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Customer Review

108 of 112 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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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 10, 2012 11:04:20 AM PDT
D. Nguyen says:
Do you mind if I ask you what you mean by "10 photo limit"?
Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 7:57:46 PM PDT

in continuous shooting mode you get a max of 10 shots. it isnt that much of a hinderance as you just time your shots so the series starts at the ideal moment. easier than it sounds.

Posted on May 15, 2012 11:15:46 PM PDT
Mr.Rob says:
Hi i have this Camera as well its great fun :) Tip: Just turn the flash off and only turn it on when you need to!

Posted on May 29, 2012 7:33:36 PM PDT
a2b1c3z1 says:
ive been wavering back and forth between the zs20 and the hx20. like you, i also had the zs3, until i broke it out of warranty...
analysis paralysis - give me a reason to buy this over the zs20!

btw - hows the hd video?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2012 4:57:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 5, 2012 5:02:53 PM PDT
Bob W says:
Wish I could help you. Went thru exactly what you are when I got the Panasonic ZS20. There were several reasons I bought it over the Sony one was availability, Sony's weren't out yet. Sad to say a lot of other reasons one of which was processing speed. The Panasonic is extremely fast compared to Sony or Canon. The 10 shot burst limit on the Sony, flash positioning, size, construction & menu structure. To me the Panasonic seems more natural & offers more control. Please don't get me wrong, the Sony is one heck of a camera. One other thing, I think it boils down to personal preference & what's important to you in the long run. Good Luck ! By the way, I'm loving my ZS20, even talked 2 friends into buying one & they are extremely happy. Forgot to mention $ 100 price difference.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2012 6:46:37 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 5, 2012 6:47:22 PM PDT
a2b1c3z1 says:
thanks for the reply, bob.

i went with the hx30, but i was able to get it for less than retail, so the smaller price differential helped me decide in favor of the sony.
loving the 1080p video, which was my primary reason for getting the cam.

enjoy your zs20, which is also a fine camera.
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