Classically styled with high performance insides, the Fujifilm X20 is the latest camera in the enthusiast compact sector to land at CH HQ. And one of our favorites so far. Ideal as a second camera for those that're used to handling a DSLR, the compact little point and shoot is more than capable in most situations from shooting RAW on full manual to playing it safe on a range of pre-dialed settings. Although aesthetically similar to its predecessor (the X10), the X20 is much more than an updated facade. Chief among the notable improvements is the new 2/3" type X-Trans CMOS II sensor, which captures a broader light range for higher quality images and impressive HD video capabilities.
The next feature of note is the X20's advanced optical zoom viewfinder. Sandwiched in between the optical viewfinders two aspherical lenses and two glass prisms is an ultra-thin transparant LCD panel to maintain brightness and provide a digital display of shutter speed, f-stop and other essential shooting information. If using the sufficient 2.8" 460K-dot LCD rear moniter isn't for you, the optical viewfinder provides 85% coverage and a clear 20 degree horizontal field of view.
As for in the field performance, we found the fast 4x zoom lens (28-112mm equivalent, F2.0-2.8) and high speed auto focus to respond well to quick street style shooting—the weight, size and style beg for it too—as well as for more composed still photography. In general, the X20 is a solid throughout, with a pleasant enough user interface and navigation that's not difficult to get the hang of after a few minutes with the camera in hand. Our only demerit for design falls on the on/off mechanism, which requires the lens to be telescoped to turn the camera on. Meaning one cannot peruse images taken or adjust settings with the lens cap on. But beggars can't be choosers, as they say.
Images by Graham Hiemstra