August 24th, 2014 … Fuji X100s and Fuji X-20 … The Important Difference

08-14-0231-EditThere is one major difference between the Fuji X100s and the Fuji X-20. No, it’s not the mp or the processing engine. It’s not the UI or Grip. It’s not the size or even the battery. All these things one could compare and see a difference. I think the most important thing that distinguishes the the cameras from each other is none of the above,

08-14-0247-EditThe important thing for shooters is the ASPECT RATIO.  Yeah of course it’s obvious but, why didn’t you write about it? ok then, let me get into this a little. Here’s the thing. The frame or box as we call it must be seen from a few vantage points.

!st…. the idea of seeing your frame as a BOX or a Window. This works in a few ways…..

psychologically, if we see a frame as a BOX, that means we are seeing a confined area and we deal with what’s inside that frame on it’s own.

The other ways is to see the frame as a WINDOW and leave ourselves open to the possibilities to what may come into our frame and thus be aware of things around us. Both methods are acceptable and should be applied as the shooter sees fit. Of course the camera plays a bit in the but it’s easy to adapt to any camera if one desires to use it. I can’t of course and will throw cameras out the window if they bug me…..of course this has never happened but it could. I leave myself open to the possibility of Camera Throwing Out The Window Procedures.


08-14-0219-EditThe real important thing between cameras is how IT SEES and how it FORCES you to SEE. The ASPECT RATIO is just about that. You have, well I have 3:2 in the Fuji X100s and I have 4:3 in the Fuji X-20. It may seem like it’s not a big difference but dynamically, it sure as heck… The words active/passive come to play here. NO! I’m not showing examples altho’ I did  really.

Use your images to compare, ok? 4:3 is a passive rectangle. 3:2 is an active rectangle. This means whether you are aware of this or not, it effects how you frame you shot. It also effects how the viewer sees the photo and the info it contains.

So using the 2 cameras means to be aware more of aspect ratio than anything else.

08-14-0207-EditThen of course we have to take Horizontal vs Vertical into play.  This also has an effect on framing and viewing. You need to be aware of this so that you can understand how your camera works with your vision.

So both cameras have their merits but really, aspect ratio is the biggest advantage between the two.


It’s Sunday morning and I’m beat. Another bad night for sleep. So, I’ll sign off and continue this tomorrow when my Brain comes back from vacation. I think it’s due back on the job tonight sometime……..

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26 thoughts on “August 24th, 2014 … Fuji X100s and Fuji X-20 … The Important Difference”

  1. Aha! So that’s the difference between my X20 and a X100S. I can’t afford a X100S, but they make amazing shots! Is 3:2 that much better? I should try cropping some photos in LR to 3:2 and see.

    1. James, I’m glad you finally found out you need a Fuji X100s. Btw, the X20 is a heck of a fine camera so don’t feel short, ok…..don

  2. Interesting post Don…I’ll have to study this aspect ratio thing some more as I also have a X100s and X-20. Know what you mean about bad nights sleep…sometimes I wake up and I feel like I just put in a full day at work. Take care.

    1. Dave, thanks. The aspect ration is a very overlooked item in a camera but it’s actually one of the most important…….
      let us know your findings my friend…..

  3. So, I have an X10 and a X-E1. I have both set to shoot 2:3 (sometimes, I shoot the X10 in 1:1). The point being that both cameras can have the same aspect ratio if you want — you’re not stuck with what Fuji gives you as the default.

    1. My point is that the idea of a camera having a natural Aspect Ratio different from another camera is wonderful. It makes you think about what your doing visually….

          1. Sure, Don, and I should have remembered this from long ago. I used to shoot stills on 35mm film (2:3) that would be used for television (4:3). This was back in the days before there was even digital television. We had special focusing screens that we could used that blocked the left and right edges so we would see the 4:3 aspect ratio in the viewfinder.

            I did find that the pictures I took for TV were different from those that I shot otherwise. Although the “rules” of composition still applied, there was more a feeling of being constrained to the narrower field of view, especially when trying to convey a sense of space or flowing motion. I found, though, that it was easier to hone in on action, to more tightly capture fleeting actions or expressions or decisive moments that were sometimes lost in the wider view of the 2:3 frame.

