Fujifilm X-T20 Review

Introduction

The Fujifilm X-T20,  initially released spring 2017, is Fuji’s midrange mirrorless replacement to the previously delivered X-T10. It inherits many of the features offered by both the predecessor and nearly identical to the Fujifilm X-T2, albeit at a lower price point. It is a camera focused on evolution, not revolution. Both the X-T2 and X-T20 provide the same impressive 24.3 megapixels XTRANS III CMOS sensor, X Processor Pro, 4K recording at 100 MBs, and OLED EVF. The primary differences lie in their physical layouts, not necessarily the performance that’s available to its users.

Photo enthusiasts have long admired the Fujifilm X series of cameras with their classic designs, outstanding image quality and a superior lineup of XF lenses. The X-T20 doesn’t disappoint. Many have worshiped how “sexy” the camera is; it offers excellent retro styling, and the attention to detail on this camera is evident. It’s satin finish, and neural dials are reminiscent of European cameras from the 60s and 70s. It competes primarily with the Canon EOS M5 and Sony a6300. Reviewers have shouted that it’s among the top mirrorless cameras available in its price range and the improvements made, though gradual, have refined an already fantastic camera. In today’s post, we take a look at the X-T20, spin its retro dials, and see if it’s a camera that has remained competitive even years later. Fujifilm-X-T20-camera-body

 

 

What are some of the goods, bads, and the uglies of the Fujifilm X-T20?

Pros:

Image Quality

Image quality is undoubtedly a strength of this camera. Fuji’s historic film simulations coupled with the removal of the anti-aliasing filter, combine to create images that have superior detail and beautiful color rendition, straight out of the camera. It supplies rich JPEGs and strong RAW files with plenty of latitude for post-processing. However, the images provided significantly reduce any real need for additional post-processing, which is not something said regarding the competition. It’s a camera that encourages users to shoot JPEG instead of RAW, and one that does so quite well. The results provided from the built-in color profiles this camera offers are uncommon, to say the least, and would be challenging to replicate in post-processing. In all, it’s one of the best features provided by the XT 20, but by Fujifilm altogether. In the mirrorless realm, Fuji is King. They offer some of the best mirrorless lenses available on the market today, and when paired with this camera, the combination makes for stunning images.

Dynamic range is phenomenal, and images are recoverable without grain patterns in the shadows, even if moderate clipping is already present before recovery. 

Video Quality

It supports and shoots 4K at 30 FPS and 1080 at 60 FPS. It also offers a fully automatic mode that sets all critical functions as well, a helpful feature for beginning videographers. Video quality is good, but not as good as the higher-end X-T2 in this regard as this camera does have a few limitations. The most prominent being the fact that while the camera shoots 4K, it does so through a different technique known as “line skipping” as opposed to offering the actual full resolution readout. In all, the video quality lacks detail and crispness compared to the competition, namely the X-T2 and Sony a6300. 

Low Light Performance

Low light performance too is a particular strength of this camera. The camera offers a native ISO range from ISO 200 to ISO 12,800. Fuji opted to use X Processor Pro with the iteration of this model. The results are, well, a performance that’s nearly identical to the X-T2. Images are good at ISO 3,200 and unquestionably usable even at ISO 6,400. Interestingly enough, the speed and accuracy of focusing are not affected by low light conditions with this camera. Even at ISO 6,400, the camera can focus quickly, so long as the subject offers enough contrast. 

Focusing Performance

Focusing accuracy and speed have both improved over the predecessor. 

The camera rarely hunts for focus. Focusing even in low light is also superb, as mentioned previously. The camera offers a total of 325 selectable focusing points, which cover the entirety of the screen. Not only that, when filming, touch to focus provides both smooth transitions between focus points and is completely quiet. While there are fewer AF points when filming, focus performance remains excellent nonetheless. 

