quality hands down. This beast is fast capturing full HD. One of the thing I loved about the HX9V was the video quality. It was perfect for those quick moment. This Sony looks just as good if not better.

Memory Card:
The Sony has built in memory, it's not much but better than nothing. I used a Patriot SDXC and a SanDisk SDXC, performance identical. The SanDisk cost twice as much as the Patriot because it's suppose to be faster. I can't tell the difference, and neither can my cameras. Both camera recommends Class 6 of higher, but if you plan to record video, go for the Class 10. A 64GB card can capture close to 10,000 picture.

Battery Life/Charge:
With the Canon, I got about 250 shots before the battery indicator started flashing. The Sony was about the same based on mixed use. One thing about the Sony is that it DOES NOT come with a battery charger. But, you can charge it with a micro USB able. Call me old fashion but if you're going to charge $399 for a camera give me a battery charger! The Micro USB charge may not be a bad thing if they didn't put the port on the bottom of the camera. So when you're charging the camera has to lay on it's side. As others have commented, you can buy a decent aftermarket charger for under $5.00.

Live Mode:
The Canon has a dedicated "live mode" that allows you to adjust the color on the LCD screen before snapping a shot; kind of like a "what you see is what you get". Sony has this built into their auto mode. Press the down navigation wheel to activate this feature.

Scene Modes:
With the HX9V, the scene modes were terrible; the difference were so subtle. This Sony is a HUGE improvement. With the Sony, you can see there IS a difference now. I am especially impressed with the "food" scene. With this mode, when you take a picture of food, it's suppose to enhance the color to make it more appealing. With the HX9V, it's a gimmick, but with this it's a 180 degree improvement. My best description of this is when you see those professional pictures of food at restaurants, this Sony can produce that type of quality. Canon does a good job with most of the scenes, but I prefer the Sony now. The Auto and Super Auto mode works great. For the regular outdoor or well lit environment the Super Auto won't be much difference. For those complicated lighting situation, the Super Auto does a better job. But the Super Auto mode will take about three seconds to process the image. With the scene mode, just because its designated as a "food" mode does not mean you just use it to take pictures of food. I used the "food" mode to take other beautiful indoor pictures that are not food (without flash) at fancy steak houses, and they came out beautiful. The difference with this mode (and the ISO mode) is that the food mode enhances the colors a notch making them appear more vibrant.

Defcocus Mode:
One of the feature I like is the defocus feature. This is one feature that distinguish this camera from other Point and Shoot. With the more expensive DSLR camera, you can take a picture where the portrait is in sharp focus but the back landscape is blurred. Sony does a decent job with this (in fact, I haven't seen this feature on any other brand camera). This feature does not work with the flash because what the camera does is take two shots and combine them to create this effect. But do note that when you use this mode, the LCD screen will tell you how far the subject should be and if you ignore it and take a picture, the Defocus will not work (you still get a decent picture though)

LCD Screen:
Both units have a 3-inch LCD screen, but I think the Sony camera has a sharper, clearer display.

GPS:
Both units have GPS, I haven't used it on either units though.

Camera Body:
The Canon has a more solid feel to it. The HX9V had an "expensive" look and feel. With this Sony, it's just all black and nothing to distinguish this camera for others. The Canon has that expensive camera look and feel, but this Sony does not. It looks plain and boring.

Cost:
The Sony cost $399, Canon cost $299.00, $100 difference.. Is this camera worth $100 more than the Canon SX260HS? You decide...

Sony, if you want me to rate this 5-Star, please do the following:
1. Put the Shutter and Aperture mode back in this camera
2. Give me flash exposure control
3. Give me a battery charger
4. And, give it to me for no more than $349
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102 of 106 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Travel Zoom, April 27, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
Okay, this is going to be a multiple day review over a period of time.

Day 1 - First impressions. I am upgrading from a much loved Panasonic TZ3. I have thoroughly enjoyed this 10X travel zoom since the day I bought it and the travel zoom style definitely fit my needs. I was less interested in upgrade for the zoom than I was the low light. I had always been disappointed with the Panasonic low light which seemed to fall to pieces above ISO 800 and not look that great at 400.
Enter the HX20V. Like some of you, I had read and read and read reviews and everything seemed to indicate that this Sony camera had the answer to my low light issues. When I read all the other amazing aspects of this camera, I decided to try it out. The reviews were right. This thing takes amazing low light photos. With IA+ I have seen photos at ISO's I wouldn't have dared come out looking quite nice on my 52 inch screen. I have taken many shots in total darkness in IA+ mode and had the multi-shot process make it look almost like a normal daytime photo. Yes, if you zoom a lot you can see both softness and noise when you pixel peep, but bottom line, I don't believe there is a point and shoot this small that does better.

