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Hands-on review: Updated: Fuji X20
3:08 am | March 15, 2013

Author: admin | Category: Cameras | Tags: , , , | Comments: None

Hands-on review: Updated: Fuji X20

Introduction

Our full review is now underway and will be coming soon, but for now we’ve updated our hands on review with our testing results from our image labs.

Fuji’s FinePix X10 really impressed when we tested it, so naturally we are pleased to learn that the Fuji FinePix X20 that replaces it is fundamentally the same, but with a sensor based on the one in the superb Fuji X-Pro1.

However, while the Fuji X100S and the Fuji X-Pro1 have APS-C format sensors, the Fuji X20 uses a 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS II device with 12 million effective pixels.

The key feature of the X-Trans CMOS II sensor is that it doesn’t use a Bayer RGGB filter array like most cameras. Instead, it has a 6 x 6 RGGB filter array pattern, with a random arrangement of colour filters within each block of 36 photo receptors.

Fuji FinePix X20 review

This makes the Fuji X20’s sensor less susceptible to moiré patterning than the Fuji X10’s, and consequently Fuji has been able to omit the low-pass filter. Low pass or anti-aliasing filters are normally employed to reduce moiré patterning, but they also soften the image a little.

As a result of this filter design, the Fuji X20 is claimed to be able to resolve more detail than the Fuji X10. And thanks to its Lens Modulation Optimiser, Fuji says this is better maintained into the corners of the frame.

In fact, the company also believes that, thanks to its sensor and EXR Processor II combination, the new camera produces images with 30% lower noise levels than the Fuji X10.

Fuji FinePix X20 review

Another benefit of the new processor is that it enables a faster start-up time of 0.5 sec, shutter lag of 0.01 sec and a shooting interval of 0.5 sec.

Fuji tells us that it has made 50 improvements on the Fuji X10 for the Fuji X20, but one of the most useful (after the sensor upgrade) is the addition of a Digital Trans Panel in the viewfinder.

This highly transparent layer displays key information such as shutter speed, aperture, sensitivity and the focus area. Cleverly, it also changes colour according to the scene and shooting conditions, going green in very dark situations, so that it remains visible.

Fuji FinePix X20 review

A sensor also detects when the camera is held to the eye, and responds by switching off the LCD screen.

As with the Fuji X100S, the Fuji X20 has a hybrid AF system, and some of the green pixels on the sensor double up as phase detection focus pixels. Fuji claims that this system, in combination with the new processor, enables the Fuji X20 to focus in 0.06 sec – faster than the 0.08 sec of the Fuji X100S.

Unfortunately we were unable to verify these figures with the pre-production sample that we handled a few weeks before the Fuji X20’s announcement, but we will keep you posted about how it performs as soon as we get a fully-functional sample.

Fuji FinePix X20 review

Manual focusing has also been enhanced on the Fuji X20 with the addition of Focus Peaking Highlight, which indicates the areas of highest contrast.

Like the Fuji X10 before it, the Fuji X20 has a Fujinon 7.1-28.4mm f/2-2.8 lens, giving the equivalent focal length of 23mm. This is a good choice for landscape and street photography.

Build and handling

Fuji has used the same body-shell for the Fuji X20 as for the Fuji X10, so anyone who fancies upgrading won’t have too many issues. However, as on the Fuji X100S, the raw button is now marked Q, and it is used to access the Quick Menu.

The Quick Menu displays 16 parameters such as white balance, sensitivity, Film Simulation mode (there are 10) and the like. Each of these can be adjusted quickly and easily via the Quick Menu display.

Fuji FinePix X20 review

In other respects, the Fuji X20’s handling is the same as the Fuji X20, and it has a high-quality, retro-styled build.

As before, there’s a mixture of retro and contemporary controls. Exposure modes and compensation are selected using chunky metal dials on top of the camera, with the shutter release placed in between.

On the back of the camera there are all the usual controls around the same size and resolution LCD screen as on the Fuji X10 – that is 2.8 inches and 460,000 dots. Two dials are available for making adjustments with your thumb.

Image quality and resolution

As part of our image quality testing for the Fuji X20, we’ve shot our resolution chart.

If you view our crops of the resolution chart’s central section at 100% (or Actual Pixels) you will see that, for example, at ISO 100 the Fuji X20 is capable of resolving up to around 24 (line widths per picture height x100) in its highest quality JPEG files.

For a full explanation of what our resolution charts mean, and how to read them, check out our full explanation of our camera testing resolution charts.

Examining images of the chart taken at each sensitivity setting reveals the following resolution scores in line widths per picture height x100:

JPEG

Fuji X20 review

Full ISO 100 image, see the cropped (100%) versions below.

Fuji X20 review

ISO 100, score: 24 (Click here to see the full resolution image)

Fuji X20 review

ISO 200, score: 22 (Click here to see the full resolution image)

Fuji X20 review

ISO 400, score: 20 (Click here to see the full resolution image)

Fuji X20 review

ISO 800, score: 18 (Click here to see the full resolution image)

Fuji X20 review

ISO 1600, score: 16 (Click here to see the full resolution image)

Fuji X20 review

ISO 3200, score: 16 (Click here to see the full resolution image)

Fuji X20 review

ISO 6400, score: 12 (Click here to see the full resolution image)

Fuji X20 review

ISO 12800, score: n/a (Click here to see the full resolution image)

Raw

Fuji X20 review

ISO 100, score: 24 (Click here to see the full resolution image)

Fuji X20 review

ISO 200, score: 22 (Click here to see the full resolution image)

Fuji X20 review

ISO 400, score: 20 (Click here to see the full resolution image)

Fuji X20 review

ISO 800, score: 16 (Click here to see the full resolution image)

Fuji X20 review

ISO 1600, score: 16 (Click here to see the full resolution image)

Fuji X20 review

ISO 3200, score: 14 (Click here to see the full resolution image)

Sensitivity and noise images

JPEG

Fuji X20 review

Full ISO 100 image, see the cropped (100%) versions below.

Fuji X20 review

Click here to see the full resolution image

ISO 100

Fuji X20 review

Click here to see the full resolution image

ISO 200

Fuji X20 review

Click here to see the full resolution image

ISO 400

Fuji X20 review

Click here to see the full resolution image

ISO 800

Fuji X20 review

Click here to see the full resolution image

ISO 1600

Fuji X20 review

Click here to see the full resolution image

ISO 3200

Fuji X20 review

Click here to see the full resolution image

ISO 6400

Fuji X20 review

Click here to see the full resolution image

ISO 12800

Raw

Fuji X20 review

Click here to see the full resolution image

ISO 100

Fuji X20 review

Click here to see the full resolution image

ISO 200

Fuji X20 review

Click here to see the full resolution image

ISO 400

Fuji X20 review

Click here to see the full resolution image

ISO 800

Fuji X20 review

Click here to see the full resolution image

ISO 1600

Fuji X20 review

Click here to see the full resolution image

ISO 3200

Early verdict

We weren’t able to shoot any images with the pre-production sample of the Fuji X20 that we had access to, so we can’t give any hard and fast indication of the image quality it produces.

However, we have high hopes for the camera. The Fuji X10 was our favourite high-end compact of 2012, and combining it with the same sensor design as one of our favourite compact system cameras – the Fuji X-Pro1 – bodes very well.

We have also yet to test Fuji’s claims for the Fuji X20’s start-up and AF speed, but if they hold good then it should prove a significant improvement on the Fuji X10.

We will be posting updates to this Fuji X20 hands-on review as soon as we are able.

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