Fujifilm FinePix S20 Pro Review

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Fujifilm Finepix S20 Pro

Features & Controls

The S20 Pro features a bright, large-diameter, precision, 6X Super EBC Fujinon aspherical zoom lens (f/2.8 - f/3.1) with a focal length equivalent to 35-210mm on a 35mm camera. The lens may be zoomed by using the buttons on the rear or the ring around the lens barrel (except when in manual focus mode.)

The S20 Pro employs a passive AF sensor (see window above the lens) to quickly range the subject and then a TTL contrast-detect system critically focuses off of the CCD. There is no focus-assist illuminator.

The working range of the auto focus is 1.6 ft - Infinity (Normal Wide) and 3.0 ft - Infinity (Normal Tele). The Macro range is 0.3 ft - 2.6 ft. and Super Macro range is 0.4 - 7.9 inches. The lens may be manually focused by using the ring at the end of the lens barrel (when in manual focus mode), this is an electronic focusing ring, it is not mechanical. The One-Touch AF button can be used in conjunction with manual focusing.

Fuji Finepix S20 Pro Zoom.

The optional AR-FX9 lens adapter allows the use of 55mm filters or add-on lenses. Fuji has two auxiliary lenses available: The TL-FX9 is a x1.5 adapter that extends the telephoto range out to 315mm and ...

Fuji Finepix S20 Pro Zoom.

the WL-FX9 is a x0.79 adapter that makes the lens equivalent to 28mm at wide angle. (The lens adapter is supplied with each of these conversion lenses.)

Fuji Finepix S20 Pro Zoom.

On the side of the lens is the Macro/Super Macro focus button. The SHIFT button is used in conjunction with other buttons to quickly change settings without accessing the full menu. The INFO button in record displays the current exposure comp., white balance, metering, ISO and sharpening settings. In playback it toggles the extended information and histogram. The Focus switch toggles Single AF, Continuous AF or Manual focus modes, the button in the center is the One-Touch AF, it's used to momentarily enable auto focus when in manual focus mode.

Fuji Finepix S20 Pro Zoom.

The eye level viewfinder is a tiny, high resolution (235,000 pixel) 0.44-inch color LCD. It gives you true TTL (through the lens) viewing with exposure info and camera data overlayed on top of the live view.

You can use either the EVF or color LCD by pressing the EVF/LCD button to toggle between the screens. Playback review and menus can be accessed by either display. The EVF shows approx. 92% of the captured image and has a dioptric adjustment. The LCD offers a 100% view during image review.

Fuji Finepix S20 Pro Zoom.

Controls on the back: The zoom lens is controlled by the and buttons which also control the magnified image function in playback mode. The AE-L button is used to lock the exposure so you can recompose the shot if desired. The EVF/LCD button toggles the display (see above). The DISP button controls the amount of information overlayed on the displays and in playback it calls up the image review modes. The Focus Check button to the right magnifies the center portion of the screen during manual or auto focusing. The BACK button cancels menu operations. The MENU/OK button calls up the menus and accepts selections. The 4-way jog switch lets you navigate menus, select images and operate the image magnify function during playback. The blue Photo mode button lets you change image size/quality, ISO speed or color mode.

Fuji Finepix S20 Pro Zoom.

Controls on the top: The shutter release also has the Power / Record / Playback switch mounted around it. The buttons for flash mode, exposure compensation and shooting mode, work with on-screen icons that you choose the desired option by rotating the Command Dial.

Fuji Finepix S20 Pro Zoom

Shooting mode button: Off=Single, Top 10-frame continuous (shoot up to 10 frames at up to 4.5fps), Auto Exposure Bracketing, Final 10-frame continuous (shoot up to 25 frames but only the last 10 frames are stored), Long-period continuous shooting (1MP mode in AUTO only, up to 40 frames).

Fuji Finepix S20 Pro Zoom.

Flash mode button: Auto (only in AUTO exposure mode), Red-Eye Reduction, Forced On, Off, Slow Sync and Slow Sync + Red-Eye Reduction

Fuji Finepix S20 Pro Zoom.

The Mode Dial has positions for Movie Record, SP (Scene Position - Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Scene or B&W), AUTO (point-n-shoot), Program AE (with Program Shift - rotate command wheel to select other combinations of shutter speed and aperture), Shutter speed priority, Aperture priority, full Manual and the SETup menu.

Next to the Mode Dial is the Command Dial, it's actuated by your thumb and is used in Program Shift, Shutter priority, Aperture priority and Manual to change the settings. It's also used with the other buttons as previously described.

Fuji Finepix S20 Pro Zoom.

The built in flash must be manually "popped up" by pressing the release button when required. The working range is 1 ft - 27.9 ft in wide angle and from 3 ft - 25.9 ft in the Telephoto position. This is an intelligent flash with modes for Auto (only available in the AUTO mode), Red-Eye Reduction, Forced On, Off, Slow Sync and Slow Sync + Red-Eye Reduction.

Fuji Finepix S20 Pro Zoom.
On top of the EVF is an ISO standard flash hot shoe that accepts most automatic flash units. The camera must be set to "external flash" when the hot shoe or the front-mounted PC sync port is used. The S20 Pro also has a user-settable external flash white balance feature.

Fuji Finepix S20 Pro Zoom.
A built-in speaker for audio playback and camera sounds.

The I/O ports are tucked away behind a door on the left side and include both a USB 2.0 and FireWire IEEE 1394 port for very fast image downloading, the Audio/Video Out port is for connecting to a television (video signal is user-selectable for NTSC or PAL).

And a 5V DC INput jack for the optional AC power supply or an external battery pack.

Fuji Finepix S20 Pro Zoom.

The xD-Picture Card and CompactFlash Type II card slots are accessed by a opening a door on the side of the handgrip. Fujifilm supplies a 16MB xD card which is absurd considering that's only enough capacity to hold one RAW image, five 6M Fine images, or a paltry thirteen seconds of VGA video. (See the red row in the storage capacity chart below.)

Thankfully the S20 Pro can use any size xD-Picture Card up to 512MB and is compatible with IBM/Hitachi 340MB, 512MB and 1GB Microdrives and -some- fast CompactFlash cards. Shown here is the spacious, speedy and affordable RiDATA 52X Pro 512MB card.

Fuji specifically states that the S20 Pro is to be used with xD-Picture Cards or Microdrives up to 1GB. It doesn't support FAT-32 so you can't use the new 4GB Microdrive. Slower CF cards can be used for still image capture but they can't keep up with the data throughput required for recording 30fps movie clips.

Approximate Storage Requirements
Still imagesMovies
Image QualityCCD-Raw6M Fine6M Normal3M2M1M640320
Microdrive 340MB261172344455597525m10m
Microdrive 1GB8035369813131642219015.3m30.1m

Fuji Finepix S20 Pro Zoom.

The S20 Pro is powered by four standard AA type batteries. Fuji supplies alkaline type but we strongly recommend the use of the highest capacity NiMH rechargeable batteries you can find, presently it's 2300mAh. (For emergency use I suggest you put a set of one-use Photo Lithium AA batteries in your camera bag.)

Fuji claims a battery life of 210 frames with LCD, 220 frames with EVF when using alkaline batteries and 340 frames with LCD, 350 frames with EVF when using 2100mAh NiMH batteries. These times are approximate and calculated for xD-Picture Card media, when using a Microdrive the times will be slightly shorter.

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