I’ve had the Fujifilm X20 for a month now, which has given me time to do some rather extensive testing. In fact, nearly half of the images that I ran in my recent Alaska backcountry skiing trip report were shot with the X20. (I’d love to know if you can guess which ones they are!)
As I posted in my full X20 review, I’m totally enamored with this little camera, and am looking forward to taking it on vacation when I head to Europe later this month. Here are a few more images to show you it’s versatility.
Like any camera or film, image quality largely depends on what kind of light you’re dealing with, as well as focus and shutter speed – Basically technique. In great light, the X20 produces beautiful sharp images with very little noise. Sure, there’s some, especially when you go above ISO 800. At ISO 100, though, which is what I typically use outside, it’s pretty minimal.
Back when I shot film, I used Fujifilm Velvia almost exclusively. Why? Because I loved the colors that it portrayed: Rich tones with deep, inky shadows that dropped to black instead of being rendered as dark muddiness. The built-in film simulations on the X20 bring me right back.
Compared to Other Cameras
The X100S has a larger sensor, but it’s got a fixed 35mm lens, whereas the X20 has the 28-112mm f/2.0-2.8 zoom lens. Street photographers LOVE that fixed 35mm, but the variety of landscapes, action, portraits and other subject matter that I shoot, I’d feel somewhat limited by a “sort of wide angle” fixed lens.
The X20 will never beat the X100S on image quality, but in my mind, it comes down to overall skill and usability. X20 images still look awesome, and the zoom on the X20 offers wide creative flexibility.
How does it stack up against other compact cameras? Like I said in my review, there are a lot of cameras out there that offer varying levels of features and quality. Some have slightly better glass than the X20, some don’t. Some have slightly better image quality, some don’t. Some of them don’t even have viewfinders. In fact, many cameras excel in one area, but fall short in a number of other areas.
The X20 holds its own because OVERALL, it’s a great camera with solid quality, lots of usable features and a really cool design. Without at doubt, it’s one of the best compact cameras on the market today.
That said, if you’ve got the eye and the skill to grab light and moment, then it really doesn’t matter what camera you use. Since most of the current cameras that are available today offer acceptable image quality, it comes down to features, style, and which one you’re most likely to have with you when those moments unfold. I’ve found a great combination of these elements in the X10, and now the X20.
You’re not me, though, so I can’t tell you which camera you’ll like the best. Just pick something and go take pictures.
Also, check out my comparison of RAW vs. JPEG on the X20.
Note: The Fuij X30 has now replaced the X20, but it’s built on a very similar chassis and has all the features of the X20, plus a few more. The optical viewfinder has been replaced with a newly designed EVF, battery life has been improved, it has a tilt screen and WiFi that enables you to remotely shoot and share images from your smartphone or tablet.