Why an X20?

Discussion in 'Fuji X10, X20, X30, XF1, and X-S1' started by jdub, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. jdub

    jdub FujiXspot Rookie

    Mar 30, 2013
    A lot of people don't understand why someone would spend $600 on a compact camera that has image quality inferior to a DSLR which can be found, used or in entry level, at around the same price. The fact that a person would knowingly choose a poorer image is baffling. I've also seen a lot of X10 fans disillusioned with the X20 because of JPEG performance and I can understand their feelings and hope for a firmware fix.

    Meanwhile I continue to be happy with my upgrade but taking mostly test shots it's been hard to explain why. Today with some family over I was playing with the X20 while we visited. The camera went pretty much unnoticed in "silent" mode. No one was intimidated by equipment or shying away--in fact there wasn't an obvious awareness. There was no flash or noise to disturb conversation. It was great.

    With the fast lens and decent-sized sensor I was able to get some nice candids. They're not studio quality nor are they noise-free, but the camera is able to deliver nice images. Images much better than I can get with other small P&S types of cameras. The focusing feels improved over the X10 and controls and handling remain very very good. And while my 1D could have created a better image it would have elicited an entirely different response from everyone present--including and most importantly--the subject.

    1/55 f2.5 ISO 800 RAW

  2. Penfan2010

    Penfan2010 FujiXspot Veteran

    Feb 1, 2013
    Central-ish NJ
    Brilliant photo, great expression!
  3. Deer_Dodger

    Deer_Dodger FujiXspot Rookie

    Mar 1, 2013
    I think the X10 produces great shots at reasonably high ISO as your image shows. I used to have a couple of Canon G series cameras, admittedly older models, but the images from them at ISO800 would have been unusable.

    You're right that a DSLR would beat it on IQ, but I got bored of having to have a bag to carry mine around in, whilst the X10 fits nicely in a jacket pocket or at least far more easily in your hand.

    A great take everywhere camera!
  4. jdub

    jdub FujiXspot Rookie

    Mar 30, 2013
    Those are the points I think a lot of people are missing. It's the kind of camera you can grab when you're doing something else just in case an opportunity presents itself and if a chance for a photo does arise you know you can get a very nice image. Is also happens to be a very fun camera to use and became even better with the new viewfinder update.

    The only time the 1D leaves the house with me is if I'm going out to take photos but the X10 and now X20 leaves the house with me almost everywhere I go, and to be honest the majority of those trips I *don't* use it but the times that I do are the situations where I get some of my best images.
  5. FlyDog

    FlyDog FujiXspot Rookie

    Feb 5, 2013
    Tolland, CT
    Bob G
    Jdub and Deer_Dodger, I agree wholeheartedly. The best camera is the one you have you. For me the X20 is the answer to the best camera I'll keep with me most of the time.

    Jdub's closing point in the first post is not said often enough: "And while my 1D could have created a better image it would have elicited an entirely different response from everyone present--including and most importantly--the subject." Sometimes the bigger camera is what you want in part for it saying to the subject that "we're making photos now, you understand." But the X10-20 are more for capturing while not making waves and providing enough speed and IQ for the purpose. That mode gets photos the other one can't (and vice versa, of course). Does anyone care about grain in 1930s 35mm images from Cartier-Bresson, Kertesz, Eisenstadt, etc.?

    A little OT, but here's a 20 minute HCB documentary:
  6. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. FujiXspot Veteran

    Jan 31, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    Lovely photo. And the IQ is as good or better than you'd get from 35mm film at that speed. The noise looks very grain-like in your sample at the size shown and lots of detail is resolved. When "good" is good enough, "better" sometimes doesn't matter, especially if it changes the shooting dynamic.