Other first impressions. It's not as pretty as the Panasonic line. I don't know, something about the Pana black and steel look that I just love. This Sony is pure black and a little ugly in its indistinctness. It looks all muscle and business, but I am starting to get used to it. And it's what's on the inside I bought it for anyway. The look of the Pana was just a bonus.

I will say that the build quality does not feel as solid as my old TZ3 or even the new ZS19/20/TZ30. Still it seems to be of high enough quality it will last. Just a little less solid and more plastic feeling than the Panasonic.

The pop up flash is as annoying as people have described. In fact, I thought I would have to take it back since I REALLY like the stability keeping my finger their gives me. Still, the photo quality in low light, the video, and the zoom have convinced me to recondition myself on how to hold my camera. It's totally worth it.

The menu system took some getting used to, especially after the Panasonic menu I was used to. Now I am starting to love it. Things seem pretty organized and easy to see on the LCD (which is vibrant). I have to say, some of the Panasonic quick menus were more intuitive and easy to get to than the Sony, but I can definitely see getting used to the Sony menu system and some things are placed better on the Sony.

I like most the buttons on the Sony compared to the Panasonic approach. Particularly, I like the movie button on the Sony. The dial on the HX20V is bigger and less stiff than the ZS19 out of the box. The onboard help is actually, pretty helpful!

In addition to being a little uglier, it's a tad heavier and larger than my old TZ3, which was a bitter pill seeing Panasonic reduce size on the ZS20. I would have liked a smaller camera, though truthfully the TZ was never a problem and this one is only a fraction bigger and heavier. It fits in the same camera case I am used to, so it really makes no difference to me.

I will post more as I use this wonderful device and try to get some sample photos to you as I get used to it. I have to say, I am glad I got it so far and think I will enjoy it for many years. 4 Stars only for the popup flash positioning and the bulkier, more plastic build. Everything else is fantastic!

Finally, Amazon and JR Music World got it to me in record time, well packed, in good working order, without any hitches. Thank you both for excellent service.

Update 05/05/2012

I have been putting this camera through its paces for a couple of weeks now and can say I absolutely love it. I am actually finding this is the first time I can treat a travel zoom as a true point and shoot. I am coming to trust the IA+ mode pretty thoroughly. Even on other more manual settings I let it auto select the ISO. Something I didn't dare do with my TZ3. Part of the reason is that the higher ISO settings do SO well on this camera, the other part is the Sony firmware does a really good job at selecting the best settings for a given situation. I have also used digital zoom for the first time on a camera...and while I still think it may be better to limit yourself to just optical zoom, for now I am enjoying trying it out and getting some decent photos. As far as my cons, I am still getting used to the pop up flash and yes I still block it accidentally, but then I need the flash so rarely it doesn't matter. The other annoyance is the movie button because I keep hitting the shutter button to start it and it reminds you that you need the other button. I know they had to do it in order to allow the photo capture during movie record (what a handy feature at sporting events btw.) But they could have made the shutter button the primary for starting and added a button for capture.

