Fujifilm X20 Review
Performance - How well does it take pictures?
Ultimately a camera is only as good as the images it produces which is why performance measurements from the basis of digital camera ratings at Neocamera. The Fuji X20 is a premium compact with a high-end lens and a relatively small sensor, similar to the most fixed-lens models except for the few large-sensor cameras.
The Fuji X20 produces high-quality images with low noise and sharp details until ISO 400. Even at the lowest setting, noise-reduction effectively removes most noise up to ISO 1600 with a slight detriment to fine-details at ISO 800 and a little more at 1600. This reduces possible print sizes somewhat but matches the image-quality of other best-in-class small sensor cameras.
At ISO 3200 results are still acceptable for medium prints, showing relatively low-noise but also little fine-details when viewed at 100% scale. ISO 6400 seems rather blurry but remains quite usable for small prints. ISO 12800 is a blurry mess and should be avoided. This is completely normal and expected of even the best 2/3" sensor.
Dynamic-range of the Fuji X20 is very good and only exceeded by Fuji cameras with EXR sensors. This makes it better than most compact cameras for use in broad daylight. Exposure is generally good and very conservative. It rarely over-exposes yet has the tendency to produce rather dark images for low-contrast scenes. Such scenes are rarely under-exposed and so details are there and can by brightened up in software which will unfortunately amplifies image-noise. In these circumstances, it is preferable to use EC where +2/3 or +1 usually helps.
Colors are nicely saturated by default in Provia film simulation mode. For a more realistic rendition, set Color to -1. Keep in mind though that this setting is ignored in full outside of PASM modes. Velvia is visible over-the-top but Astia film simulation produces relatively accurate colors with a nice level of saturation.
Automatic White-Balance is good for the most part. In daylight and under simple lighting, it does well. When the camera is confronted with sources of artificial light, it can get very confused and produced incorrect results that are unfortunately not previewed on the LCD. Custom White-Balance gives very good results though.
The sharpness of the Fujinon F/2 - F/2.8 lens is superb. Details are consistently sharp from edge-to-edge with no visible corner softness or vignetting. There is a gentle but noticeable amount of barrel distortion near wide-angle but it quickly disappears after zooming in a little. Purple fringing is virtually inexistent.
The new 2/3" X-Trans CMOS II sensor features built-in Phase-Detect autofocus. This is something pioneered by Fuji on their SuperCCD EXR and they have just brought the technology over to CMOS sensors. This provides the X20 with an AF system which is faster than that on any fixed-lens camera except for the Fujifilm X100S
Fujifilm X100S which uses a larger version of the same sensor.
The Fuji X20 focuses extremely quickly and manages to stay fast and accurate even in very low light. Autofocus speed hovers around ¼ - ½s, except in very low-light where it can take just over ¾s. In bright to moderate light though, ¼s is almost always enough to lock focus. This is clearly a class-leading performance.
The X20 is generally fast and responsive. Its performance can be characterized by the following measurements:
- Power On: ¾s. Great.
- Power Off: ½s. Excellent.
- Focus: Usually ¼s. Class-leading.
- Shutter-Lag: Instant. Excellent.
- Black-Out: ¼s. Amazing for a compact.
- Shot-To-Shot: 1s. Superb for a compact.
- Playback: About ½s to Enter and ¾s to Exit. Average.
- Zoom: No speed limit.
Compared to any fixed-lens camera, this is an excellent performance. Focusing is one of its strongest points and it does so with excellent consistency. The shot-to-shot speed is great for its class but will be on the slow side for action photography. Battery life, quoted at 270 shots per charge according to the CIPA standard, is a below average. In practice, the battery drains very fast unless Power Management is configured accordingly.
The Fuji X20 is even more exceptional than its predecessor which is already an excellent camera. While nearly identical externally and sharing the same superb lens, the X20 is a significant upgrade in terms of sharpness, autofocus and speed. The new 2/3" X-Trans CMOS II sensor delivers its promise with lower image noise and better preservation of details while including class-leading Phase-Detect AF.