    At appropriate sizes, I would not hesitate to display well processed X20 images in public. It really is that good.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther FujiXspot Veteran

    Feb 2, 2013
    How are you defining "image quality inferior" - by high ISO performance only :confused:
    I ask because Sigma's are expensive, perform poorly at high ISO, but I'll take a Sigma image IQ from ISO 50-200 any day :cool:
  8. jdub

    jdub FujiXspot Rookie

    Mar 30, 2013
    I certainly wasn't limiting my comments to high ISO images. For me it's a choice of the X20 or a 1D. Judging by image quality alone the 1D wins at just about any exposure setting including ISO range. And even if all you have is an entry level Canon DSLR you can slap the "plastic fantastic" $100 50mm f1.8 on it and get excellent images. You still end up with a fairly unwieldy camera though, which was the point I was trying to make. You, of course, are free to define it anyway you like and choose for yourself whether or not to knowingly lower you image quality standards a bit in order to get shots that otherwise may be unobtainable (either because you're not lugging around your gear or because of your subject's reaction to your gear).

    Some people just cannot accept the lower image quality and therefore limit themselves to occasions when they have their high-end setup with them. I can look at just about all of my X10 or X20 images and know the 1D is capable of a better image--if equipment is the only piece of the equation. Fortunately it's not. Having been a pretty avid photographer for 30 years my family has been trained to run, hide, make faces, or execute any of a number of maneuvers to avoid having their photo taken anytime they see me holding a piece of serious looking camera equipment. With my now grown kids I don't even think they're consciously make the decision to ruin a photo--it's just ingrained in them.

    The X20 does not elicit that kind of response. It's a small cool looking piece of gear that is more likely to draw interest. The silent mode is a God-send. :) Where the 1D means fix your hair, pat the wrinkles out of your dress and pose for a shot the X10/20 is just dad dorking around with some cool expensive little gadget and conversation goes on uninterrupted.
  9. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle FujiXspot Regular

    Different cameras for different situations and users. I currently use Nikon APS DSLR and m4/3. I want to get an X20 for those times I want simple and compact and no temptation to take multiple lenses. I have tried several compacts but two factor stop me every time, no viewfinder and poor image quality. The X20 has a viewfinder and it has much better image quality. I bet even with the color smear issue that the JPEGs are better than a tiny P&S could produce. There is also the factor of, less obtrusive camera = easier candids. You can also add in the theft factor. Thieves are more likely to snatch grab a DSLR than a compact as they think the value is higher{even if it isn't}. So the X20, although not for everybody is a great camera for many.
  10. White_Canvas

    White_Canvas FujiXspot Regular

    Jul 6, 2013
    Northern Ireland
    I totally agree with you. I have a D5100 with a few lens. Lovely DSLR kit for a mostest outlay, yet I just bought the X20 on Saturday. Why? Well as use said its a camera that fits your jacket pocket/bag, it's there when you are doing something else and it's discreet. However my main reason is for photography when I travel. My job means going to developing countries where I want the camera not to stand out or cause a fuss. Just quick captures without imposing on the situations I'm visiting.

    I explored this further on my blog: http://whitecanvasimages.wordpress.com/

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk 21373385842.402893.
  11. rbelyell

    rbelyell FujiXspot Regular

    May 14, 2013
    philosophically, i wholeheartedly agree. i think the problem people--and definintely include me personally--have with the x20 is that its IQ is in many circumstances inferior to the x10 from which they--and me!--upgraded. in macro and closeups, like yours, the results are excellent, and indeed are better than the x10. the focus is faster and the exposure/af info in the vf absolutley enhances the pleasure of use. but as the subject recedes, so too does the IQ, to the point where anything approaching a landscape is mush. and thats just wrong and for me personally was intolerable.

    i too use different cams for different purposes: gxr m mount for interchangeable manual focus versatility and fabulous portraits; x100 for low light or one-cam travel. and for p&s zoom, ive moved on to the olympus xz-2. talk about unobtrusive! the articulating lcd allows for totally unnoticed shooting with its 'tap, focus, fire' capability. true, it does not have an integrated vf, but for street shots, candid portraits etc, it doesnt need one. i do very much like a vf, and oly has several very good external models that can be used with the xz-2 for more 'formal' work. i truly love the IQ, which i find at least on par with the best the x10-20 has to offer, and at 1.8-2.5 the lens is faster than the x10-20 at both ends.

    just food for thought...
  12. Andreas F.

