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Fujifilm X20 vs Olympus E-P1

The Fujifilm X20 and the Olympus PEN E-P1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2013 and June 2009. The X20 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-P1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 2/3 (X20) and a Four Thirds (E-P1) sensor. The Fujifilm has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 12.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Fujifilm X20 versus Olympus E-P1
Fujifilm X20 Olympus E-P1
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28-112mm f/2.0-2.8 Micro Four Thirds lenses
12 MP, Two Thirds Sensor 12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60p Video 720/30p Video
ISO 100-12,800 ISO 100-6,400
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
2.8 LCD, 460k dots 3.0 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
12 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
270 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
117 x 70 x 57 mm, 353 g 121 x 70 x 36 mm, 355 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Fujifilm X20 and the Olympus PEN E-P1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Fujifilm X20 and the Olympus E-P1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The X20 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-P1 is available in three color-versions (black, silver, white).

Size Fujifilm X20 vs Olympus E-P1
Compare X20 versus E-P1 top
Comparison X20 or E-P1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-P1 is somewhat larger (3 percent) than the Fujifilm X20. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X20 nor the E-P1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X20 has a lens built in, whereas the E-P1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the E-P1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the X20 gets 270 shots out of its NP-50 battery, while the E-P1 can take 300 images on a single charge of its BLS-1 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599i
2.
 
Olympus E-P1 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Jun 2009 799i
3.
 
Canon G7 X 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699i
4.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
6.
 
Fujifilm X30 119 mm 72 mm 60 mm 423 g 470 n Aug 2014 599 i
7.
 
Fujifilm XQ1 100 mm 59 mm 33 mm 206 g 240 n Oct 2013 499i
8.
 
Fujifilm X10 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 350 g 270 n Sep 2011 599i
9.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Sep 2012 699i
10.
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
11.
 
Olympus Stylus 1 116 mm 87 mm 57 mm 402 g 410 n Oct 2013 699i
12.
 
Olympus E-P3 122 mm 69 mm 34 mm 369 g 330 n Jun 2011 799i
13.
 
Olympus E-PL1 115 mm 72 mm 42 mm 334 g 290 n Feb 2010 599i
14.
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699i
15.
 
Olympus E-P2 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Nov 2009 799i
16.
 
Olympus E-520 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699i
17.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The X20 was launched at a lower price than the E-P1, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Fujifilm X20 features a 2/3 sensor and the Olympus E-P1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-P1 is 288 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 3.9 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Fujifilm X20 and Olympus E-P1 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the E-P1 offers a higher resolution than the X20 (12MP), but the E-P1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 2.20μm for the X20) due to its larger sensor. However, the X20 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 6 months) than the E-P1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the X20 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The X20 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Fujifilm X20 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-P1 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

X20 versus E-P1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
2.
 
Olympus E-P1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655
3.
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
4.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
5.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
6.
 
Fujifilm X30 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
7.
 
Fujifilm XQ1 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
8.
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
9.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p........
10.
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
11.
 
Olympus Stylus 1 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.711.617951
12.
 
Olympus E-P3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651
13.
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754
14.
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
15.
 
Olympus E-P2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556
16.
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
17.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the X20 provides a higher video resolution than the E-P1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the X20 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-P1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Fujifilm X20 and Olympus E-P1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Fujifilm X20optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
2.
 
Olympus E-P1none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
3.
 
Canon G7 Xnone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
5.
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
6.
 
Fujifilm X302360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
7.
 
Fujifilm XQ1none n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
8.
 
Fujifilm X10optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
9.
 
Leica D-LUX 6optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
10.
 
Nikon P7800921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
11.
 
Olympus Stylus 11440 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 7.0 Y Y
12.
 
Olympus E-P3optional n 3.0 614 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
13.
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y
14.
 
Olympus E-620optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
15.
 
Olympus E-P2optional n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
16.
 
Olympus E-520optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The X20 has one, while the E-P1 does not. While the built-in flash of the X20 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The X20 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-P1 uses SDHC cards.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Fujifilm X20 and Olympus PEN E-P1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereomono--micro2.0---
2.
 
Olympus E-P1Ystereo---mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Fujifilm X30Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Fujifilm XQ1-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
8.
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Leica D-LUX 6Ystereomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon P7800YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Olympus Stylus 1Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
12.
 
Olympus E-P3Ystereo---mini2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo---mini2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-620Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-P2Ystereo---mini2.0---
16.
 
Olympus E-520Y-----2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereomono--mini2.0---

Both the X20 and the E-P1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-P1 was replaced by the Olympus E-P2, while the X20 was followed by the Fujifilm X30. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Fujifilm and Olympus websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Fujifilm X20 and the Olympus E-P1? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Fujifilm X20:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/30p).
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the E-P1 requires a separate lens.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the E-P1).
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 6 months of technical progress since the E-P1 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-P1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 270) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2009).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the X20 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

X20 11:05 E-P1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Fujifilm X20 and the Olympus E-P1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the X20 and the E-P1 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Fujifilm X204/5+ +77/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 599i
2.
 
Olympus E-P1..+66/1004/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799i
3.
 
Canon G7 X4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
4.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon G154/5+76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
6.
 
Fujifilm X304/5..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2014 599 i
7.
 
Fujifilm XQ1......4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 499i
8.
 
Fujifilm X10....76/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
9.
 
Leica D-LUX 6......4/54/5 Sep 2012 699i
10.
 
Nikon P78003/5....4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
11.
 
Olympus Stylus 1..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 699i
12.
 
Olympus E-P3..83/10074/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799i
13.
 
Olympus E-PL1..86/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599i
14.
 
Olympus E-6203/588/10072/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2009 699i
15.
 
Olympus E-P23/5+69/1004/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799i
16.
 
Olympus E-520..87/100+ +4.5/54.5/5 May 2008 699i
17.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Fujifilm X20:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-P1:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Fujifilm X20 vs Olympus E-P1

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Fujifilm X20 Olympus E-P1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 28-112mm f/2.0-2.8 Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date January 2013 June 2009
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Fujifilm X20 Olympus E-P1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Two Thirds Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 8.8 x 6.6 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 58.08 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 11 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 3.9x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4032 x 3024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 2.20 μm 4.29 μm
    Pixel Density 20.66 MP/cm2 5.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor EXR Processor II TruePic V
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 536
    Screen Specs Fujifilm X20 Olympus E-P1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 85%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.8inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Fujifilm X20 Olympus E-P1
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 12 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Fujifilm X20 Olympus E-P1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Fujifilm X20 Olympus E-P1
    Battery Type NP-50 BLS-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)270 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 117 x 70 x 57 mm
    (4.6 x 2.8 x 2.2 in)
    121 x 70 x 36 mm
    (4.8 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 353 g (12.5 oz) 355 g (12.5 oz)

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