my Fuji X20 review conclusion – strong points and who is it for

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Fuji X20 review

Will I buy the Fuji X20? YES! After writing this review, shooting with the new Fuji, and seeing all the improvements over the old X10 I am very happy! This is the short version. Read on for what I think are the improvements in the Fuji X20 and if it is the right camera for you.

Update: Adobe has released the Adobe Camera Raw 7.4 which offers greatly improved support for Fuji Raw files. Until now I think it was better to shoot Jpegs, as the converters were not able to use the best Fuji had to offer in the files. Fuji worked together with Adobe and now Photoshop and Lightroom are able to get the most of the Fuji X20 Raw files.
You can read my post comparing the before and after processing of Fujifilm Raw files for the X-E1.

my Fuji X20 review: what is new

Read about the main features in detail, but in short The Fujifilm X20 brings:

  • 12MP 2/3″-type X-Trans CMOS sensor with backside illumination
    the X-Trans sensor design is present in all new Fujifilm cameras, including the well-received Fujifilm X-E1 or the new X100s. It is a very well-regarded design by reviewers.
  • on-chip phase detection autofocus
    compact digital cameras use the slow contrast detection AF, so Fuji X20 offers a big advantage
  • ‘Advanced Optical Viewfinder’ with electronic information overlay
    my personal favorite improvement in the Fujifilm X20

The Fujifilm X20 is available at Amazon for $599.

Fujifilm X20 in silver finish
Fujifilm X20 in silver finish (the version I prefer)

Fuji X20 review – additional changes that I like:

  • silver version
    I bought the X-E1 in silver and I think it looks great. Of course there is nothing wrong with the black finish, but after 10 years of black Canon DSLR I like a fresh look.
  • higher bandwidth for movies
    Fujifilm X20 has 36Mbps video data rate. This is a very important feature to shoot good, smooth videos. A low bandwidth leads to compression artifacts when panning, or when filming rapidly changing scenes. Usually compact digital cameras do not allow setting the aperture and shutter speed in video mode but I really hope the Fujifilm X20 will allow us to do this. As you cannot judge a digital camera output by the size of the JPEG file, the final quality of the movie mode in the Fujifilm X20 depends on a lot of things.
  • increased ISO range to ISO 12800
    together with the bright lens and good optical image stabilization will make the Fuji X20 a great low-light digital camera. i had no problems using ISO3200 on the Fuji X10 and I see no reason to doubt the replacement.
  • external microphone input
    I have a Rode directional microphone, I will test how it works on this camera. This is an important feature for video-makers. The integrated microphones in digital cameras are not good in dialogue/interview settings. Great for ambient sound, but a directional microphone needs an external microphone input. please note that using an external microphone blocks the flash hotshoe.
  • more picture effects in-camera
    I am not a huge fan of pictures effects, but Fuji provided some interesting creative tools. On the Fuji X10 I started to play around with the different BW filters. These can also be enabled in video mode, but filming with filters activated was unsuitable on the earlier model. The Fuji X20 improved processor maybe will enable creative use of these filters in video mode.

should you buy Fuji X20?

Fujifilm X20 - black version
Fujifilm X20 – black version

YES, the Fuji X20 is the right choice if:

  • you want a versatile, premium digital camera
    with a solid build and enjoy using physical controls
  • you like Fuji colors
    and have a soft spot for old Fujifilm, before the digital cameras era: if Provia, Astia, Velvia sound familiar, this is a camera for you. The film modes are pretty hard to emulate in post-processing, as they use several subtle curves and saturation levels.
  • need an integrated viewfinder
    and prefer optical instead of electronic. This is especially important if the Fuji X20 is backup to a DSLR. For me it was hard to move from an optical viewfinder to the electronic one in the Fuji X-E1. And I cannot see myself skipping the viewfinder altogether.
  • like to control depth-of-field in photos
    From the digital cameras that are alternatives to the Fuji X20, none offers a better lens/sensor-size combination. Translating to 35mm territory, the Fujifilm X20 is pretty good at shallow depth-of-field (as good as a kit lens stopped down 1 EV, to about F7.1).
  • want a good backup camera to a Fujifilm X-E1 or X-PRO1
    as using the Fujifilm X20 will be immediately familiar.
    This is an important reason for me to get the Fujifilm X20

If you want to compare the X20 alternatives, I list the strengths and weaknesses of the cameras I researched before deciding on the Fujifilm X20.

NO, the camera might not be for you if:

  • you want a bigger zoom range or…
  • …feel a fixed-focal lens is enough (for street photography maybe – in which case the Fujifilm X100s is a great choice!)
  • shoot a lot in rain, snow or sand. I have not much experience with weather-sealed cameras, but I know that Fuji X20 is not one of them.
  • want a digital camera that fits in a pocket. Fuji X20 might fit in a large coat pocket.
  • you want a digital camera with GPS or integrated WiFi

So, will I buy the Fuji X20?  After writing this review, playing with the camera, and thinking about all the improvements I have to say ‘yes’I have the Fuji X-E1, which I am still learning to shoot with, so a new digital camera has to wait a bit. Especially as Fuji X20 availability is scarce. Based on the experience I had with the Fuji X10 I will enjoy the X20 as the future backup camera in my bag.

The Fujifilm X20 at Amazon so if you are looking for a great digital camera this might be the one.

Fujifilm X20 reviews around the world

  • pocket-lint.com gave the new Fujifilm X20 5 stars, and are generally very pleased with the camera
  • Adam Riley took the camera on a photo walk in Manchester and the pictures are great.
  • techradar.com also has a good verdict on the X20.
    I think that the premium price the X20 commands is totally worth it.
  • on Amazon the Fujifilm X20 got reviewed  and has 4.5 stars
Series Navigation« alternatives to Fuji X20: the competition

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