The Fuji X-20 vs the Leica D-Lux 5 by Rudiger Wolf

The Fuji X-20 vs the Leica D-Lux 5 by Rudiger Wolf


For years I have searched for the perfect camera. Of course there is no single camera that fits that bill. But there are many good cameras. In September 2010, you reviewed the Leica DLUX 5 saying “The D-Lux 5 is a little powerhouse of a camera and one that can go with you anywhere and give you fantastic results. It is amazingly versatile, and the image quality is superb for being a small sensor camera.” So I bought one, and you were right. Since then, Fuji has made a splash in the marketplace with its new sensor technology, good optics and photographer targeted retro cameras. When the Fuji X20 became available, I was tempted. So I decided to compare the Fuji x20 to my trusty DLux 5. Below are a few pictures from two days on the Washington Coast at Mulkiteo Park.

Short story… I really enjoyed shooting with the Fuji. The ergonomics and high ISO quality is superior to the Leica. The Fuji is a bit bigger physically, and feels more solid. Clearly the Fuji’s optical viewfinder is a nice addition, displaying critical shooting information. The Fuji has 1080 video. Yes, it is newer, more capable than the three-year old Leica DLux 5.

Pleasingly, the Fuji’s “normal” ISO image quality and overall usability is not superior to my old friend, at least in my opinion. I have included a few images for you to be the judge. On the other hand, Leica’s EVF provides more information than Fuji’s OVF. Both focus within 1cm of the subject, both have wonderful lenses, and both suffer from a small, but plenty good enough sensor. Both are small enough to be the camera you can always have with you. And both have enough settings and flexibility to take wonderful images in a variety of conditions

As a technologist, I am thrilled with the new cameras now available. I own a Sony Nex 6 and Nikon D800. Today’s new cameras offer more features, more flexibility, higher resolution, better images and a variety of sensor options. The X-trans sensor and lack of anti-aliasing filter seem like they should deliver better pictures than the three-year old technologies. Perhaps they do. In this comparison, I don’t see it. Pictures were taken with the camera choosing their own exposure on P. I found the Fuji tended to change exposure very easily, while the Leica was more difficult to change as I moved from picture to picture. All pictures are untouched from camera JPEG. I like both cameras, but will be keeping my old friend around for the foreseeable future. It remains a little powerhouse with superb image quality.

Rudiger Wolf

Click images for larger versions 

X20; ??mm; 1/550sec @ f/7.1; ISO 200 – Fauna at Mulkiteo Beach


DLux 5; 70mm; 1/640sec @ f/5.6; ISO 200 – Fauna at Mulkiteo Beach


X20; ??mm; 1/1600sec @ f/4.5; ISO 200 – Fence near the lighthouse at Mulkiteo


DLux 5; 70mm; 1/1000sec @ f/5.6; ISO 200 – Fence near the lighthouse at Mulkiteo


DLux 5; 70mm; 1/800sec @ f/5; ISO 100 – Sometimes, you just have to be there and have the camera ready in an instant.


DLux 5; 24mm; 1/2500sec @ f/4.5; ISO 200 – Bee at work (Catch that with your SLR!)


DLux 5; 90mm; 8sec @ f/7.1; ISO 200 – Seattle at sunrise from Alki Beach



  1. I don’t quite get the “Catch that with your SLR” comment on the bee. Most SLRs would catch that with their left aperture blade tied behind their screen.

  2. Won’t let me add the link to the sample photos with the Nikon Wide Angle adapter … try

    adding hhtp in front of


  3. First sample shot with my new X20 together with the Nikon WC-E68 Wide
    Angle Adapter, which creates the equivalent of a 19 mm … see URL

    Full size fill, unaltered … large 4:3 Rez.

    Left wide of frame is soft with the “recommended” Nikon wide angle adapter … especially shooting wide open.

    To the upper right of the photo is a Down Arrow for seeing the full
    size file

  4. Let us know how they compare when shooting at 24mm.

    That is the downfall of so many of the newer premium point and shoot cameras… not wide enough.
    The Panasonic/Leica goes that wide.

    The newer LX7 shoots that wide at f/1.4 and f/2.2 at 90mm settings. Fast and light and works well.

    If Fuji gets off its backside and makes this 24 or 21mm eqivalent on the wide side I would be interested. As it is, just not wide enough for many uses.

      • Yes, a smaller sensor but the final image quality is very good. Do a direct comparison and then decide. Again, the wide angle lens and big aperture are great for many uses.

  5. Hi Steve, i have followed your site for a couple of years and am impressed with your reports and photos using different cameras, I have been using lumix LX5/LX7 for a couple of years and find them fun to use, my efforts can be seen on my photostream at, thanks Alan Cave U.K

  6. A few quick real life snap shots with my X20, that I just got today. Trying various camera settings:

    Can’t seem to post the link … so try googling: Fotki Makofoto Work … the X20 test shots should be the third album from the top.

