Unbox/Review: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20

In a time where bulky DSLRs are all the rage, portable point-and-shoot cameras seems to be all but forgotten. But at the rapid pace of technological advancement, it's not impossible for these tiny palm-sized cameras to turn the tide around isn't it?

Sony Philippines sent us one of their newest snappers, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20, the successor of the highly successful TX10, for review. Let's see if this rugged, water-proof camera will change your mind.


The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20, designed for rugged camera environment, doesn't look the look. It's actually very stylish, maybe too stylish that it borders the "delicate hold with care" line. But don't be fooled, this point-and-shoot camera is rated to survive 16 feet underwater, is dust and freeze resistant, and can survive up to 5 feet drops.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 Front

The first thing that one will notice with the TX20 is its feature sliding camera lens cover. For a camera designed for rough environments, this sliding cover doesn't help apart from its slender design. It's slippery and hard to grip.

Another downside of the sliding cover is its poor resistance to leftover water and dirt. The mentioned tends to stick around the insides of the cover, so unless you blast it with air there's going to be something in there for quite a while.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 slider closed

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 itself is small, even for the cameras in its class. It measures a thin 2.25in x 3.9in x 0.7in and weighs in at 4.7oz. Located on its top are all its physical controls. The other remaining controls are located at the touch panel itself.

The TX20's 3-inch, 16:9 high definition touch screen is properly sensitized, and so is its on-screen controls. If you are holding the camera screen-down on your palm though, it might call random touch screen presses which could probably lead you to restoring your settings, missing you that once in a lifetime shot.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 top Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 screen

There's a stylus provided in the box for those having troubles managing the touch screen.

Sony has waterproofed the terminals of the TX20 by installing two orange rubber gaskets, found at both openings of the HDMI and USB ports and at the battery and memory card slot.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 open lids


The TX20's boot time and in-between loading times are almost there compared to today's standards, but it's not as snappy as you'd imagine it to be. Still faster than a 650MHz smartphone though. How's 1.5 seconds from boot to first shot sound?

This camera snaps photos fast, and there's almost no shutter lag in between shots, so you'll likely capture the moments your taking, albeit there's the chance of blurry photos, depending on the user and the timing of course. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 also offers up to 10 continuous shots before processing the images. That means you can capture at least a second of real-time movement (one second in real-time movement has a lot of actions happening).

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 offers up to 4x optical zoom and up to 8x Clear Image zoom on its 16.2-megapixel Carl Zeiss lens. The camera also features Sony's Exmor R CMOS technology, which enables the user to still take outstanding photos at low-light environments.

Video is at full HD with a 1920x1080i60 resolution in AVCHD. You can connect the TX20 directly to an HDTV and watch your freshly captured video from there.

Image Quality

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 can definitely hold its own weight against more powerful cameras. Unfortunately it comes up short in some points. More on this later.

Nikon D3100 18-55mm (left) and Sony Cyber-shot DC-TX20 (right) photos (Click to enlarge)

The images above are taken at the same light conditions (indoor sunlight) using a Nikon D3100 and the TX20. There are significant image quality differences, even at the TX20's Superior Auto mode.

Well-lit outdoor images however will enable the TX20 to have its photos pop out vividly. But sometimes it isn't always the case due to over-processing issues. Given the resized images above, both images look fantastic. But upon closer inspection (images at original size, 3+ MB), images look soft and blurred.

Nikon D3100 18-55mm (left) and Sony Cyber-shot DC-TX20 (right) photos (Click to enlarge)

Side note: For a more "pro" looking shot, the TX20 offers a Background Defocus mode, blurring the background making photos look like bokeh shots.

Prominent sharpness is exhibited at the frame's center, while softness is noticeable at the sides. Fortunately the TX20's SteadyShot technology helps with lessening blurry shots (steady hands are also, of course, required).

It is recommended that ISO 400 is maintained when using the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20. Higher settings, paired with lens sharpness issues, produces noisy images and blurry details.

Sample images using the TX20's various native filters

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 also offers a variety of fun filters accessible with just a few touches of the screen. The only issue with the filters are the darkness of the Toy Camera option and the selective color processing of the Partial Color option, especially the on the different shades of red.

The HD video feature of the TX20 is reasonable. We had the chance to test it ourselves. Unfortunately we weren't able to upload it. Instead, here's a video of the TX20 courtesy of CNET:


If you're looking for a tough but stylish camera that you can bring with ease from the club to the beach, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 is probably for you. Not only is it tough, it also gives off awesome shots.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20

If you on the other hand are touchy about the pixels, you should go look somewhere up to the DSLR range.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 retails for P19,999.00, 12% VAT included.

And that wraps it up for this post. Share this post to your friends looking for a camera that's light on the pocket and awesome at performance and style.

'Till my next installment.

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  1. How does it compare to Lumix TS4? :) I've currently looking for a waterproof cam :D

  2. @Allen

    I've heard good things about the Lumix TS4, unfortunately I cannot definitively comment on it yet. Someone well-versed in the camera industry would. Hope this helped!


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