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Sony HX20V Cyber-shot Digital Compact Camera – Expert Review

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V

Rating: ★★★★★

Design

The Sony HX20V is a compact digital camera measuring 106.6 x 61.9 x 34.6mm and weighing 254g. It’s not as lightweight and slim as your average point and shoot travel companion but it’s sturdy build and classical design makes it appear more appropriate to store in a dedicated padded camera bag, rather than your pocket.

It’s well-thought out design enables you to easily hold the camera with the useful rubber grip and the perfectly laid out controls lets you seamlessly shoot your subjects without any fumbling around navigating through menus.

The HX20V comes with a stunning 3-inch, 4:3 aspect ratio LCD display, although it does frustratingly pick up fingers prints very quickly.

Features

Probably the most impressive feature with this model is the 20x optical zoom and image stabilisation. This is a real asset if you want a travel camera without the need for lugging around several different lenses.

The lens provides you with the equivalent of 25mm-500mm, which offers a wide angle that’s perfect for all your landscape and indoor shots and a telephoto lens for all your far distant shots.

The HX20V also comes complete with two auto modes. An intelligent auto mode and a superior auto mode. The IA mode sets the best exposure for your shot and the SA helps reduce any blur and noise.

If you are not one for setting your own aperture, ISO and shutter speed and want to simply select the best preset modes for a particular shot, then you will be pleased to find there are 15 scene modes to choose from.

A particular function I like about this model is the ability to use live histogram which displays brightness levels across the image and the on-screen spirit level, that enables straight horizons during shooting.

Performance

Autofocus is very responsive with the camera constantly adjusting the focus to ensure whatever is in the shot is sharp and crisp.

If you want to shoot something up close, the macro mode allows you to get up as close as 1cm from your subject, reaching perfect focus and effective shallow depth of field to help direct your attention purely on the subject.

When it comes to shooting in low light, I tried to use ISO 1600 or below to avoid any noise appearing in my photos. Anything between ISO 6400 and ISO 12800 had quite a detrimental effect on the quality of the images captured.

If you like shooting video, then the HX20V offers smooth and sharp footage at 1920x1080p at 50fps, with image stabilisation.

You can use zoom during recording as well as special effects to make your footage look more creative too. Focusing during filming works extremely well, picking up fast movement as well as taking in colour and detail too.

If you like to keep a record of where you’ve been whilst filming and shooting, then you’ll like the GPS tagging option that this model offers. Although, be aware that this will drain the battery a lot faster whilst its switched on.

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Pros

  • Solid Build
  • 18.2 Megapixels
  • 20x Optical Zoom
  • Full HD Movies
  • GPS Functionality
  • Incredible Results

Cons

  • Fairly High Price Tag
  • LCD Screen Gets Grubby Quickly

Verdict

The big seller on the Sony HX20V has to be the huge focal range of 25-500mm as well as fantastic quality still and video footage that this model captures.

With its fairly high price tag, you are without doubt, getting a well built incredible travelling camera that has a long zoom range, high resolution, accurate and fast focusing, geotagging, auto/preset modes and most importantly gives you crisp, detailed and vivid results.

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