Why Does My Fuji X20 Look More Zoomed In on the Screen Than on the Viewfinder?

Question from a student: My camera is a Fuji X20, so not a true SLR but it has all the similar settings and it fits in my purse!

Here is my question for today: When I take a picture through the viewfinder, the composition is narrower than the one I see on the monitor when I view it. If I take a picture using the monitor instead of the viewfinder, the final picture is the same as what I saw on the monitor. I like using the viewfinder so is there some setting I can change so that my resulting photo has the same content as what I see in the viewfinder?

Answer from instructor: The viewfinder coverage on the X20 is 85%, which means that camera shows 85% of the field of view in the viewfinder.  The LCD, however, is taking the image straight from the sensor, so it is always 100%.  There really isn't anything you can do to change that, unfortunately.

I think it is very unfortunate that so many cameras work this way, but it is true.  Most DSLRs work this way as well, but usually DSLRs do a little better than the X20.  Inexpensive DSLRs are often at 93% or 95% coverage and some even get to 98% coverage which makes this problem less noticeable.  Higher-end DSLRs are now finally getting to 100% viewfinder coverage.  The Nikon D800 and the Canon 5D Mark III both have 100% viewfinder coverage, which was not the case with the models they replaced.

It can definitely be frustrating to work with a camera that doesn't have full coverage on the viewfinder.  It makes the creation of a solid composition nearly impossible!  But your best bet is to use the LCD where possible and use the viewfinder only when necessary and still remember how much of the scene is being cut off.

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