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Fujifilm creates X20 enthusiast compact with X-trans CMOS sensor

By dpreview staff on Jan 7, 2013 at 21:00 GMT
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Fujifilm has announced the X20 - a substantially upgraded re-working of its high-end enthusiast compact. The biggest changes over the X10 are the adoption of the X-Trans color filter pattern from the company's mirrorless cameras, along with an LCD added to the optical viewfinder to allow shooting information to be overlaid. A faster processor and on-chip phase detection elements promise fast focusing while the addition of a 'Q' quick-menu button should also improve the camera's usability.

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Press Release:

The NEW FUJIFILM X20 reconnects style with substance, bringing the essence of photography back to life.

FUJIFILM is proud to announce the launch of the new FUJIFILM X20 premium compact camera. Following in the footsteps of the highly acclaimed X10, the FUJIFILM X20 inherits its high-precision lens and refined design, whilst featuring substantially improved performance. With an X-Trans CMOS II sensor, EXR Processor II and a newly-developed Advanced Optical Viewfinder, the X20 is packed full of FUJIFILM’s latest technology. The X20 is available in both all black and two-tone black and silver.

The X20’s bright optical viewfinder features a newly-developed Digital Trans Panel. This displays the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, focusing area and other shooting information perfectly clearly, even in low-light conditions. What’s more, the X20’s Advanced Optical Viewfinder synchs with the zoom lens, so that users can accurately compose shots using the viewfinder, even when the focal length is constantly changing.

The combination of a newly-developed 12 megapixel 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS II sensor and EXR Processor II enables the X20 to capture very high quality images, with up to 20% higher resolution (*1) and 30% less noise (*2). What’s more thanks to the removal of the optical low pass filter and very powerful processor, the FUJIFILM X20 will produce clear images with minimal graininess, even at high ISO settings.

The newly-developed X-Trans CMOS II sensor has built-in Phase Detection pixels which enable the X20 to high-speed Auto Focus (AF) in as little as 0.06 seconds (*3). Additionally, the EXR Processor II offers fast responses with a start-up time of approx. 0.5 seconds (*4), a shutter time lag of approx. 0.01 seconds and a shooting interval of 0.5 seconds, providing advanced flexibility.

Main Features

(1) Advanced Optical Viewfinder with real time shooting data for improved usability and a bright view
Despite its compact size, the FUJIFILM X20 sports a bright and clear optical viewfinder with a horizontal apparent field of view of 20 degrees and coverage of 85%. It is synched to the zoom lens and comes with an eye sensor for enhanced usability.

The X20’s viewfinder also has a newly-developed Digital Trans Panel, which is less than 1mm in depth and is highly transparent. It displays the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, focusing area and other shooting information so that users can continue shooting comfortably without having to take their eye off the action. The Digital Trans Panel automatically switches the colour of information in the shooting frame according to the scene and shooting conditions. Normally displayed in black, in especially dark scenes the shooting information is automatically displayed in green for enhanced visibility; and when an error occurs, the displayed information changes to red.

(2) Premium image quality with edge to edge clarity and minimal noise
The X20 features FUJIFILM’s newly-developed 12 megapixel 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS II sensor. The highly random nature of the unique colour filter array eliminates the need for an optical low-pass filter, while maintaining high resolution images with edge-to-edge clarity. Optical low-pass filters have traditionally been used in conventional sensors to reduce false colour and moiré effects, however this also means sacrificing image quality.

The X20 uses a Lens Modulation Optimiser to reduce optical effects such as lens diffraction, which occurs when light passes through a lens. Even at an aperture of f/8, the X20 retains sharpness and texture in the fine details, drawing out the full potential of the lens.

The sensor's excellent sensitivity is coupled with the processor's advanced signal processing capacity to reduce noise by more than 30% (*2) compared to its predecessor. Even shooting in low-light (e.g. indoors or at night) at a high ISO setting, the X20 will produce a clear image with minimal graininess.

(3) High-speed features and Auto Focus in as little as 0.06 seconds (*3)
The newly-developed X-Trans CMOS II sensor has built-in Phase Detection pixels for high-speed AF in as little as 0.06 seconds (*3).  Furthermore, its BSI (Back-Side Illuminated) sensor structure means the Phase Detection pixels can gather sufficient light, whatever the angle of incidence, at a large aperture, to deliver high-precision AF. The Intelligent Hybrid AF automatically switches to Contrast AF when the subject or scene demands it to ensure that the camera always auto-focuses at the highest speed and precision levels possible.

A Focus Peak Highlight feature is available to help photographers manual focus by highlighting the area of the image currently in focus.  It provides a guide for situations where it’s difficult to tell whether the subject is correctly focused; allowing users to adjust manual focus easily whilst viewing the LCD monitor.

