Fujifilm X20 Ken McMahon, October 2013

Fujifilm X20 vs Sony RX100 II vs Nikon COOLPIX A quality

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To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Fujifilm X20, the Sony RX100 II, and the Nikon COOLPIX A within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings; RAW results will follow on the next page.

The Fujifilm X20 and Sony RX100 II were set to their maximum 28mm equivalent wide angle field of view to match the 28mm equivalent fixed lens on the Nikon COOLPIX A.

All three cameras were set to Aperture Priority exposure mode with the senstivity set manually to the base ISO sensitivity setting.

  Fujifilm X20 results
1 Fujifilm X20 Quality JPEG
2 Fujifilm X20 Quality RAW
3 Fujifilm X20 Noise JPEG
4 Fujifilm X20 Noise RAW
5 Fujifilm X20 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Fujifilm X20. The X20 was mounted on a tripod and image stabilisation was turned off. Aperture priority mode was selected with the aperture set to f4, which produces the best result from the fixed lens. With the sensitivity set to 100 ISO the camera metered an exposure of 1/2000. At its base 160 ISO sensitivity setting the Sony RX100 II also selected 1/2000 at f4. The fixed 28mm lens on the Nikon COOLPIX A produces its best quality results at f5.6; at that aperture and at its base 100 ISO sensitivity the COOLPIX A selected an exposure of 1/1000.

The cameras were left on their default settings for this test. On the Fujifilm X20, Film Simulation was set to Standard, White balance was set to Auto, and Dynamic Range was set to Auto. On the Sony RX100 II White balance was set to Auto, DRO was set to Auto, and the Creative Style was set to Standard. On the COOLPIX A White balance was set to Auto and Active D-Lighting was off. As usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

Before we look at the crops, it's worthwhile just noting what we're comparing here in terms of resolution and sensor size. At 20.2 Megapixels, the Sony RX100 II has the highest resolution sensor of the three models compared here, but its 1 inch sensor isn't physically the biggest, that title goes to the Nikon COOLPIX A which has an APS-C sensor the same size as found in most consumer DSLRs. The COOLPIX A's sensor is lower resolution than the Sony, though, at 16.2 Megapixels. So the Sony RX100 II has more pixels packed into a smaller space than the COOLPIX A. Finally, the Fujifilm X20's 2/3 inch sensor is the smallest of the three and also, at 12 Megapixels, the lowest resoIution. The other thing to bear in mind is that the X20 sensor uses Fujifilm's X-Trans design which has a radically different architecture to the Bayer-type sensors used in the RX100 II and COOLPIX A.

What about the crops? Generally the X20 looks quite impressive. There's a decent level of detail, crisp edges and punchy contrast. You can make out the door and windows in the chapel of the first crop, but the stonework is a little bit indistinct as are the figures at the bottom of the frame. In the second crop the lighthouse is very clearly defined and the edges of the window frames in the foreground are nice and crisp, but you can't make out individual tiles in the foreground roof.

There's no softening of detail or distortion in the third crop from close to the edge of the frame, neither is there any colour fringing, so at the wide angle setting at least, the lens performs well with consistent results across the frame. In the final crop, once again, the window frames and balcony dividers are crisply defined, but where you might expect to see finer detail in the roofs and brickwork in the foreground and middle distance it's hard to make out.

Compared with the the Sony RX100 II the Fujifilm X20 crops put up a pretty good show, but at 100 percent they don't quite resolve the same level of detail as the larger 1 inch sensor in the RX100 II. Edge detail is nice and crisp, but if you compare the chapel in the first crop, the foreground roof in the second and the tiled roofs in the foreground of the fourth crop, there's clearly fine detail in the Sony RX100 II crops that is absent in the Fujifilm X20 ones.

The same goes for the Nikon COOLPIX A crops, only more so. With its APS-C sensor, bigger still than the 1 inch sensor in the Sony RX100 II, the COOLPIX A makes a better job of resolving fine detail than the Fujifilm X20. Both the RX100 II and COOLPIX A sensors are higher resolution than the Fujifilm X20 so as well as resolving finer detail, it's bigger and easier to see.

Given the different physical sizes of the sensors, the quality difference between the Fujifilm X20 and the other two models isn't as big as you might expect though. Fujifilm has managed to deliver really excellent image quality from the X20's 2/3 inch X-Trans sensor that far exceeds what you could expect from a typical 1/2.3in compact sensor. It doesn't quite match the quality of the Sony RX100 II or Nikon COOLPIX A, but it comes close.

You can see how these differences are reflected in my Fujifilm X20 RAW quality results on the next page. Alternatively you can see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Fujifilm X20 Noise results.


Fujifilm X20
Sony RX100 II
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO

Fujifilm X20
results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise

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