            What reminded me of this was setting up for a TV production the other day. Up until a few months ago, our studio production was still standard definition — 4:3 aspect ratio — but now we shoot everything high definition — 16:9. Our framing is now wildly different, and our camera operators and directors are having somewhat hard time adjusting to the new format, with the exception of those who are shooting sports. They’re loving that they the ability to capture more dynamic action, especially when covering soccer or lacrosse games.

            Of course, shooting television is a lot different than shooting stills (even stills for television) in that with television, you have the natural ability to extend the frame when needed to include more or less of the action in real time. It’s a very powerful tool.

            Choice of aspect ratio can also help us as photographers to guide our viewers to what it is that we want them to see. It’s another compositional tool for us. The narrower the physical image, the more directed the view. When I’m shooting, even though I may have the camera set to capture 2:3, I’m often thinking about how I’m going to crop the image. While most of my images do end up being full-frame 2:3-ish, I’m never afraid to plan to do something different if it will add to the story in my image.

          2. Yup…. the Glass teat. Ya know, people thing that 3:2 is natural and maybe it is but TV is where most of us get our knowledge base from. I remember a lesson Bertie the Bunyip taught me about 4:3 aspect ratio. 3:2 is my preferred but I’m comfortable with 4:3 and even 1:1 like like the Blads.
            I want to spend a good amount of time doing 16:9 but I don’t think my cameras support it. I’s an interesting format.
            Have a good weekend, don

  4. I don’t understand the why one is active and one passive. However, I agree that aspect ratio is an important factor. When I crop my pictures I always leave them in the natural aspect ratio of the camera.

    1. Greg, I don’t understand it either but my brain comes back from vacation on Monday evening and I’ll install it and have an explanation on Tuesday….


  5. Now if they would give us cameras with an option to switch aspect ratios automatically, depending on how we hold them -landscape/portrait- I’d be sold. Technically no prob at all, these days most cameras have an orientation sensor anyway. I’ve never been a fan of 3:2 in portrait mode so these days and depending on the camera I either constantly fiddle with the settings, use custom modes (X10) or crop later. I said it before, Don, after 3 or so years the X10 still makes me smile everytime I pick it up, despite the quirks. I never had that with any other camera and I’m glad you like and shoot! your X20.

    Keep it up, amigo!

    1. Ken, yes I agree about 3:2 in portrait, 4:3 works better because it creates less dynamic tension and allows the viewer to read the subject.
      I did have a few cameras with adjustable Aspect Ratios like the LX5, an amazing little camera. Others do it too but I don’t remember them anymore.not because I’m a gear freak but because I believe the X10,2030 series are amazing and I will do what I can s=to support it…..

      The X20 is a sweet camera vastly underrated by many and that’s a shame. I do look forward to the X30…

      1. I have C1 and C2 set to use L4:3, and then when I’m in Aperature or Shutter mode, I use L3:2.

        3:2 always seems like there’s something cropped out…

        1. James,
          Yes… the option to change Aspect Ratio in a camera is a big plus. When I was Admin at mu-43 and Serious Compacts….I used 4:3 cameras mostly and still to this day, I love that format…..
          James, you should send me some stuff to post on the Inspired Eye Blog…..

    2. I feel the same way about my X10. Sometimes, I just like to hold it. Really. I /love/ that little camera. I love my X-E1, too, but there’s something really special about the little X10.

      I’m looking forward to seeing the X30 when I go up to PPE, and I’m hoping that they didn’t “break” the feeling of the 2/3″ X cameras.

      1. Geren, yes, much truth in your words. I had the X10 and loved it. I couldn’t get the hang of the DR but the X20 gave me what I wanted. Now the X30 is borne and I am very excited about it.
        It’s the first camera series with a zoom lens that I love. Please update after PPE.
        enjoy and thanks for stopping by….

        1. Sorry, I kind of dropped the ball on this. By now, the X30 has come and gone. I did remember to write about it on my web site. The short of it is that for me, it lost the charm of the X10/X20, though it was still a really neat little camera. I never did upgrade my X10, and I still have it and I still love it, though it’s now getting to be a little long in the tooth. At some point, I may get around to finding a gently used X20, but I don’t think I’ll go for the X30.

          1. Better late than never. Both the X20 & X30 are fine cameras. I’m sure by now, you can find a banging deal.

            Good luck

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