The EXR Processor II delivers performance speeds twice that of the previous generation processor (*5).  The X20 offers super speedy response times, with a start-up time of approx. 0.5 seconds (*4), a shutter time lag of 0.01 seconds and a shooting interval of 0.5 seconds. The X20 also delivers an impressive burst rate of 12 frames per second at the full 12 megapixel resolution.

(4) High precision f/2.0-2.8 4x manual barrel zoom lens
Incredible attention to detail has been paid when designing this high precision lens. It’s made up of 11 glass elements in 9 groups, including 3 aspherical lens elements and 2 extra-low dispersion lens elements. The result is an ultra bright lens with a wide-angle maximum aperture of f/2.0 and telephoto maximum aperture of f/2.8. FUJINON's proprietary HT-EBC coating is applied to the lens, it effectively controls flare and ghosting from appearing on images.

The optical 4x manual zoom lens allows users to determine precise composition quickly and instinctively, and the use of metal for the lens barrel and its internal structures provides a really smooth zooming action. In Super Macro mode you can get as close as 1cm from your subject, for stunning close-up shots.

The X20’s unique image stabilisation mechanism shifts 5 lens elements compensating for camera shake by up to 4 stops, it also effectively prevents motion blur while stopping vignetting and loss of image resolution that usually occurs during camera shake compensation.

Additionally, the X20’s lens incorporates 7 diaphragm blades which enable you to create a beautiful soft ‘bokeh’ effect to make your subject stand out off the background perfectly.

(5) Artistic photography
This exciting new camera features FUJIFILM's proprietary Film Simulation modes. Users can choose from ten different modes which simulate the effects of traditional Fujifilm films. Including colour reversal film effects (Velvia / PROVIA / ASTIA), professional colour negative film (PRO Neg.Std / PRO Neg.Hi), monochrome filters (MONOCHROME, Ye filter, R filter and G filter) and SEPIA.

Also available on the X20 are the Advanced Filter functions; users can choose from 8 different artistic effects which can be previewed on the LCD screen:
Pop Colour - emphasises the contrast and colour saturation
Toy Camera - creates shaded borders as if you were taking a photo on a toy camera
Miniature - adds a blur to the top and bottom for a diorama or miniature effect
Dynamic Tone - giving dynamic gradation for a fantasy finish
Partial Colour – this feature selects one colour and takes the rest of the shot in black and white. Colours can be selected from red, yellow, green, blue, orange and purple
High Key - enhances brightness and reduces contrast to lighten tonal reproduction
NEW Low Key – creates uniformly dark tones with a few areas of emphasised highlights
NEW Soft Focus – blurs the focus of the image edges to create a softer effect           

A separate Multiple Exposure function offers users the chance to combine two separate subjects into one photo, offering great artistic expression.

(6) Full HD Video Shooting
The X20 can shoot Full HD Video (1920 x 1080) at 60fps, for smooth video capture. Shooting at the high bit-rate of 36Mbps results in reduced noise and enhanced image quality that reveals every detail from individual leaves in the trees, to subtle changes in facial expression.

Many of the features available when shooting stills are also available while recording video footage. You can take advantage of a number of the Film Simulation modes and exploit the brightness of the lens to shoot videos with a dreamy ‘bokeh’ effect. The NEW Movie Scene Recognition feature can automatically recognise six types of scene and optimise the settings for beautiful results, under a variety of shooting conditions. What’s more the Intelligent Hybrid AF feature is activated during video recording and an optional Stereo Microphone can be attached to capture sound perfectly.

(7) Elegant design and sophisticated operating system
Manufactured in Japan from strong, yet lightweight, die-cast magnesium alloy, the X20’s upper control deck and camera base are superbly designed and add a real sense of style and elegance to the camera. The mode dial and zoom ring have been ergonomically designed and precision-milled from solid aluminium; the exterior is finished with synthetic leather, which is durable and resilient. The two-tone version of the X20 has a specially-formulated silver finish which is applied with a coating that creates the premium feel of thick steel.

Composing and viewing images via the LCD is a pleasure thanks to the X20’s high-contrast, 460K-dot, 2.8-inch Premium screen, with a wide viewing-angle and an enhanced GUI menu system. The X20 also features a ‘Q’ button which can call up frequently-used menu items such as ISO settings, and a ‘Fn’ (Function) button which allows users to assign features frequently used while shooting.

The camera’s aspect ratio can be selected from 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, and 1:1 (square) to accommodate a wide range of photographic styles. The camera also features an Advanced SR Auto mode, which detects not only the main subject but also whether it is moving or stationary to automatically optimise the focus, exposure, ISO and other settings.

