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Since it is a budget compact, unsurprisingly the F20 has a somewhat restricted selection of features and options. These include spot, average or multi-zone metering; centre, multi-spot of continuous AF, and a picture mode menu with 14 scene programs including all the usual choices, such as portrait, landscape, sports, night scene, fireworks, sunset, snow, beach, museum, party, flower and text.
Performance is generally good, and the camera never feels slow. Start-up time is a very creditable 1.8 seconds, and shut-down is just as brisk. In long-period continuous mode it can shoot a frame every 1.7 seconds and keep it up until the card is full, which is not spectacularly fast but adequate. It also has “first three” and “last three” burst modes that can shoot at just over two frames a second.
Autofocus is very quick, in fact one of the quickest on any compact I’ve used recently, and works well regardless of the light conditions. It has a very bright blue-white AF-assist lamp with a range of several meters, so it can focus surprisingly well in the dark. The flash is also fantastic, working in conjunction with the exceptional high-ISO performance to give a wide angle range of a massive 6.5 metres and telephoto range of 3.5 metres, almost double the average for most similar compacts. Frame coverage and colour rendition were also excellent. I used the F20 on a particularly hectic night out (a divorce party, of all things), and I’d say without hesitation that it’s one of the best cameras for social snapshot photography that I’ve ever used.
The video mode is also good. Controlled by a simple slider switch on the top panel, it can record in 640 x 480 mode at 30 frames a second with mono sound. As is usual with such cameras, the zoom lens cannot be used while filming.
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