Customer Review

546 of 566 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?

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..

Both are nearly identical. The Canon weigh 8.5oz, the Sony 8.8oz

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.

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.

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.

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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Tracked by 14 customers

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Showing 51-60 of 102 posts in this discussion
Posted on Jul 12, 2012 12:58:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 13, 2012 1:39:40 PM PDT
G. F. T. says:
The price difference now between the two only amounts to $36.
I do think you made a very good review! I'm going to go with the Sony because of the NEX 7 And NEX 5N are very good. And I think Sony has really came along way forward in Digital cameras.
Thank you for your straight forward review.
By the way I do have Sony,Canon and Nikon so am not stuck on one brand.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012 9:04:06 PM PDT
Eric T. says:
Don't remind me.. :) .. sometimes it's the consequences one suffer to buy the latest gadget when it first hit the streets :(

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2012 7:17:13 PM PDT
Momof3 says:
Thanks so much for taking the time to compare the two. I've been looking at them and was interested in the panorama mode. This post indicates I can get the same functionality with a little more work from the Canon. I really appreciate the time you took to make this review and follow up with people's questions.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 21, 2012 1:43:27 PM PDT
Beth in AZ says:
I purchased and returned a Panasonic ZS20. While it handles very well (easy to use, logical layout) it's output doesn't equal the Sony's. Neither the video nor the still pictures were as good as what the Sony was able to do. I was very sad to return this camera, because I loved using it, but the pictures had more noise and the video was much darker than the Sony.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 21, 2012 1:48:43 PM PDT
Beth in AZ says:
Dj, we found the exact same thing you did: loved the Panasonic's layout and ease of use, but the picture AND video quality were inferior to that of the Sony.

Posted on Jul 23, 2012 3:34:43 AM PDT
Hi Everyone! Has anyone tested the "Full HD 1080/60p with dual record of stills and movies" capabilities? I'm trying to find a camera that allows me to take photos while filming. Sony seems to one of the only brands that offers this (besides the newer Nikon cameras at $400+). Also, does anyone know if this technology has an actual name? Knowing the name of the feature would make it much easier to search for! Thank you!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 23, 2012 8:11:21 AM PDT
dj says:
Exactly! My ideal would be the Sony picture quality in the Panasonic body.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 23, 2012 8:13:18 AM PDT
dj says:
Tried the NEX 5 and returned it. No viewfinder! :( If I'm going to spend the money and upgrade to a dSLR, that is my deal breaker.

Posted on Aug 3, 2012 5:59:59 AM PDT
K. Threefoot says:
Thanks for the awesome review! These are the 2 cameras I've been trying to decide between. I mainly want the camera as a backup to my dSLR to use to photograph and film my small children when we're at the playground or traveling or at school events, etc. I'll be using it in a variety of lighting scenarios, and, as you know, kids move a lot. I've noticed that the Sony has some cool features, like smile capture and soft skin, which would seem to make it better to get good pictures of people. But if the processing is slow, that would negate those good points. Would you mind telling me which of the two you would use to photograph kids?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2012 6:30:52 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 3, 2012 6:32:47 AM PDT
LRH says:
Its only my opinion, but I feel the Canon sx 260 is the better camera here for a few reasons. First they both take good pictures, but the canon seems to be more of a "camera" than a toy with needless excessive features, while the Sony is just the opposite.... many worthless features- for example ""Soft Skin." Its probably not going to be the main setting yyou will shoot with. The Canon does have something similar, but a little different. It has a "Live View" which is basically a Auto mode which allows you to control; Dark to Light; Nuetral to Vivid; and finally Cool to warm, and you will also get a instant live view of what you photo will look like. The Canon is also cheaper by around $50 and physically smaller (more pocketable).

Review Details



Eric T.
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Location: Antioch, CA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 654