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Sony Cyber-Shot® DSC-HX20V

18-megapixel digital camera with 20X optical zoom and built-in GPS

2 Reviews

Item # 158DSCHX20

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Our take on the Sony Cyber-Shot® DSC-HX20V

Just because you want a lightweight, easy-to-use camera to take on your next vacation doesn't mean you need to buy a camera that's light on features. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V uses GPS technology to tag your travel pics with location information, captures clear detailed photos even at dusk, and lets you catch blur-free shots of all the active people and pets in your life.

Add even more fun to your vacation

Just because you want a lightweight, easy-to-use camera to take on your next vacation doesn't mean you need to buy a camera that's light on features. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V uses GPS technology to tag your travel pics with location information, captures clear detailed photos even at dusk, and lets you catch blur-free shots of all the active people and pets in your life.

Get closer to the people you love

The 20X optical zoom lens gets you close to distant subjects in photos and videos, so you won't miss a thing on your trip. And the camera finds the faces in your frame, tracks them, and automatically adjusts its settings to give you crisp, attractive photos of friends and family. Capture fleeting smiles with the help of "smile shutter" mode, which automatically snaps a picture when it spots a grin. If your subject starts to squint as you take a photo, an anti-blink function snaps two quick shots, and then records only the one with your subject's eyes wide open.

The Sony Cyber-shot® DSC-HX20V

The Sony Cyber-shot® DSC-HX20V has a wealth of technology beneath its surface

Sunsets and candlelit dinners never looked so good

You've probably tried to capture those romantic dinners or dimly lit parties before, and not only blinded everyone with your flash, but made everyone look more like they were in a police mug shot than having a good time. With the advanced CMOS sensor built into the DSC-HX20V, twilight is no longer something to be feared. The camera performs well in low light situations, making your party pictures look natural and fun. And your hand-held images will be rock-stable, thanks to the Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization with 3-way active mode. It enhances Sony's regular SteadyShot technology by additionally compansating for the effects of clockwise/counter-clockwise rotation on your shot.

3D Panoramic photos and 1080/60p HD movie mode

This camera boasts plenty of other cool features, too. You can create 3D panoramic photos that reach beyond the scope of an ordinary wide-angle lens by sweeping the camera horizontally or vertically across your scene — the 'HX20V stitches several images together in-camera to form one seamless 3D photo that you can check out on your 3D TV when you get home. A Sweep Multi Angle mode allows you to take a 3D still image and use the camera's LCD to view all the extra image depth without special glasses — simply tilt the camera back and forth to change your perceived viewing angle. The DSC-HX20V also offers an impressive HD movie mode, which lets you shoot ultra-high-definition 1080/60p footage that'll look great on your HDTV.

    • 18.2-megapixel effective recording
    • 20X optical zoom (40X with Clear Image interpolation)
    • records photos and video onto optional SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards, and Memory Stick® PRO Duo™ media
    • high-resolution 3" LCD screen (921,000 dots)
    • delivers 1080/60 progressive frames-per-second HD video
    • 35mm equivalent lens focal length: 27.5-550mm (16:9 still mode)
    Special Features:
    • built-in GPS receiver and compass record the location and direction of photos for photo-mapping (with included software)
    • Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization with 3-way Active mode adds stabilization in clockwise/counter-clockwise directions
    • 3D panorama mode assembles several images into one continuous photo
    • advanced "Exmor R" CMOS sensor for sharp photos even in low light
    • motion detection keeps your photos of moving subjects clean and crisp
    • face detection controls focus and exposure for accurate portraits
    • smile recognition holds shutter response until the camera detects that your subject is smiling
    • anti-blink function captures two images and records the one with the least amount of squinting
    • scene recognition chooses the appropriate scene mode based on your subject and shooting environment
    • Sweep Multi Angle enables the LCD display to show the depth of 3D captured photos by tilting the camera, without special glasses
    • in-camera editing functions for retouching and special effects, including red-eye reduction
    • Background Defocus mode creates eye-catching photos with the subject sharply defined against a blurred background
    Connections and Dimensions:
    • mini HDMI output (HDMI cable not included)
    • high-speed USB interface
    • 4-1/4"W x 2-1/2"H x 1-3/8"D
    • weight (without battery or memory): 7.2 oz.
    • warranty: 1 year
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
    Supplied Accessories:
    • rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-BG1)
    • AC adapter
    • micro USB cable
    • wrist strap
    • software CD-ROM

    Just getting to know this camera and settings. So far I love it.

