Fujifilm X20 Review

Shooting, Drive and Flash Modes

The exposure modes are set on the dial on the top:

P: Program mode: The camera determines the shutter speed and the aperture. The command dial can be used to shift the program line.

S: Shutter priority mode (also known as Tv mode) allows you to control the shutter speed with the command dial while the camera sets the aperture.

A: Aperture priority mode (also known as Av mode) allows you to control the aperture with the command dial while the camera sets the shutter speed.

M: In M mode, you manually control both the shutter speed and the aperture. Switch between one and the other by a push on the command dial (or if you're not using manual focus you can use the secondary command dial for setting the aperture and the primary command dial for shutter speed (or vice versa)). A scale on the LCD monitor shows your exposure within +/- 2 EV of what the camera suggests as being correct.

C1 and C2: These are custom settings, where you can store your favorite camera and menu settings. The exposure mode must be one of P, S, A or M.

: Movie mode.

SP: Scene Position. Hit the menu button to select between 14 scene modes like portrait, landscape, sport, night, etc.

Adv.: Advanced mode. In the menu you can set one of these modes to be assigned to the Adv. position:

  • Advanced Filter: toy camera, miniature, pop color, high key, low key, dynamic tone, soft focus, partial color (image will be in B&W except for the selected color)
  • 360 degrees panorama
  • Pro Focus (simulates a narrow depth of field)
  • Pro Low-light (stacks four images to reduce noise)
  • Multiple Exposure

: Auto (snap shot mode).

: Scene Recognition. This mode is what Pentax calls Auto Pict. The camera analyzes the scene and selects the most suitable scene mode.

When the exposure mode dial is turned the LCD screen show the position and a brief help text. We found this to come in quite handy at night where it was too dark to see the position on the dial itself!


Drive Modes

The drive modes are set by pressing the drive mode button on the left side of the back. This brings up a menu of drive modes. Which modes are available depends on the RAW/JPG setting and the exposure mode/scene mode selected.

When shooting JPG in P, S, A or M exposure mode all possible drive modes are available:

  • Single still image
  • Continuous shooting at 12, 9, 6 and 3 fps
  • Best frame capture (images from before and after the shutter was pressed are captured in addition to the one from the shutter press)
  • Auto-exposure bracketing in increments of 1/3, 2/3 or 1 stop
  • ISO bracketing in increments of 1/3, 2/3 or 1 stop
  • Film simulation bracketing (which films to simulate are set in the main menu)
  • Dynamic range bracketing (three images are captured, at DR 100%, DR 200% and DR 400%)
Self Timer

The self timer settings are activated from the four way controller:

The settings available are a delay of 2 and 10 seconds, respectively. Annoyingly, when the X20 enters sleep mode after a period of inactivity it "forgets" this setting.

Setting Shake Reduction

The shake reduction settings can be reached from the Quick Menu:

Shake reduction OFF
Mode 2 + Motion Mode 2

There are two modes: 1 (where the shake reduction is active continuously) and 2 (where the shake reduction is only active when the shutter button is pressed halfway or the shutter is released). Given the short battery life mode 1 should be avoided since it will drain the battery faster.

Both modes has a variant called "Motion", which in some shooting modes will adjust the shutter speed to reduce motion blur.

Flash Modes

The flash must be popped up manually which is what we prefer since we can then be sure that it won't accidentally pop up and fire when we're trying to be stealth.

When popped up, the flash can be set to always fire, to fire only when needed, or to permit synchronization with a slow shutter speed. The flash menu is called up on the four way controller:

Flash exposure compensation (up to +/- 2/3 stop) is available in some shooting modes. Red-eye reduction is available only if face detection is enabled and then only in three of the auto/scene modes.

Setting the ISO

Setting the ISO can be assigned to the Fn button, and it is also accessible from the Quick Menu. Note the hint at the bottom of the screen: the setting is carried out with the command dial.

The ISO range when shooting JPG is from 100 to 12,800 in P, S, A, M and multi-exposure modes. In all other modes ISO Auto is the only option. When shooting RAW the range to our surprise is reduced to 100 to 3200. In other words, if circumstances force you to use ISO 6400 or 12800 you are prevented from shooting RAW and doing your own noise reduction on a RAW image. Perhaps this is to prevent the casual shooter from getting in trouble.

Minimum and maximum ISO in ISO Auto mode must be set in the range 100 - 3200. There is also a setting for how low the shutter speed is permitted to go before the camera will increase the ISO. While this is useful the slowest speed permitted ideally should depend on the focal length.

Setting White Balance

There is a dedicated button on the back that brings up the white balance choices. Picking a setting and hitting OK bring up the white balance fine tune screen.

Hitting OK from the WB menu brings up fine tuning

We found white balance very accurate and never used any other setting.

Setting the Metering Pattern

Also this setting has a dedicated button.

 We used the multi-pattern setting throughout.

Shooting Mode Verdict

The many dedicated buttons makes it easy to get to the various settings. The X20 is clearly designed for the demanding photographer.

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