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Customer Review

249 of 271 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent not-quite-pocket-sized camera., March 26, 2013
This review is from: Fujifilm X20 12 MP Digital Camera with 2.8-Inch LCD (Black) (Electronics)
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I must admit. I'm a tad spoiled as my wife has been using the absolutely fantastic Sony DSC-RX100, so I figured I'd do a little comparison between the RX100 and X20, with some standalone thoughts on the X20.

First, the X20 is a very attractive camera, because it captures that retro look very well. On the flip-side, you could take out the X20 at a party and easily convince everyone you bought it in 1985. That's a good thing or a bad thing depending on your standpoint. :-)

Anyway, the build quality is excellent. This is a solid-feeling camera, much more so than the Sony RX100. However, that solidity comes with some seriously more weighty... weight.

Weight:
Sony DSC-RX100 with battery = 8.5oz
Fujifilm X20 with battery = 12.7oz

That means the Fuji is a hair under 50% heavier than the Sony, and it's quite noticeable.

Dimensions:

Sony DSC-RX100 = 4 inches (w) x 2.3 inches (h) x 1.4 inches (d)
Fujifilm X20 = 4.6 inches (w) x 2.7" (h) x 2.2" (d)

That dimensional difference, too, is extremely noticeable. The additional weight and size means you're not carrying this on your person unless you have very baggy pockets. The lens sticks out considerably further on the X20 contributing to this.

That said, the Fujinon lens on the X20 is excellent, - an absolutely joy to use. This camera is much, much easier to attain dreamy bokeh on than the Sony, due to the much wider aperture at full zoom (f2.8 on the Fuji vs 4.9 on the Sony). In this regard, the Sony can't touch the Fuji, despite the Sony's much larger sensor size (double the Fuji's!). Also, quite niftily, you can attach a 40mm-to-52mm ring adapter to the X20's lens, thus enabling you to use all manner of cheap UV, polarizing and neutral density filters etc. Awesome.

I'm using this one, personally, and it works just great because it works as a lens hood, too: EzFoto 52mm Filter Adapter + Lens Hood for Fuji X10, with a free lens cap

The X20 has a manually-activated flash that pops straight up and points dead ahead, unmoving. The Sony RX100 has a shutter-activated flash, and has the outstanding ability of being able to be pointed up to the ceiling and used as a bounce flash (as well pointing straight ahead). While it's not a blazingly-poweful light, in a pinch it works great in relatively small rooms, and portraits have turned out infinitely better than a head-on flash using this feature. I was surprised to be able to do this, but it's such a great little feature! I wish the X20 worked similarly.

In terms of menus etc, neither the Sony nor the Fuji have particularly intuitive interfaces, and both have a learning curve before you'll feel anywhere near adept. The nod has to to go the Sony, though, as the menus feel quite modern and.. swish. The Fuji's menus aren't terrible, but I found myself quite a bit more frustrated trying to navigate around them. They're just quite clunky.

The X20 has two dials on the top of the camera. One is for your typical pictures modes (aperture/shutter priority, manual, special picture modes etc), and the other, inexplicably, is an exposure compensation dial from -2 to +2. I was surprised that Fuji dedicated a dial to this one feature, and assumed there would be more uses for the dial that I'd discover by digging through the manual. Nope. Page 49 says the following:

"Use exposure compensation when photographing very bright, very dark, or high contrast subjects."

That's it. A whole dial (described in just a single sentence in the manual) dedicated to one thing that could easily be accessed via a shortcut menu. Crazy!

On the plus side, the X20 has a viewfinder - yay! While it's only an 85% viewfinder (you'll have some image around the edges that you'll see in post-process that you don't see through the viewfinder), it works "OK" (see March 27 edit, below), but does show you plenty of useful information (iso, f/stop, shutter speed). It's great to be able to keep your eyes through the viewfinder and change settings once you learn the controls. Good stuff. It can sometimes be a bit tricky to focus your eyes on the projected text in the viewfinder, though, but you tend to get used to it.

The X20 features 49 selectable focus points on the LCD, and I found each and every one of them to be very accurate.

While the RX100 and X20 both have panorama functionality, I found the RX100's to be superior, with less erroring between frames when they're stitched together. Both do a great job, though.