    Pat F, Hayward, WI

    What's in the Box:

    • Digital still camera (black)
    • Wrist strap
    • NP-BG1 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (3.6 Volts/3.4 Wh/960 mAh) in a plastic case
    • AC-UB10 AC adapter (5 V/0.5 A)
    • 40" USB cable (has Type A USB on one end and a micro USB connector on the other end)
    • Instruction Manual (English/Spanish)
    • Warranty sheet
    • Online registration sheet
    • PlayMemories Home sheet
    • Accessories brochure

    Sony Cyber-Shot® DSC-HX20V Reviews

    Average Customer Review(s):

    (2 Reviews)

    point and shoot

    Pat F from Hayward, WI on 2/2/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Just getting to know this camera and settings. So far I love it.

    Pros: Small enough to carry in my small purse so it is handy all of the time. GREAT ZOOM!!

    Cons: Flash location is something to get used to. Just have to learn to hold the camera differently.

    Great camera

    Marilyn from Clinton, TN on 12/15/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Several days ago my Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V camera arrived in the mail. The first picture taken was a simple "point & shoot" outside that night and I was so pleased with it. The next day, with the camera still set on auto mode, I found the zoom to be amazing. I expected the 20X optical zoom to be fairly sharp, but was shocked at the clarity of the 40X (optical+digital). The in-camera editing is especially nice. There are many features on the camera that remain to be checked, but I am very pleased with the few that I have tried. I wanted a convenient to carry and easy to operate camera that would produce photographs of which I could be proud. Now I think I have found just the camera for that! But, even more than the camera, I recommend the Crutchfield Company. The support and advice of the entire team was tremendous. With their patience, kindess and knowledge used in dealing with the customers, they are by far, the best! Thank you Crutchfield for all your help. Marilyn




    Hands-on research

    Features and Specs

    LCD Screen Size 3"
    Adjustable-angle LCD No
    Wi-Fi No
    Touchscreen No
    Waterproof No
    GPS-enabled Yes
    Lens 35mm Equivalent 25-500mm
    Optical Zoom 20x
    Digital Zoom 2x
    Filter Diameter N/A
    Manual Focusing Yes
    Manual Exposure Yes
    Built-in Flash Yes
    HDMI Output Mini
    Internal Memory 105 MB
    Memory Media Memory Stick PRO Duo + PRO-HG Duo
    Sensor Size 1/2.3" CMOS
    Megapixels 18.2
    Image Stabilization Optical
    Highest Resolution 4896 x 3672
    4K Video No
    Video Resolution 1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720
    Width (inches) 4-1/4
    Height (inches) 2-1/2
    Depth (inches) 1-3/8
    Weight With Battery (ounces) 9
    Parts Warranty 1 Year
    Labor Warranty 1 Year

    Product Research

    Recording Features
    Playback Features
    Battery Information
    Supplied Software

    Recording Features

    3" LCD Screen: The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V digital camera has a 3.0" Xtra Fine LCD display with 921,000 dots. The LCD brightness control lets you set the brightness from 1 (dark) to 5 (bright). The camera does not include a separate viewfinder.

    Dual Media: This camera has 105 MB of internal memory. This camera is also compatible with the following recording media: Memory Stick Duo (still images only), Memory Stick PRO Duo (Mark 2 only for movie recording), Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo, SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards (Class 4 or higher).

    Image Recording Formats: The camera records still images in JPEG format and 3D still images in MPO format. Moving images can be recorded in AVCHD format (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264) with Dolby Digital 2ch audio or MPEG-4 with AAC stereo audio.

