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Being an enthusiast camera, it should come as no surprise that the Fuji X20 offers a full set of manual controls. The shutter speed ranges from 30 to 1/4000 secs, while the aperture range is F2.0-F11. The X20 offers a Program Shift feature while in 'P' mode, but only when the ISO and dynamic range settings are set to something other than 'Auto'. Raw shooting in Fujifilm's .RAF format is supported, with the option of recording a JPEG at the same time.

The mode dial has the expected manual exposure modes, plus two custom spots for your favorite settings.

The adjacent exposure compensation button can be easy to bump.

The Fn button is customizable and defaults to controlling ISO.

The ISO sensitivity can be set automatically (you can select the base ISO, upper limit, and minimum acceptable shutter speed) or manually, with the latter having a range of 100 - 12800. Do note that sensitivities above ISO 3200 are not available if you're shooting Raw. White balance can be customized using a white or gray card or by setting the color temperature. If that doesn't do it, you can fine-tune things in the blue/yellow and cyan/magenta directions.

The X20 also lets you bracket for exposure, ISO, Dynamic Range, and Film Mode - those last two items will be described below.

Focus peaking in action: the horse figurine has an noticeable outline here, meaning that it's in focus.

Also notice the distance guide near the bottom of the screen.

In addition to the usual frame enlargement feature that is commonly found when manually focusing, the X20 also features focus peaking. Focus peaking puts a noticeable outline around high-contrast (in-focus) areas of the photo, which makes things that much more precise.

RAW Conversion

An added bonus is the ability to process Raw images right in the camera - something rarely found on cameras in this class. The results are saved as a JPEG image, giving identical image quality to the X20's standard JPEG output.

This tool, found in playback mode, lets you adjust exposure (which Fuji calls Push/Pull processing), Dynamic Range (if the ISO is above 100), Film Simulation mode, white balance (including fine-tuning), color saturation, sharpness, highlight/shadow detail and noise reduction.

The only downside of the Raw conversion function is that you don't see the changes to color, exposure etc., in real-time. You make your adjustments, 'Create' the new image, and only then do you see a preview of what it looks like, before the option of saving or canceling.

DR Modes

While the X20 no longer has the X10's EXR sensor design that allowed for impressive dynamic range expansion, all is not lost. The X20 offers dynamic range expansion in 2 steps - 200% or 400% which are available at ISO 200 and above, and 400 and above, respectively. Unlike the EXR-based cameras, there's no drop in resolution in order to increase dynamic range.

Here's how this works when you boost the DR to 200% or 400%. The camera captures one less stop of light compared to the DR100% mode, preserving highlights, then 'pulls up' the shadows and midtones to achieve a balanced final 'exposure'. The effect is highlight detail, at the expense of a tiny bit more shadow noise. So how well does it work? See for yourself:

JPEG, DR 100%, 1/800 sec, f/3.6, ISO 100 100% crop
JPEG, DR 200%, 1/800 sec, f/5.0, ISO 200 100% crop
JPEG, DR 400%, 1/800 sec, f/7.1, ISO 400 100% crop

As you can see, the dynamic range feature restored quite a bit of highlight tone that was otherwise lost. The shadow areas get a bit darker and, since the ISO is being increased, slightly noisier. We feel that the DR 200% setting offers a good balance of dynamic range and noise, and is well-suited to everyday shooting. DR 400% can be handy for really extreme situations, but it can also make exposures look a little too 'flat'.

Film Simulation Modes

Film Simulation Modes are not new to the X20, but they're still worth a mention. There are there a total of eight modes, though four of them fall under the monochrome category. They include Provia (Natural), Velvia (Vivid), Astia (Soft), Pro Neg High, Pro Neg Standard, Monochrome (with yellow, red, green, or no filter), and Sepia.

Pro Neg High
Pro Neg Standard
Mono (Yellow Filter)
Mono (Red Filter)
Mono (Green Filter)

The examples above are mostly self-explanatory, but a few footnotes are needed. The Velvia mode has very high saturation and contrast, and as such it's a great choice for punchy landscapes, but not a great idea for portraits, for example. You might want to use Astia instead, which does a better job of preserving skin tones. Fuji says that Pro Neg Standard is best suited for studio portraits, while the more contrasty Pro Neg High is better for outdoor use.

If you want to capture more than one Film Simulation mode at once, then try the bracketing feature, which lets you save three photos with a single exposure. Also, any photo taken in Raw can have its Film Simulation Mode changed, with the result saved as a JPEG.

In addition to Film Simulation modes, the X20 also offers several 'Advanced Filters', which you'll find in the Advanced Shooting mode. They include things like toy camera, miniature effect, pop color, selective color, and soft focus.

Motion Panorama

Like most cameras in 2013, the X20 lets you take huge panoramic photos by "sweeping" the camera from one side to the other. You can go in any direction, and can choose from 120, 180, or full 360 degree panoramas, up to a maximum resolution of 11520 x 1080 pixels.

