Lots of controversy on this. Imaging Resource has released first shots on the X30 (just the standard lighting still life series) and people are comparing them heavily and rendering a lot of opinions (as have I.)
The problem is that it is easy to make mistakes (comparing NR1 against NR3D at any given ISO) and things look a little different depending on the level of calibration of your monitor and the quality of the panel. And since the majority of people continue to buy cheap crappy TN panels and the vast majority continue to work on monitors with no attempt at calibration at all, the actually value of most opinions on the forums is somewhere between zero and nil.
Of course, that doesn’t stop anyone from chiming in based on their own agenda … so the beat goes on. And on. And on.
So let me add to the cacophony on these two cameras. But first, let me cut to the chase: the image quality differences in JPEG are almost not worth discussing. I had thought that there were significant differences, but in fact they aren’t that obvious at the highest truly usable ISO the camera can handle – 800. After that, you are getting into web images only, or you are lowering your standards. Not that big a deal, because sometimes you just have to get the shot and raising ISO is the best way to do that in really low light.
Anyway … here are a number of crops from the IR 800 ISO images at NR1. A matching pair … and so labeled.
If you are on a decently calibrated monitor, you won’t see much difference at all. And the majority of the differences actually favour the X20. Slightly smoother background / shadow noise, and sharper details like the striped lettering and the tick marks on the wheel. All in all, I would give the nod to the X20 at 800 ISO. YMMV.
EDIT: The image was uploaded to Picasa automatically by Microsoft Essentials Writer and it got completely mangled. Very sorry about that. I have rehosted on my own server, as I should have done in the first place. The price of being a bit lazy.