(8) Key Features

  • NEW Advanced Optical Viewfinder with a Digital Trans Panel
  • NEW 12 megapixel 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS II sensor
  • Intelligent Hybrid AF in 0.06 seconds (*3)
  • Improved EXR Processor II
  • High quality fast f/2.0-2.8 lens
  • 4x FUJINON manual barrel zoom lens
  • 2.8inch High Contrast LCD monitor (460K dots)
  • Pop-up Super Intelligent Flash
  • Fast start-up time of 0.5 seconds (*4), shutter time lag of 0.01 seconds
  • Super Macro mode (1cm)
  • Motion Panorama 360
  • 8 Advanced Filters
  • Q button for frequently used menu items
  • Function (Fn) button
  • NEW GUI showing the focal distance, aperture value and shutter speed in sync with the zoom ring or command dial rotation
  • Advanced SR Auto mode with 64 shooting patterns
  • Full HD video (60fps)
  • Manual focus during video recording
  • Output for Stereo Microphone (sold separately)
  • Focus Peak Highlight function on the LCD screen
  • Available in all black or two-tone black and silver
  • 4 types of shutter sounds - Lens Shutter, Focal Plane Shutter, Mirror Up and Silent Shutter

(9) Premium Accessory Line-up

  • Premium Leather case LC-X20 - made of genuine high quality leather.
  • Lens Hood and Protector Filter LHF-X20 - a highly transmissive protection filter, applied with the multi-layer coating technology 'Super EBC'. It is available in black or silver to match the colour of the camera body. The dedicated lens hood features slits to ensure a full angle of view for the viewfinder
  • Shoe Mount Flash - three types of FUJIFILM external flashes, capable of the proprietary high-precision TTL auto flash control:  EF-20 and EF-X20 with the guide number 20, and EF-42 with the guide number 42
  • External stereo microphone MIC-ST1 - for recording real sound with impact to go with premium-quality images and full-HD video

*1. Fujifilm research. Compared with X10 and conducted in f/8.
*2. Compared with the X10.
*3. FUJIFILM research based on CIPA guidelines and conducted in “High Performance” mode.
*4. Quick start mode
*5. Compared with the EXR Processor Pro.

Fujifilm X20 specifications

Body type
Body typeCompact
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Max resolution4000 x 3000
Other resolutions4000 x 2664, 4000 x 2248, 2992 x 2992, 2816 x 2112, 2816 x 1864, 2816 x 1584, 2112 x 2112, 2048 x 1536, 2048 x 1360, 1920 x 1080, 1536 x 1536
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels12 megapixels
Sensor size2/3" (8.8 x 6.6 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorEXR Processor II
ISOAuto (Up to ISO 3200), 100, 200, 250, 320, 400, 500, 640, 800, 1000, 1250, 1600, 2000, 2500, 3200, 4000, 5000, 6400, 12800
White balance presets7
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, Normal
File format
  • JPEG Exif 2.3
  • RAW (.RAF)
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.)28–112 mm
Optical zoom4×
Maximum apertureF2.0 - F2.8
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (2x)
Manual focusYes
Normal focus range50 cm (19.69)
Macro focus range1 cm (0.39)
Focal length multiplier3.94×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size2.8
Screen dots460,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT color LCD monitor
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (tunnel)
Viewfinder coverage85%
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Auto
  • Program
  • Aperture priority
  • Shutter priority
  • Manual
Scene modes
  • Portrait
  • Portrait Enhancer
  • Landscape
  • Sport
  • Night
  • Night (Tripod)
  • Fireworks
  • Sunset
  • Snow
  • Beach
  • Party
  • Flower
  • Text
  • Underwater
Built-in flashYes (Pop-up)
Flash range7.00 m
External flashYes (hot-shoe)
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync
Continuous drive12 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Average
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing (at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingNo
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60 fps), 1280 x 720 (60 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Videography notesHigh Speed Movie (80/150/250 fps.)
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (Mini connector)
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion NP-50 rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)270
Weight (inc. batteries)353 g (0.78 lb / 12.45 oz)
Dimensions117 x 70 x 57 mm (4.61 x 2.76 x 2.24)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo

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Fujifilm X20


Total comments: 37
By nasserdjawas (Mar 10, 2013)

its good for taking child activities outdoor.. fast focus and enough burst rate...
from the owner of Fuji X20 perspective.. test and tried of course.

good movie too.
the battery is the only drawback.

Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 13, 2013)

Wow, now this one looks like a nice toy. It is so tiny, however, only ladies and very small handed gentleman of the adult persuasion will likely be able to operate it.

Fuji really made this X20 job totally Lilliputian, heck, they even shrunk the LCD screen on it, and as to the "viewfinder," heck it is just a tiny peephole of unspecified physical size, phew....

By marike6 (Jan 15, 2013)

You seem confused, as the X20 is exactly the same size as the X10. Which is to say it's a good size with a solid grip and great ergonomics unlike slippery little bars of soap like the S100 or RX100.
So no, Fuji didn't shrink the LCD, and the VF is not a peephole but is actually one of the best of any compact aside from accessory EVFs like the LX7 or XZ2. Good try though.

Fox Fisher
By Fox Fisher (Jan 8, 2013)

Sensor size 2/3" (8.8 x 6.6 mm)... No matter how superior the fuji's low light and noise performance, it makes me sad to see an innovative company live fuji to stick with this tiny sensor, I'd have bought it instant if it had 1" or larger sensor.

By marike6 (Jan 9, 2013)

The Sony RX100, and for that matter Nikon V1/V2 have only slightly better low-light performance than the Fuji X10. From DxOMark Sensor Ratings:

Sony RX100 390 ISO
Fuji X10 245 ISO

That's only a little over 1/3 EV better low-light performance. For most people this won't be a major issue. For DOF control, the X10 actually has more shallow DOF than the RX100 because of the fast f2.8 lens vs the f4.9 lens of the RX100.

For me, I find even modern 1/1.7" sensors to be good enough performers for most uses. The LX7, and in particular the XZ-1 and GRD III are some of my favorite P&Ss. I'm also a huge fan of the X10 and have never thought of it's 2/3" sensor as tiny, since outside of the RX100 it's the largest sensor of any compact.

By Josh152 (Jan 9, 2013)

Your are forgetting the Canon G1X which is just as compact as the X10/X20 and has a bigger sensor than both the RX100 and the X10/X20. Of course it is also plagued by a slow lens which erases some of it's low light advantage and pretty much all of it's potential shallow DOF advantage IMO.

By rusticus (Jan 10, 2013)

the awesome Leica Digilux2 has a "2/3" sensor, if I'm not mistaken -
she X10 is awesome and the X20 we have a little better

1 upvote
By marike6 (Jan 8, 2013)

The X10 is such a joy to use, I expect this camera to be even better. The VF with the info overlay alone is worth the price of admission. If RAW processing issues are sorted out I will buy one of these for sure.

By lacro (Jan 8, 2013)

Too little, too late!

After the great expectations for a broader lens from "rumors" stating a 24~120 zoom lens (with the same light), as requested in my previous comments here in this forum, I'm terrible disappointed with the same lens, considering the already old launch of the Sony RX100...

Even then, same sensor size? Seriously? I've been avoiding a whole lot of compact cameras for the last couple of years, in order to get my dreamed X10 improved according to the current standards.

I really don't know what to do now.

By cgarrard (Jan 8, 2013)

Just wait longer, looks like.

Reg Natarajan
By Reg Natarajan (Jan 8, 2013)

You waited two years because you thought Fuji would design the X20 around your desired specs? lol.

By lacro (Jan 8, 2013)

You should. No, Reg. I've expressed myself in the wrong way.

The point is the standards moved on. The X10 set a new level when it was launched, back then. After the white orbs' disappointment and the way it was managed, I've expected much better specs in the lens and sensor areas, considering the current standards in the compact segment, set by the Sony RX100.

By lacro (Jan 8, 2013)

I waited almost 2 years for FUJI to get the X10 right (because I love the concept), but after that time I'd also expect some improvements, if you woudn't mind.

By MarkInSF (Jan 10, 2013)

It does compare favorably to any competitor not made by Sony. Their sensor is still bigger than most, the lens is of high quality and has a useful zoom range, and the vf is like nothing else in the class. They did make significant improvements, just not the ones you wanted.

I like what they did, but would like a lens that collapses a lot farther. Then it would be pocketable and more competitive with the RX100. A better grip would also be a plus, made of something easier to get a hold on. That plastic may look soft and leathery, but if it's like the X10 it's hard and slippery.

Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 13, 2013)

What's the diff between this one and the one it is supposed to replace, really?

They shrunk the LCD and it is a low-rez LCD at that, only 460K pixels, totally lame in the year 2013, Fujifilm!

And the parallax view viewfinder? Fuji would not say anything about its size, but it looks really, really tiny. And the 85% coverage if provided does not make one jump with joy, either.

Maybe Fuji should be concentrating on announcing FEWER camera models.... but what they do bring to market, make them BETTER. No more re-hashes, please.

