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Date: 22/03/2013 | By: Heather

Fujifilm x20: Review of Advanced Mode with the Mole Antonelliana

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Fujifilm x20: Review of Advanced Mode with the Mole Antonelliana

Update: Check out our x20 full review, homemade macro test, Photoshow gallery, and high ISO test.

Spring has sprung here in Turin, and for the first time in a long while, the Alps were clearly visible from the city centre. Since this industrial Italian city is located in a valley, smog and mist often shroud the mountains from sight, but every now and then, the winds carry it away, leaving us with a view that makes the Torinese (and foreigners like me) burst with pride.

After work, I took a stroll up to Monte dei Cappucini, one of the best places to photograph not only the mountains but the city itself. The panoramic view extends as far as Mt. Viso to the left, carries on past the Mole Antonelliana in the heart of the city, and finishes at the basilica Superga on the far right.

Given the fine weather and clear skies, I went ahead and tested some of the functions found in the Advanced Mode of the Fujifilm x20.

The Motion Panorama mode seemed like an obvious first choice. To use this mode, simply switch the mode dial to Adv., press the Menu/OK button, and select Motion Panorama 360. Then, press the shutter button halfway down to choose your angle (120-360 degrees) or the direction in which you want to pan. Panning is as simple as pie – all you have to do is steadily sweep, keeping the white arrow centred on the horizontal yellow line all the while. The result is an impressive and accurate panoramic representation of your scene. Zooming in on the image, I did not observe any anomalies, such as overlapping or poor stitching, though the colours weren’t quite as vivid as I had hoped.

Below I have posted the two 120 degree panoramic JPG images taken with the x20, both untouched in post-processing.

X20, 1/450, f/ 7.1, ISO 100
X20, 1/450, f/ 7.1, ISO 100
X20, 1/420, f/ 8.1, ISO 100
X20, 1/420, f/ 8.1, ISO 100

My next goal was to test the various Advanced Filters on the x20. The filters aren’t as varied as some other cameras such as the GH3, but there are plenty to keep the artistic spirit happy.

Using the Mole Antonelliana as my subject, I tested out the following filters: toy camera, miniature, pop color, dynamic tone, soft focus, and partial colour for green.

The toy camera filter, as you can see, creates shaded borders (or vignette), giving your photo a vintage appearance. It isn’t too far removed from Instagram!

X20, 1/900, f/ 8.1, ISO 100
X20, 1/900, f/ 8.1, ISO 100

Miniature blurs the top and bottom of your photo, placing the focus on the centre of the image and creating a diorama effect. If there isn’t much going on at the top or bottom of your composition, it could be a fun option.

X20, 1/850, f/ 8/1, ISO 100
X20, 1/850, f/ 8.1, ISO 100

Pop color will make even the dullest of photos look bright and vivid thanks to the extra boost of contrast and saturation. I found it did a good job of accentuating the red rooftops of the apartment buildings in Turin without going overboard.

X20, 1/900, f/ 8/1, ISO 100
X20, 1/900, f/ 8.1, ISO 100

Dynamic tone, on the other hand, is a step too intense. It uses dynamically-modulated tone reproduction to accentuate colours, detail, highlights and shadows. This filter is designed more for entertainment purposes than for serious photography.

X20, 1/800, f/ 8/1, ISO 100
X20, 1/800, f/ 8.1, ISO 100

Soft focus left me unenthusiastic as it didn’t seem to contribute anything to the photograph, while partial colour, which I later tested in Valentino Park, seemed to do a good job of picking out and accentuating a specific colour, leaving the rest monotone. I only tested it for the colour green as I was conveniently surrounded by shoots of newly grown grass (hooray!), but I am sure that the effect is just as good for the other colours.

X20, 1/800, f/ 8.1, ISO 100
X20, 1/800, f/ 8.1, ISO 100
X20, 1/850, f/ 32/10, ISO 100
X20, 1/850, f/ 3.2, ISO 100

To sum up, the Fujifilm x20 has a handful of fun and attractive modes and filters in its Advanced Mode. The best by far is the Motion Panorama mode, for its ease-of-use and quality, but the additional filters are entertaining as well. Another thumbs-up for the Fuji x20!

Like the Fujifilm x20? Then check out our articles about its Macro Mode and our first impressions!

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About the author: Heather Broster

Heather Broster was born in Canada, has lived in Japan and Italy but currently calls Wales home. She is a full-time gear tester at MirrorLessons. You can follow her on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • John Gracen


    Your panoramas are not flattering to you for several reasons with this camera:

    1) The time of day is not conducive to the best light conditions. Shoot early morning just before sunrise or late afternoon, heading toward sunset.
    2) Your subject is very far away and you are shooting with a pocket camera that has a small sensor. The smaller the sensor, the closer the subject should be to pull in the detail.
    3) Your using a ‘pan mode’ and your doing it handheld vs on a tripod.
    4) You haven’t used any hard filters in front of the lens.

    These are just a few basic principles that would help you to achieve a better image on this compact camera. You will probably notice that while the X20 isn’t the best compact mirrorless camera for image quality, it is a preferred choice among professional photographers; it is a ‘photographers camera’. This is because it reminds many people, as it reminds me of my old Fuji GSW690III and GW690. In fact, that was the intent when Fuji designed all their new mirrorless cameras, to use the features of their now retired medium format film cameras as a basis for the aesthetics of these new consumer knock-offs. I have to say it was smart on their part! Like many pro photographers, I as well LOVE this little camera and wouldn’t trade if for a better, fancier Samsung, Sony, Panasonic or whatever brand. You just have to know this is the ‘end all be all” pocket camera and was never designed to be, it was designed for people that want a throw-back to the days of film, a sense of nostalgia in a compact, lightweight digital camera. If you apply the four basic principles I’ve outlined above and understand what (and who) this camera was intended for, then you can find yourself having a lot of fun with it.

    Best Regards,

    John Gracen

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