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Feed your creativity with the Fujifilm X20 compact camera

Derrick Story | June 25, 2013
Even though it has plenty of “auto everything” modes, the more you know about photography, the more you can get out of the Fujifilm X20.

Image quality
Pictures from the X20 are sharp and saturated. The X-Trans sensor doesn't need the optical low-pass filter that's required for traditional Bayer pattern sensors, and this gives the X20 a bump in resolution. In general shooting conditions, the photos are quite impressive. Image noise is well controlled from ISO 100-400, moderate at ISO 800, and noticeable from ISO 1600 upward, particularly in the shadow areas. Shooting in Raw provides the best scenario at higher ISO settings.

Annoyances
I've experienced very few bumps in the road with this camera. Its design and control layout makes me want to pick it up and take pictures. However, there were a few quirks.

Once the battery runs low, you get very little warning. I recommend keeping a spare cell on hand, because when the red light starts flashing, you have next to no time remaining.

When composing nearby subjects with the optical viewfinder, keep in mind that parallax will affect the framing. I didn't find this troublesome for general scenes, but I do switch to the LCD for composing close-up subjects. Also, you should know that you are viewing only 85 percent of the scene via the optical viewfinder. For full view, switch to the LCD.  And when the zoom is set to its widest focal length, you will see the lens barrel in the lower right corner of the optical viewfinder.

And finally, I find it odd that such a well-specified camera only sports a 460K dot LCD screen. It looks good, but others in its class look better.

Highlights
The Fujifilm X20 is a handsome camera that uses high-quality materials with beautiful construction. It's a joy to hold. The fast zoom lens is sharp at all focal lengths. And having a bright optical viewfinder with data overlay is a blessing in sunny conditions.

But what I really like about this camera is the way it lets me explore photography. Even though the X20 is a responsive compact that can grab shots quickly, I often find myself experimenting with different options as I work a subject. The macro mode is fantastic, as are the advanced settings and film simulations.

I've also discovered that the Fujifilm X20 is a good infrared picture taker. Using the accessory Fujifilm Lens Hood (Mfr #16198744) to mount an R72 Infrared filter over the front of the lens, I can get an unique view of the world. Here's a vineyard and barn captured with this setup.

Bottom line
If you're a street shooter, set the X20 to B&W mode and marvel at how it quietly captures activity without drawing attention to itself. Even though it has plenty of "auto everything" modes, the more you know about photography, the more you can get out of this sophisticated camera.

 

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