Both of these are minor annoyances given the camera's performance. One last thought before I go. I saw a lot of Dad's with the full DSLRs at the track meet today and while I can say I did have some justified envy, I enjoyed gloating about how much performance I was getting out of such a small and convenient package without switching lenses. I had a heck of a lot more camera packed in a much smaller space that could be easily tucked away. And with the 10 FPS continuous capture, I felt almost like I had a DSLR (well not quite, but close). Oh, if I could have a wish Sony? Don't limit me to 10 photos. Do it like Panasonic did and make it 10fps for the first 10 and then slower after that if you have to.
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71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Gem by Sony!, April 27, 2012
By 
PB2 (Chicago, Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
Overall, this is a terrific, feature-laden compact camera. I have a Sony HX9V also and this is a nice, although small upgrade. The still photo quality isn't that much improved from the previous HX9V even though the pixel count is now at 18.2MP(as a matter of fact, most of the time, you can hardly see any difference at all, esp. when you print the photos). The video portion (now w/AVCHD 2.0) now has 1080p at 60fps which is very nice and looks amazing on a big HDTV (24p recording is also available). One of the biggest improvements seems to be the increase in zoom range--now at 20X. You can also view 3D images on the lcd screen now (without 3D glasses) which is cool. Build quality seems to have gone down a little bit....when compared to the HX9V....it's lighter and there's no chrome or metal trim...making it look "cheaper" and less elegant. However, overall, I'd say this is probably one of the best compact cameras in the market right now. If you already have a HX9V, it might not be worth the money to upgrade (esp. if your priority is still photo capability). However, if you need longer zoom and better video, it should definately be worth checking it out.
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moon Craters! This camera captured it! See my uploaded pics!, May 4, 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
Check my uploads on the 'View and share related images' link below the main pic, for some reason they are not showing up on the 'See all the images' link. Just got this camera and its amazing. Casually snapped some pictures of the moon last night and was shocked to see moon craters in the image! This 18.2MP 20xZoom is ASTOUNDING! On the other end of the spectrum I did some macro photography and the level of detail is equally astounding. Check out my uploaded images of grains of sand, the end of a screwdriver and a faucet. Keep in mind I had to greatly crop these images and size to upload to Amazon, the part showing is just a small section of a huge picture. the real full pictures are the best I've ever achieved with any camera. There are so many other great features, like night time shooting, etc that I may review later. For now I will let the images speak for themselves. I LOVE THIS CAMERA!

Recommendations:

for only $4, I recommend this battery charger for the cameras battery, includes car charger, works great:
SONY NP-BG1, NP-FG1, NPBG1 NPFG1 Battery Charger for Sony DSC-W Series Camera Models

For an extra Battery I recommend the NP-FG1 battery - it shows the remaining minutes on your camera display, the camera comes with an NP-BG1, the NP-FG1 is a new model of the battery.
Sony NP-FG1 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack for Select Digital Cameras
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars nice camera with many features, June 3, 2012
By 
This review is from: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V is my first experience with a Sony digital camera. For years I have had interest in owning a Sony digital camera but was turned off by their usage of proprietary memory sticks. This camera, though, can be used with several standard types of flash media including SD, SDHC, SDXC, micro SD, and micro SDHC in addition to Sony's memory stick media. All will work for still images and video except only Mark 2 Sony memory sticks or other media rated Class 4 or higher should be used for video. You have many choices, and no flash media comes with the camera, so plan on purchasing some form of memory media along with your camera. For testing purposes, I used a SanDisk class 10 SDHC memory card for this review.

The camera arrives securely and well-packaged with a carrying strap, Lithium ion rechargeable battery, USB connecting cable, and an AC adapter for usage with the USB cable. A detailed printed manual is provided, although an electronic manual is also installed in the camera's memory that can be viewed on its LCD screen.

The camera itself feels solid. Another reviewer commented about it feeling cheaply made, but that was not my impression at all. To me it feels sturdy yet very compact. I like its black color. When it is turned on the lens telescopes outward, and when turned off the lens fully retracts into the camera and is protected by a built-in lens cover. The LCD display screen on the back is huge and provides very vivid previews of photos or video. Controls are well-placed and easy to operate. Much of the camera function is quite intuitive. The battery and memory card are easy to access, and the bottom of the camera is threaded for installation onto a standard monopod or tripod.

The camera has a preloaded software program, "Play Memories Home", that can be downloaded and installed onto your computer from the camera. You cannot download this software from the internet, so you must connect your camera to your computer to install it. The manual tells you that you need to install Play Memories Home on your computer to import AVCHD movies to your computer (this is the default format for movies shot with this camera). I found this not to be true, however. You can import movies to your computer with freeware such as Google's Picasa (which cannot play the movie) and you can play the movie or convert it to another format with the standard Windows Media Player. Play Memories Home is not compatible with a Mac computer, but it is not needed for Mac. Even after downloading and installing the additional features for Play Memories Home I found it to be very basic software at best and not useful at all for photo or video editing. Picasa is a far better choice for importing, organizing, and optimizing your photos, and Windows Live Movie Maker (also free) is an easy way to view, convert, and optimize your videos. Of course none of these would compare with other software that you might purchase, but they can handle basic functions quite well.

