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Body & Operation (continued)

Body Elements

The X20's mechanical zoom ring doubles as the power switch, retracting the lens in the 'OFF' position as shown here. But this does mean that the X20 is relatively bulky to carry around compared its rivals which retract the lens right into the body.

The included lens cap adds (slightly) to the camera's depth, too.
The X20 has built-in stereo microphones hidden behind small holes on the front. Below the right mic (i.e. on the left here) is a bright LED lamp to aid focusing in dark conditions.

The AF illuminator can be turned off if you prefer. It can also be disabled, along with the flash and camera sounds, by pressing down the 'DISP' button for 2 seconds to enter 'Silent' mode for more discreet shooting.
The rear LCD has 460k dots (a bit low for its class) and offers vivid color and a nice refresh rate (assuming that you have the Power Management setting to 'High Performance').

The screen offers average visibility outdoors, and above average viewing in dim lighting. While Fuji claims 'approximately 100% coverage', we found it to be a bit less than that.

A three-position rotary switch on the front of the camera selects the focus mode. There's a choice of single-shot AF, continuous AF, and manual focus.
The upper rear dial is perfectly placed for operation by your right thumb. It can be clicked in to change its function in certain modes - for instance to switch between changing the shutter speed and aperture in manual exposure.

Underneath is an autoexposure/ autofocus lock button, that can be customized to suit your preferences.
Below this is a second control dial that surrounds the 4-way controller and Menu/OK button. The buttons of the 4-way controller have dedicated functions in shooting mode - on the X20 the 'up' key is used to enter AF area selection mode.
The tiny little flash unit pops-up out of the top plate. It's not motorized, so won't activate automatically when the camera is in auto modes. Instead you have to release it using a sliding switch beside the viewfinder eyepiece.

Fuji lists the flash's effective range as 0.3 - 7.0 m at wide-angle and 0.5 - 5.0 m at telephoto at ISO 800.

There's a hotshoe on the top plate that has contacts for use with Fujifilm's dedicated external units. These range from the compact EF-20/EF-X20 to the large, powerful and fully-featured EF-42.
The X20's connectors lie under a small flap on the handgrip side of the camera. There's an HDMI port for playing back video, and above it a tiny USB/AV out socket.

The optional MIC-ST1 stereo microphone plugs into the USB/AV port.

The tripod socket is placed off-center from the lens, as is common with zoom compacts. It's well-separated from the base compartment, meaning you have a fighting chance of being able to change the battery or card with the camera on a tripod.

The camera's small built-in speaker for movie playback can also be seen here, next to the base compartment door.
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Comments

Total comments: 26
Facstatim
By Facstatim (3 months ago)

Just got an X20 after much research. Could have waited for X30 but decided that I may then just as well wait for X40, etc. and miss more pictures. I have to say the X20 is excellent (moving from a Nikon D40 + set of lenses plus iPhone 5s). What did I want: small and light to take with me when cycling (and all other times too), a proper high quality viewfinder, a proper zoom ring and decent optical zoom range plus simple exposure control. The X20 delivers in spades. I don't see any rivals with those features - well done Fuji for designing cameras for photographers who enjoy the tactile feel of real camera controls.

1 upvote
GeekyGirl
By GeekyGirl (7 months ago)

The trend runs increasingly stronger toward compacts that pack lots of power, and it's a trend that seems to be continuing full steam ahead. The X20 is one of the important players in the field and has been holding a respectable place for a year now. Competition keeps springing up, with more features in ever smaller bodies, so is the X30 just around the corner?

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
saradindubose
By saradindubose (6 months ago)

I fully agree with you . All camera companies are taking out too many models too fast!!! We should have time to study and select -

0 upvotes
Luigi Ricca
By Luigi Ricca (7 months ago)

Alex More is right, we all run and hope and buy to find always a deception somewhere. I sometimes take a old Pentax , Nikkormat and veven a Minox, I shoot, develop and digitalise and : the result is sure there !

