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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £215
inc VAT


1/2.3in 10.0-megapixel sensor, 10.0x zoom (38-380mm equivalent), 250g

The H20’s plastic body is the largest and heaviest in this lab test, but not by a huge amount.

For us, the external lens cap is more of an issue. These caps can be irritating when hanging from the camera by the supplied cord, but it can be even more annoying if you don’t use the cord and lose the cap.

On the upside, there’s a 3in screen, and the big lens has the longest telephoto reach here, with a 35mm equivalent to 380mm. However, this comes at the expense of wide-angle shooting; 38mm at the wide end is limiting.

Sadly, Sony hasn’t found room for many buttons. The only extra one aside from the usual suspects activates smile detection, capturing a photo automatically when the subject smiles. This seems to be more responsive than on earlier Sony cameras, but it’s still nothing more than a party trick. As such, giving it a dedicated button seems extravagant, especially when more useful options such as exposure compensation and ISO speed require a trip to the menu. However, we had little cause to access these features, as the automatic mode handled tricky lighting conditions well. There’s also a manual exposure mode, but no priority modes, and manual focus is limited to four preset distances.

The H20’s images are among the best here. Details were impressively sharp right up into the corners of frames, with plenty of definition in subtle textures. There was some evidence of chromatic aberrations, where the red, green and blue elements of the image didn’t line up perfectly, but the problem was slight and rarely noticeable. Noise levels weren’t great, but compared to the other cameras in this test, they were among the lowest. Video is recorded at 1,280×720 and looked excellent.

We’d prefer a wide-angle lens, but if you want to shoot wildlife but not buildings and sweeping vistas, this lens has an advantage, and the camera is up to scratch.

Basic Specifications

CCD effective megapixels10.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.3in
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution230,400 pixels
Optical zoom10.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent38-380mm
Image stabilisationoptical, lens based
Maximum image resolution3,648×2,736
Maximum movie resolution1280×720
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; MPEG-4


Memory slotMemory Stick Pro Duo
Mermory supplied11MB internal
Battery type3.4W 1,000mAh Li-ion
Battery Life (tested)290 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV
Body materialplastic
AccessoriesCombined USB/AV cable

Buying Information


Camera Controls

Exposure modesprogram, manual
Shutter speed30 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/3.5 to f/4.4
ISO range (at full resolution)80 to 3200
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 7 presets, manual
Additional image controlscontrast, sharpness, dynamic range
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus2cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer, smile detect

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