Fujifilm X20 Mirrorless Camera Review
The X20 uses an X-Trans sensor just like all new Fujifilm X cameras. Instead of an APS-C-sized system it’s a 2/3 inch sensor, which is slightly smaller than APS-C, but still very large for a compact camera. In combination with the moderate resolution of 12MP the camera offers very clean and noise-free images.
The camera body follows Fujifilm’s retro design style. The optical viewfinder shows additional information like the shutter speed,aperture and active focus area. It is very helpful, especially in brightly lit situations, but certainly not as comfortable as the hybrid viewfinder of the company’s X-Pro1 and some other X-cameras.
The X20 uses a sensor that switches to the optical viewfinder when the photographer raises the camera to his or her eye and toggles back to the LCD screen view when bringing the camera down again.
The Fujifilm X20 has a lens ring to change focal length settings that also functions as an ON/OFF switch. When it activates the camera it sets the lowest focal length setting (28 mm--35 mm film equivalent). It’s a 4x zoom lens with a maximum focal length of 112 mm. The 35mm film equivalents are used for indicating focal length on the ring.
The camera has two setup dials on the top. The large dial near the accessory shoe is a standard mode dial that allows the user to choose automatic, semi-automatic or manual exposure modes (P, S, A and M). The second dial offers a fast and intuitive setting of the EV compensation (+/- 2 EV stops). A ring for manual focusing is missing. The photographer has to use the very thin ring which encircles the control field to the right of the LCD screen for this function.
The camera offers electronic viewfinder magnification when in manual focusing mode (activated with the AF-S, AF-C, MF switch on the front of the X20). A focus peaking function enhances the experience by showing bright contour lines when elements are in focus.
Comments on Image Quality
Color: The color reproduction suffers from the automatic white balance setting which causes clearly visible shifts into the greenish and yellowish color areas, especially under fluorescent light. While the color test chart shows only alittle shift of brighter gray patterns into the yellow and green direction, the portrait shot and the shot of the standard testbox shot display this visible tint.
In daylight situations this tendency is clearly reduced and the X20 shows very natural looking colors. Skin tones are reproduced with a slight “optimization” (enhanced yellow and magenta rate) but are still realistic. Red nuances are boosted by an intensified yellow rate. This causes an over-saturation and is the reason for the bad differentiation of red nuances.
Sharpness: The resolution test result of the X20 is very high. The camera reproduced the test chart with nearly its nominal sensor resolution (2900 of 3000 lines in picture height), but shows clearly visible over- and undershot effects, which is evidence of a very intense sharpness filtering and image optimization by the image processor. Nevertheless, results are still very good for a compact camera. The reproduction of fine details is visible in the standard test box shot but the differentiation of red colors should be better. The red spool of the standard test box shot shows nearly a plain red surface instead of single threads, and the red t-shirt of our model also shows areas with nearly no differentiation. The high sharpness filtering causes a slightly artifical and over-sharpenedlook in the hair structure of our model.
Noise: The camera showed a very good performance in the noise tests. The luminance noise level is comparable to SLR cameras with APS-C size sensor in test shots at ISO 1600. It increases with higher ISO settings--at ISO 12,800 we saw a very high noise level. At ISO 1600 images start to show anti-noise filtering effects with softer contrast lines. Noise is very high in images made from ISO 1600 to 12,800 but are obviously filtered in a very intelligent way and are “smoothed.”
The dynamic range results are a little disappointing, a maximum of 10.3 f-stops. We have tested other Fujfilm X-cameras with better results.
+ compact body, high class finish
+ retro style design with handy lens ring for setting up focal length
+ optical viewfinder with additional information (shutter speed etc.)
+ easy and comfortable handling
- missing focus lens ring (manual focusing by using the setup dial on the back)
- small and low resolution LCD (compared to other compact cameras in this price range)
Price: $599.95 (Fujifilm web site)
Lab test and comments provided by Betternet, our TIPA-affiliated testing lab, edited by George Schaub.
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