Fujifilm FinePix Z20fd
Simple and stylish, but not superior
- Slim, easy to use
- Picture quality not fantastic, slow autofocus
It’s a slim and simple camera, but Fujifilm’s Finepix Z20fd will only suit amateur users who aren’t overly concerned with image sharpness and quality.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
Fujifilm’s stylish Finepix Z20fd offers an exceedingly simple control method designed for amateur camera users. The images it captures will please happy-snappers, but those more interested in image quality might be a little disheartened.
The Finepix Z20fd is a very simple unit — a sliding door on the front covers a tiny, non-telescopic lens and a xenon flash. The rear of the unit is adorned with a 2.5in LCD screen and two circular context-sensitive button pads. The shutter button on the top is accompanied by an instant movie recording button, which saves the hassle of navigating through complicated menus.
The LCD is bright enough for daytime usage, but the camera’s budget price-point is reflected in the screen’s low resolution, which can make it difficult to properly focus on a subject. This budget feel extends to the buttons of the unit, which seem somewhat flimsy and cheap.
It takes around 2.8 seconds from sliding the cover on the front of the unit to being ready to take a photograph. If you’ve got the button half-depressed to pre-focus the lens, the shutter lag between pressing the button and capturing the image is only 0.03 seconds. This is a great but it’s about the only thing the Z20fd excels at.
Without pre-focusing image capture takes around 0.6 seconds, which is on par with or slightly slower than competing cameras. In continuous shooting modes, however, speeds take a nosedive. In ‘Long Continuous’ mode, shooting speed is abysmal at 0.36 frames per second — competing models can easily manage at least 1 frame per second.
The camera’s 3x optical zoom lens has a focal length of 35-106mm, which we feel is not wide enough for everyday indoor usage. It’s built in to the body of the camera so there’s no protruding barrel to deal with, but there is a trade-off in lens quality: we found that the lens was noticeably noisy when zooming. At moderate zoom levels picture sharpness was consistent across the frame, but at higher levels softening towards the corners became prominent.
The camera’s white balance was inconsistent at the best of times, with similar photos sometimes shifting to cool blue hues and other times to yellows. We also found that using the flash consistently overexposed subjects, leaving images with a washed-out look.
Because the flash is so small the camera uses an ISO boosting system to work at longer distances, resulting in grainy photographs when using the flash for anything other than close-ups. This ISO boost system also functions as the camera’s method of digital image stabilisation — so while your photos will be blur-free they’ll lack detail and be somewhat grainy upon close inspection.
In terms of image quality, the Finepix Z20fd hasn’t significantly improved on its ancestor, the FinePix Z10fd. Chromatic aberration levels were still high, with significant purple fringing and haloing evident in areas of extreme contrast.
The sharpness of images produced by this camera is fairly low — a combination of the integrated lens and the quality-sapping ISO boost setting. Colour response from the unit was quite poor, too, with inaccurate shades across the spectrum. We found often outdoor scenes were incorrectly given a blue tinge while reds and greens varied wildly.
The Finepix Z20fd is a simple camera. It takes pictures acceptably for an amateur photographer and its diminutive dimensions mean it’s highly portable. Just don’t expect it to produce studio-quality images.
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