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Sony DSC-TX20

Andrew Williams




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Key Features

  • 4x optical zoom
  • 16.2 Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 921k dot 3in screen
  • Waterproof, shockproof
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: to be confirmed

The Sony DSC-TX20 is the latest waterproof camera on the market. It should be perfect for those looking to take snaps underwater, or those forever spilling pints on themselves, but it’s also very similar to its predecessor. Like the Sony DSC-TX10, it has a 16.2-megapixel, 1/2.3in Exmor CMOS sensor and a 4x optical zoom. If you have Sony’s last waterproof camera, it’s not worth the upgrade. But is it worth buying for new buyers looking to get moist?

If you want a camera to take out in the rain or underwater, but don’t want to use a clumsy case, the Sony DSC-TX20 is a safe bet. Sony says it can withstand submersion in 5m of water, a drop from 1.5m height, is dustproof and can handle temperatures of minus 10 degrees Celsius. That’s equivalent to IP68 certification, the highest standard grade you can get.

Sony TX20

To attain these impressive stats, the DSC-TX20 uses rubber seals at each of its openings. These are all entirely standard aside from their waterproof cred. There’s one for the battery and SD card slot, and another for the HDMI output and USB socket. Fail to close either of these properly and submerge the camera in water and – probably – it’ll be game over.

The major benefit of a camera like the Sony DSC-TX20 over a waterproofing accessory is that it’s small, easy-to-use and doesn’t look ridiculous. At the camera’s launch, we only got to see the blue and black versions of the device, but there are also two-tone editions – orange/silver and green/silver.Sony waterproof camera

The Sony DSC-TX20 has a metal-finish body, with a slide-up front panel that covers the lens, flash and stereo mic grilles when the camera’s not in-use. This front panel has to be manipulated manually – it hasn’t suddenly become automatic since last year’s DSC-TX10. Although we didn’t get to thoroughly test its shock-proof and waterproof claims during our hands-on, the tough-feeling body gave us no cause for doubt. It’s just under 18mm thick too, and easily small enough to slip into most trouser pockets. Sony DSC-TX20

However, there is one thing that trips-up its usefulness in situations that make use of its waterproof skills. Its 3in 921k-dot screen uses a good-quality display, but the capacitive touch layer means its touchscreen controls will become useless in heavy rainfall or underwater.

Capacitive touchscreens use conduction to sense points of contact, and are naturally tripped-up by the conductive properties of H2O. You can use the camera in watery conditions, but it severely cuts-down how many of the Sony DSC-TX20’s features you have access to.


May 31, 2012, 7:18 am

Hello Andrew.
I am very interested in this camera. As you pointed out that it would not be worth the upgrade to the TX20 from the TX10, I still would like to entertain that idea. This decision hinges upon one feature alone and I was hoping you could shed some light. The TX5, I also own, is basically ready to go as soon as you snap the cover down for shooting stills or video but the TX10 has an annoying boot time associated with its standard operation. When you snap the cover open on the TX10, it now "boots up" and reminds you every time to "ensure your battery door is properly closed," etc. I would rather not have this happen with the TX20. Do you know if they improved upon the TX20s ready time over the TX10?
Please, let me know because I will preorder this camera today! I love the TX series, excellent pocket camera for any out door activties! Takes the best photos and 1080p video of any camera in it's class, hands down!
Thank you!


November 4, 2013, 11:58 am

I had the same problem when I upgraded from the TX5 to the TX10. The slow boot-up and annoying menu layout made the TX10 a lot less useful. It's not a problem any more as the TX10 flooded on its third brief use under less than 50cm of water. I'm not sure I would trust the TX20, but miss my old TX5.

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