A 180 degree panorama of Vancouver, BC

Overall, the Motion Panorama feature works well, though in a few test shots moving subjects sometimes appeared twice.

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Total comments: 29

I've had this camera for some time now and just not that impressed. The image quality is ok and comparable to most compact camera's on the market.

The sample photos below are simple proof this camera is for the novice. One who wants a few 'advanced' features to experiment with.

Tjeerd P

I have the X20 for 3 months. In the A and S modus, the camera produces pictures which are overexposed. Especially during daylight. I don't understand why. Do I do something wrong? Is there a bug in the software (v. 1.02)?
I have sent an email to the Dutch Fuji helpdesk, but they don't even bother to give a response. Can anyone help me with this?
Example, in the A-modus (with Iso on Auto and after I gave the camera a reset) I took 5 pictures. For every picture I choose a different aperture. The picture was taken of the same scene and all within one minute. The result in speed and Iso were:
F Speed Iso
2.2 1/1000 100
2.5 1/1000 100
2.8 1/1300 100
3.2 1/1400 100
3.6 1/1500 100

Only the last picture with F3.6 had the right exposure.
Why does the camera choose a speed of 1/1000 when I pick F2.2, with an overexposed picture as a result. And why NOT (for example) 1/2000 in order to produce a well-exposed picture?
The same (reversed) problem happens in the S-modus.


Just got an X20 after much research. Could have waited for X30 but decided that I may then just as well wait for X40, etc. and miss more pictures. I have to say the X20 is excellent (moving from a Nikon D40 + set of lenses plus iPhone 5s). What did I want: small and light to take with me when cycling (and all other times too), a proper high quality viewfinder, a proper zoom ring and decent optical zoom range plus simple exposure control. The X20 delivers in spades. I don't see any rivals with those features - well done Fuji for designing cameras for photographers who enjoy the tactile feel of real camera controls.


The trend runs increasingly stronger toward compacts that pack lots of power, and it's a trend that seems to be continuing full steam ahead. The X20 is one of the important players in the field and has been holding a respectable place for a year now. Competition keeps springing up, with more features in ever smaller bodies, so is the X30 just around the corner?

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting

I fully agree with you . All camera companies are taking out too many models too fast!!! We should have time to study and select -

1 upvote
Luigi Ricca

Alex More is right, we all run and hope and buy to find always a deception somewhere. I sometimes take a old Pentax , Nikkormat and veven a Minox, I shoot, develop and digitalise and : the result is sure there !

Luigi Ricca

I see around the inside of the lens shell a tread : does anyone know the size? It seems to me that a filter could be used : Than you


@madmaxmedia - thanks for your feedback. Agreed that the smudging is not due to the lack of AA filter. The real issue as you also point out is most likely the aggressive use of NR even at base ISO. I think the lack of AA filter emphasizes this problem even more. Glad to read that at least the raw files are better in this respect.


@inspireddan- I don't think the smudging is due to the lack of AA filter, it's due to increased noise reduction. The X20 RAW files are great. But the JPEG's are worse than the X10 in the opinion of many who have used both. It's too bad, I really like my X10 and would otherwise upgrade to the X20 (I mostly shoot JPEG).


Dear Fuji,
Why would you remove the optical AA filter if there is "smudge [of] fine details (even at ISO 100)"? Not having a filter may be okay on a larger sensor which captures more light (such as in the X100), but on smaller sensor it may only emphasize this problem.
I don't have an X20 but on my F45FD (same as F40FD), I also notice smudging of fine details at base ISO, especially around the edges of objects. If I apply slight blurring in post, the picture looks much better. I can't help but think that have that camera not had an AA filter, the smudging problem would have been even more noticeable.


Oh, what a continuing disappointment...! Digital camera engineering deserves better.
Mirrorless rangefinder cameras with manual focus should be a done deal by now.
 I suppose I'm as easily seduced by novelty features and shiny new digital gizmos as most, and  to be fair to all the gadget-heads who are prepared to put up with costly digital gear that looks OK on the outside but still doesn't deliver then you have  to admit that Fuji's corporate profit-taking is not as mean as the rest.
  I mean,  it's nice  to see Fuji is keeping some form of stabilising eye-level viewfinder. These are time-tested. They  not only allow image composition in bright daylight but help steady a camera, something not possible using cut-rate contemporary mirroless, viewfinderless digital toy still and mobile/cell phone  cameras at absurd arms-length fashion.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
Pat Cullinan Jr

Right on target re the viewfinder!


It bears mentioning that you can get a second hand X100 for the price of a new X20, and that X100 gives you what you are asking for.


Look, as much as I'd really like a mirorless digital that doesn't come with a Leica price tag I'll continue to use a standard DSLR and wait until Fuji -or someone else uses better sensors, with proper size - or at the very least APS-H to produce a usable camera that can perform for photojournalsm at an artisan cost below the badge price of the Germans.
Otherwise there's no point moving away from a so-called 'full frame' (35mm equivalent) sensor DSLR, unless your personal wealth or your work or hobby can justify a good camera like a Leica.
I accept I'm being cynical to make a point against the plethora of gushing reviews for sub-standard compromise digital gear, but most of the mirrorless cameras are not much better than toys  that deliver passable back-lit and email images. These cameras are not ideal for photojournalism.


