8
Mar
2013

X20 vs. X10

by Rico Pfirstinger

Talk to Rico (questions & feedback)Sample images set Comparison images set

Same, same, but different! That’s what Fujifilm’s new X20 compact camera is for those who know its predecessor, the X10. From the looks of it, the X20 and X10 are quite the same, so X10 users will immediately feel at home. However, it’s a new and different home, one with a more conventional X-Trans sensor. Yep, compared to EXR even an X-Trans sensor is pretty old-fashioned. So in order to get the best results from an X20, you might want to shoot it less like an X10 and more like a X100(S), X-E1 or X-Pro1.

In order to compare the image quality of the X10 and the X20, we have to shoot with image resolution M, aka 6 megapixels. That’s because the X10 is an EXR camera with a split-sensor of 2 x 6 MP. Sure, you can also use it in HR mode to get full-size 12 MP output, but why would you buy an EXR camera in the first place if you weren’t interested in its unique features, such as hardware-based DR expansion, or pixel binning to reduce noise and artifacts under low light?

So I took both cameras and shot a series of samples. Click here to open the X20 vs. X10 shootout set on Flickr. While you are at it, you might also want to take a look at my ever growing X20 samples set.

In order to get comparable results, I put both cameras in 6 MP (size M) mode, set DR to Auto (or DR100% for some shots) and also used matching film simulation modes (Astia, Provia and Velvia). Noise reduction was set to -1, the rest was all default settings. After completing the series, I redeveloped each X20 image in 12 MP resolution using the camera’s internal RAW converter. This way we got two versions of each shot from the X20, one with 6 and one with 12 MP.

Looking at the full-size samples, you will recognize that even at 6 MP, the X20 is able to resolve better midtone and highlight detail while keeping noise levels lower and the image cleaner. Have a look at this example:

X10:
DSCF6416 - X10, DR200%, M

X20:
DSCF0139 - X20, DR200%, M

However, it’s a different situation when you look at dark shadow details in images that were shot with DR200% and, even more so, DR400% dynamic range expansion modes:

X10:
DSCF6415 - X10, DR400%, M

X20:
DSCF0137 - X20, DR400%, M

This doesn’t come unexpected, as the X20 has to rely on conventional DR expansion, aka “underexposing and tone mapping”. You can have a look at this X-PERT CORNER article if you want to learn more about the basics of dynamic range expansion. In any case, the typical drawbacks of conventional DR expansion don’t apply to the X10 with its EXR sensor, but this comes at the cost of losing half of the sensor’s pixel resolution.

What does this practically mean? It means that you should not shoot your new X20 exactly like you shoot an X10. Instead, apply DR expansion more carefully! You often will not need it, anyway, and if you do, DR200% will mostly be sufficient. If you decide to use DR expansion, make sure that the main subject (the part of the scene that’ shows plenty of detail and is in-focus) isn’t dark and in the shadows. DR200% and DR400% work great if your main subject belongs to highlights or upper midtones of an image, like in clouds, a white face, or a snowy mountain top illuminated by sunlight. These are typical situations where conventional DR expansion will perfectly work its magic and deliver great results.

However, if you encounter a lighting situation like the one shown below, you might be forced to push the camera (with its compact 2/3″ sensor) beyond its technical limits. Take a look:

S0020070 - DR400%

This image shows how the camera will record the subject in DR400% mode in order to preserve the sunset with a pleasing orange sky in the background. As you can see, the main subject (horse with rider) is literally in the dark, as the immense dynamic range of this scene is well beyond the capabilities of any normal camera sensor.

The automatic DR400% processing of the camera’s JPEG engine will turn this image into something more presentable:

DSCF0130 - DR400, Provia

We can now actually see the horse and the girl in the scene, and the sky in the background is still intact. The camera has successfully expanded its dynamic range, but this comes at a cost, which you can spot once you click on the image and select a full-size view in Flickr. Obviously, there are noisy artifacts in shadow areas that were pushed up by the camera by roughly 2-3 EV. Why 3 EV? Well, 2 EV come from DR400%, as this means the shot was underexposed by 2 EV, and this underexposure must be compensated by tone-mapping shadows and dark areas. The remaining 1 EV of shadow pushing comes from using a Shadow Tone soft (-2) setting in the internal RAW converter.