    Image Sensor: For optimal image quality, the camera uses a 7.76mm (1/2.3") color Exmor R CMOS image sensor with approximately 18.9-million total pixels and 18.2-million effective pixels.

    G-Series Lens: Designed and manufactured to the highest standards of optical performance, the Sony G-Lens is optimized to perfectly complement the advanced image sensors and image processing technology in Sony's cameras. The DSC-HX20V camera features a wide-angle G-series lens that will widen your view and capture more of the city, landscape, or group portrait.  The lens has a 20x optical zoom and a focal length of 25mm to 500mm (35mm equivalent) for still images, 27.5-550mm for 16:9 movies and 34-680mm for 4:3 movies. It has an aperture range of F3.2 to F8.0 (W) and F5.8 to F14 (T).

    Clear Image/Digital Zoom: In addition to the 20x optical zoom, you can reach higher zoom scales by engaging the Clear Image Zoom or the Digital Zoom, or both. The amount of zoom depends upon the image size as follows:

    Image Size Optical Zoom Digital Zoom
    (includes 20x Optical Zoom)
    Clear Image Zoom Maximum Zoom Scale
    18M 20x 20x 40x 80x
    10M 20x 26x 53x 107x
    5M 20x 37x 75x 151x
    VGA 20x 153x 306x 306x
    16:9 (13M) 20x 20x 40x 80x
    16:9 (2M) 20x 51x 102x 204x

    Optical SteadyShot: With Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, the DSC-HX20V uses a built-in gyro sensor to compensate for shaky hands, minimize blur, brighten images, and allow flash-free shooting to preserve the mood. Active 3-way stabilization reduces camera shake vertically and horizontally, as well as rotational.

    Still Image Sizes: When recording digital still images, the DSC-HX20V allows you to choose from six image sizes:

    • 18M (4896 x 3672)
    • 10M (3648 x 2736)
    • 5M (2592 x 1944)
    • VGA (640 x 480)
    • 16:9-13M (4896 x 2752)
    • 16:9-2M (1920 x 1080)

    Recording Movies: Besides recording still images, you can also record movies in AVCHD or MPEG-4 formats. Available image sizes and movie quality include:

    Movie Format/Quality Average Bit-rate Image Size
    AVC HD PS 28 Mbps 1920 x 1080/60p
    AVC HD FX 24 Mbps 1920 x 1080/60i
    AVC HD FH 17 Mbps 1920 x 1080/60i
    AVC HD HQ 9 Mbps 1440 x 1080/60i
    MP4 12M 12 Mbps 1440 x 1080/30fps
    MP4 6M 6 Mbps 1280 x 720/30fps
    MP4 3M 3 Mbps 640 x 480/30fps

    Note: You can shoot continuously for approximately 29 minutes. Maximum MPEG-4 movie file size is approximately 2 GB.

    Burst/Bracket Modes: The camera offers two multiple-image shooting modes:

    • Burst: The burst mode lets you shoot multiple images when you press and hold down the shutter release. Up to 10 images can be recorded at the highest resolution (18.2M) at approximately 10 frames per second. Focus, White Balance, and Exposure Value (EV) are set with the first image.
    • Bracket: The bracket mode lets you shoot a series of 3 images, each with a different exposure setting--one at normal exposure, one under exposed, and one over exposed. You can select three different step values: 0.3 EV, 0.7 EV, or 1.0 EV. You can also choose a bracket mode with the white balance at normal, shifted toward blue, and shifted toward red.

    Self-Timer: You can set the Self-Timer mode to a 10-second or 2-second delay so you can be in the picture. Other timer modes include two Self-Portrait Timer modes which will capture the image 2 seconds after the face of one person or two people are detected, a self-timer continuous shooting mode (10 continuous frames after 10 second delay), and a self-timer bracket shooting (3 bracket photos, each with different exposures, after 10 second delay).