Juraj Lacko
By Juraj Lacko (Jan 7, 2013)

fuji is improoving their products by every new generation. I remember I was wowed when first generation of fuji X cameras were announced. Then problems arrised, but those guys at fuji seems to listen what people saying and complaining about. I may just wait for 3rd gen and then handover my hard earned money to them :) Good job

By cgarrard (Jan 7, 2013)

I want to be excited about this camera, but with Fuji's buggy reputation on firmware and other issues, I'm hesitant. I'll wait for all the hype to clear out before I make a judgement though. Half full is the glass.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 13, 2013)

I'm still waiting to find something from Fujifilm that is guaranteed to be trouble-free. Might be a long wait yet.

By AngryCorgi (Jan 7, 2013)

DR expanded modes are via automated 3-shot AEB/blending now. Kinda makes me sad.

Comment edited 9 seconds after posting
By _sem_ (Jan 8, 2013)

A Sony sensor of this size would've had a quite reasonable DR, without the EXR complication and with shorter exposures (DR gained by lower noise). Perhaps the X20's does too?

By whtchocla7e (Jan 7, 2013)

Small sensor..

1 upvote
By streemcat (Jan 8, 2013)

At least this is not 1/1,7.
Small sensor = compact optics for pocket.
Need for large one? Go to body with interchangable lens imho.
Or to Sony RX1 :)

Ben O Connor
By Ben O Connor (Jan 7, 2013)

one thing that i like about these X series of fujifilm;

Beautifully, almost tailored hot shue.

I wish my olympus XZ-1 would have smilar sleek hotshue ,even the XZ-2 has the smilar... even leica´s beauty becomes annoying (X2) with smilar hot shue.

But look at this X20. It looks flawless, 11 points from 10, for its outlook.

By peevee1 (Jan 7, 2013)

"Continuous drive Yes (12 fps)"

Is it with C-AF, or focus locked?

Dan Tong
By Dan Tong (Jan 7, 2013)

Fuji deserves a lot of credit for innovation in sensor technology, look and feel, and for common sense design such as manual zoom lens control.

I'm very happy for the success of their newest set of cameras beginning with the X1 etc.

It's great when a company like Fuji is not simply doing the me too copycat routine - lacking innovation of its own.

Congratulations! and may you have well deserved success with these new models.


Andrew Higgins
By Andrew Higgins (Jan 7, 2013)

What a superb upgrade to the already marvellous X10. I want one!

MikeHoward 61
By MikeHoward 61 (Jan 7, 2013)

Oh great. I just got an x10!

By Neimo (Jan 7, 2013)

Is the minimum shutter speed of 30 seconds still only for ISO 100?

By Deeso (Jan 7, 2013)

Very interesting little camera, except for those who want the DOF control only a bigger sensor can bring.

Comment edited 33 seconds after posting
By BingoCharlie (Jan 7, 2013)

Do we really have to revisit this point every single time a non-FF camera gets introduced?

By Deeso (Jan 7, 2013)

I'm just stating that's the only thing that prevents me to get that camera because I find the rest of the feature set really appealing. For the same price there's some cheap m4/3 and APS-C mirrorless cameras that could fill the bill in regards of DOF (you don't have to go for FF)

By piratejabez (Jan 7, 2013)

Looks pretty good! I hope they work with Adobe to optimize RAW processing. Also still hoping for 24mm in the X30.

By thx1138 (Jan 7, 2013)

If it went to 24mm it would have been almost perfect. Nice update and let's hope AF speed is good as Fuji is not so great in this area.

By JEROME NOLAS (Jan 7, 2013)

Bravo Fuji!!!

By AngryCorgi (Jan 7, 2013)

With the Xtrans arrangement, do we gain better resolution at base ISO, but lose the super-sampling ability that the EXR sensors had with photosites of different sensitivities? It will be VERY interesting to see the early samples from this camera VS the old X10 in different situations. Kudos on the in-VF info panel. That is an improvement that every tunnel OVF could use.

By AngryCorgi (Jan 7, 2013)

Well, looking at the preview, this appears to be the case. Base ISO resolution is now improved at the cost of the unique DR and SNR modes.

By _sem_ (Jan 8, 2013)

Well, the problem of EXR X10 was that the output was not as good as one would expect from a state-of-the-art sensor of this size (Sony). And that no serious 3rd-party raw converter would properly support all those EXR modes. So effectively X10 is a JPG-only camera.
It remains to be seen how well the X20 X-trans sensor performs, noise- and DR-wise. Proper 3rd-party raw converter support for X-trans remains an issue unfortunately AFAIK.

Total comments: 37