If you load this RAW file into Lightroom (or another RAW converter), you can literally push things even further. Like this:

S0020070 - DR400%

Wow, the things you can do with RAW! But handle it with care! When you inspect this image in a larger view, you will notice heavy noise and artifacts within the main subject of the shot. At the same time, the sky in the background remains spotless and noise-free. It was rescued by the DR expansion function of the camera, but at a heavy cost to our much darker subject in the foreground.

Be advised that if you apply this kind of extreme tone mapping to shots from any APS-C or full-frame sensor camera, you will experience similar effects and artifacts, but often to a lesser degree thanks to the larger sensor. Please bear in mind that the X20 is a compact camera, not a Nikon D4.

In order to extract the best quality from an X20, I recommend shooting RAW using DR100% and exposing to the right (ETTR) with the help of the camera’s live histogram, then process the RAW externally with Lightroom, Silkypix or another RAW converter of your choosing. If you want to use JPEGs from the camera (or the camera’s internal RAW converter) instead, I recommend shooting (or processing) with a noise reduction setting of -1 or even -2, depending on your actual scene.

While you can’t get noise-free results from Lightroom or Silkypix without sacrificing detail (especially when processing high-ISO shots), both RAW converters feature a welcome habit of presenting X20 luminance noise like analog film grain. In other words: The kind of noise from these converters can actually look quite pleasing, at least to some of us (like me). For example, if you have a look at the following ISO 1600 / DR100% shot that was once custom processed with Lightroom & Aperture and once developed in the camera with Provia and noise reduction set to -2, I personally prefer the grainy and more detailed look of Lightroom (with minimal NR) over the look offered by the camera’s JPEG engine.

Lightroom & Aperture RAW treatment:

DSCF0161

OOC JPEG (Provia):

DSCF0187

Click on the images for a choice of larger views. Obviously, any kind of CAs (chromatic aberrations) can easily be dealt with in Lightroom, as well. By the way, here’s what happens when you take the “grainy look” thingie too literally…. ;)

DSCF0153

I agree, that wasn’t half as funny as I thought it might be.

Moving on.
Here’s another example comparing an OOC Astia JPEG with minimal NR with a custom Silkypix 5 rendering.

OOC JPEG (Astia):

DSCF0171

Silkypix 5 treatment:

DSCF0148

In my opinion, the X20 is a bit more of an enthusiast camera (like the X100) and a bit less of a point & shoot camera. While the X10 enjoys only limited external RAW support, Silkypix and Lightroom/ACR (version 4.4RC and beyond) already offer decent RAW support for the X20. Not bad for a new camera that is still barely available in most parts of the world.

RAW shooters may actually fall in love with the new X20, as it offers them the same control over the files as an X100S or X-Pro1. You could think of the X20 as a compact version of an X100. Of course, the X20′s new optical viewfinder with exposure and AF field information overlays also points in this direction.

Compared to the X10, the new X20 offers improved speed and better handling. The camera shoots 9 fps in FINE+RAW quality, and it only takes a few seconds to write a full burst of 9 such images from the buffer to the card—but only if you are smart enough to use the fastest SD card available (like a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 card with 95 MB/s). Autofocus is very reactive, but I have to admit that am just as happy with the AF of my “old” X10. For me, it just works, and I have yet to experience a distinctive difference between PDAF and CDAF focusing with this camera.

There are several other improvements, like Fuji exchanging the AF button and the DRIVE button to facilitate moving the AF field around. Or take the light metering scale in manual mode: It didn’t really work with Auto-ISO in the X10, but does so now in the X20. Another improvement: When you magnify a portrait image in playback mode, the camera will now use the entire display area. Additionally, the X20 features the same Auto-ISO implementation as the X100S, so you can now select your own minimum shutter speed (up to 1/125s). Previous limitations regarding slowest possible shutter speeds in AE modes have also been lifted thanks to the omission of an EXR sensor. Some users will also appreciate the fact that unlike the X10, the X20 doesn’t squeeze JPEG images when it applies digital lens corrections to a scene. This also means that there aren’t be any notable size differences between JPEG output from the camera and output from external RAW converters such as Lightroom or Silkypix.