0 upvotes
Luigi Ricca
By Luigi Ricca (7 months ago)

I see around the inside of the lens shell a tread : does anyone know the size? It seems to me that a filter could be used : Than you

0 upvotes
inspiredan
By inspiredan (7 months ago)

@madmaxmedia - thanks for your feedback. Agreed that the smudging is not due to the lack of AA filter. The real issue as you also point out is most likely the aggressive use of NR even at base ISO. I think the lack of AA filter emphasizes this problem even more. Glad to read that at least the raw files are better in this respect.

0 upvotes
madmaxmedia
By madmaxmedia (7 months ago)

@inspireddan- I don't think the smudging is due to the lack of AA filter, it's due to increased noise reduction. The X20 RAW files are great. But the JPEG's are worse than the X10 in the opinion of many who have used both. It's too bad, I really like my X10 and would otherwise upgrade to the X20 (I mostly shoot JPEG).

0 upvotes
inspiredan
By inspiredan (7 months ago)

Dear Fuji,
Why would you remove the optical AA filter if there is "smudge [of] fine details (even at ISO 100)"? Not having a filter may be okay on a larger sensor which captures more light (such as in the X100), but on smaller sensor it may only emphasize this problem.
I don't have an X20 but on my F45FD (same as F40FD), I also notice smudging of fine details at base ISO, especially around the edges of objects. If I apply slight blurring in post, the picture looks much better. I can't help but think that have that camera not had an AA filter, the smudging problem would have been even more noticeable.
Thanks,
-Dan

0 upvotes
TheAlexMoore
By TheAlexMoore (8 months ago)

Oh, what a continuing disappointment...! Digital camera engineering deserves better.
Mirrorless rangefinder cameras with manual focus should be a done deal by now.
 I suppose I'm as easily seduced by novelty features and shiny new digital gizmos as most, and  to be fair to all the gadget-heads who are prepared to put up with costly digital gear that looks OK on the outside but still doesn't deliver then you have  to admit that Fuji's corporate profit-taking is not as mean as the rest.
  I mean,  it's nice  to see Fuji is keeping some form of stabilising eye-level viewfinder. These are time-tested. They  not only allow image composition in bright daylight but help steady a camera, something not possible using cut-rate contemporary mirroless, viewfinderless digital toy still and mobile/cell phone  cameras at absurd arms-length fashion.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (5 months ago)

Right on target re the viewfinder!

0 upvotes
darngooddesign
By darngooddesign (5 months ago)

It bears mentioning that you can get a second hand X100 for the price of a new X20, and that X100 gives you what you are asking for.

0 upvotes
TheAlexMoore
By TheAlexMoore (8 months ago)

Look, as much as I'd really like a mirorless digital that doesn't come with a Leica price tag I'll continue to use a standard DSLR and wait until Fuji -or someone else uses better sensors, with proper size - or at the very least APS-H to produce a usable camera that can perform for photojournalsm at an artisan cost below the badge price of the Germans.
Otherwise there's no point moving away from a so-called 'full frame' (35mm equivalent) sensor DSLR, unless your personal wealth or your work or hobby can justify a good camera like a Leica.
I accept I'm being cynical to make a point against the plethora of gushing reviews for sub-standard compromise digital gear, but most of the mirrorless cameras are not much better than toys  that deliver passable back-lit and email images. These cameras are not ideal for photojournalism.

2 upvotes
Rivergull
By Rivergull (2 months ago)

Alex, I'm SO enjoying your comments. I was a film shooter (1960s-1980s, Nikkormat FTn). I've tried to be happy using a Leica D-Lux 5, but screen scrolling is so frustrating, as is the lack of a viewfinder. I'm a 70 yr old woman now and I want one more chance to 'meet' a camera that melds with me (manual, f-stops on the lens, external shutter speed knob, full-frame viewfinder. If I can't find this 'in digital' I just might buy an old Nikkormat !! Do you feel the Fuji X100S is a fairly good choice? It's on Alamy's list of acceptable cameras.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
TheAlexMoore
By TheAlexMoore (8 months ago)

