X10 to X20 - Is it worth upgrading? A PERSONAL view...

Discussion in 'Fuji X10, X20, X30, XF1, and X-S1' started by pniev, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. pniev

    pniev Guest

    The more I learn about the X20 the more I realize it is a very different camera than the X10 (and the more I like it!). The cameras weigh the same, look the same, share (almost) the same buttons, and share the same lens. Yet they are very different in usage.

    Let me start with Dynamic Range. Rico already explained that I had to think differently about DR. I got used to switching to ISO100/DR400 mode quickly with the X10 when I was outside. The X20 uses traditional DR-enhancement techniques (underexposing) and increases the ISO value accordingly. Fortunately, the X20 does a better job in rendering tones - e.g. in skies - than the X10 (in 12MP mode). So if you need pixels, the X20 offers an advantage. If not, the X10 is as good or better.

    Resolution. In my comparisons the X20 offers increased resolution (see the cropped shots below of my mascot, the kingfisher). Whether that’s important or not, depends on your type of photography. For macro, cropping and large(r) prints it makes sense. For regular work not really.

    X20 Full size:
    View attachment 11145
    DSCF0006.jpg by Peter Nievaart, on Flickr

    X20 cropped:
    View attachment 11147
    DSCF0006-X20-cropped.jpg by Peter Nievaart, on Flickr

    OVF. Fuji has managed to fit an LCD panel in the viewfinder that shows focus area and exposure data. That’s a great step forward. For me it suffices to see the focus area when half-pressing the shutter. Use of red vs green works great. The eye sensor works great. Would this be a reason for replacing your X10? Probably not, but it is really nice. Personally, I view this improvement as a first step to showing more info in the viewpanel. Fuji has shown that it is possible to project info on a thin transparent panel without draining power sources and speed. Impressive. As technology becomes cheaper and faster, more possibilities will emerge. In my opinion, two things would greatly improve the user experience of the OVF:
    that the LCD switches on when you move your eye away from the OVF, e.g. to check the histogram on the LCD screen. That is easier to implement than projecting a histogram on the LCD panel in the OVF. That’s for the future.
    to see the changes you make in AF area (using the AF-button) in the OVF. Switching the drive and AF buttons makes it much easier to adjust the AF-area. However, when you’re outside, you can hardly see what’s on the LCD screen and/or use the OVF, it would be neat to see where you’re moving the AF-area.

    Focusing. I did not have issues with the X10 AF. So I did not really pay attention yet to the AF-speed of the X20. If you’re into manual focusing, the X20 offers a huge improvement. In fact, manual focusing is fun. The focus peaking feature works great.

    Film simulation. The X20 offers now the same film simulation modes as the other cameras. So far, I find the Astia film mode most appealing.

    The introduction of the x-trans sensor and related software brings the X20 closer to its larger family members. The X10 had the looks but not yet the unique features related to the unique sensor. I think it is a smart move. Would I replace my X10 for the X20 if I had to buy it myself? Now I would clearly answer this with YES. It is really a nice, small camera.

    There is still a lot to learn. I am curious how the X20 performs in shooting flowers and macro. I also have to figure out what my ideal custom shooting modes are. Furthermore, I cannot explain some things yet. For example, when I took the shots of my mascot there was a full stop difference between the X10 and X20, all other things being equal (ISO, DR, aperture). As I haven’t been able to reproduce this yet, it may easily have been a software glitch (e.g. a table not properly initialized after changing settings in a certain order). So not really something to worry about. The histogram is always a great help in these cases.

    My conclusion so far? If you want one all-round small camera and need an OVF because it is difficult for you to read LCD screens in bright light, this is the camera for you! I am curious to learn what your thoughts are!

    Let me close with some shots taken during a walk today. It was a rather grey, dull day so colors look rather dull. Hopefully Spring will arrive soon.

    [ View attachment 11148
    DSCF0027.jpg by Peter Nievaart, on Flickr

    View attachment 11150
    DSCF0042.jpg by Peter Nievaart, on Flickr

    same, processed in silver efex:
    View attachment 11151
    DSCF0042-BW.jpg by Peter Nievaart, on Flickr

    View attachment 11153
    DSCF0050-BW.jpg by Peter Nievaart, on Flickr

    View attachment 11155
    DSCF0055-BW.jpg by Peter Nievaart, on Flickr
  2. Jimbo70

    Jimbo70 FujiXspot Regular

    Feb 8, 2013
    Orange Park, FL.
    Nice review. Thanks for the information.
  3. CaptZoom

    CaptZoom FujiXspot Regular

    Mar 22, 2013
    Thank you for your considered post.
  4. Steve B.

    Steve B. FujiXspot Regular

    Feb 2, 2013
    Great write up. Really nice shots!!!!!!!!!!!!
  5. Penfan2010

    Penfan2010 FujiXspot Veteran

    Feb 1, 2013
    Central-ish NJ
    Well done review, Peter, looks like we are all benefiting from your prize! Truly helpful, and reassures me that I can contently stick with my X10, but that with the X20 there are great improvements to what is basically an excellent camera nevertheless. I really like the BW photo of the stream and the tree.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  6. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. FujiXspot Veteran

    Jan 31, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    Thanks Peter, for this write-up. I'm thinking of dropping an order for an x20 myself and your thoughts move me in that direction. (Thank you. Rationalizations welcome.)