On the other hand, being forced to use conventional DR expansion (or manual exposure compensation) to preserve highlights can, at least in bright daylight, quickly lead to shutter speeds that are beyond the camera’s scope at wide-open aperture. At f2.0, the X20′s fastest shutter speed is 1/1000s. It will increase up to 1/4000s once you start stopping down the lens, which is perfectly normal behavior for cameras with leaf shutters. But throw in DR400%, which translates into an ISO 400 exposure, and you may quickly start to miss the built-in ND filter of the X100 and X100S.

Should X10 users upgrade to the X20? It depends! If you are happy shooting JPEGs with only 6 MP image resolution and very good hardware-based dynamic range expansion, the X10 could very well remain your favorite P&S camera, even though you can’t extract the same amount of detail from its EXR sensor that the X-Trans sensor (without an AA filter) will offer you. If you are into larger files, more resolution and fine detail, the X20 will give you just that, plus an external RAW conversion workflow that will actually supersede the quality of the camera’s JPEGs. Also, if you never fully understood how to master EXR in the first place, the X20 offers you a more conventional approach.

It’s notable that while X10 RAWs in Lightroom (or Silkypix) cannot really outperform the camera’s JPEGs with regards to detail resolution, it’s quite the opposite with the X20. Here’s a 12 MP sample shot from the X10 that has received the full Lightroom treatment:

DSCF6419 - X10, DR100%, L, Lightroom 4.4RC

And here’s the same scene shot with an X20, once again processed for maximum detail in Lightroom 4.4RC:

DSCF0144 - X20, DR100%, L, Lightroom 4.4RC

If you care to look at full-size versions of these shots, you can hardly miss the differences. However, don’t forget that pixel peeping isn’t as important as using a camera with a sensor concept that “just fits” your individual needs and preferences. Personally, while I’m looking forward to more shooting with my new X20, I’ll also continue to use my trusted X10.

By the way: The good old “AF trick” (also known as “shutter mash”) that I’ve described in “Mastering the X-Pro1″ seems to work with the X20, too. So shooting objects that quickly move towards the camera ain’t no rocket science. :) Just press the shutter all the way through (no half-pressing). This works in AF-C and AF-S.

DSCF0270 - "AF trick"

Of course, that’s just about IQ. Leaving pixel peeping aside, the X20 handles faster and better than the X10, it features a much improved optical viewfinder, and it neatly integrates in an existing RAW workflow. And, as you can see, its AF will capture moving objects.

A few more current X20 shots, developed from RAW with Silkypix 5:

DSCF0319

DSCF0321

DSCF0330

Next week: X100S vs. X100.

For your convenience, here’s a TOC with links to my previous X-PERT CORNER articles:

Rico Pfirstinger studied communications and has been working as journalist, publicist, and photographer since the mid-80s. He has written a number of books on topics as diverse as Adobe PageMaker and sled dogs, and produced a beautiful book of photographs titled Huskies in Action (German version). He has spent time working as the head of a department with the German Burda-Publishing Company and served as chief editor for a winter sports website. After eight years as a freelance film critic and entertainment writer in Los Angeles, Rico now lives in Germany and devotes his time to digital photography and compact camera systems. His book “Mastering the FUJIFILM X-Pro1” (Kindle Edition) (Apple iBook Store) (German version) is available on Amazon and offers a plethora of tips, secrets and background information on successfully using Fuji’s X-Pro1 and X-E1 system cameras, lenses and key accessories.

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  • Giuliano

    Differences in very tiny but still good

    Here in Italy X20 no retailer knows it exists, no delivery is planned for the main store… why?

    • https://www.facebook.com/groups/fujixclubitalia/ Marco Bozzato

      Giuliano, in Italia arriverà a fine marzo, così come la X100S!

      se vuoi passaci a trovare qui:
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/fujixclubitalia/

      Ciao, Marco.

    • Виктор

      Я тоже согласен с Джулиано по отличию х10 против х20. Как вы говорите есть небольшое отличие в полутонах при 100% увеличении снимков, но это настолько незначительно, что если бы вы не сказали на это никто не обратит внимание. Единственный плюс у х20 это быстрый автофокус, а то что сделали якобы новую матрицу, по вашим снимкам этого совсем не видно, то же самое относится и к шумам.Улучшение по шумам у Фуджи якобы начинаются с 1600 , а наделе что у х10 что у х20 все одинаково. Поэтому вывод один – увеличена только скорость автофокуса, время включения, и если применяем скоростную карту памяти которая стоит 49 баксов сокращается скорость записи. Больше преимуществ нет, по.тому считаю, что цена на аппарат Х20 слишком завышена,красная цена ему 450 баксов. Снимки с Nikon P7700 у меня лучше чем представленные в вашем обзоре. Что вы на это скажете ?