Image quality is excellent and rivals the best premium digital cameras with similarly-sized sensors. Images show very little noise until ISO 1600 and details are remarkably well preserved until ISO 400, just before noise-reduction kicks in. Colors are very nice and adjustable. Metering and white-balance are good yet not perfect but manual-controls easily allow them to be improved when needed.
The Fujinon lens used on the X20 is both a great technological achievement and a pleasure to use thanks to its mechanical zoom which gives perfect framing precision. The bright maximum aperture and built-in stabilization makes the X20 usable in lower light than most cameras in its class. This camera is fast and responsive under most circumstances.
This advanced digital camera is very versatile given a complete set of manual controls including manual focus, bracketing and a hot-shoe. Plus, dual control-dials and plenty of controls make these features efficient to use. The only letdown of this model is that the LCD preview is often incorrect, showing the wrong exposure or white-balance more than occasionally.
Given its image quality, performance and ergonomics, the Fuji X20 makes an ideal camera for users seeking advanced photographic controls in a compact body. The zoom range offered by its lens makes this camera highly suitable for travel, portraits and social photography.
Fujifilm X20 Highlights
Sensor-Size: 9 x 7mm
Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI
|12 Megapixels Fixed Lens||ISO 100-12800|
|4X Mechanically Linked Wide Optical Zoom||Shutter 1/4000-30s|
|Built-in Stabilization||Full manual controls, including Manual Focus|
|Automatic Eye-Start sensor||Custom white-balance|
|1 Axis Digital Level||Spot-Metering|
|12 FPS Drive, 11 Images||Hot-Shoe|
|1920x1080 @ 60 FPS Video Recording||Stereo audio input|
|2.8" LCD 460K Pixels||Lithium-Ion Battery|
|Secure Digital Extended Capacity|
2020 Digital Photography Computer Building Guide
Everything to know about building a Digital Photography Computer in 2020.
Fujifilm X-T4 Review
Fujifilm APS-C flasghip mirrorless with 5-axis builtin stabilization mechanism using the same high-speed 26 MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor as the X-T3. New 15 FPS mechanical shutter and builtin HDR. Professional mirrorless with mechanical controls, dual control-dials, dual memory-card lots, a built EVF with Eye-Start Sensor and a huge feature set.
Canon RF-Lens Info
Info on all Canon native RF-mount lenses added to the Canon EOS R5 preview.
Canon EOS R5 Preview
Preview of the Canon EOS R5 flagship Full-Frame Mirrorless with 45 MP sensor on a 5-axis stabilization system effective to 8-stops. First 8K video capable digital camera. 20 FPS electronic and 12 FPS mechanical drive.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Review
Third-Generation OM-D that packs a 20 MP Four-Thirds CMOS on a 5-Axis Stabilization System. Fast 121-Point Phase-Detect AF, 30 FPS Continuous Drive, Cinema 4K Video and more in a weatherproof and freezeproof body. Features dual control-dials and a builtin 2.4 MP EVF with Eye-Start Sensor with 0.69X magnification and 100% coverage.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Review
20 MP Micro Four-Thirds Mirrorless with 7-Stop 5-Axis Image-Stabilization, 121-Point Phase-Detect AF 30 FPS Continuous Drive and Cinema 4K capability in a weatherproof and freezeproof body with dual control-dials and dual SDXC memory card slots.
M.Zuiko 12-45mm F/4 PRO Review
A review of the M.Zuiko 12-45mm F/4 PRO added to the Olympus Premium Lens Roundup.
Peak Design Travel Tripod Review
Review of the unique Peak Design Travel Tripod with its own ballhead and the universal ballhead adapter.
Nikon Z-Mount DX Lens Roundup
Review of Nikon Z-Mount lenses for APS-C mirrorless digital cameras. Covers all current Z-mount DX lenses available.
Nikon Z50 Review
The first Nikon APS-C mirrorless is built around a 20 MP BSI-CMOS sensor with ISO 100-204800, 209-Point Phase-Detect AF, 11 FPS Drive and 4K Video capability. Compact body with dual control-dials and 2.4 MP 0.39" EVF with 0.68X magnification, 100% coverage and an Eye-Start Sensor.