In the last part of my review entitled COMPARISON: Fujifilm X20 vs X10 – Have I found my 2013 P&S of the Year?, I talked about what I liked about this camera. In this part of the review I focus on what it is like for both me and my wife (who is not a camera geek) to live with the X20. My wife was skeptical of the X10 when I first introduced it to her, but she quickly fell in love with it. Despite my reviewing many compact cameras, none caused her to want to give up the X10 – until we got the X20. The big question I had though was “would she like it more than the X10”, and I would I agree with her “field test” findings?
My wife is a no-nonsense gal who tells it likes it is. Here’s a few of her random thoughts about the X20 (from a X10 user / fan):
- She really didn’t really care about the black vs silver appearance. She said that the x20 may be the same size but this one was felt more bulky than the x10.
- When she first used it she thought it was a lot faster
- She still thinks the lens cap is annoying and it not being a “one hand”camera sucks. What she means here is that you have to use two hands to turn the camera on/off. She wished it had the RX100 form factor.
- She stayed in SR+ mode the whole time but did use / appreciate the exposure compensation dial.
- She couldn’t see the LCD very well outdoors (had to remove sunglasses)
- She wished for a longer zoom at the zoom (digital zoom was disabled by me)
After over 1000 shots with the X20, here’s what I observed when thinking about X10 as the golden standard:
- I kept having a problem when twisting the power on where it wouldn’t come on. I’d have to twist it to off and try again. This happened about 20% of the time. I wondered if it had anything to do with the new power saving mode. On the positive side though the battery life seemed MUCH better than the X10 (before the v2 firmware update).
- It was doing WAAAAY too much skin soften in-camera. I’m not sure why or how, but it was a BIG problem
- I bought the silver case this time in the hopes that it would be a little less obvious at showing scratches vs black case I had for my x10. The x10 was very durable, but case and LCD scuffs were above average. To be fair though, the x10 did live in my wife’s purse with keys and other sharp junk. The Silver’s controls are MUCH harder to read in bright and low light conditions, so I’m thinking about returning mine for a black one again.
- I hated the viewfinder proximity sensor because it would blank out the LCD. I know it can be disabled but somehow I found it getting reset, so it annoyed me. I never used the viewfinder for real world shooting.
- Access to flash exposure compensation still a PIA. Why is this not on the Q menu?!!!
- I REALLY miss EXR mode. As similar as the Scene Recognition (SR+) mode is supposed to be, I still feel like the old EXR mode did a better job of balancing the exposure brightness and shadows.
- Panos seem tougher outdoors. This one below is tough due to different exposure and focus requirements of the scene, but the X10 seemed to do a better job (could be related to the video performance).
Video – Yes, it really does suck – BAD
Part of the video problem seems to be the over abundance of noise reduction, but there’s a lot more than that. The focus tracking sucks and the in-camera stabilization seems non-existent. This is easily the worst video performance I’ve seen in all the years I’ve been writing on this blog. Here’s a few examples:
A video taken by my wife in perfection conditions
She felt the video quality sucked too and relied on her iPhone instead for video
A video taken by me in low light
In camera noise reduction sucks
After my Noise Reduction Series, I became a bit of an expert on camera noise reduction. As a result, I was flabbergasted at how awful the in-camera noise reduction is on the X20. I use the –2 (Low) setting now for my own shots, but I used 0 (Standard) for most of what you see in this article. Personally I think even that is just way too much and it obliterates details without doing an especially great job on the noise. My advice is DO NOT use the in-camera noise reduction and rely on Noiseware or Dfine (in the Nik Collection by Google – discount here) instead.
More Real World Photos taken by Ron
See COMPARISON: Fujifilm X20 vs X10 – Have I found my 2013 P&S of the Year? for details about how I do these and http://photos.ronmartblog.com/fujifilm/x20 for more images.
ALL Images are Copyright Ron Martinsen – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED! Please do not save on your local system or print without written permission (on paper with a ink signature).
ISO 3200 with Standard Noise Reduction creates very soft mushy images
(Click here to compare with ISO 2500)
f/7.1 @ 10 mm, 1/52,ISO 3200, No Flash, Velvia Film Simulation
I was missing the X100s's built in ND filter for Waterfall
(No tripod, so X20 was resting on rock – hence the crooked angle and annoying branch)
f/9 @ 7.1 mm, 0.4s,ISO 100, No Flash, Velvia Film Simulation, 2 sec timer
The Wife’s Real World Snapshots
Moonhee was happy with the playground performance in backlit scenarios (better example here)
f/2.5 @ 7.1 mm,1/850, ISO 100, No Flash, SR+
Tulip test passed, but small sensor limits the bokeh even at f/2
f/2 @ 7.1 mm, 1/200,ISO 1000, No Flash, Velvia Film Simulation, Manual Mode
Click here for ISO 320 version
The previous article entitled COMPARISON: Fujifilm X20 vs X10 – Have I found my 2013 P&S of the Year? has my final thoughts about this camera as a reviewer. This article has my comments as a x20 owner.
I will say right now that I’m glad I upgraded from the x10. I’ve kept my x10 because of the EXR mode and video is better, but the x20 is the one we use 100% of the time now. I don’t think this camera takes better images, but it seems faster with much better AF performance so I get the shot more often with the x20 than with the x10. When noise reduction is off (for in-camera JPEG – irrelevant for RAW), I find the results to be excellent up to ISO 1600. However, the way SR+ handles strong mixed light and shadows scenarios (in both DR Auto and DR400 modes) just is not as good as the x10’s EXR mode.
The removal of the low pass filter hasn’t been a problem in my real world testing, but diffraction still exists (unlike the x100s which seemed to be diffraction free even when closed down to f/16). The lens is plenty of sharp with lots of detail so the image quality is still sure to please.
My only regrets are that I should have got the black version instead of silver, and I will really miss my EXR mode.
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