      Admin’s note:
      Dear Виктор, I’ve used google translater to translate your text (Я использовал Google переводчик для перевода текста).
      I also agree with Giuliano difference on x10 vs. x20. How do you say there is a slight difference in grayscale at 100% zoom shots, but it’s so small that if you did not say this no one paid attention. The only plus in x20 is fast autofocus, and what did the alleged new matrix for your pictures that can not be seen, and the same goes for the noise at shumam.Uluchshenie Fuji allegedly starting with 1600, and that the allotment that x10 x20 all the same. Therefore the conclusion is the same – only increased the speed of autofocus, on time, and if so fast memory card that costs 49 bucks reduced speed record. More benefits not po.tomu believe that the price of the unit X20 too high, red price him 450 bucks. Pictures with the Nikon P7700 is better than I have presented in your review. What do you say to that?

  • Jorge

    Good job! Thanks!! I really appreciate your x-pert corner.

  • Renato S.

    Hi Rico,

    It’s nice to see some more in-depth reviews about the X20, they are finally popping out – I found some Japanese reviews searching for samples in Flickr.

    Ca you give us some comments about high ISO performance? As far as I could see, I think that ISO 1600 is usable for web, but in ISO 3200 the image loses a lot of DR and it looks like a ordinary P&S picture. IS the ISO 1600 the edge of this camera?

    I know that the RX100 may not be something you have, but maybe you had the chance to use it, I don’t know. But as the comparison about these two cameras is something a lot of people may be interested, do you have any idea how they compare? Or how the X20 compares within the enthusiast compact zoom cameras category?

    One more thing, how is the video mode? How much control do you have in it? Have you tested the 1080p60 conforming it to 1080p30 or 1080p24 – or 1080p50 to 1080p25? I wonder why Fuji took away the 24fps.

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      For very high ISO shots, there’s Pro Low Light mode. You already know it from the X10, and it has been improved in the X20. However, if you think ISO 1600 is only usable for web, you and I may have very different notions of what “web use” means. I am pretty sure that you could print an ISO 1600 shot like this quite large, and it would actually look good: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25805910@N05/8535493826/in/set-72157632921807671/

      Since I understand that there’s lots of interest in a X20/RX100 comparison, I’d be happy to perform one in a separate shootout if Sony or someone else sends me an RX100.

      • Renato S.

        It’s not that I don’t think you can print some ISO 1600 shots, it’s just that I didn’t have the opportunity to take a closer look or see enough samples so I went as far as saying that it was web usable.

        Searching around the web, some samples looked good but some looked kind of flat, so I didn’t want to rush into any conclusion yet. I think that some of the samples I didn’t like were overexposed and with significant NR, the highlights parts looked very flat and there were no details around the picture. But with more and more pics popping around the Internet, it will become easier.

        But the DR seems to drop a lot when it reaches ISO 3200. Do you have any sample shot with the PRO Low Light mode? From Fujifilm’s samples, the BW images have a very nice “grain” in high-ISO, I wonder if that’s because of what you said about developing the RAW or it comes that way OOC JPEG.

        Thanks for the review!

        • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

          I have just uploaded a normal ISO 3200 shot, both Lightroom and JPEG versions, to my X20 set on Flickr. In my opinion, especially the Lightroom version is quite usable, as the noise looks very similar organic film grain.

          http://www.flickr.com/photos/25805910@N05/sets/72157632921807671/

          I also tested AF priority. It looks like the “AF trick” works with the X20, too. I have uploaded a little action shot proving it.

  • http://blogg.hogbergphotography.com Danonino

    There some extremely strange noise-reduction going on.. The files look like crap actually..

    • Robenroute

      Thank you for your very informative remark…

  • Timur Born

    Thanks for the article! Would it be possible to offer the 12 MP comparison samples as RAW files?

