Fujifilm X20 review – Build and handling

Image: In its super macro mode, the camera can focus up to 1cm away from the subject at its 28mm setting

The X20 is constructed to a standard befitting its enthusiast billing. Despite being lighter than similar compacts, the camera’s die-cast magnesium-alloy body feels sturdy, with the thick top-plate lending it a further air of solidity. This is complemented by the chunky, knurled aluminum dials on the top-plate, as well as an all-metal lens ring. Most of the body is clothed in a synthetic leather to improve its handling, while the rubber pad that serves as a thumbrest allows the thumb to sit both securely and comfortably. The camera’s grip serves its purpose well, although some may have preferred this to have also been rubbered and perhaps more distinct.

The camera is powered up and down by turning the lens past the 28mm focal-length marker. This system results in a prompt start-up, and means the camera can be put away without having to wait for the zoom to retract, as on many other models. A further benefit of the lens being driven mechanically as opposed to electronically is that specific focal lengths can be reached with very little delay, which is particularly useful if needing to zoom quickly from one end of the lens to the other. The lens also has enough resistance at its 28mm end to prevent any overshooting, so there’s little chance of accidentally powering the camera down when zooming.

The exposure compensation dial is also as resistant as expected, although its precarious positioning on the corner of the top-plate means that it’s often knocked out of place as the camera is taken out of and put into a bag or pocket. The exposure compensation icon that indicates an adjustment has been made only changes colour as the adjustment is actually being made, before changing back again. Any unwanted changes are therefore only usually noticed on the off chance after a number of images have been captured this way. There appears to be no logical reason why this icon cannot remain highlighted whenever any amount of exposure compensation is applied.

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