    Focus Modes: You can select from the following focusing methods:

    • Multi AF: The camera focuses in nine areas around the center of the frame. This method is helpful when your subject is not centered in the frame.
    • Center AF: The camera focuses on a subject in the center of the frame. By pressing the shutter release halfway, you can lock the focus on your subject and recompose your shot with the subject off center.
    • Spot AF: The camera focuses on a very small area in the center of the frame.
    • Semi Manual: The camera automatically focuses quickly on the area around a set distance.
    • Manual: Allows you to focus on the subject manually.

    Tracking Focus: If you are trying to photograph a moving subject, you can use the tracking focus feature to keep the subject in focus as it moves around the frame. If Face Detection and tracking focus are used at the same time, the camera will track a selected face if it is registered with the camera.

    AF Illuminator: The AF (auto focus) Illuminator briefly provides fill light to focus more easily on a subject in dark surroundings. You can set the AF Illuminator to Auto or Off.

    Face Detection: Face Detection technology detects up to eight individual faces and controls flash, focus, exposure, and white balance to deliver accurate, natural skin tones with reduced red-eye. It can also give priority to children or adults. You can also select and register an individual's face to be given priority.

    Anti-Blink Function: The Anti-blink function works to help counter blinking and squinting. When the camera is set to Soft Snap, the Anti-blink function captures two images, recording only the photo with less squinting. If a blink is detected in other shooting modes, a warning will be displayed after you take the shot so you can determine whether or not you need to take another shot.

    Smile Shutter Mode: The Smile Shutter technology automatically detects and captures a smiling face. Simply activate by pressing the Smile Shutter button and the camera will capture a smile the moment it happens. You can adjust the degree of Smile Detection Sensitivity as desired.

    Scene Recognition: Scene Recognition mode automatically detects eight different types of scenes and selects the appropriate camera settings: Portrait, Infant, Night Portrait, Night Scene, Backlight Portrait, Backlight, Landscape, Spotlight, Low Light, and Macro. You can select from Auto or Advanced Scene Recognition modes.

    Shooting Modes: Using the top-mounted Mode Dial, you can select from the following shooting modes:

    • Intelligent Auto Mode (iAuto): Allows you to shoot still images with the settings adjusted automatically.
    • Superior Auto Mode (iAuto+): Allows you to shoot still images with higher quality than with Intelligent Auto mode.
    • Program Auto: Allows you to shoot with the exposure adjusted automatically (both the shutter speed and aperture value). You can also select various settings using the menu.
    • Manual: You can set the exposure manually. The shutter speed can be set between 1/1600 and 30 seconds. The aperture (F value) can be set between F3.2 and F8.0 (Wide Angle) or between F5.8 and F14 (Telephoto).
    • Memory Recall: You can set and store often-used modes and numeric settings for recall at a later time.
    • iSweep Panorama Mode: Multiple images are shot while the camera is moving, and these images are compiled into a single panoramic image.
    • Movie Mode: Allows you to record Full HD AVCHD or MPEG-4 movies with stereo audio.
    • 3D Still Images: Images are recorded using 3D functions and can be played back stereoscopically on a 3D TV.
    • Scene Selection Modes: You can choose from the following Scene Selection modes:
      • Soft Skin: Allows you to shoot faces with smooth-looking skin
      • Soft Snap: Allows you to shoot images with a softer atmosphere for portraits, flowers, etc.
      • Anti-Motion Blur: Shoot indoor shots without using flash.
      • Landscape: This mode is used for shooting landscapes at a distance.
      • Backlight Correction HDR: Shoots 3 images with different exposures and combines them into a single image with a greater range of gradation.
      • Night Portrait: This mode is used for shooting people in the foreground at night.
      • Night Scene: This mode is used for shooting a distant subject at night.
      • Hand-held Twilight: Shoot night scenes with less noise without using a tripod.
      • High Sensitivity: The camera shoots without flash in low light, reducing blur. Any size image available. Sensitivity increased up to ISO 3200.
      • Gourmet: Shoots food arrangements in delicious color.
      • Pet: Allows you to shoot images of your pet with the best settings.
      • Beach: This mode is for shooting at seaside or the lakeside.
      • Snow: This mode shoots whitish scenes brightly.
      • Fireworks: This mode allows you to record fireworks in all their splendor.
      • Advanced Sports Shooting: Allows you to shoot fast movements such as in sports; while the shutter button is pressed halfway, subject motion is predicted and focus is adjusted automatically.
    • Background Defocus: Shoot images with the background out of focus for greater definition of the subject.

