Sony's T-series cameras have come down in price significantly since launch, but still manage to include all the latest features you expect in an ultracompact these days. The 8.1-megapixel Cyber-shot DSC-T20's 3x optical, 38mm-to-114mm, f/3.5-to-f/4.3 zoom lens and 64mm (2.5-inch) screen aren't very impressive, but Sony does include its Super Steady Shot optical image stabilisation, as well as face detection and sensitivity of up to ISO 3,200.
Also, if you have an HD TV, the DSC-T20 offers 1080i HD output, if you're willing to spend an extra £29 on Sony's VMC-MHC1 component video cable or £59 for the company's CSS-HD1 high-definition Cyber-shot station.
Sony sticks with the trademark sliding lens cover on the T20, this time accenting it with a shiny silver rectangle that provides a nice counterpoint on the colour models and blends in seamlessly on the silver model. Unfortunately, like the camera's LCD screen, this silver portion is a magnet for fingerprints, especially considering that you have to touch it to slide the lens cover open and closed. If you're bothered by fingerprints, you'll definitely want to carry a microfibre cloth with your T20.
Since the proximity of the flash to the lens caused plenty of problems with red-eye and dust backscatter in the DSC-T10, Sony moved it a little further from the lens on the T20. You'll still get red-eye from time to time, of course, and may even see some dust particles light up, but it shouldn't be as bad as the T10.
The rest of the physical camera design follows the normal T-Series modus operandi, with power and playback buttons on the camera's top, a zoom rocker in the upper-right of the camera's back and remaining buttons residing on the bottom-right of the back. The Menu and Home buttons are a tad small and slightly difficult to push with the fleshy part of your finger. We found we had to use our fingernail to press them.
The menu system, however, has been completely redesigned. The Menu button now brings you to either the shooting or playback menu, depending on the mode you're using at the time. A second button labelled 'Home' brings you to a general setup menu where you can select shooting or playback mode and adjust a variety of other setup functions.
If you're used to another camera's menus, you should probably tour these menus, or read the manual carefully, since certain functions may be in a different place. For example, you have to delve into the Home menu if you want to format your memory card, while many cameras have this function in the Play menu. Overall, though, the menus are well designed.
The shooting menu lines up all available functions on the left side of the screen, and available options extend to the right across the screen as you move from one to the next. In program auto mode, you can adjust all the expected functions, such as metering (including centre-weighted and spot), sensitivity (up to ISO 3,200), exposure compensation, white balance and more.
We were pleasantly surprised to find flash compensation, and while there are only three steps (minus, zero and plus), it was enough to keep the flash from blowing out flesh tones when sitting across a small restaurant table. Also, if you're a more experienced photographer, you might like the fixed-focus options, which let you set focus at 0.5m, 1m, 3m, 7m or infinity in case you don't want to wait around for autofocus to do its thing.