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Old Sep 11, 2012, 5:28 PM   #1
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Default My 2 days old Sony HX20V - early appraisal...

I bought an HX20V just 2 days ago. At the time I wanted a budget priced P&S camera as I get tired of lugging a huge Nikon DSLR around all the time, and was trying to decide amongst the following - Sony HX20V (obviously), FujiFilm F660, Canon A4100IS, Canon IXUS125HS, and Panasonic TZ20... The 2 favourites were the Sony HX20V and the Fuji F660. The controlling factor was mostly the price bracket and what I could get for it - not too cheap as to miss out on some good features,, but not to dear that I should go to the next level and think of smaller type DSLR types and once again have to carry around something heavier. I wanted something "shove in my pocket" -able and whip her out and shoot as I pleased. I had to make up my mind at the shop. After finding the cheapest place in town I headed over and after some self discussion (talking to myself) I decided on the HX20V.

Lovely looking unit isn't it? Couldn't wait to "point and shoot" as I was sure it would do just as most of the reviews said it would. After a short setup I noticed the day suddenly went dark. 1pm and it was like sunset as a dirty big black cloud set about spoiling the day, just for me. Oh well I thought it was a great opportunity to try it out in that all too important area of performance - low light. Couldn't have asked for a better opportunity... I simply left it in the green auto "intelligent" setting, the non superior one and clicked away at a variety of different coloured objects at a variety of distances and with a great variety of contrasts and also included some very plain jane 'over the fields and paddocks' shots, just pure green with little or no clashing colours. All this just outside the back door...

The results were probably just a little underwhelming to be honest. Some were quite washed out looking, acceptable but not inspiring and a little below what I was expecting, even for these conditions. Notably the worst were the zoomed shots,, the more zoom the worse they were... OK, the sun popped back out, so I did too. Ahhh now for some serious fun. Same sort of session - lots of different shots. This time the results were quite acceptable, again, not outstanding but some of them very nice pics. Again though I was struck at some of the zoom shots which gave some less than inspiring results, especially one which was aimed at an early blossoming flower type tree, something like a cheery tree, with hundreds of thin branches and buds. I was actually a little horrified at what I saw. Looking at the photo as you'd see it at the desktop, it looked quite nice. Zoom in though and the filled in or digitally modified by software parts looked horrible, mostly in between the busy parts with lots of small in between spots. As I magnified the image it turned from nice to quite a horrible wash of digital menacing. That's the only way I can truly express what I saw. In a single word - YUCK...!!! Those in between spots were simply filled in, looking like some poorly trained artist went off the deep end with a 4" (100mm) paintbrush and water colours..

On the flip side of the coin, one or two shots of low to medium distances (1 to 5 metres or yards) were beyond expectation, really nice and showed very little or almost no digital alteration under magnification within the Windows O/S. After another two or three sessions of varying weather conditions, I noticed these early results became the norm. Busy areas under zoom get messed with by software to try and fill in the gaps, while closer shots rich with colour(s) stand out as quite nice, almost beautiful. The colours too looked very vibrant and alive but this can change from monitor to monitor...

At this point of time, I'd have to give a preliminary score of about 5 to 6 out of 10. - Non committal. Open to further investigation.. I am sort of a little disappointed that things did not go better.

Now, it doesn't end here...

Just yesterday, I picked up some junkmail and lo and behold, the other favourite choice camera, the FujiFilm F660 was on special at a store just down the road. Would you believe it, $90 off, yes $90, starting today. Holy Moly, this is just too much to believe. I jumped in the wagon and drove down and bought one without taking a second breath.. Got home and after a quick setup and just two shots inside, the bettery was flat, so on the charger it went. Ahh fully charged an hour or so later, but, here comes another damned cloud - big 'n' black too, just like the other day. It'll have to wait 'til tomorrow, as I have things to do... Well tomorrow is here, now. Sunshine is aplenty and I'm ready to shoot, straight after I finish here...

That's another story though... And, it will be posted in the FujiFilm forum to be fair...

Edit in later...

See below for further info...

Last edited by fewpics; Sep 12, 2012 at 10:29 PM.
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Old Sep 12, 2012, 10:44 AM   #2
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Wow...your experience with the HX20 is 180 degrees apart from mine. I got such excellent results from the get go that I hardly carry my m4/3 gear with me anymore. From what you described, it makes me wonder if there is anything wrong with your unit. I usually shoot in auto+ with excellent results but I also shoot in P, MR and SCN depending on what I wish to achieve. Good luck with your new Fuji.
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Old Sep 12, 2012, 1:28 PM   #3
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Being a previous owner of an HX9V, walking through the features is a breeze. They all are identical, the Hx5,7,9,10,20,30 series. I as well will grab the cam, set to Auto-Intelligent Mode, and snap a picture, in 10 seconds from turn on to off I got one good shot.



If I were to trying to get the perfect shot. I had to set the cam up and and 3 minutes later, I have a perfect shot, but to me wasted a lot of precious time, where as this is why I got a point-n-shoot camera, in the first place, all the guess work taken out of.



