Home Features Fuji X20: Blast from the past takes on Kyoto in the rain

Fuji X20: Blast from the past takes on Kyoto in the rain


Hello Mike. Let me start by declaring that I am a friend or colleague (depends on my views being expressed at the time when we have coffee!) of your esteemed correspondent and Leicaphile John Shingleton. And that I do presently own three Leicas and I love them. But your recent request for some Fuji content set me thinking about a pleasant experience in that other world.

It started with a vacation in Japan. Big bustling Tokyo was sunny, and the Leica X Vario excelled. Great photos, very happy. Then it was on to Kyoto on the Shinkansen train past Mt Fuji (a portent of the next few days). We arrived in historic heritage Kyoto in drizzling rain, and the weather stayed that way while we were there. So, what to do? Use the X Vario and risk moisture damage? Or go to the bottom of my travel case and retrieve my backup camera, a little Fuji X20? I decided to play safe and use the X20 for a few days.

Looking at the images captured by the X20 I must admit that they do make me smile. That little 2/3” Xtrans CMOS II sensor fights way above its weight as you can see from these images taken during a few wet days in Kyoto.

Thinking back, I enjoyed using the Fuji X20 for a number of reasons:

  • It’s tiny and lightweight, great when carrying other rain gear while touristing.
  • Fast to focus, and an excellent little lens with 28mm-112mm equivalent reach. You don’t have to zoom with your feet through wet puddles. And f/2.0 to f/2.8 maximum aperture range is just great in rain and dull weather.
  • The OVF is simple and I find it really enjoyable. Truly what you see is in the frame, with old-school green characters for ISO, shutter speed and exposure in the bottom of the viewfinder. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • The magnetic-catch Fuji camera cover is a quick-draw method of getting the camera out to shoot in inclement weather, then returning it rapidly to protection (and for anyone who owns an X20 you can presently buy a X10/X20 cover from Digidirect in Sydney for just A$10; that’s pocket money!). 
  • And those Fuji colours, yes everyone has seen the advertising and promotion for Fuji colours, but they do bring on smiles.
  • Finally, I don’t need any printed images beyond A4 size, so the X20 photos are capable of proudly sitting side-by-side with the high-quality produced by the X Vario.

After outdoor shots it was time to move indoors. Using available light inside the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art the little X20 excelled again:

Click on the above images to see them full size

Returning to Australia, I succumbed to a moment of weakness. The X20 had served me well but it was now old technology (2013 release date) with a relatively small sensor. So I decided to sell. And who should I find as a buyer? Yes, waiting in the wings was John Shingleton who decided to buy it for his son. Transaction done. And then……..aaaaarrrggghhh, the shock of my actions struck me. Where was my clunky little backup friend? Long story short, I’ve bought a replacement X20 on the ‘bay, and now feel content knowing that in the back of my travel case there’s a confidence waiting to re-surface.

That’s one recent experience with the Fuji X20. Some like them, some don’t, but I love ‘em. If you haven’t ever tried one then now is the time. As people move on with their gear they do arise on the second-hand market at good prices. I’d certainly recommend anyone to get a good used example, play with it, enjoy it, and smile. You can always sell it on again at little or no loss — and, maybe, even to a Leicaphile!



  1. Thank you Mackintosh, John W, Richard A and John N for your comments. Much appreciated. // And yes, John N, I agree with you regarding reflex thoughts about 2/3" sensor cameras. I too feel some hesitation whenever I reach for the X20, but it always very pleasantly surprises me with great images and resolution. I’ve never tried the X30, but I suspect that they would be just as good.

  2. Thank you for this enjoyable posting and the lovely colours. I tend to sniff at 2/3 sensors nowadays, so your results are quite surprising to me. However, Leica C and Sony RX100iii do me for back-up when I can’t use my X-Vario (top camera!).


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