    Exposure Compensation: Besides auto exposure, you can adjust the exposure from +2.0EV to -2.0EV in 1/3 stop increments.

    Built-In Flash: The camera's built-in flash features a range of 1' 3-3/4" to 23' 3-5/8" with the zoom set to wide and 4' 11-1/8" to 12' 9-5/8" with the zoom set to telephoto. The flash settings include:

    • Auto: the flash automatically strobes when the surroundings are dark
    • On: the flash strobes with every shot
    • Slow Synchro: the flash is used regardless of the amount of ambient light, but the shutter speed is slower under dark conditions, allowing you to clearly shoot a background that is out of the flash-lit area.
    • Off: the flash does not operate

    Red-eye Reduction: The flash pre-strobes before shooting to reduce the red-eye phenomenon. You can set to Auto (when Face Detection is activated), On, or Off.

    Metering Modes: You can select Spot, Center-weighted, or Multi-pattern Metering. Spot metering lets you adjust the exposure to the subject, even when the subject is a backlit or when there is strong contrast between the subject and the background. Center-weighted metering measures the center of the image and determines the exposure based on the brightness of the subject. When multi-pattern metering is used, the image is divided into multiple regions and metering is performed in each region. The camera judges the subject position and background brightness, and determines a well-balanced exposure.

    White Balance: When the white balance is set to auto, the white balance is set automatically in response to the condition of the subject, and the overall color balance is adjusted. When shooting under special lighting conditions, you can select the settings manually. When using flash, you can select the flash white balance mode. The white balance can also be set to Incandescent, Fluorescent 1 (white fluorescent), Fluorescent 2 (natural white fluorescent), Fluorescent 3 (day white fluorescent), Daylight, Cloudy, Flash, One Push (adjust white balance depending on the light source) or One Push Set (memorizes the basic white color which will be used).

    Grid Lines: The cameras on-screen grid lines make it easy to set a subject's horizontal and vertical position.

    Histogram: A histogram is a graph showing the brightness of an image. The graph display indicates a bright image when skewed to the right side, and a dark image when skewed to the left side.

    In-camera Function Guide: An on-screen function guide text/icon display makes it easy to learn the camera functions that give you greater creative freedom to adjust photo settings. The function guide can be turned on or off as desired.

    Global Positioning System (GPS): The HX20V has a built-in GPS receiver which receives data from multiple Global Positioning satellites orbiting overhead. With the GPS receiver, precise positioning information, including coordinates, can be displayed on the camera and imbedded into the still images and movies you record. In addition, the GPS receiver can automatically adjust the camera's internal clock.

    Date and Time: Each time you take a picture, the camera records the date and time. The date and time are not superimposed on the picture, instead saved in a data file along with the image.

    Playback Features

    View Modes: The Sony DCR-HX20V's View Mode allows you to select your recorded images and movies by date, folder (stills), or folder (movies).

    Auto Orientation: When the camera is rotate to shoot a portrait (vertical) image, the camera records it position change and displays the image in the portrait position.

    Index View: In addition to viewing images one-by-one in full screen, you can view multiple images at once in the index view mode. The index feature lets you to display a total of 16 (4 x 4) or 25 (5 x 5) images.

    Slide Show: The Slide Show function lets you play back images one after the other. You can select from the following slide show effects (Simple, Nostalgic, Stylish, or Active). Each effect has a preset music soundtrack, or you can choose from the 4 selections. A slide show without music can also be chosen. The interval between the pictures can be adjusted, allowing you to choose 1, 3, 5, and 10 seconds or automatic to suit the selected effect. You can select Folder play (all images in the selected folder), All play (all images on the memory card), or This Date (all images from selected date). When repeat is selected, the images are replayed in a continuous loop.