The X20, sadly, does not have an HDR mode built in that I could find. This is an extremely useful feature, and I've seen some absolutely fabulous, natural-looking HDR'ed shots from the RX100 that, sadly, won't ever come from the X20.

The X20 shoots at 12fps, which is two more than the RX100's 10fps. Both are blazingly fast, though the RX100 is shooting 10fps at 20MP, whereas the X20 is shooting 12fps at only 12MP. I need to spend more time comparing files from both cameras, but you won't be disappointed by the images from the X20, that's for sure.

The X20 has an absolutely fantastic macro mode, letting you get as close as 0.4 inches away from your subject. It's truly excellent for the dreamy-bokeh lovers out there, because the subject separation is stellar.

Overall, in my initial testing, the X20 is a super camera. It's not the game-changer the RX100 is (sensor size and variety of features in such a small package), but what you do get is a superior lens, no optical low pass filter - for crispy photographs, an actually usable viewfinder, 12fps, superb build quality, and delicious, delicious bokeh! If you're cross-shopping the RX100 and X20, it's certainly a tough decision. If fitting a camera in your purse or pocket is important, the RX100 wins hands down. For build quality? The Fuji. Photo quality? Well... I won't jump to any conclusions until I've had more time to test (this review will be updated!). So far, though, the X20 seriously impresses.

Only the menu-system learning curve and inexplicable exposure compensation dial nag at me, but this camera is still full of win.

5 stars out of 5.

*EDIT March 27, 2013*

More time with this camera has shown that it really is a competent shooter, and here are a few more tidbits:

1.) ISO3200 is the highest attainable when shooting in the RAW format vs 12800 in JPEG. Not a big deal in my experience. ISO800 and 1600 are quite pleasant, but the jump from 1600 to 3200 is really significant in terms of the difference in noise. ISO800 and ISO1600 add a pleasing (dare I say it!) noise grain to the image which is not objectionable, whereas ISO3200 just turns things a bit muddy at the pixel level, especially in really low light or with dark objects.

2.) At the time of typing, you need Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.4 Release Candidate to process the RAWs from the X20. Not a problem.

3.) There is no "real" indication of focus point when looking through the optical viewfinder. A large green box will appear to show you the "rough" approximation of where the camera is focusing, but it's simply not good enough, especially for macro photography. That means that while you may have set the focus point to the top left of the image, you have no way of knowing exactly where that focus point is when you're looking through the viewfinder because the box shown through the VF is so vague. This is actually a pretty significant shortcoming. The camera lets you actually shrink the focus points down on the LCD using the main command dial (for more precise focus on an object), but there's no indication of this through the viewfinder; the giant green rectangle still shows you roughly, but not exactly, where you're focusing. Not good enough, in general, but I think it's "good enough" for just using the center point. If you're shifting the focus point, stick to the LCD and don't bother with the VF.

4.) 9fps is the max when shooting in RAW, and 12fps is the max shooting JPEG.

5.) The X20 has the rather nifty feature the Sony RX100 has, and that is the focus->recompose feature (Tracking Autofocus). With the RX100 and X20 you can have the focus point dead center on the LCD, and lock it on whatever object you want to be in focus. Then you can move the camera (recompose), and the square will stay on the object you're trying to have in focus (yes, the focus square will shift position on the LCD). Essentially it's a focus->recompose tool where the recomposing still maintains perfect focus, and it works excellently!

6.) Bokeh really is excellent with this lens. This can't be overstated.

7.) You can see the lens through the viewfinder at 28mm, but at around 42-43mm the lens is no longer visible.

8.) It's quite easy to change f-stop by mistake with the command dial or sub-command dial, so keep your fingers away from there. Those dials rotate VERY easily (especially the sub-command dial).

9.) Any case that works with its predecessor, the Fujifilm X10, will work with the X20. I bought this one on Amazon, and it works perfectly!

Ever Ready Black Leather Case Bag for Fujifilm FinePix X10

Yes, it says X10 (subtly indented into the leather rather than obviously emblazoned in some funky-colored stitching), and since there are no specific X20 cases available yet (as of this edit), this a great clone of the Fuji official case.

