Typically Fuji, will be fine with improved firmware

Started Mar 23, 2013 | User reviews thread
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Typically Fuji, will be fine with improved firmware
Mar 23, 2013

First off, after about a day I can say unequivocally that as a picture-making machine producing 12mp pictures and RAW files understandable by computer software, the X20 is a huge advance over the X10. I can also say unequivocally that in typical Fuji fashion it ought to be right by about the second firmware upgrade.

As shipped, it has some operational issues that do not make it useless but certainly make it a lot less useful than it could be, at least for me. The widely touted information display in the finder displays nothing until the shutter is half-pressed and focus and exposure locked. There ought to be a focus box, ala the OVF in the X100, all the time the camera is on. Instead, there is a strangely bouncing box which may or may not -- usually not -- is near but not at the place I thought I was focusing. I've been told that this is parallax adjustment, but if so, it's adjusting for a finder opening a foot from the lens rather than it's actual inch. With a finder window less than two inches from the central axis of the lens and a finder which covers only 85 percent of the picture area, parallax is never going to be much of a concern except in macro modes -- where the LCD is forced on anyway. So the informational viewfinder is not just useless but less than useless, and if it truly reflects the decisions the camera is making independent of the photographer, it is worrisome indeed. Fortunately, this can be fixed in firmware, if Fuji will do it.

There is another operational hurdle, at least in the way I shoot. Normally with a viewfinder camera that lacks the X100's hybrid viewfinder, I make the picture which then appears on the LCD until I half-press the shutter to return to shooting mode, whereupon the LCD goes dark again. This is not possible with the X20 [it was possible only using a weird "Continuous (zoom)" setting in the X10; else the picture would disappear from the LCD on its own after either 0.5 or 1.5 seconds; this was a pain but at least one could confirm the picture was successfully captured.] With the X20, ones choices are limited to LCD only, viewfinder only, or the eyeball sensor thing of which Fuji is so enamored but which is fairly useless except in a few situations. This is particularly troubling in a camera that already suffers from minimal battery life. Otherwise, entering pushbutton playback mode is the only way to review the picture just taken. [The choices of 0.5, 1.5, and Continuous (zoom) are still there, but if you've selected the viewfinder without eyeball detection, they do not work.] This, too, could be fixed in firmware. Again, there is no way of knowing whether it will be.

With the current firmware, the camera would be good for non-photographers who believe that spending $600 will make them into photographers. For serious photography, though, the lack of flexibility in making choices suitable to the photographer's way of shooting are a tremendous hindrance. If I had known what a day's shooting has taught me, I would have stuck with the X10, put my money into a D-7100 (or if it proves disappointing, D-7000) body, and waited until Fuji sorts the X20, if ever they do, before buying one. This could be a great camera but due to weird firmware decisions it isn't.

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Fujifilm X100S Nikon D7100
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