Alex, I'm SO enjoying your comments. I was a film shooter (1960s-1980s, Nikkormat FTn). I've tried to be happy using a Leica D-Lux 5, but screen scrolling is so frustrating, as is the lack of a viewfinder. I'm a 70 yr old woman now and I want one more chance to 'meet' a camera that melds with me (manual, f-stops on the lens, external shutter speed knob, full-frame viewfinder. If I can't find this 'in digital' I just might buy an old Nikkormat !! Do you feel the Fuji X100S is a fairly good choice? It's on Alamy's list of acceptable cameras.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting

I am in my late 60's and recently bought a Fuji X-A1 and a X-E1 as lightweight more compact alternatives to my SLR gear, with a view to switching systems. I am finding the transition a bit of a chore. The X-A1 is great indoors and in overcast conditions but difficult to use in full sun owing to the lack of hood or VF; the solution would be buy a hood or a loupe. The X-E1 is easier for me to use with the EVF even with spectacles, but I find both slow to focus compared to my SLRs, so I tend to use the AF lock or focus manually. Quality is acceptable but I find RAW images require more adjustment (especially at higher ISO) than RAW images from my SLRs. I guess as with everything there are compromises and I will become more competent with longer use. I absolutely love the build quality and ergonomics, much better than most of the competition. If you get the chance, try out the X-E1 or X-E2 or even X-T1 before making a decision, especially if you can get one to try for a day or two.

1 upvote

Sure, we can have debates  about rare-earth scarcity and high cost sensor manufacturer profitability and difficulties finding cheap labour in fringe junge factories to make cheap cameras and optics, as well as  fitting it all in a look-alike traditional film camera platform. 
But aren't image and print  quality and the ability to crop more important?  As is the camera's purpose as a tool to serve a photographer's eye, the picture you perceive in  your mind the instant you decide to trip a shutter and use light to create an image with minimal patchwork PS 'processing'...?
A camera is an instrument. It should measure against an ideal. All else follows, including economics. But, in three simple words this camera has:

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Spencer E Holtaway

Everyone's 'ideal' is different. In your comments you are coming from a perspective of a professional that is meeting technical requirements from news agencies, etc.

I don't see anywhere in any reviews or Fuji documentation that this camera is intended for that purpose. If anything, it's an expensive yet high quality point and shoot for people (probably hobbyists) who appreciate good color reproduction in a small, light body. Maybe it's great for someone who doesn't want to carry their DLSR around all the time, and also doesn't have $2,500 for a full frame compact with no viewfinder.


Inadequate sensor size.


Is the sony nex 6 a better buy ?


It is really a great camera and I use it (more and more) besides or instead my Nikon 300s. One really serious flaw is the original battery (1000 mA) - it starts to collapse after 20 photos (is new!). The newly bought second one manages 100 pics (with less than 10 flash photos) but that is still far below useful number. Bought now aftermarket one (1400 mA) and hope it will solve my problem. My advice is to have full backup battery ready anytime!


With tht peanut size sensor and codt the same as sony nex 5 really?????????

1 upvote

In all the reviews Fuji cameras seem to consistently put out superior images.
Shame the viewfinder wasn't made at least 95% coverage.

Ivan Lietaert

This kind of background blur, even at 112mm, is never going to isolate a subject against the background. The background is still distracting.
Your picture is misleading, btw, because the background is very far away here.
Put this guy against a background that is 10m away, and you'll see (almost) as much detail there as in the subject's face.
Anybody looking for a decent background blur should buy a camera with a 1 inch or bigger sensor.


This is a very detailed review, and plenty informative if you're looking to buy this camera. I actually got the camera based on this review and the opinions in the forum. What better place to go to for camera-related stuff than DPreview?


Alamy's a good place to begin. Most on-line reviews are subjective.
Agences like Alamy must maintain image quality standards to keep credibility with publshers who buy images and complete pro phojournalism stories.
Cameras they approve are a good starting point.

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
1 upvote

I disagree with the non pro use comment - I work for a large newspaper in Europe - I use this as a back up to my NikonD800 and Mamiya RZ67 when street photo style is needed for true look . Liecas are not so expensive as you think - try hiring one. That said I would only replace the X20 with either Sony R1, Sigma DP2 Merrell .


I haven't owned a camera in 20 years; almost bought a compact point-and-shoot on sale, but started looking at larger compacts (Canon G16, Fuji x20, some of the smallest 4/3). Can't imagine not having a viewfinder, but the G16's and apparently this one's aren't very good, it seems. Any recommendations for something I can both use automatically and set manually if I get the urge to really learn?


Have you considered the Fuji X100S ??

1 upvote
Total comments: 29