The TX20 has the kind of sleek, minimalist design we've come to expect from Sony's T series of slim, stylish Cyber-shots. As a result, this camera can sometimes slip out of your hands quite easily. We therefore instinctively ended up using it with two hands, although this meant the fingers of our left hand often covered the lens.
As with the TX10, it's a shame that there's no double-locking system on the memory card, battery and connections compartment doors to stop you opening them by accident.
The TX20 screen has the same 921,600-dot resolution as the TX10, which makes it sharp and pleasant to use. However, the display could be brighter (100 cd/m2), as it's not always easy to see what's onscreen when using the camera outdoors. Colours aren't reproduced particularly accurately onscreen either—we measured a Delta E of 7.8, when this should be 3 or under for accurate colours. Light greys are soon washed out to white too.
Note that this is a resistive touchscreen so you will need to press down on it to register commands. Plus, there's no multitouch support. It's therefore no match for the average smartphone when it comes to accuracy and user-friendliness.
It's no surprise to see that the TX20 performs similarly to the TX10 in this field. That said, the TX20 is a little quicker, especially when focusing in wide-angle and telephoto modes. Plus, the TX20 autofocus isn't hesitant in low light like the TX10 was. Finally, the burst mode can snap 10 frames in a second. All in all, then, it's a nice camera to use.
The TX20 has a 16-Megapixel BSI CMOS sensor and a 25-100 mm zoom lens, both of which are lifted straight out of the TX10.
The BSI CMOS handles digital noise reasonably well. Up to 400 ISO, pictures are detailed and smoothing is kept under control. However, that changes quite abruptly at 800 ISO, with heavier smoothing kicking in and wiping out finer detail.
Although the TX20 has the same lens as the TX10, we did find that the two cameras gave slightly different results. The TX20 does a better job at wide-angle settings, with an image that's sharp and consistent in quality across the frame. Overall consistency drops as you zoom, but the middle of the frame remains sharp and detailed. These differences are probably caused by the random variations you get from any production line, but they're a little too noticeable for our liking.
Some chromatic aberration is visible around the edges of wide-angle photos. However, this isn't strong enough to be problematic in most day-to-day situations, and it won't be visible on standard-sized prints.
The automatic white balance tends to give shots taken under tungsten lighting a visibly orange overtone—an effect that's particularly visible in our Barbie test shot. Again, though, in day-to-day situations the white balance is just fine.
Picture quality is a little disappointing. Focusing seems a rather approximative and the image isn't as sharp as it could be. That's a shame too, as exposure is well controlled and bright parts of the picture aren't overexposed.
Sound is recorded in stereo, but it's rather dry and there's a slight crackling noise which can be particularly noticeable in quiet scenes.
- Electronic noise is kept under control
- Good finish
- Good general responsiveness
- Effective intelligent auto mode
- Grip and handling could be better
- Lens quality could be more consistent at telephoto settings
- Video and sound aren't great
The Sony Cyber-shot TX20 is a sleek, responsive, touch-control, high-resistance underwater compact that's very much like its predecessor, the TX10. However, there's still plenty of room for improvement—particularly with the lens. Plus, while Sony has been treading water with its waterproof compact, competitor models have progressed in the meantime ...