As for photo-taking, the Sony Cyber-shot is capable of taking some very nice photos with good color balance even in low light situations. Its 18.2 megapixel resolution allows you to take photos that would be more than suitable for printing. The camera can also shoot video in high-definition. The cost for this high resolution, though, is very slow processing speed between photos. Even using a class 10 SDHC memory card it took a few seconds after taking a photo before I could preview it on the LCD screen. Compared with my Canon Powershot camera this seems like an eternity. The photos and video I took, though, looked very good even in low light. The 20x optical zoom is quite amazing, and I was impressed with the image stabilization despite using the zoom at higher levels. There are numerous settings available to shooting photos with different effects including a watercolor effect, illustration effect, partial color, and panorama along with adjustments to ISO, color saturation, contrast, sharpness. Since I have Adobe Photoshop I have little need for and did not test those functions, but they are available for those who want to use them.

Shooting video is extremely easy. You aim and push a button. Video starts automatically and can be stopped or restarted with the push of the same button. You can also take still photos while shooting video. The video resolution is very good for such a small camera, and the video is not at all choppy. As mentioned previously, it records in high-definition. Sound is recorded, too, although sound from usage of the telescoping lens control will also be recorded and is very audible. There is no way to attach a separate microphone to defeat this problem. This camera is not going to replace a digital camcorder by any means in terms of quality or capability, but it does make recording video quick and easy.

An unusual feature with this camera is a built-in GPS function. The manual says very little about it, but it alludes to recording information about the route taken while carrying the camera. I really don't know why anyone would want or use this feature. According to the manual the GPS function consumes battery life but there is a way to turn it off in the camera settings to prevent this. I leave it turned off in mine.

My main complaint with this camera is the built-in flash. It is located on the top left of the camera and pops up out of the camera when a flash is needed. As such it completely eliminates the ability to hold the camera with a finger on the top left like one would normally hold a camera this small. Therefore it is awkward to hold the camera steadily while taking pictures. I would love to grab the Sony engineer who came up with this design and ask "what were you thinking?" This is the primary reason I docked the rating a star. With better flash design this camera would have been a 5-star camera.

In summary, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V digital camera is a feature-packed pocket camera with all the bells and whistles that most would ever want or need for a competitive price. The more I use it the more I like it, even though I do have to alter how I hold the camera to contend with the pop-up flash. With better flash design it would be a very tough camera to beat, but those willing to modify how they hold the camera will be rewarded with very good photos and video.
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62 of 71 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plusses and minuses, July 18, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
I was looking for a small high-zoom camera that can double as an HD camcorder. My impressions so far are as follows:

Pro's
* The 20X zoom is good (but note that the minimum focal distance to your subject is about 6 feet when zoomed in all the way).
* The image stabilizer in this camera does a good job of compensating for motion.
* USB charging is convenient; I don't like carrying around a power adapter brick.
* Battery life has been good so far.
* I found the flash to be plenty bright for indoor shots, much brighter for example than the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS19 Digital Camera, Black

Con's
* The small F3.2 aperture usually requires a flash when used indoors. Low-light images otherwise turn out very grainy and have yellow or green splotches.
* Indoor video recording also requires very bright lighting conditions or the video is also grainy/splotchy. The lighting that the camera requires for video is much higher than that required for still photos, and is about double that of the usual camcorder (plus the camera has no light as you might find on a camcorder).
* I don't like the physical location of the flash; it pops up right where I tend to hold the camera.
* I don't like the position of the micro-USB connector on the bottom of the camera which requires that I sit the camera on its lens or on its back while charging, and also makes it impossible to use external power when attached to a tripod. Also note that the micro-USB connector does not plug in all the way.
* Severe ghosting occurred on night shots of bright objects. For example, I counted about a dozen ghost images when I took a picture of a post lamp (see attached image).

In summary, the camera can double as a camcorder in daylight conditions, but a camcorder (or camera with a wider aperture) would be better for indoor or night photography. Unfortunately most camcorders don't have decent still photo resolution (check the gross pixel count, not the number of extrapolated artificial pixels printed on the side of the camcorder), hence I'm still looking for the perfect camera that can do both.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast and easy to use; reliable, superb quality images and video, August 3, 2012
By 
This review is from: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
This was not purchased through Amazon (see below), and it was for my wife, not me, but we've been evaluating it closely together for the last two months.

This camera is fabulous for a small unit that is very quick and easy to use, and produces phenomenally good images, both still and video, without spending hours or days researching and learning the modes. This review is from the viewpoint of someone who wants and knows high quality images but does not have the time or desire to bury themselves in the minutia of how, why, which button or mode or the myriad of other tradeoffs the more technically oriented users might want. The HX20V powers on quickly, frames the image quickly, and gets the shot in very high quality with no fuss.

