You can certainly find cameras packed with more features than the Fujifilm FinePix J20, but its combination of price, image quality, stylish looks, and ease of use makes it a great deal.
The 10Mp Fujifilm FinePix J20, a slim, durable and metallic camera, is one of the better bare-bones entry-level cameras we've seen this year.
Equipped with a 3x optical zoom lens (35.5mm to 106.5mm), the Fujifilm FinePix J20 also offers surprisingly effective digital image stabilisation - it did a pretty good job of retaining a crisp, clear image when we shook the camera around vigorously. Mechanical and optical image-stabilisation systems are still more effective, but the Fujifilm FinePix J20's stabilisation is a great feature for that low, low price.
Besides Auto mode, Scene Recognition mode (which is fully automated), Manual mode (to adjust white balance, ISO equivalencies, and exposure compensation), and Movie mode (standard-definition, 640-by-480 AVI clips at 30 frames per second), the Fujifilm FinePix J20 offers 17 additional scene modes - the usual cast of characters (such as Portrait, Landscape, and Sports) and some less common modes that complement them well (Fireworks, Museum, and Text, for example).
Manual ISO adjustments let you increase the Fujifilm FinePix J20's light sensitivity to ISO 1600.
Despite its nice range of features, the Fujifilm FinePix J20 has a minimalist, almost elegant button layout to accompany its 2.7in-diagonal LCD screen. The top of the camera houses the on/off and shutter buttons, which the back of the camera supplements with just four other controls: a zoom rocker, a button to adjust display settings, a playback button, and a four-way directional pad surrounding a menu button.
As on many other cameras, the four directional buttons also provide one-touch access to the Fujifilm FinePix J20's flash settings, timer, macro mode, and deletion function.
With so few controls, there's not much competition for space on the Fujifilm FinePix J20, leading to well-spaced buttons that are easy to use regardless of your hand size.
The SD/SDHC card slot is tucked away in the all-plastic (and flimsy) battery compartment, but the mini-USB connector is located on the bottom of the Fujifilm FinePix J20.
According to our Test Centre jury evaluations, the Fujifilm FinePix J20's image quality rates as Good for a camera in its price range and rivals the image quality of some significantly more expensive cameras.
Sample images had low levels of distortion and good exposure quality, though their sharpness wasn't rated as highly. In our hands-on testing, we noticed about a second of lag time between when we pressed the shutter button and when the camera auto-focused and snapped an image.
The Fujifilm FinePix J20's battery life earned a rating of Good, as the J20 took 221 shots on a single charge of its rechargeable lithium ion battery. That's well short of the 300-plus shots we've seen on many point-and-shoot cameras, but still a decent amount of juice.
NEXT PAGE: our expert verdict