Face-Off: SZ-31 MR vs Cyber-shot HX20V

Olympus SZ-31 MR
Olympus SZ-31 MR
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Sony Cyber-shot HX20V
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Sony Cyber-shot HX20V
 
Olympus SZ-31 MR Sony Cyber-shot HX20V
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Olympus SZ-31 MR
Overview - Full review
Sony Cyber-shot HX20V
Overview - Full review
Price
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Overall Scene
Olympus SZ-31 MR
Sony Cyber-shot HX20V
Score
4/5
5/5
Handling
4/5 4/5
Speed
4/5 5/5
Image Quality
4/5 5/5
Video
4/5 5/5
User Score
4/5 (4)
4/5 (22)
Specifications
Specifications
Sensor BSI CMOS 16 Mpx, 1/2.3" , 56 Mpx/cm
Lens 24x 25-600 mm f/3 -6.9
Stabilisation Mechanical
Viewfinder NA
Screen 7.6 cm, not TN, 920000 dots, 3:2, Monopoint
Sensitivity (ISO range) 80 - 6400 ISO ext. 27 mm
Video mode 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps , Stereo
Internal memory 43 MB
External memory SDHC SDXC
Connections USB AV HDMI
Power source LI-50B (3.5 Wh)
Waterproof no
Shock resistant no
Dimensions/Weight 69 x 110 x 40 mm / 237 g
Specifications
Sensor BSI CMOS 18 Mpx, 1/2.3" , 63 Mpx/cm
Lens 20x 25-500 mm f/3.2 -5.6
Stabilisation Optical
Viewfinder NA
Screen 7.5 mm, not TN, 921600 dots, 4:3, Not touch-sensitive
Sensitivity (ISO range) 100 - 3200 ISO ext. 29 mm
Video mode 1920 x 1080 pixels, 50 fps , Stereo
Internal memory 105 MB
External memory SDHC SDXC
Connections USB HDMI GPS
Power source NP-BG1 (3.4 Wh)
Waterproof no
Shock resistant no
Dimensions/Weight 63 x 107 x 36 mm / 243 g
Conclusion
The Olympus SZ-31 MR corrects the main flaw of last year's SZ-30 MR, as it's now much easier to see what's going on onscreen from various angles. A few nice new features have been added too, including a touchscreen interface and improved MR modes. So while Canon and Sony high-end superzooms handle noise more effectively, the SZ-31 MR is a surprisingly good value camera that's still a generally excellent choice.
The Sony HX20V is a very nice camera indeed. It has plenty of features, offers good performances, and takes great pictures ... so long as you don't mind their slightly 'processed' look. The lens, however, could deliver more consistent levels of sharpness across the frame, as it's no better (and in some situations actually a bit worse) than the lenses in the HX10V and some other competitors.
Pros

+

Record-breaking zoom in a compact camera

+

Lens quality on par with competitors (or better in some cases)

+

Pleasant to use and handle

+

Original MR functions (shooting two 720p videos, taking a photo while filming video, etc.)

+

1080p HD video with stereo sound and optical zoom

+

Good build quality, design and handling

+

Good screen with relatively accurate display quality

+

Full HD video at up to 50p with stereo sound

+

Advanced image processing, digital noise kept in check

+

Very good general responsiveness

Cons

-

Sensitivity could be better: no match for Sony or Canon superzooms

-

Sound gets muffled when you zoom in video mode

-

Hard plastics aren't as pleasant as materials in some competitor models

-

No battery guide to make sure you get it in the right way round

-

No RAW mode and Jpeg shots are quite heavily processed—too processed for some users

-

Lens quality could be more consistent, especially at mid and long focal lengths