Fujifilm FinePix F20 review

10 Nov 2006

Price when reviewed 
144
4

Compact digital cameras

With huge TFTs, underwater capabilities and high resolutions for under £200, now is the time to buy

These days, there's little point in spending more than £200 on a compact digital camera. You can buy a decent 6.1-megapixel camera with a 3x optical zoom for just £144, and the shutter lag associated with older cameras is all but gone. All the cameras here let you shoot great macro photos and take TV-quality movies with audio, as well as prevent blurred pictures thanks to the super-high ISO settings now on offer. Plus, all five here have large TFTs (the Ixus 65 has a huge 3in display), which make it easier than ever to frame shots and check focus.

Fujifilm FinePix F20

Apart from being a little bulkier than the others - measuring 94 x 27 x 57mm and weighing 172g - the Fujifilm FinePix F20 appears to offer a similar specification at a much lower price. The 3x zoom lens is made by Fuji, the body is all metal alloy and there's a large 2.5in TFT on the rear. Buttons are sensibly laid out and menus easy to use. In Manual mode, you can select multi, spot or average metering, as well as centre, multi or continuous focusing.

A dedicated button for anti-shake is welcome, and it means you can fire off shots very quickly and still get sharp results, even in low light. However, while images are sharp even in the corners, artefacts are noticeable (giving an oil-painting effect) when viewing images at 100%. Also, the F20 was one of the worst here for purple fringing.

At least there's no breakout box for power and USB connectors like the FinePix F11, but Fuji still hasn't moved to a standard mini-USB port. A slider on top of the F20 switches between still and movie mode - the latter led to good-quality, smooth clips with reasonable audio. Overall, the F20 is fine if your budget is tight, but the Canon is noticeably better quality for £13 more.