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Customer Review

555 of 575 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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Showing 21-30 of 102 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2012 8:06:18 AM PDT
Gorkel says:
Manual mode is not useless on the HX20. Although you don't have the same latitude as you may with a DSLR, You can take the Sony down to a 30 second shutter while manipulating the aperture and ISO too. I've already done celestial shots with Sony.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2012 2:20:57 PM PDT
LRH says:
Manual mode is totally worthless, and even being generous, definitely not $400worth of camera. Manual mode allows shutter and ISO control, but F stops is reduced to either maximum or minimum ranges per any given focal length. Therefore,it is a real stretch of imagination to call it manual given your lack of control of Fstops. However, for those who shoot primarily in auto, the Sony does a decent job for most situations, but zooming in drastically reduces quality fast.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2012 2:36:39 PM PDT
Thanks for the clarification. I did not know about that, and now I would be of the same opinion. Also, I have not heard of the "fast reduction" in quality under zoom, but that is also interesting, and would have to compare hands-on vs. another camera to decide. All zooms deteriorate, but I would compare in-store, for that would be a real deal breaker : why buy a long zoom if it rapidly loses sharpness. The more I read of the sx260 vs HX20, the more I am happy with my Lumix ZS15 for over $100 less ! But as always, still looking and still reading everything I can find.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2012 4:16:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 16, 2012 4:19:55 PM PDT
LRH says:
I really like Best Buy, or Amazon, becasue they both have great return policies. I did exactly that. Bought both of the above mentioned cameras, and took them home where I could really try them uot under real life shooting conditions. Both cameras have their strength and weakness's, but the Canon is $100 less. As I mentioned earlier, the Sony is superior in terms of video, but, in my opinion the Canon offers a better still camera. I think is important to point out that both cameras shoot 1920X1280 HD video, so you'll probably want a high capacity SD card for either. Personally, I think of a Camera as a camera with video as an extra....just like video cameras are primarily for video, with the ability to shoot stills as an extra. With this philosophy in mind, my major requirement for a camera is that the photo quality be great. It is only my opinion, but I do have a strong preference of the Canon when discussing stills. I have not reviewed the Panasonic ZS yet, but, I might be looking into it soon. It just might fit the bill for my needs.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2012 11:26:37 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 16, 2012 11:40:48 PM PDT
Eric T. says:
The Canon only records 1920 x 1080 @ 24 fps.. the Sony records 1920 x 1080 @ 60 fps.. I personally think it's not fair to classify the Canon as Full HD when it's only capturing at 24 fps. while the Sony is recording almost 3x the frame rate

The manual mode on this camera does have some adjustments, but it's pretty limited. I have not used much though as I've found it too cumbersome to adjust.

In terms of the zoom, at 20x zoom, some quality is loss not only on this, but pretty much all of these point and shoot camera and even on some of the higher end SLR lens. But I don't think it's that bad where it can cause people to abandon the photo and neither is the Canon SX260. The one thing that does happen is that it's harder to keep the camera steady but I don't think it's the cameras fault. At 40x (digital zoom) you do see some degradation in image quality if you blow it up on a 11x17 paper. Canon does go up to 81x digital zoom, and there is quite a bit of image quality loss at this zoom.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 7:01:08 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 17, 2012 7:02:59 AM PDT
LRH says:
If you are reviewing Canons website, then yes, the website shows a video of 1080X720, but I assure you that in the settings menu of the Canon, you can select 1920 as its max res. You are correct thought wth the 24fps. To be fair though, in my previous post, I did say the Sony is a superior video camera if that is your main focus. There is no question that the Sony takes a better video. Concerning the manual modes adjustments of the Sony, well, the "limited" adjustments, effectively make the manual mode almost useless.... or to be more accurate, they should call it more like Shutter Speed Priority control. That would be a better description. I dont knock the camera- either one. Some will be very happy the Sony and Soem with the Canon. Personally, I liked the size and feel of the Sony over the Canon which is small.... perhaps just a little too tiny for me- a large guy. I feel like Im holding onto something tiny and delicate. IN straight forward photo quality though, I felt much comfortable with the Canons output.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 11:25:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 17, 2012 2:16:58 PM PDT
Eric T. says:

The Canon does record at 1920 x 1080 but only at 24 fps

I don't do much manual with this or the Canon because (as you say and I whole heatedly agree) the limited adjustments its a non issue with me as I don't use it. I think its just there as better than nothing ...

I do agree, with your opinion that the Canon is much better in photo quality, which is why I primarily carry my Canon. I would carry my Sony as a backup to my DSLR (which is a Canon). I bought the Sony at Fry's at a spur of the moment (if I would've bought it at Best Buy, I would have returned it) and they charge a 20% else I would have returned it..

Posted on Jun 18, 2012 1:56:35 PM PDT
Has anyone taken panoramic shots or used the slide panoramic feature? I am taking a huge vacation; once in a lifetime trip and I love panoramic photos. I've also been trying to compare it with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 but not a lot of reviewers talk in depth about panoramic images.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 3:04:59 PM PDT
Eric T. says:
Sony calls it the i Panoramic mode. You turn the dial and select this mode, press the button and move the camera left to right. Canon use the stitch mode. you take a picture, move it to the right, align it and take another picture. I was able to stitch 10 snapshots before I stopped.

Personally, I like the Canon version better; it's a matter of preference. The reason I like the Canon is because after each snap shot you can easily align the next snap shot. Whereas with the Sony, you hit the button and pan across. So if you sneeze or twitch, you have to start over again. But if you have a steady hand or plan on using a tripod, then these nuance may not matter.

Posted on Jun 30, 2012 11:57:15 PM PDT
seepresley says:
In terms of low light and general indoor pictures of children and pets, do you have a preference between the 2? I am one of those people who will be shooting on auto mode, and I've heard the Sony almost always picks the correct mode. I'm currently using an Olympus Stylus 14 MP with 7x wide optical zoom, f1.3-5.9. What kind of aperture should I be looking for? Thanks in advance!