*EDIT* April 18, 2013:

Still really enjoying this camera. The battery life I've found to be not great, though, so be sure to pick up an extra battery if you want to get more than a few hundred shots while you're out and about.

In the comments for the review, it was brought to my attention that Marumi makes a 40mm filter that does fit the Fuji X20. Marumi 40mm DHG Lens Protect Filter for Fuji X10 -40mm- (Made in Japan) This will work great, and has the added benefit of you being able to put the lens cap back on, too (though not quite as snugly). The downside is that you lose the hood functionality the 40mm->52mm adapter gives you, and that the filter choice is not as great at the 40mm size. For example, I haven't been able to locate a 40mm (40.5mm will not fit) neutral density filter. Boo!

While I linked a cheaper, third-party 40mm-52mm hood/adapter earlier in the review, Fujifilm makes their own 40mm-52mm hood/adapter, but it is more expensive. I'm including it here for reference, though:

Fujifilm Lens Hood X10 for Digital Camera

*EDIT* May 13, 2013

1.) I didn't mention this in the original review, but the X20 has a lens cap that must be removed before taking photos. You can always leave it off when the camera isn't in use, but that isn't recommended since you want to protect that excellent Fujinon lens. Conversely, the RX100 has an integrated electric cap that opens and closes on the lens when you turn the power on/off. In terms of convenience, the RX100 is hard to beat, though some might not find the "manual" lens cap too bothersome.

2.) If you're left-eye dominant (i.e. you look through viewfinders with your left eye), you'll be able to rest the X20 against your nose like you do on an SLR, - when using the viewfinder. This is great for steadying shots. However, if - like most people, you're right-eye dominant, your nose will stick out to the left of the camera, and so doesn't help you steady the shot at all. Boo!

3.) The build quality of the X20 really is excellent. While my love for the RX100 is no secret, it doesn't hold a candle to the solidity that comes with the X20. The more I use both cameras, the more I appreciate that about the X20.
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Comments

Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 59 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 27, 2013 5:11:38 PM PDT
En Trance says:
While it may be a heavy camera compared to the Sony, to say this is a heavy camera would be silly. It feels light as a feather to me.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2013 5:13:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 27, 2013 6:45:49 PM PDT
I don't recall saying it was "heavy". I just pointed out that it weighs more than the Sony RX-100. Everything is relative, of course... :)

Posted on Mar 28, 2013 11:47:00 AM PDT
GadgetGuy says:
Thanks for review.. case link not working...

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2013 11:48:18 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 28, 2013 11:57:01 AM PDT
I've updated the review with a hotlink, so it should be click-able now! Thank you for letting me know.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2013 12:02:48 PM PDT
GadgetGuy says:
Thanks for quick response... I did :) no luck.. I ordered the camera and a "case"..looking forward to cking out the camera

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2013 12:05:18 PM PDT
I've confirmed the link is working. Maybe try again now? Glad you got the camera ordered - it's a good one. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2013 1:00:26 PM PDT
GadgetGuy says:
Yes working now.. thanks again... looking forward to getting my hands on this one....

Posted on Mar 28, 2013 9:59:24 PM PDT
To say that 2 feathers are 200% heavier than one feather is reasonably accurate but meaningless to the chicken that carries them around. The X 20 is very solidly built but by no means a heavy camera. Otherwise, thanks for the slpendid and informative review .

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2013 10:04:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 28, 2013 10:10:18 PM PDT
Thank you for the feedback! However, we'll have to agree to disagree about the weight/size (and I really don't know why people are getting so hung up over this!). I'll reiterate: By comparison to the Sony RX-100, which is a direct competitor to the X20, the Fuji X20 is quite the brick, both dimensionally and heft-wise. I suggest you play with an RX-100. You may well come to the same conclusion. No chickens or feathers here. I'm a human. And I have to carry things around. :)

Posted on Mar 30, 2013 3:26:38 PM PDT
Just a couple of comments. I find the camera too light not too heavy. Being so light it moves/shakes more than a camera with more weight. Can only imagine the sony is worse.

I really appreciate the know to adjust exposure. Goodness that is the variable I am most often dealing with and having the knob makes it simple to adjust and you can see the status just by looking at the top of the camera - wonderful.
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