On the whole the X20 offers a good level of performance. The hybrid AF system does well in bringing subjects into focus in the required time, and it performs particularly well on low contrast subjects without intervention from the camera's AF assist lamp.
The Fujifilm X20 also starts very quickly, no doubt due to the camera's manual zoom that also serves as the camera's power control. Once this is turned, the camera is ready to shoot almost instantly.
There are a few issues with the camera's performance, and the foremost of these is the viewfinder. It only offers 85% coverage of the scene, and although this would be forgivable, the lack of parallax markings render the viewfinder only really useful when shots can be composed without the need for utmost precision.
Exposure information is displayed in the finder thanks to the Digital Trans Panel display, with information showing up in either red or green lights. The information is overlaid on the scene rather than on a dark panel as on a DSLR, and as a result it can be difficult to pick in some situations.
The good news with the viewfinder is that it's clear and avoids distortion throughout the majority of the focal range. The LCD screen is excellent, too. It’s crisp and has excellent contrast, even if it’s a little on the small side.
Shots straight out of the camera are reliably pleasing thanks to the camera's sound metering, reliable white balance and pleasing level of contrast in JPEGs.
Click the image above for the full gallery of full-res sample shots
Performance throughout the ISO range is respectable. Noise is well controlled, particularly at the lower settings, although noise reduction does create certain issues even at the lowest settings. This noise reduction can lead to detail smearing and fine details being lost in a mush on occasion. If you shoot Raw, however, you counter some these issues, and the Fujifilm X20 retains more detail throughout the ISO range than most of its rivals.
The lens performs well, too. While there is a touch of softness at wider apertures, it’s tended to once you stop down. There’s very little distortion throughout the frame in most conditions and shooting settings.
The Fujifilm X20 is clearly more than just a slight improvement on its X10 predecessor. Despite some issues with the viewfinder, noise reduction and exposure compensation dial, on the whole it offers an excellent level of performance.
Standout features are an impressively fast AF system, all-round image quality and dependable build quality, and on the whole the X20 is an impressive addition to Fujifilm's X range and one that's sure to add to the competition in an admittedly crowded market.
READ MORE: Best cameras 2013 round-up