    Playback Zoom: You can enlarge a recorded still image up to 8x the size of the original image. Once the image is zoomed, you can pan left to right and up or down through the image.

    Rotating Images: Recorded images can be rotated 360-degrees in 90-degree increments on the camera's LCD screen.

    Retouching Still Images: You can add effects or make corrections to a recorded images and then record it as a new file while the original image is retained. You can use the following features to edit your recorded images:

    • Trimming: playback zoom is performed on the image and part of the image is cropped
    • Red Eye Correction: corrects the red-eye phenomenon caused by flash
    • Unsharp Masking: sharpens the image within a chosen frame

    Deleting/Protecting Images: You can delete a selected image, or you can delete all the unprotected images at once. In order to avoid accidentally deleting of an image, it can be protected.

    Print Mark: You can place a print mark on still images recorded with this camera. This mark is convenient when you have images printed at a shop that conforms to the DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) standard.

    Battery Information

    Battery Information: The DSC-HX20V is powered by the supplied NP-BG1 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery, or the optional NP-FG1 Lithium-Ion battery. Using the supplied AC-UB10 battery charger, the battery can be fully charged in approximately 175 minutes. Under normal operating conditions, the battery has the following capacity:

    Function Battery Life Number of Images
    Recording Stills Approx. 160 min Approx. 320 images
    Playback Approx. 230 min Approx. 4600 images
    Recording Movies Approx. 75 min ---

    Eco Mode: The Eco Mode lets you conserve battery power by turning the screen off or shutting down the camera automatically after a certain period of inactivity. You can choose from two options of Eco Mode: Standard and Max. The Max setting saves battery power better than when set to Standard by turning off the screen or camera sooner.


    HDMI: The HX20V has a mini-HDMI (Type C) output on the side of the camera for connecting the camera to an HDTV. A mini-HDMI-to-HDMI cable is required to make the connection. If you are connecting to a Sony Bravia TV with Bravia Sync, you can control the camera using the TV's remote control. A 3D-capable TV is required for viewing 3D still images or 3D Panorama Sweep images.

    micro USB : The camera features a single micro USB jack on the bottom of the camera for connecting the supplied USB cable for downloading your photos to your computer or printer, or charging the camera. The interface is USB 2.0 High Speed compatible.

    Supplied Software

    PlayMemories Home: The DSC-HX20V has the following built-in PlayMemories Home software that can be installed on your computer when you connect the camera via USB. With the PlayMemories Home software you can:

    • Import and display images recorded on the camera.
    • View images in your computer by organizing them by shooting date on a calendar.
    • Correct still images (red-eye correction, etc.) print, send images by email, and change shooting date/time.
    • Save and print images with the shooting date inserted.
    • Import photos and movies recorded with location and shooting direction information to a computer and view them with a map which shows their shooting location.
    • Upload images to a network service (internet connection required)
    • Create a disc from AVCHD movies imported to a computer.

      Note: The "PlayMemories Home" software is compatible with Windows 7, Vista, and XP operating systems only. If you wish to play back images on a Mac, you can use applications that are pre-installed on your Mac.

    Our Product Research Team

    At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

    Staff Reviews

    Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

    Good to go, right out of the box

    Written by Ralph Graves, Staff Writer - Creative, on 5/22/2012 10:19:00 AM

    When I check out a camera, I like to just take it out the box, insert the battery, and fire it up. Because I don't want to spend a lot of time learning how the camera works. I want to start taking pictures.

    The DSC-HX20V has a streamlined setup menu that gets the basics out of the way quickly. Within a minute I was ready to start shooting. And I had a lot of choices for my shots.

    It had an extensive scene selection menu, which included automatic adjustments for shooting at the water (where there's a lot of blue), winter (with white snow reflecting harsh light), sports (where the subject's moving fast), and even options for photographing pets, two or more people, and even food!

    The display, even set in standard mode, had lots of detail and crisp, clean imaging, which always helps me set up my shots properly.

    What are the Labs?