Sure, we can have debates  about rare-earth scarcity and high cost sensor manufacturer profitability and difficulties finding cheap labour in fringe junge factories to make cheap cameras and optics, as well as  fitting it all in a look-alike traditional film camera platform. 
But aren't image and print  quality and the ability to crop more important?  As is the camera's purpose as a tool to serve a photographer's eye, the picture you perceive in  your mind the instant you decide to trip a shutter and use light to create an image with minimal patchwork PS 'processing'...?
A camera is an instrument. It should measure against an ideal. All else follows, including economics. But, in three simple words this camera has:

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Spencer E Holtaway
By Spencer E Holtaway (7 months ago)

Everyone's 'ideal' is different. In your comments you are coming from a perspective of a professional that is meeting technical requirements from news agencies, etc.

I don't see anywhere in any reviews or Fuji documentation that this camera is intended for that purpose. If anything, it's an expensive yet high quality point and shoot for people (probably hobbyists) who appreciate good color reproduction in a small, light body. Maybe it's great for someone who doesn't want to carry their DLSR around all the time, and also doesn't have $2,500 for a full frame compact with no viewfinder.

3 upvotes
TheAlexMoore
By TheAlexMoore (8 months ago)

Inadequate sensor size.

3 upvotes
Flatwhite
By Flatwhite (6 months ago)

Is the sony nex 6 a better buy ?

0 upvotes
jantar
By jantar (9 months ago)

It is really a great camera and I use it (more and more) besides or instead my Nikon 300s. One really serious flaw is the original battery (1000 mA) - it starts to collapse after 20 photos (is new!). The newly bought second one manages 100 pics (with less than 10 flash photos) but that is still far below useful number. Bought now aftermarket one (1400 mA) and hope it will solve my problem. My advice is to have full backup battery ready anytime!

0 upvotes
rfstudio
By rfstudio (9 months ago)

With tht peanut size sensor and codt the same as sony nex 5 really?????????

1 upvote
Dougbm_2
By Dougbm_2 (9 months ago)

In all the reviews Fuji cameras seem to consistently put out superior images.
Shame the viewfinder wasn't made at least 95% coverage.

0 upvotes
Ivan Lietaert
By Ivan Lietaert (10 months ago)

This kind of background blur, even at 112mm, is never going to isolate a subject against the background. The background is still distracting.
Your picture is misleading, btw, because the background is very far away here.
Put this guy against a background that is 10m away, and you'll see (almost) as much detail there as in the subject's face.
Anybody looking for a decent background blur should buy a camera with a 1 inch or bigger sensor.

0 upvotes
alexvaughn
By alexvaughn (10 months ago)

This is a very detailed review, and plenty informative if you're looking to buy this camera. I actually got the camera based on this review and the opinions in the forum. What better place to go to for camera-related stuff than DPreview?

1 upvote
TheAlexMoore
By TheAlexMoore (8 months ago)

Alamy's a good place to begin. Most on-line reviews are subjective.
Agences like Alamy must maintain image quality standards to keep credibility with publshers who buy images and complete pro phojournalism stories.
Cameras they approve are a good starting point.

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Spatzl73
By Spatzl73 (7 months ago)

I disagree with the non pro use comment - I work for a large newspaper in Europe - I use this as a back up to my NikonD800 and Mamiya RZ67 when street photo style is needed for true look . Liecas are not so expensive as you think - try hiring one. That said I would only replace the X20 with either Sony R1, Sigma DP2 Merrell .

0 upvotes
Locks
By Locks (6 months ago)

I haven't owned a camera in 20 years; almost bought a compact point-and-shoot on sale, but started looking at larger compacts (Canon G16, Fuji x20, some of the smallest 4/3). Can't imagine not having a viewfinder, but the G16's and apparently this one's aren't very good, it seems. Any recommendations for something I can both use automatically and set manually if I get the urge to really learn?

0 upvotes
Rivergull
By Rivergull (2 months ago)

Have you considered the Fuji X100S ??

0 upvotes
Total comments: 26