    While there is more detail in one image there also is more noise up to mid tones. And the X10 really needs some rather extreme sharpening settings in LR to get the most out of it (still slightly less than what the JPGs can do). So I would like to try myself. ;-)

  • http://www.davidbarbe.be David Barbe

    Rico,

    Thanks for this great article! Interesting considerations here.
    I’m used to work with a Nikon D3s (a real ‘High ISO King ‘). I’m a RAW shooter. (by the way, I have also read your interesting JPG/RAW shoot article). And of course, your recommendation about the use of the X20 in RAW-mode sounds as music in my ears.
    Now I Pre-ordered a X20 because my Nikon is too heavy for walkarounds and travelling. I would like to use the X20 for more occasional shots of family, travel etc… when high ISO is not that important.
    I’m just wondering if de DR200% & DR400% settings are also applicabe in RAW pics or is it only for JPG or JPGs processed in the camera?
    Another thougt, actually it looks like the DR200% & DR400% modes are only a kind of underexposure tricks to catch more detail in the highlights at cost of the shadowparts, so the same result can be reached to do a manual underexposure, or is it different?

    Kind Regards
    David Barbe

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      You know DR expansion from your Nikon, it’s called D-Lighting and it’s actually a black box solution called Iridix from British company Apical Inc. In principle, Iridix works like Fuji’s DR expansion mode: It changes exposure and it performs tone mapping in the JPEG file. It does however obscure the ISO value when exposure is changed. Sony is using Iridix, as well, Canon is not, they are using a custom method very similar to Fuji’s.

      If you want to process RAWs in Lightroom or Silkypix, I recommend shooting ETTR in DR100%. This will yield the best results. Just make sure not to burn important highlights. The live histogram is a great help here, also see my first X-PERT CORNER article on custom settings.

      • http://www.davidbarbe.be David Barbe

        Thx for your reply, so this is exactly the way I work in difficult light circumstances with my Nikons and that’s great to hear.

    • Timur Born

      Thank you for providing the RAW files. I sent them through LR4 and wrote a short comparison including images on the DPReview forum, where your article is discussed.

      http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3397025#forum-post-51002026

      Here is part of what I wrote:

      I pulled more a bit more detail (i.e. twigs) out of both the X10 and X20 image compared to the images you published here. My conclusion is that the differences in true sensor resolution between both cameras are rather small in these images. In some areas you have to zoom down to much more than 100% to see any differences. I suspect that the lens of this specific X20 unit tested is a bit better than the specific X10 unit tested. Not only does the X20 image show better controlled (controllable) chromatic aberrations, but on the X10 image edge detail behaves more different to center detail after sharpening.

      The X20 ​does​ have a slight edge, but the main advantage is that working with its RAW files is considerably easier in LR. Not only is LR prohibitively slow with the X10′s 12 MP files, but especially sharpening is pretty complicated with X10 files (every single slider step has quite an impact). Color noise on this specific image is also better controlled on the X20, or rather the somewhat higher resolution tends to cause less color moire in some parts of the image.

      On the other hand the X10 image is slightly more saturated, shadows are slightly less crushed and “noise” is lower. “Noise” in the X20 image happens due to demosaicing artifact – looking similar to JPG artifacts – being pronounced by certain sharpening settings. A larger sharpening radius than 1.0 helps to get rid of these, but lower very fine detail resolution to a point where X20 and X10 image look even closer to each other.

      Dynamic range of both images seems to be the same. Pushing shadows by +100 and pulling highlights by -100 looks close enough to assume them practically equal. According to DXO the dynamic range of the X10 is 11 EV at base ISO, which is plenty for many situations. But only the X10 can use EXR DR at 6 MP resolution to increase its dynamic range by close to 2 EV (about 12.8 EV max). This comes at the cost of more noise in some image parts, though, so clipping unimportant highlights might still be preferable.

  • Ci-Lee

    Rico,

    Thanks so much for the article…great insight on the the X20. In order to fund the X20 i sold my X10 b/c i felt the VF improvement, potential to always capture full 12mp resolution (starting to print my stuff) and improved Auto-ISO setting were enough for me to upgrade. But ultimately, the thought of unifying my workflow between the XP1 and X20 was most appealing to me…especially given that I’m an amateur so learning how to manipulate similar files in LR seemed to make sense.