    Andreas F. New to FujiXspot

    Apr 17, 2013
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Printed some X-E1 and X-20 images today in A3+
    Guess the quality is good enough for even bigger prints.

  13. jdub

    jdub FujiXspot Rookie

    Mar 30, 2013
    I haven't noticed landscapes going to mush. I did eventually switch from JPG to raw when I went from the X10 to X20. I've found that the X20 files have a lot of latitude and stand up to post processing very well.

    I also have an XF1, which is pretty much the X10 processor. I shot a bunch of XF1 and X20 side by side when I got the XF1. The scenes I was shooting were a little sharper with the X20--even distant foliage. I did find that I can use the XF1 images almost out of camera--I still end up tweaking the JPGs a bit--but they're not any better or sharper than the X20 in my experience. And since I import everything into LR the raw conversion on the X20 is done on the way in so it doesn't require much more work.
  14. EBC Wilson

    EBC Wilson FujiXspot Regular

    Feb 20, 2013
    JDub, your post presses a few buttons with me (I love the picture, BTW).

    Something entirely overlooked when it comes to why we bought a certain camera: When it comes to many things (sporting gear, firearms, musical instruments, tools, etc.), rarely mentioned is how it feels in your hands and how it appeals to you on an emotional level. Many times in music I'd see a guy using an instrument you would not expect in that situation, and yet he'd make it just sing anyway. Most people don't know that Jimmy Page cut the solo in 'Stairway' on a Telecaster, surely as 'country' a guitar as there is to most people, yet nobody told JP he 'shouldn't use that'.

    I think cameras are the same way, and we arrive at our choices for any number of reasons. For me, I bought the X10 (my first digital camera) because it said 'I'm a real, metal, f2, filter-wearing, hot shoe-bearing, twist-zoom, camera'. I could never warm up to all those plastic bricks they sell these days. I bought Fuji's design brief for the X-range hook, line, and sinker. And since it feels and looks right to me, I don't have to fight it or convince myself to use it, enjoy it, and occasionally do good work with it. It's worth the price because it's worth it to me. It was a tight race between it and the Canon G12: I knew the G12 was a great camera, but ultimately it just didn't 'fit' me. Same thing with my X-S1: maybe an FZ200 or an entry-level DSLR might have been a 'better' choice, but they didn't feel right. The enjoyment I get from them, and how they please my hands to hold them is all the reason I need.

    And certainly they are not the IQ of larger-sensored choices, but at this time in my life, 'close is good enough'. And I certainly agree: To most people, the X10 is invisible. That would NEVER happen walking around with a D1x !
  15. White_Canvas

    White_Canvas FujiXspot Regular

    Jul 6, 2013
    Northern Ireland
    Thank you for this post, you made excellent s points. "Nobody told Jimmy Page he 'shouldn't use that instrument" is a great quote and worth thinking about. You are right "we arrive at our choices for any number of reasons", its not a straight comparison between which is the best camera on paper.

    For me there is a lot of factors competing when you make that jump or invest in a new camera. Yes you want best quality you can afford, you are looking at the various comparisons and reviews. Yet in the end there never is one camera that does it all at any budget. Rather you go for the best fit you at the time, that is within your constraints and you invest yourself in the product.

    I guess for me there was plenty of choice at the X20 price, but it has to feel right, be a joy to use and an instrument producing results in your own hands. As a travel camera it is discreet, light, quiet, easy to carry and produces excellent quality images for what I will use these images for. I've only owned it since Saturday and like you I am getting immense enjoyment from the X20, in how it operates in my hands and end results, are all the reason I need to be convinced I chosen the best camera for me at this moment.