    Sorry … these are full frame, but I guess I should have left them at a larger resolution. NOTE that to the Upper Right of each shot is a Down Arrow to download a slightly larger file … which you can slightly enlarge with a click of the + magnifier … at least on my Mac.

  7. Interesting comparison. I use the Fuji X20, so naturally I love it, and am a bit biased to it, haha. However, I haven’t used the D Lux yet, so I can’t even be biased about it; which is why I find your comments interesting to read! I initially bought the X20 for a review on my blog, but I decided to keep it, replacing my RX100, for image quality that I felt was equal to the Sony, but for far superior handling and controls. I shoot street life a lot, and the X20 just feels right for this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these two compacts!

  8. I’ve just been playing with a black X20 and am massively impressed with it. Its the perfect size, not too small, big enough to grip properly and small enough to carry around or slip in jacket pocket. The build quality is outstanding and the viewfinder is stunning. The focus seems really quick and accurate. Im really tempted to get one but am only put off by the small sensor, despite seeing great results like these.

    Steve… A full review of the X20 would be appreciated to see if size matters (in the sensor department).

      • Yup … but for some peoples purposes the physically larger cameras are a no go … at least for some of their work … so always looking for excellent quality in a small package … with at least a 28 mm. One has to be honest on how large your file is every really going to used, as opposed to pixel peeping

  9. Enjoyed the report and find myself in agreement.

    When the X20 came out I bought it to replace my X10 and LX5 and sadly I quickly came to the conclusion that for IQ the X20 was lacking especially in the JPEG department.
    Although the RAW files weren’t bad I wasn’t convinced by my first X Trans sensor and its propensity to underexpose. The camera went back.

    I then picked up a Sony RX100.
    This is the pocket-able I’ve always wanted..Leica quality but at a fair price.
    Not perfect of course but m4/3 quality from a tiny space and it complements my old Fuji X10 with it’s EXR sensor virtues.

  10. That picture of the bee is pretty impressive considering the camera you used. I like posts like this that show the potential of the little guys that so many overlook. Jonas, I had an rx100 and hated every second of it because it felt like a machine not a camera. Sensor size alone does not a great camera make. As soon as you zoom the rx100 it is slower than sap dripping off a tree. If you are thinking rx100 I’d suggest ALOT of playing around time before committing. Small, slippery and the fast aperture is restricted to the wide end. The hype bit me on that purchase, although I cant deny it made nice photos I found it too frustrating to use.

  11. Thanks, Rudiger, for the review. However, I hoped for more than two X20’s pics. And both of them are very similar technically, what makes difficult to see the performance of the cameras, at least of the X20. DLux5 got five although it’s a better and longer known camera. I think that a comparison would be better with the same amount of photographs from every camera, in any case, and different types of pics too. Thanks anyway.

    • Agree … more X20 samples in more extreme conditions. My iPhone looks great in the conditions used. 🙂

  12. I had the Panasonic LX2, 3, and 5 … and the FujiFilm X10. I sold the LX5 and gave the X10 to my son. My X20 arrives tomorrow. What I like about the X series compacts are the features like the Best Picture sequence which allows one to shoot an 8 or 16 frame sequence … that Starts at the TOUCH of the shutter release as opposed to having to pressing the button half way down. That, combined with what is suppose to be perhaps the fastest auto focus available to date is great for catching that perfect expression/moment.

  13. Underlying your blog is the message that if you get a good camera, like a Fuji X or Leica D Lux, you need not spend megabucks or lug around a big heavy piece of body and lens to get pleasing and good results.

  14. Thanks for sharing. I like the D Lux 5 shots. For such a small camera the images are very nice. I recently bought a D Lux 6 so seeing the shots you’re getting from the “5” give me a target to aspire to.

  15. I don’t know. I think I like the more detailed photo and vibrant Fuji Color. And Leica costs $1600 while the Fuji is $600? It’s no debate for me here.

      • Price is ALWAYS a factor. Otherwise, everyone could just buy and keep up with the highest end Leica setup and be done with it. No need for product reviews. If you dislike talk about price, then ignore it.

    • Leica DLux 5 is three years old, sold for $700 then, and costs me nothing to keep. Fuji x20 sells for 600 now. This article is intended to address the constant quandary of whether to upgrade or continue to use the tools you have already.

  16. The Leica seemed to catch more details in the highlights to me. Overall I haven’t been that impressed by the X20. If I’d choose it some day, it’d be more for its handling than image quality. You get an RX100 for the same price and with similar optical performance as far as I can tell, the smaller form factor is very attractive.

  17. Interesting and worthy comparison. I’d like to see RAW image comparisons to take the in-camera RAW processing out of the equation. If I were using either of these cameras, I’d be shooting RAW.

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