    But after reading your article and various comments across the fuji forums, a light bulb came on in my head…one of the great things about using the X10 (for me) was shooting JPEG’s in M, DR400% (actually always did RAW + JPEG) and just sending them to my iPad and doing some basic adjustments in Filterstorm Pro. But with the X20, it would appear that to get the most out of it, RAW is the preferred capture method. If so, then im wondering if i made a mistake selling the X10, as part of the appeal was using that and the iPad to travel light and get great images. I know Filterstorm Pro supports RAW but only from the Aperture library and I’m not sure Apple supports/will support the X-Trans.

    In your experience thus far with the camera, do you believe shooting RAW is the only way to get the best out of the camera? If so do you think that Apple will ever truly support the X-Trans, making my previous light travel setup of using the X20/iPad/FSPRO a possibility again…

    As always, love your articles, tips and insights and thanks to you and all the admins (of all the fuji sites) and users as these forums have really helped me with my photography. Also good for a few laughs at times ;)

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      External RAW development (if done right) will always result in better detail. That’s pretty much the case for every camera, with the exception of the X10 and other EXR cameras. JPEGs from the X20 will still reveal more detail than those from a X10, and you will get 12 MP all the way. Just make sure to use the DR function more carefully. Use it like you would have used it in an X10 with L size images (HR mode).

    • Dr.S

      Hi,
      seems that the Filtestorm is supporting the X20 raf’s. Try to dowload Rico’s samples from Dropbox

      • ci-lee

        Thanks, I believe I’ll be employing your suggested techniques! Dr. S , thanks for your response as well. I downloaded the file and it opened in FSPRO however it opened at 2048×1536. I’m traveling now so not in front of my Mac so perhaps I’m missing something, were those images shot in M size?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/thesardoniciconic/ the sardonic iconic

    I think that for the work I do (lots of extreme contrast, subject often in shadow) I may be better off holding onto my X10. Clean DR400 is important to me.

    Looks like I’m getting a X100s. :)

  • aka

    “If you want to use JPEGs from the camera (or the camera’s internal RAW converter) instead, I recommend shooting (or processing) with a noise reduction setting of -1 or even -2, depending on your actual scene.”

    Thanks for the excellent read, Rico!
    While I mostly shoot RAW and am happy to see Adobe RAW support – I am eager to use the Fuji Film (Astia, Provia, &c) presets – so, please continue to provide tips for best X20 jpeg output.

    aka

  • nippa

    Thanks for the review.
    Like many I bought a 12mps Fuji X10 not to use natively at 6mps but because the whole package appealed to me.
    So for me , comparing a 6mps X10 image to a downsized X20 image wasn’t helping me to evaluate the true improvement in resolution that was promised by Fuji.

    The 2 final images at 12mps have been useful ; although the x20 image displays more sharpening when evaluated by software.
    Many thanks for your efforts – you have helped me with my buying decision..
    I’m staying with the X10 until prices fall.
    Regards
    DC

  • http://Www.kristiandyg.dk Kristian

    Thank you for your Article. Good stuff.

    One aspect is the outcome – another is the “feel” of the camera.

    I’ve heard that the lens barrel are made of plastic – is this true? A lot of poeple speaks of the X10 as a Leicabuild camera – so I wonder if the X20 has a more discountish aura?

    /Kristian

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      I’m not aware of any differences between the bodies of X10 and X20.

  • Jerry

    I’m excited about the X20, but as a current X10 user I have to say this comparison doesn’t inspire me to upgrade. I only shoot with the LCD and never use the OVF so the OVF improvements don’t matter to me. I’m only interested in upgrading to the X20 if there are obvious image quality improvements and I’m just not seeing them in these comparison shots even when I “pixel peep” at 100 percent magnification.

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      If you a happy with EXR and 6 MP, there’s no “obvious” IQ improvement, especially if you look at files in normal sizes and on the web. I think the X20 is perfect for those who don’t like or “get” EXR, and all those who are interested in a typical external RAW workflow with Lightroom/ACR or other RAW converters. Personally, I won’t stop using the X10, it’s still the same great camera it was 2 weeks ago. But I’ll also use the new X20, as it handles really nicely, offers a quite usable OVF and features a responsive PDAF/CDAF that can shoot action if you rely on the camera’s AF priority over shutter priority.

  • http://www.flickr.com/ the sardonic iconic

    Hi Rico,

    Quick question: I feel like this information is in plain sight, but it’s just flying over my head… does DR200/400 settings on the X20 reflect in RAW files (more data) the same way that X10 6mp DR200/400 raw files do… or is it JPEG only? Seriously thanks so much for your hard work.