    Check out these two photography reviews to see what it's capable of in the right hands:



    ImageUploadedByTapatalk 21373544310.689616.
  16. Michel

    Michel New to FujiXspot

    Mar 31, 2013
    New York CIty
    I totally agree with the (positive) comments of the last 2 posters :). I am very happy with my X20 and bring it with me EVERYWHERE: in a belly-bag, side bag or pack pack...

    In has a nice "old-school" feel with a zoomable viewfinder. If you feel you must have a larger sensor, then you're probably going to have to get something without a viewfinder and/or larger.

  17. jdub

    jdub FujiXspot Rookie

    Mar 30, 2013
    A couple of very thoughtful posts. Thanks guys! I think a lot of people value the experience of using a camera almost as much as the images. I know I'm guilty of this.

    I bought an RX100 at one point and sold my X20. I used the RX100 for a month and the images were really nice--a step up from most of what I was getting from the X20--but the camera itself left me cold. I had no connection with it at all and even after adding a 3rd party grip it still didn't feel right. I ended up selling it and getting *another* X20 and I'm a happy man again. It's much more enjoyable to shoot with and the images are almost equal to the RX100 unless I start printing huge enlargements (which I never do).

    One more addendum here. I came across a deal on an XF1 recently. I ended up paying very little and I figured I could flip it. What I found though was that it's really an exceptional little camera in it's own way. It's about the same size as an RX100 so it really does fit in a pocket. It has the excellent X10 sensor so the JPGs are great. And even though it's slower the lens is a hair wider and faster at the short end--25mm, f1.8. It's slow at the long end (f4.9) but you still get a manual zoom, which makes a big difference to me in handling. No viewfinder is the big trade-off. It's really a nice little compact for when you have to have something that fits in a pocket. So now it goes with me on those occasions where even the X20 is a little too large.
  18. hellwill

    hellwill FujiXspot Rookie

    Feb 5, 2013
    William Heller
    I got an x20 last month, having been basically sans camera for a few years (borrowing my wife's little Lumix on occasion, but I never liked the thing). I've been busy so am still learning, but so far I like it (and as for detail, check out this test/playing-around picture, taken at full zoom (on a tripod) of Barcelona at night---f2.8, ISO 400, 1.2 seconds, with a bit of negative exposure bias [this bit is corrected, I had taken the information from the wrong picture before]---not a lot of fiddling, it was dark and I don't know the camera well and I didn't have my glasses...) DSCF0250. .

    I agonized a lot over image quality, then realized that I was being silly. I have no evidence for the following statement (and hence will not argue if told I am wrong), but I suspect that almost any decent camera you can get today probably takes higher-quality pictures (at least on some measures of quality) than old 35mm film cameras did, and when we used high-speed film we knew we were going to get a lot of grain, and that's the way it was. In any case, while I like taking pictures I am not a "photographer"; I may have been once, or headed that direction, but that was a long time ago. So, iff we're using cameras either to capture moments or as a creative outlet (or both---it is always nice to capture moments creatively), for me it came down to three basic questions: 1) Will I have the camera with me? 2) Will it allow me to take the kind of pictures I like to take? 3) Will I use it? I ended up with the x20 because it fit all three (where the Sony RX100 would have fit the first two, anything without a viewfinder would have been spotty on the third, and I decided not to wait for the upcoming little Panasonic, in part because I've not much enjoyed other Panasonics I've used).
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Judderman62

    Judderman62 FujiXspot Rookie

    Dec 22, 2013
    interesting thread guys.

    i sooooo want an X20 but already have 8 digital cameras, having last week bought an XF1, so feel I'd need to sell another camera, my Pentax Q already up for sale - anyone interested?, before I could consider getting the X20.

    hmmm what should I try and sell ?

    the Pentax K200D that gives fab pictures but I haven't used in a long time


    the Panasonic GX1 ..which I really don't enjoy using ... am I alone in thinking m43 is a bit of a pointless format ?