Fujifilm X20 Announced

Along with X100S, Fujifilm has also announced a new high-end compact camera. Replacing the very popular and attractively styled in recent Fujifilm X-series fashion, Fujifilm X10, the new camera retains all of predecessors’ strengths and gains a few more. With what X20 has to offer, it should end up as a very nice little camera for those who want a camera for simple occasions but with the usual flexibility of higher-end gear.

Fujifilm X20 Announced

Fujifilm X20

1) Commentary

Fujifilm X20 fits nicely into category first started with the Canon G series. It is a compact camera for advanced photographers. The things that make it different from ordinary point-and-shoot cameras is the amount of manual control available, high build quality, larger-than-average sensor for better performance as well as a bright, sharp, 28-112mm equivalent zoom lens with an aperture of f/2-2.8. X10 shared all of these features, but the new X20 further improves the camera’s capabilities. A new X-Trans sensor is present, which uses the same technology as larger sensors found in Fuji’s X-Pro1, X-E1 and X100S cameras. Employing a different, more random color filter pattern that traditional Bayer sensors, this one goes away without needing a low-pass filter, which results in better image sharpness. The new sensor has 12 megapixels, is 2/3 inch in size and is aided by a more powerful image processor.

Just as with X100S, the new sensor and processor are both dubbed “II”. X-Trans again contains phase-detect AF system in addition to the previous contrast-detect AF. As a result, hybrid AF should provide quicker and more reliable focus acquisition. But that is theory, of course. Canon M, which we reviewed very recently, also incorporates hybrid AF system, but its performance is disturbingly poor. We are yet to see how Fujifilm X100S and X20 stack up.

It is promised that the new compact will be as quick as its bigger brother, the X100S. Focus is said to be as quick as 0.06s, with shutter lag, power-up and shot-to-shot times also very brief. What’s more, the optical viewfinder has been overlaid with an LCD screen for various shooting information. This should make it much more useful. With some practice, one might learn to change settings without taking eye of the viewfinder. Focus Peak Highlight feature is available for more accurate manual focus when using the rear display.

Fujifilm X20

In short, with its eye-catching design, this camera is more than just a fashion statement. It fills a good niche where modern cameraphones can’t quite touch it by targeting photographers who require lots of manual control, high image quality and pleasure of use all in one package.

2) Key Specifications

  • 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

3) Official Press Release

Fujifilm announce the NEW X20 premium compact camera

The NEW FUJIFILM X20 reconnects style with substance, bringing the essence of photography back to life.
07.01.2013

Fujifilm X20

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.


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Avatar of Romanas Naryškin About Romanas Naryškin

A student and a wedding photographer with a passion for cinematography and writing. You'll see me buying film even when there's no food in the fridge. Follow me on Google+, Facebook or visit my wedding photography website to see some of my work.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) adam

    Thanks for the in-depth review. Looks like a real nice little cam.

  2. I’ve had the good fortune to borrow a friend’s Leica Digilux 2 lately, and despite its various flaws and foibles I’m enthralled with it. Accordingly, I take it everywhere with me, which is really all that matters. He’ll never sell it it, as it belonged to his late father and has great sentimental value, and it would be silly to pay the inflated prices for used ones given that it’s such an old camera and so many fine options are available these days. Looks like the X20 could be the ideal candidate to experience similar joys of manual operation, compact size, great JPEGs straight out of the camera, and a fast zoom lens.

  3. 3
    ) Georgi

    Too much marketing talks :) Waiting for the actual images…

  4. 4
    ) HomoSapiensWannaBe

    Fantastic design, Fuji!

    After reviewing the impressive feature set, my only wish is that they had used a 24-120 equivalent lens instead of the 28-112.

    It will be great when Adobe and Fuji get full RAW support in Lightroom. Until then, the likely excellent and “tuneable” JPGs this camera will produce should suffice for most shooting situations. Plus, when shooting RAW, the X20 has the ability to create different JPGs in camera, after the shot is taken, from a given image.

    This camera is on my short list for 2013!

  5. 5
    ) crespo

    thanks for the review. Im counting on it

  6. 6
    ) HomoSapiensWannaBe

    Good News! Adobe Release Candidate 4.4 has support for the X20 and the X-Trans sensor just days before the X20 is available here in the US.

  7. 7
    ) Pier

    I bought the x10 soon after it was release: was so impressed that saved to buy the x100. The results from this were so superiors to the photos from my Nikon D7000 that i sold it and a few lenses to get the x-e1. My x10 is now for sale to raise the cash needed for the x20, but if I had to keep just one camera it would be the x100

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