focus on imaging 2013

3

Fujifilm X20; A First Look…

The highlight of Focus on Imaging 2013 at Birmingham, UK for me was Fujifilm’s update of their very popular (and superb, I might add) X10, the X20. And here is my view of the camera itself.

First, lets see what’s new:

  • The optical viewfinder has been updated to display real-time shooting data in green for dark scenes and when an error occurs, the displayed data changes to red. Data display includes shutter speed & aperture setting, shooting mode, focus mark, focus area & flash/self-timer
  • There’s a brand new sensor, the 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS II, which has inherited the same architecture and features of the high performance sensor fitted to the X-Pro 1. The sensor has BSI (backside illumination) technology enabling successful incorporation of phase detection pixels into the array without affecting sensitivity performance; this is key to the X20’s high-speed AF
  • Start-up time is a claimed 0.5 seconds with a photography interval of the same duration. Shutter time lag is a claimed 0.01sec and AF at its fastest is a claimed 0.06 sec
  • High-speed 12fps continuous shooting at 12-Megapixel resolution
  • There are eight advanced filters - high key; low key; pop colour; toy camera; dynamic tone; soft focus; miniature (tilt-shift effect); and partial colour
  • Multiple exposure using the 3-inch LCD monitor
  • There are two settings to allow “the timeless colours” of photographic film to be reproduced: PRO Neg.Std will “capture with gentle tonality and PRO.Neg.Hi will "heighten tonal contrasts while preserving soft skin tones
  • An automatic subject and scene recognition setting
  • In manual focus mode there is an option, using the LCD display, to focus more precisely on subjects
  • There’s a new lens hood, hood cap and protective filter available as an optional extra - the filter has a Super-EBC (Electron Bean Coating) for improved resistance to ghosting and lens flare
  • And there’s an optional external stereo microphone for use with the HD movie option
  • There’s a high performance mode
  • Support for Eye-Fi SD memory cards for direct transfer to computer

Cosmetically, the X20 remains faithful to the original X10 except that the RAW button on the rear is replaced with a quick menu button. This change, and several of the advanced filters, were incorporated into the Firmware update Fujifilm released for the X10 last October.

Lots of new features and, thanks to Adrian on the Fujifilm stand, I got to have five minutes play - untethered so long as I didn’t leave the stand. The two test images (in colour, above) certainly seem to support the claims of improved colour rendition. I was was also impressed by the bokeh effect in both images. The autofocus felt a little quicker and start-up gave me the same impression.

Handling is very much the same as the X10 - the X20 is using the same body architecture.

I liked the focus fine tuning very much. Flick the camera to manual focus, then spin the control wheel on the rear of the camera and slowly the image gets sharp. When optimum sharpness is reached the screen takes on what I can only describe as a fresnel effect reminiscent of those manual focus SLRs of the early 70’s and 80’s. It took a little getting used to but I think many macro users will find this feature very useful.

Five minutes is no time at all to review a camera or anything else for that matter but I think Fujifilm have another winner on their hands. If all the claims they are making are as good as they make out, I can see the X20 becoming a very popular little camera indeed.

I’ve already got my eye on one and have started my I Love My Fujifilm X20 blog site where this first look will be going in a couple of days!

Please note that I have NO connection with Fujifilm or their X20 project other than being a very satisfied X10 user

The black and white image of the X20 is taken with my X10 and was the camera used by me to take the test shots. Thanks very much to the staff on the Fujifilm stand at Focus 2013 for letting me play.