Fujifilm X20 review – Advanced optical viewfinder

Viewfinders are often sought after on enthusiast compacts, and this has clearly been recognised by Fujifilm, which leads with this feature on its website before describing other core aspects, such as its sensor and lens. But while the X20’s viewfinder shares it basic specifications with that in the X10 – namely an 85% coverage, dioptre adjustment from -3.5 to +1.5m and zooming in tandem with the lens – it’s the incorporation of a new Digital Trans Panel that makes the X20’s viewfinder significantly more useful than before.

The panel, which is said to be less than 1mm thick, displays a considerable amount of shooting information, much in the same way as an EVF. Basic shooting information such as aperture, shutter speed, exposure mode and ISO lines the bottom of the viewfinder, together with an icon to show whether any exposure compensation has been applied and a further mark to indicate whether focus has been achieved.

The right-hand side of the viewfinder rounds up three warning icons. These indicate when the exposure is liable to camera shake, when there is an issue with focus (such as too close a focusing distance) or when the combination of the focal length chosen and the distance between the camera and subject is likely to cause parallax error. Flash and self-timer icons are also positioned in the top-left-hand corner.

In between these are markings to show where the camera has found focus. All of this information is presented in black by default, although when light levels fall it helpfully becomes illuminated in bright green. And, when there is a problem with focus, exposure or something else, it all changes to red, making it immediately clear that an issue requires the user’s intervention.

Regarding its optical configuration, the viewfinder includes a Dach glass prism towards the rear of the camera, with a further prism next to it facing the front, and the Digital Trans Panel sandwiched in between. Fujifilm claims two aspherical elements have also been used to help maintain optical quality.

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