Display & Viewfinder

It has a 3″ articulating touchscreen display that sports both touch to focus and touch to shoot. The addition of touchscreen allows users to navigate and review images in playback; users can swipe between images and pinch to zoom. This feature also can be completely disabled, if desired. Users can even customize the functionality of both the electronic viewfinder and the touch LCD. They can select the following options: LCD or EVF only, LCD or EVF always on, or motion-activated EVF only. Outside of that, the LCD itself is sharp, bright, and offers adequate viewing even when outdoors in direct sunlight. 

User Interface

The camera’s buttons are fully customizable and support custom function mapping. Users can map six buttons to a total of five pages of customizable features; they can also choose to disable these buttons if they desire. 

Both the LCD and viewfinders display screens are customizable as well. Users can select from a variety of icons to overlay on the display while shooting. Here are a few examples to name a few: electronic level, mini preview, and histogram. The addition of these two features dramatically increases the versatility and allows users to tailor the camera to their specific shooting needs. Overall, these additions are critical as they provide immediate access to necessary shooting functions. 

Outside of functionality, the menu itself is very straightforward and logically structured.  It’s easy to become thoroughly familiar with its layout after only a few hours of use. An important note, users can even create a custom menu (called “My Menu”), which becomes the default menu once finalized. Overall, the customization of this camera is utterly ridiculous, no complaints here.

Fujifilm-X-T20-camera-body

Physical Layout and ergonomics

The physical dials are a needed component that considerably saves time from digging through the menus of the camera by providing immediate and responsive access to critical shooting functions. The dials themselves are well designed and offer a similar tactile feel to retro film cameras. They are a defining feature of this camera that most users appreciate, and make a very handsome camera, indeed. Overall, build quality and layout is superb, the body is constructed primarily of a magnesium alloy, and we’re confident this camera will last for years to come. 

Niche features offered/Extras

This camera has 16 built-in film simulation profiles, all of which are exclusive to Fujifilm, that users can adjust to their liking.  These profiles are also transferred over to Adobe Lightroom and can be further improved. 

The information overlays rotate when the camera is switched to portrait orientation; this is a feature that is specific to Fuji and this type of viewfinder. Why don’t more manufacturers do this? We have no idea. It’s a simple addition, that is overlooked, but makes a world of difference in application and is appreciated. 

The camera includes a built-in grain filter option, which once combined with its film simulations result in unique images. 

It has a burst rate of 8 FPS with the mechanical shutter and 14 FPS with the electronic shutter. 

It supports USB charging. 

It has focus peaking when shooting in manual focus, helping users achieve critical focus with ease. 

It has an advanced automatic mode that functions to automate the camera across 51 different presets and scene selection modes. This mode automatically optimizes both exposure and focus settings, a massive plus for beginning photographers

It has built-in Wi-F, GPS, and Bluetooth. These additions allow the camera to support remote shooting and wireless transfer when connected to smartphone devices. Once paired, users can customize nearly all functions on the camera. When it comes to image transfer, images are adjustable in both size and resolution. Users can also transfer over full resolution images if they desire. Overall, the Fuji Camera Remote app works very well and is simple to use. 

Cons:

Image Quality

The camera suffers from rolling shutter, a symptom characterized by the tendency of a camera to blur when panning back and forth. Thankfully, the amount experienced has been reduced from the predecessor and is now comparable to other cameras in this price range. 

Video Quality

It lacks log recording. This format is only available on the X-T2.

The camera limits 4K recordings at 10 minutes and 1080p limits at 15 minutes. Both are extremely low; the industry-standard here is 30 minutes for both. 

Focusing Performance

The camera does not have subject tracking while filming in 4K. This feature is only available in 1080p recording. Thankfully, focus performance during 4K is excellent. Options for focusing are limited, however. The only two options are selecting an area or the entire sensor, depending on whether or not you want to control where the camera focuses or have it decide automatically. 

User Interface

The front adjustment dial has limited functionality, so much so it’s not entirely usable. 

While the LCD is a touchscreen, the user menu hasn’t been optimized for this feature and does not support changes via touch. 