My wife had been using a 2005-era Olympus that was no longer working reliably but that she had grown to know and rely on, being able to take photos basically by touch and having most of them turn out well. I did the research and narrowed it down to 4. She reviewed them and I went out to the local Best Buy and bought two: this one, and the Canon SX260HS. She spent an hour with each one doing basic configuration, taking a variety of stills and videos under varying conditions, uploading and editing the photos and videos, and evaluating the results. It didn't take long for her to tell me to take the Canon back.

Since then she has logged about 1,000 photos and a few hours of video and even I have to say (as a long-time Minolta and now Sony DSLR user), the image quality is astounding for such a small camera. It is serious competition for even recent DSLRs in many respects, and well beyond them in others (such as video, and of course size and weight). I would say that over 80% of all photos are well exposed and focused and framed, maybe more. There are almost no throwaway images at all, which has never been the case for a point-and-shoot camera.

The reasons for choosing the Sony:

* Image quality, video quality. They are superb. She has tried a number of the modes and ends up staying with the "Intelligent Auto" mode which has produced outstanding photos under a wide range of conditions. The Canon was more often fooled and made poor exposures on the same (contrasty) scenes in a default mode. To avoid that, it required more mode selection or adjustment. Either way, it means more shots are missed.

* Simple menu system, very easy to get to the basic settings. Here is where the Canon really fell down. These cameras have so many features that it takes a very well-designed menu system and user interface to not get in the way. The Canon system is non-intuitive and definitely got in the way. Sony's, while equally complex and deep, made the important controls easily accessible and intuitively named.

* Fast! Everything is fast. Power on is fast (under a second), autofocus is fast and accurate, shutter lag is short. Something happens and in under a second from cold start you have taken the picture, and if already on it is a small fraction of a second. Intuitively it is close to immediate.

* Videos uploaded easily to iMovie and could be immediately edited in full HD resolution. iPhoto (latest release) now supports the AVCHD format as well so importing can be done to either one.

These high points have little to do with the usual detailed technical review. The advantage of the HX20V is how fast and easy it is to use, combined with the very high quality of images and video. This was the bottom line. A scene unfolds: will you get the shot? With the Sony, there's a much higher likelihood. There's no digging around in the menu system at all. The camera stays in Intelligent Auto mode 90+% of the time and that's not just a simplifying tradeoff -- this mode really does consistently produce outstanding quality images.

One con we've found so far is that it is pretty easy to block the flash from rising while holding the camera with your left hand. Another is that we haven't yet quite figured out when the USB cable does or does not charge the battery so a couple of times we thought it was charging but wasn't. It appears to need more amperage over USB than some standard chargers (for other products) provide. It would be nice to have a separate charger, but OTOH it's one fewer thing to carry around and reduces weight.

Another thing that's kind of halfway between pro and con is that the Intelligent Auto mode will sometimes decide to take 4-6 quick images in succession to make an HDR, and that is sometimes surprising to hear all those clicks not knowing what is going on. But wow, the results.... and I'm quite a skeptic that HDR can be done well without dedicated software, but this unit is proving otherwise.

Most of the flashy features are just not very useful. She doesn't use any creative modes, and few other major modes. Face recognition appears to be useful, but smile trigger is not.

This camera is just superb for taking outstanding quality photos and video, with standard settings out of the box, very short lags, and high photo yield. It is great for a person who wants very high quality results with little effort. For someone whose requirements are substantially different, this review is likely to be less relevant.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Improved over HX9V but has new flaws, September 22, 2012
By 
RIK (Bay Area, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
Compared to its predecessor - HX9V, this camera improves the following
1. Takes better pictures consistently (there was no washing out of pictures I observed in the previous generation)
2. Flash still pops up but there is a slight sloping area where you can train yourself to rest your fingers
3. Buttons are improved (one can easily tell buttons apart in the dark and they are not too flush with the body)
4. Zoom is improved (20x as opposed to 16x) as is MP (18 insted of 16)
5. Has macro focus

but some old problems still persist
1. Panorama mode is still not as easy as with older Casio models like EX-ZR100. Sony gives you a fixed buffer that you have to fill in, instead of making a full panoramic picture based on when you stop, so if you don't fill in the full buffer you get black bars.
2. External charger is extra and charging requires resting the camera on the lens or the LCD side - a bit awkward
3. Compared to competitors (ex. Panasonic DMC ZS20) its thicker and bulkier

and some new bugs have been introduced
1. Video's (AVCHD best quaality) have lines in the last frame when played on Windows Media Player on Windows 7 (there is no clean ending of the movie)
2. The piece I got had a mysterious small black circle show up in lower left side of many pictures even when the lens was clear. I'm attributing that to a defective piece and not a model defect.
3. Battery went from full charge to 0 in a week without any usage, preventing the camera from even starting. Not sure if that is a general problem or just happened with this piece.