I agree, at what you said and not complaining at all. I find that most shots taken always looks like rain, overcast.

Give this camera a chance, rather rush out to shoot and you be amazed.



I say no matter what, take some time, for me I need a lot of time. to get the perfect shot. enjoy
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Old Sep 12, 2012, 10:28 PM   #4
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Guys,

An hour ago I took out the Fuji F660 and gave it a run through similar to the HX20V, shooting from all the same points at the same objects. The only thing I couldn't control was the weather, which was more or less "perfect",, sunny and vitually cloudless, although looking outside my window just now, clouds have just rolled over. I plugged in the F660 and copied over the shots to my PC and overall the quality was quite superb but I have to be honest, the HX20's shots, now that I revisited them are not that bad at all. I don't know why I got so paranoid over them the other day. The shots taken in poor lighting and zoomed were of course the ones I was most critical of but when I reviewed them just an hour ago, they didn't seem to be as bad as I first thought and the patched up areas on those few shots were noticable only under the most magnified views and to be further honest, they were in the dullest areas of the pictures. Viewed at normal and modest magnification, they appear to be quite acceptable, given the overcast conditions of the day. With maximum magnification you can almost see every pixel. That's how far I had gone to analyse them - obviously too far...

Since then I have also played around with one or two settings which should improve things. One or two of the shots I took of some flowers and a few trees in bright sunlight are actually quite nice and side by side with the F660, and they are both about the same in quailty. I'll have to play around in different modes to see just what this cameras is truly capable of. I think that my misunderstanding of todays point 'n' shoot cameras has been the root cause of my first up semi poor appraisal. In the next dew days or so, I am going to do a true side-by-side comparison between the HX20V and the F660EXR, same time, same place etc etc...

Mabye I was just too quick out of the blocks with my above post.

Last edited by fewpics; Sep 12, 2012 at 10:31 PM.
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Old Sep 13, 2012, 9:31 AM   #5
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fewpics- when your taking zoomed images on your Sony- are you dipping into the digital zoom range- which will degrade image quality somewhat.
It's something I have to be aware of all the time on my Panasonic's- because when shooting in auto mode,it automatically continues to zoom beyond the optical zoom.
Not a problem in any of the semi auto and manual modes as I have the digital zoom switched off.
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Old Sep 14, 2012, 7:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SIMON40 View Post
fewpics- when your taking zoomed images on your Sony- are you dipping into the digital zoom range- which will degrade image quality somewhat.
It's something I have to be aware of all the time on my Panasonic's- because when shooting in auto mode,it automatically continues to zoom beyond the optical zoom.
Not a problem in any of the semi auto and manual modes as I have the digital zoom switched off.

I learned this one very quickly just yesterday. I took both the HX20 and the Fuji F660 out yesterday. Posted a bit more to the thread below, but couldn't post in here as it was past midnight and I was tired...

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fu...initially.html

I sort of did a slight comparison. I remarked on this very thing, well at least made reference to a couple of extreme zoom shots being horrible looking and that I had digital zoom switched on and no doubt, in use at the time...

I may well have been a little critical over the first use of the HX20 now that I have had a few more days to appreciate just what and what not it is capable of and no doubt many point and shooters are also capable of. Up until now I have been using my trusty old Nikon D300 and although it is getting dated, it is still capable of so much. Expecting a small camera like the HX20 to try to keep up was a little unrealistic on my behalf. Of course seeing figures like 16 and 18MP with this latest crop of P&S cameras got the blood going and I didn't really know what to expect.

Next time I take out the HX20 the digital zoom will be switched off...
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Old Sep 15, 2012, 7:24 PM   #7
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"Old" D300..."dated"...LOL...
What chance did your compacts have....!!!
The D300,in my humble opinion,is pound for pound one of the best DSLR's ever made...and still a very capable performer...
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Old Sep 15, 2012, 10:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SIMON40 View Post
"Old" D300..."dated"...LOL...
What chance did your compacts have....!!!
The D300,in my humble opinion,is pound for pound one of the best DSLR's ever made...and still a very capable performer...
I personally don't know just where the D300 stands in the Nikon heirarchical ladder nowadays. I've had mine for about 4 - 1/2 years now. It was one of, if not thee, very first sold over the counter in this country and I've never ever regretted buying or using it. It was and still is an awesome camera to use and I was quite shocked at just how much better the pics from it are over the point and shooters. Perhaps I was just expecting too much from P&S cameras. In the last few years, I have not kept up with the digital camera market, mainly because I was just so content with the D300 that I saw no need to look at what was being developed and sold.

Just a month or so back I got the idea in my head that I should have a look at a new camera, not really another DSLR but just a small pocket job. Of course, seeing the D800 and D600's and D4's etc etc etc now available, I thought that the D300 might just be getting a little dated in terms of technology. I doubt I will sell it in the near future though...

If your opinion is that the D300 is a goodie, it makes me feel good that I have decided to keep it for at least the short term forseeable future...
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