Autofocus speed isn't Fujifilm's strongest attribute and it was painfully obvious on the older X10. For an advanced digital compact camera, the X10's slow and inaccurate AF didn't exactly impress. The company has promised improved AF speeds with the X20's Hybrid AF system and we can honestly say that it has delivered on that promise. The Fujifilm X20 had a faster AF speed when compared to its predecessor, the X10, but AF tracking is still an area that needs a bit more work, as the X20 still faltered in this aspect during our testing.
Below are sample photographs shot with the Fujifilm X20. The photos have not been post-processed and are copyright to SPH Magazines. They are provided for your reference only and we ask that you do not reproduce them elsewhere. Click for the full-resolution images.
As with the best of Fujifilm's cameras, the X20's photographs come with excellent color. The Fujifilm X20 scored 2000LPH (horizontal and vertical) in our resolution tests. As with most modern digital compacts, noise is pretty well controlled until ISO800. However the noise reduction of the X20 is quite aggressive and you start to see it as early as ISO200. In terms of battery life the X20 promises 270 shots according to the CIPA standard, which isn't high when compared to its peers. So if you intend to spend an entire day shooting, we advise bringing an additional battery.
The Fujifilm X20 is a definite improvement over its predecessor, the X10. We liked the improved AF speed and there are a few features that its competitors lack, such as the optical viewfinder, which proved useful on sunny days with the rear display washing out under bright sunlight. There's also the focus peaking feature, which is helpful for those that like to shoot with manual focus.
It's apparent that Fujifilm takes pride in its cameras' design and construction as the X20's build quality is robust and it doesn't feel cheap or fragile. But that also comes with a trade-off; the X20 is also slightly larger than an average compact camera, so it won't really fit into the back pocket of your jeans. Also, its low light performance still needs a bit of work as the noise reduction software tends to be quite aggressive and smudges out details.
Thus the Fujifilm X20 is a niche camera that will appeal to a certain crowd. It's an attractive camera that has good image quality (aggressive noise reduction aside) but may not appeal to the mainstream shutterbug considering the many alternatives available. And it doesn't help when you stop to consider its asking price, which at S$899 we feel is a tad too much considering powerful competitors like the Panasonic LX7 (S$799) or the Sony RX100 (S$999). With that being said, if you lust after the X20's retro style, manual zoom and optical viewfinder, it's definitely a competent advanced compact that you can consider.