Sony DSC H20 Review

Mid Zoom Digital Cameras

Sony DSC H20 Ease of Use 8
Features 8
Movie Mode 9
Build Quality8
Colours 8
Photo Quality 8
Style 8
Lowlight 8
Macro 8
Value for Money 8
10 Megapixels
10x Zoom
3 inch LCD Screen
107.3 x 68.7 x 47.1mm


The Sony Cybershot DSC H20 gives you plenty of zoom in a compact body. It has 10 megapixels and a 10x optical zoom lens. It can shoot High Definition movies with stereo sound. It is also one of the few cameras that allow the zoom to be used while recording a movie.

Why Buy The Sony DSC H20

If you are looking for extra zoom in a compact body the Cybershot DSC H20 does a solid, all round job. The movie mode is very advanced and I also like the design.

Main Features

LCD Screen:

3 inches
107.3 x 68.7 x 47.1mm

HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Memory Cards:

Lithium-ion Rechargeable
Memory Stick™ Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo™

Image Quality - See Sample Images Below

Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light

Outdoor 1 (Medium Zoom): We are off to a good start. There is plenty of contrast in this shot, but the camera handles it well. It is able to show a lot of detail in the lighter areas of the boats. This suggests the camera is able to cope with occasional sun glare. Focusing is sharp too.

Outdoor 2 (No Zoom): One of the biggest differences between the Cybershot DSC H20 and a number of other cameras I have reviewed recently are the colours this camera produces. In my outdoor scenes the colours have been softer with a subtler feel. This shot highlights this point. The levels of colour are a matter of personal taste, so it really does depend on how you like your photos to look. I am happy with the sharpness of this shot.

Outdoor 3 (Maximum Zoom): You will almost always see a level of purple fringing with a digital camera with a longer lens. This will show at its most extreme when the lens is fully extended as for this test shot. The amount showing here is negligible and is unlikely to cause much of a problem to you.

Outdoor 4 (Building): When you blow up this picture to a larger size you have no problems making out the individual bricks. I am happy with the crispness of my outdoor test shots and the levels of sharpness this camera delivers should satisfy most people.


Outdoor Portrait: This photo was taken at the end of a warm day in the shade. The type of light available at the time has produced a picture with a slight orange glow. As most of your portrait shots are likely to be taken using different lighting conditions this is unlikely to prove to be an issue. You can also adjust white balance to fine tune how your photos will look.

Indoor Portrait with Flash: The Cybershot DSC H20 does well to produce natural looking colours despite the use of the flash. The photo is evenly lit, but the light does bounce back off the face to produce some shiny areas. It is difficult for a camera to get the amount of light emitted by the flash to be exactly right and the light bouncing back is often a problem when flash is directed straight at the subject.

Indoor Portrait without Flash: I prefer the indoor photo taken using flash. Despite the light being good I can detect noise starting to creep in and there are signs colours may break down once the light starts to fall.

Macro, Colours and Noise

Macro I have commented a few times recently that cameras like the Cybershot DSC H20 take good close up shots. I believe the reason for this is related to the larger physical size of the lens. This picture shows a good deal of detail and definition. The only problem is a hint of purple fringing. This is something I have noticed with other Sony digital cameras from time to time. This is only likely to crop up when photography bright, shiny objects. Colours As I mentioned above the colours tend to have a gentler feel than most cameras produce. This means the outdoor scenes look more like they did when the photos were taken.

ISO 400 and ISO 1600 There is not a lot to report when it comes to using higher ISO settings. As you would expect noise is noticeable in photos at around ISO 400. In darker areas of a shot you may notice it below this point too.


Overall the Cybershot DSC H20 has performed well in my tests. There are no major flaws.

See sample images link arrow


The design is simple, yet effective. I like the matt black finish the camera has and considering the length of lens the size of the camera is very compact.

Shutter Lag Times

Shutter Lag Rating Par

Single Shot
Five Shots
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time

0.34 seconds
10.35 seconds
0.41 seconds
12.25 seconds
2.6 seconds

Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Par As is typical of this type of digital camera there are extra features to get to grips with. On the whole Sony has done a good job with ease of use.

Points I Like

Extra zoom at lower resolutions - HD movies with zoom and stereo sound - compact design - 3 inch LCD screen

Where it Could Improve

Not much memory to get you started.


The Sony Cybershot DSC H20 gets most things right. There is plenty of competition, but this camera provides a reliable alternative to models from Panasonic and Canon.

Product Shots

Front View

Front View

Back View

Back View

Top View

Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 setup

menu-2 menu 3

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Nikon Coolpix S9300 Rating 86/100

For a camera that is small enough to take anywhere the Nikon Coolpix S9300 has a lot of features packed into it. If you are planning to take a holiday GPS tracking will tell you where you were when a picture was taken. The length of the zoom lens also gives you plenty of scope when it comes to picture opportunities. Although there is plenty of completion in this category the picture quality on offer here combined with the features makes this camera very attractive indeed. Recommended.

Read Review: Nikon Coolpix S9300 Review

Canon Powershot SX260 HS Rating 86/100

The Canon Powershot SX260 HS is one of the very best digital cameras in this category. In fact if you are happy to miss out on features such as 3D photography and 360 degree panoramas it is very hard to beat. It has a great set of features packed into its relatively compact body size and picture quality helps to make it stand out from the competition. Although it is one of the more expensive cameras in this field it still offers good value for money.

Read Review: Canon Powershot SX260 HS Review

Panasonic DMC SZ1 Rating 84/100

If you are looking for a simple, pocket camera that gives you some extra zoom and takes high quality snapshots the Panasonic Lumix DMC SZ1 is a very good choice. Compared to other cameras with similar features available at around the same price this camera has the edge when it comes to picture quality. It takes sharp, colourful photos and offers excellent value for money. Recommended.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC SZ1 Review

Related Pages

Sony DSC H20 Review Sony DSC H20 Specification Sony DSC H20 Sample Images Sony DSC H20 Features Sony Digital Cameras

Review Date

June 2009

Best Deals

Read a Review

Search By Price

Digital Cameras Under £50
Digital Cameras £50 - £100
Digital Cameras £100 - £150
Digital Cameras £150 - £200
Digital Cameras £200 - £300
Digital Cameras £300 - £500
Digital Cameras £500 - £1000
Digital Cameras Over £1000

Search By Camera Type

Simple and Easy Digital Cameras
Pocket Sized Digital Cameras
Extra Zoom Digital Cameras
Super Zoom Digital Cameras
Advanced Digital Cameras
Waterproof Digital Cameras
Compact System Cameras
Digital SLRs

Search By Camera Brand

Canon Digital Cameras
Fuji Digital Cameras
Nikon Digital Cameras
Olympus Digital Cameras
Panasonic Digital Cameras
Sony Digital Cameras

Buyers Guides

Digital Cameras
Memory Cards
Digital SLRs
Major Features
Shutter Times
Where to Buy

More Guides

News Feeds