Overall the camera is nice and has fancy features like 20x optical zoom, HD video, GPS, 3D pics in a pocket size body with an InCamera guide but given its high price I'd not expect any of the above mentioned basic problems.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing camera, July 13, 2012
This review is from: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
Another update:
I was at the Sony Style store yesterday and played with the just announced new Sony RX100 point and shoot, MSRP $649. I think it's worth it. Reason:
1) a humongous 1 inch sensor with 20MP, not the usual/typical APS C size sensor. What this means is that it can take very sharp pictures in low light conditions.
2) And comes with a F1.8 lens, don't think there is another point and shoot with such a bright lens. Again, great for low light situation.
3) From what I can see, it has most of the automatic features found in the HX-20/30 (the one I bought a month ago)

I still recommend the HX-20V for being very feature laden and taking very very good pictures. Especially the 20x zoom as compared to the new RX100 with 3.6x zoom. The RX100's zoom is a compromise Sony had to make considering the huge 1" sensor that will require longer and bigger diameter lens asembly to get the high zoom.
And here's the "but", if you are thinking about buying a DSLR,buy the RX100. The zoom is roughly equivalent to the low end DSLR kit lens but this one will most likely take a lot better pictures. Consider that most Point and shoots and even low end interchangeable lens cameras have a sensor that is approximately 1/3 to 1/2 inch sensors verses the RX100 with a 1 inch sensor. It's like comparing the old film 35mm cameras to the APS-C size film cameras.
And for those that want to do a lot of post-processing, the RX100 can save the pictures in JPEG and RAW at the same time.

Updated Review:

Absolutely impressive point and shoot that exceeds performance and quality of lots of DSLRs.

I'm a Pro-sumer with extensive photography experience with Nikon and Canon SLRs and DSLR. My crown jewel is a Nikon F2AS with MD-2 motor drive (for those that go back to the film days, still takes great pictures).

Granted if you setup your camera for a specific shot, a DSLR like the new Nikon D7000 will get better results but with the HX-20V, it is very easy to take a very good picture. The HX-20 results in a better picture than you expected when you took the picture. I was actually going to buy the Nikon D7000, until I played with the HX-20V. I may still buy the Nikon D7000 when the price comes down a little (now around $1400).

The HX-20 has a lot more capability and performance than my HX-5V that I've been using for travel and snap shots.

It automatically adjusts for the various lighting conditions for the picture. Especially amazing is the 20x zoom (500mm telephoto), with anti-blur capability that I used to take a picture of Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) from the last seat way above the stands on the third base side. With the 20x zoom I got a full frame stop motion picture of Clayton just as he released the ball. Just a hint of blur from his hand and ball. That's a ball going around 100mph at release.

Also, the low light capability without flash is amazing with very good skin tones. Specialty shots like e.g., on the Las Vegas strip is great where it takes consecutive shots and blends the dark background shots and the bright close in shots (with flash) of people and combines the shots into a very good composite picture with clear background. I use to take shots with a Canon DSLR and had to photoshop the same type of shots to bring out the background to match the people in the foreground. A big pain and still does not produce as good a quality picture as the HX-20.

There are an abundance of additional capabilities that I have not mentioned.

The one last point is a complaint I hear from friends that say a point and shoot cannot select manual mode like F stop and speed (like the new Canon S100 can), but on the HX, you can do both unlike most point and shoots.