    The prize obviously went to a worthy contender.
  7. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle FujiXspot Regular

    Thanks! You answered one of my questions which was how well the eye sensor worked. You mentioned you like the Astia mode, what about the others?
  8. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2013
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Really interesting stuff, Peter. Well written and well done.

    Sent from another Galaxy
  9. pniev

    pniev Guest

    Definitely! And you are making fantastic photos with the X10. It's fun to use, isn't it?
  10. pniev

    pniev Guest

    I think the Pro Neg modes are a real bonus as I saw some great shots taken with those modes. I haven't been able to test them yet. But Astia looked most pleasing so far. Provia did not look quite right for the shots I took when I compared with Astia. I have never been a fan of Velvia. It may have been the type of shots or the setup (sRGB + calibrated EIZO CG301W display). Need further testing and reading on the web! I do not use the B/W modes anymore because I like the results from Silver Efex better. But the B/W modes are a very-nice-to-have if you want to upload a photo directly without post-processing possibility.
  11. pniev

    pniev Guest

    Sorry, I cannot come up with good arguments not to do it except for saving money. :sorry::2thumbs:
    You won't be disappointed.
  12. nippa

    nippa FujiXspot Regular

    Feb 26, 2013
    Cheshire UK
    Thanks for the test shots.
    From all that I've seen , I'm now convinced that the X10 still has the IQ lead even when it comes to JPEG resolution in smooth areas.
    Nice camera though with features that I'd like.
  13. carlb

    carlb FujiXspot Veteran

    Feb 6, 2013
    twin cities, minnesota
    Never having the X10, I can't compare the two. After shooting with the X20 a day and a bit, it's obvious to me I need to keep learning. Although it's not too difficult to get great results with just a bit of futzing. :)
  14. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. FujiXspot Veteran

    Jan 31, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    Thanks. I bit the bullet and my X20 is marked shipped, so I'm hoping to have it mid-week. If I hadn't already sold my X10 during a tight spot in late February (thanks to a required root canal and cap) I might not upgrade, as I liked the camera a lot. But I know I'm going to like the X20. I never had focus problems with the X10 using the viewfinder, but the focus confirmation will still be welcome, and though I shoot a bunch of film rangefinders with no exposure information in the viewfinder, having it on the X20 just makes it that much nicer.

    I'll come back to add my two cents worth once I've had a chance to shoot with the new camera.
  15. pniev

    pniev Guest

    Congratulations! You wont' t regret your decision. I am looking forward to your report and photos.

  16. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. FujiXspot Veteran

    Jan 31, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    UPS says to expect delivery Thursday. I've cleared my schedule to be home -- a little like waiting at home for a phone call from a date or hoped-for date, except it's been decades since that happed!:laugh1:
  17. Armanius

    Armanius FujiXspot Top Veteran

    Feb 1, 2013
    Great comparison review. Thanks!
  18. pniev

    pniev Guest

    An exciting day to come! I am looking forward to your photos.

    PS: what's a date other than a calendar date? ;)
  19. pniev

    pniev Guest

    It was a beautiful day yesterday, so I took the X20 for a walk despite the cold. Some shots (Raw, DR100, Provia, and another attempt for finding my default X20 RAF processing setting in LR: clarity+, highlights-, some contrast in lights/darks). I'm rather happy with the results. What do you think?Thanks for looking.

    View attachment 11201
    DSCF0148.jpg by Peter Nievaart, on Flickr

    View attachment 11203
    DSCF0144.jpg by Peter Nievaart, on Flickr

    View attachment 11205
    DSCF0106.jpg by Peter Nievaart, on Flickr

    View attachment 11207
    DSCF0104.jpg by Peter Nievaart, on Flickr
  20. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. FujiXspot Veteran

    Jan 31, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    I've had my X20 since Thursday now, and am getting to learn my way around it. You are right about it being a very different camera beneath the identical exterior.

    I love my raw files, and I tend to shoot raw. I do think the X20 has an advantage there. My X10 jpegs were better, though. Are you processing raw or shooting jpeg? Because my X20 jpegs do not look as good. Never mind; I see you are shooting raw. I thought so. The results are outstanding.

    I've been meaning to get back to your post, since it speaks to the heart of the issue that is being discussed in the other threads about X20 quality: is it worth the upgrade? My answer would be: It depends. Though I never missed the information that the x10 lacked in its viewfinder, I find having it in the x20 is a godsend. If you shoot raw, I'd definitely recommend the X20; the raw performance is outstanding. I find the jpeg performance disappointing, though, and since I liked the jpeg-only Advanced mode on occasion, especially the Pro Low Light, the jpeg issues in the x20 do represent a bit of a compromise for me, though setting noise reduction and sharpening both to -2 seems to help. That's not surprising to me, as when I have shot jpeg in the past, I usually set those settings to their minimum.

    For now I won't repost the images I've put up on the "X20 Images..."thread, but I'll be back with some for this thread as I become more familiar with the camera.