    :)

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      No, it reflects the same way as in the X100, X100S, X-E1, X-Pro1 or any other camera not featuring (or not set to) EXR DR.

  • Dr

    Does the X20 VF give focus confirmation?

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      Sure.

  • coyote

    Why 6Mp? Please, explain real work of EXR sensor, how can I get best from my XF-1, for ex.?

  • Ken

    Thanks so much Rico for your hard work to create a very useful review!

    I currently does not own any X10 nor X20, but plan to buy one of these two cameras.

    In the article, you have a very useful suggestions for those who currently own X10 and consider to upgrade to X20, How about those who does not have any? Based on your experience, do you think the advantage of X20 has over X10 in term of IQ worth 200$ different?

    if X20 has better IQ than X10, I will definitely buy X20. But seems like the advantage of X20 is not IQ but the focus speed and view finder (which I rarely care both).

    Thanks so much for your suggestions

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      IQ means different things to different people, so it’s hard to answer this question one way or the other. That’s why we show the samples and comment on them, so folks can decide what aspect is important to them and how different cameras may reflect their personal shooting style better or worse.

      I can get better overall IQ from an X20 for sure. It’s 12 MP vs. 6 MP, after all, because you probably won’t be too happy shooting an X10 at 12 MP only. A few people do, but I don’t. So here we go again: different needs of different people. It’s not my job to impose shooting and processing styles on others, I can only describe what works for me and I can give reasons for why it works. I can offer an “informed opinion” based on knowledge and experience, but that’s about it.

      Is the better IQ worth 200 bucks? For some, I guess so. For others, not so much. But for those 200 bucks, you don’t just get IQ, you also get a much improved OVF, a faster camera, PDAF, more film simulations, a better user interface, faster frame rates, etc. Do you need all this? Do you want it? I don’t know! I can only deliver the “facts” as I see them, but in the end, you have to make up your own mind.

      • Ken

        Rico! I’lll go for X20! Thanks for your useful suggestion again!

        • Pavel

          I am in same situation as Ken is, and now I am pretty much sure to go for X20. But still looking forward for other reviews. Thanks for this great review!

  • Leroy

    If I don’t really need the 85% OVF, should I get the XF1 instead of X10 or X20 for its compact size?

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      The XF1 delivers very similar image quality to the X10. So it is an alternative. Of course, the lens is different, more wide-angle and faster, too, but much slower at the long end of the spectrum. The XF1 is more stylish, more for interiors. You can take the XF1 to the opera, a fancy club or restaurant, to a wedding… You can take he X10 on the road, outdoors, use it as a travel camera. That’s how I see the larger target groups. X10 is more casual, XF1 is more stylish. The XF1 is pocketable and also a fashion statement, an accessory, like a nice watch. The X10 is no accessory, it is clearly communicates “camera for taking pictures”. Also, the X10 is more for men, the XF1 is more for women. Just look at how Fuji is marketing both cameras.

  • http://wiranurmansyah.com wira

    Hello Rico, what a nice comparison. I want to ask something about long exposure shutter speed.

    Is the X20 has only 30 seconds exposure at iso 100 like the X10? Or it can do 30 seconds at all iso settings?

    Thanks.

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      All X cameras offer a maximum exposure time of 30 seconds in PASM modes. Those camera with APS-C sized sensors also offer bulb for very long exposures. In the X20, the maximum time of 30s is still limited to ISO 100, resulting in 15s for ISO 200 etc., up to 1s for ISO 3200.

      • John

        Rico. I found your article and responses really helpful. I have ordered the X20 and am really looking forward to it arriving. I do use the viewfinder quite a lot, on my Panasonic G cameras, and it was this updated feature and the speed of the camera that convinced me to go for it. Many Thanks

  • Brad

    Thanks for the article. I am curious to know what sharpening and noise reduction settings seem to work well in LR 4.4 for x20 raw images. I am having a hard time getting the best sharpening vs. low noise images and find it easy to get noise even at iso 100.

  • Joe

    I recently both this camera and noticed something maybe strange by zooming. By decreasing zoom, somwhere around 85mm there is strange click noise. When I’m turning it really slow it isn’t present. And also around 20-30 it seems not to be so smooth like the rest of the range. Have anybody experienced something similar on this camere? I wonder if I should let it be checked.