If you are considering getting the HX, don't get the HX-10, which is a mild update of the HX-9 with the new sensor. The HX-20 and HX-30 are completely new cameras with a lot more capability and performance. I'd say you get a lot more camera if you compare it with a DSLR like the Canon T3i/T4i and Nikon D-5100. The kit lens from these DSLRs are only (3x, 18-55mm), which is way less than HX-20 zoom (20x, 25-500mm). If you really want a DSLR go get a Canon 60Da or a Nikon D-7000.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little camera. Better than the HX9V in many ways., June 5, 2012
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This review is from: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model) (Electronics)
Sony makes a great point and shoot camera. I already have the HX9V, and just bought the HX20V. There are a lot of differences and improvements to the new camera. I have several Panasonic Cameras and have the new Panasonic ZS20 20X point and shoot camera as well. I like some things about the Panasonic, such as the priority modes and the different burst rates. The Sony is unbeatable in video and low light shooting. When set to iAuto plus in low light the camera takes 6 pictures and combines them into one photo. The result is hard to beat. In daylight conditions the Sony and Panasonic take excellent pictures and it is hard to call a winner. With the Sony you can do a burst of 10 shots, but that is it. Then it starts downloading them. With the Panasonic you can do a burst of 10 pictures at 10 frames per second, wait a second, do another burst of 8, wait a second do another burst of 8, and so on. In the 5 fps Auto focus mode the camera will take 100 shots without stopping at the 5 fps rate. Below is the main differences between the Sony HX9V and the Sony HX20V.

The differences between the two cameras. The HX20V is better in these ways.

Video still image size can be set at 13mp or 3mp picture size. The HX9V has 3mp picture size only.

3 way stabilization instead of 2

GPS loading much faster and it works inside

Better video

Better pictures

Aperture and Shutter controls much easier to use in Manual

On/Off switch much easier to use

GPS Logging

Live mode in iA and iA plus
Can adjust Brightness, Color, and Vividness. Also several other modes are available. Part Y (yellow), Part B (blue), and Part G (green) and Part R (red) are available. If set for Part G (Green) for
example, the picture will be black and white except for anything Green in the photo. The same goes for the other colors or parts. Soft High Key Mode, Pop Mode (enhanced colors), and Toy Mode.

Clear Image Zoom Up to an additional 20X zoom

In Shooting Settings

Mike Reference level adjustment, either Standard or Low

Eco Mode

Airplane Mode

P Mode

Picture Effect Modes. HDR Painting, Rich Tone Monochrome, Miniature, Toy Camera, Pop, Part, Soft High Key, Watercolor, and Illustration.

ISO setting to 12,800 ISO

In the P mode the camera will take pictures as fast as you can push the shutter with no delay.

Quick startup. Just over a second from turn on to 1st picture

Self Timer

Self timer for Auto Bracketing. You can Auto bracket or self timer Auto Bracket.

Self timer for Continuous shooting. The camera will take 10 shots at 10fps.

Also has self timer for 1 person or two people but HX9V has that as well.

Big difference. Once you set the self timer, say for 2 seconds, it will remember that for each picture till you turn the timer off. You don't have to program the self timer after each picture like you do with the HX9V. It stays at a self timer of 2 seconds even if you shut off the camera.

Manual Mode

Aperture can be set to either f/3.2 or f/8. The Shutter can be set from 30 seconds to 1/1600 second.

Aperture f/3.2 vs f/3.3 for HX9V

Flash works much better in the HX20V. It does not overexpose like the flash on the HX9V does.

The focus is much faster.

The time for video to start running after pushing the video button is much faster.

20X zoom verses 16X for the HX9V

Main Dial much easier to move. One thumb is all you need. To move the dial on the HX9V I needed two fingers.

Features of both the Sony HX9V and HX20V

Great low light shooting in the iA + (plus) mode. The camera takes 6 pictures and puts them together in a single shot. The pictures in low light look well lit and with no or little noise.

SCN Mode

Great HDR mode

Panoramic Mode can't be beat. Can set the camera for HD Panoramic picture. Book says the file size is 46mb. Shoot in the Portrait mode for the largest pictures.

Soft Snap to blur the background with the object in sharp focus. A really cool feature.

Night Portrait. Great for a picture of someone with a lit background.

Night Scene. Great low light shots with a tripod

Hand Held Twilight. Great for low light shots with no tripod. The camera takes 6 shots and produces one picture from them. The output is fantastic with low noise and excellent low light shots.

Many controls in the Program Mode. You can select Vivid and add more contrast, color and sharpness in that mode. The ISO can be set to as high as ISO 12,800. I normally set the ISO in Auto and let the camera decide what it needs.

There may be more differences between these two cameras. Both are great and have more controls on the picture than most point and shoot cameras have. You can't go wrong with either one.
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