Fujifilm X20 review – Viewfinder, LCD and video

The Digital Trans Panel inside the viewfinder is either permanently displayed if the optical viewfinder setting is selected in the menu, or it can be activated when the user’s face approaches the proximity sensor at the viewfinder’s side.

The information displayed by this doesn’t sit on any kind of panel (as on a DSLR) – or even on a digital backing – so its visibility is heavily influenced by the scene behind it. Particularly busy scenes can easily obscure this information, making it necessary to move the camera slightly until the scene details provide a more suitable background. Furthermore, at the wider end of the lens, this information lies partly over the scene and partly over the small section of the lens barrel that is visible at the bottom, which again impedes visibility (this only fully disappears from around 42mm).

The viewfinder’s 85% coverage and lack of parallax markings mean that it can only really be relied upon as an approximate guide for composition. The parallax caution icon is helpful when using the viewfinder at close distances, although when using the camera on either of its two macro AF settings it’s not possible to bring this up at all, making it far more logical to use the LCD instead. Still, the viewfinder is bright and clear, with only slight distortion at its wideangle setting and little elsewhere in the focal range. In conditions where the LCD is impractical, the viewfinder is useful to have to hand – in fact, despite some issues, it’s perhaps the best optical viewfinder we’ve seen on such a camera.

The rear display’s 2.8in dimensions are understandable when you consider the inclusion of the viewfinder, although some may be surprised to find an LCD with 460,000 dots rather than the more usual 920,000 dots and above found on practically all of the X20’s peers. While a comparison with a similarly priced camera with a 920,000-dot LCD shows the X20’s display to lack some bite, it’s not as far behind as the difference in resolution may suggest.

The display remains relatively visible in bright sunlight, and only really becomes difficult to see when the camera is tilted in any direction. It also maintains its stability well throughout the zoom range, which enables more precise composition with the focusing system automatically (and quickly) refocusing the scene as the lens is zoomed.

The camera is capable of full HD video recording at a maximum frame rate of 60fps, with the Intelligent Hybrid AF system working during recording. Moving subjects are recorded smoothly and the camera’s tendency to refocus upon zooming means that subjects are rarely out of focus for long. Sadly, the manual means of adjusting the zoom means that this action can only be recorded smoothly when using a tripod or similar support, and the general lack of fine detail throughout footage is also disappointing. Audio quality, however, is perfectly reasonable.

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