Switching between the electronic viewfinder and LCD is found to be sluggish, and there’s noticeable latency.

Layout and ergonomics

The battery and SD compartment are rather small, and it’s incredibly challenging to take out the SD card quickly; it’s unnecessarily tedious for that matter. Not only that, users are unable to access this compartment when the quick plate is used, which has been bar none the biggest frustration with the X-T20. 

The lens release button is actually on the opposite side of the camera body, making releasing and changing lenses awkward and foolishly complicated. 

The camera lacks a built-in zoom or magnification function.

While the screen articulates, it doesn’t swivel.  The overall range of its motion is also limited compared to the competition. 

It lacks a physical AF joystick. Instead, Fuji opted to have the touch LCD be the primary means to adjust focus. Thankfully, for those that prefer a physical button, you can map a rear button as an AF selection button then use the D-pad instead. 

The camera by itself without an additional grip is quite small and doesn’t feel stable in the hands without one. 

While filming, you cannot change from LCD to the viewfinder. Once one is selected, it becomes locked until the recording stops. 

Features removed

While the camera does have a microphone input port, it’s 2.5 mm not the more traditional 3.5 mm. Essentially, this means users are forced to either purchase a secondhand adapter or Fujifilm’s 2.5 mm shotgun microphone, incredibly inconvenient. 

It lacks a headphone input port. If you want to monitor audio whatsoever, you’ll have to do so through the HDMI port instead. 

While the camera can do in-camera time-lapse videos, and it allows users to customize their settings. The camera does not generate an MP4 file of the lapse, which means users will still have to compile all of the images in post. 

The thread mount is off-center with the lens, which makes using larger lenses quite awkward and slightly unstable. 

It lacks dust and weather sealing. 

Battery life is average. It delivers about 350 shots per single charge. No question, you will need multiple batteries for all-day shooting. 

Users cannot adjust ISO when filming. Auto ISO is the only option.

It only has a single SD card slot which is also only UHS-1. 

It lacks in-camera stabilization.

This camera lacks tethered shooting, this feature is only available on Fuji’s high-end cameras, namely in X-T2 or X-Pro series. 

Is the Fujifilm X-T20 a good starting camera?

Yes most definitely. It is a lightweight, compact, smart, and intuitive camera that’s ideal for travel or street photography. Fuji removed much of the complexities and streamlined the design, and functions to make a camera that’s minimal, yet capable. While it is a photography centric device, it offers adequate performance for everyday videography needs. However, for those desiring enhanced video performance, it’s best to look elsewhere or consider the X-T2 instead. However, make no question, the X-T20 is a solid performer that offers fantastic tactile control, quick and accurate AF performance, and a superb 24-megapixel sensor. It packs significant features into a small body that’s almost the size of a tradition point & shoot camera. It’s a fantastic winner that’s attractive while capable and affordable. It’s one we believe is more than sufficient, considering the price tag. 

What are the best lenses for the Fujifilm X-T20? 

General Photography: 

Fujinon XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Fujinon XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS

Specifically for Macro Photography:

XF60mmF2.4 R Macro

Specifically for Landscape Photography:

Fujinon XF14mmF2.8 R

XF27mmF2.8

Specifically for Portrait Photography:

XF35mmF2 R WR

Fujinon XF50mmF2 R WR

XF90mmF2 R LM WR

Best bundles for the Fujifilm X-T20

camera bundle

Is the Fujifilm X-T20 a good camera for you?

Yes. It’s a notable improvement over the X-T10 and is reminiscent of the X-T2 in many ways. For most users, especially beginners and enthusiasts, it’s got more than enough performance to make your photography uncommon. If you’re a lover of cameras, especially retro ones, we believe you’ll be right at home. However, if you desire a hybrid photo and video camera to do professional-level commercial work with, consider looking elsewhere. In video performance, there are more competitive cameras in this price range, for example, the Panasonic G85 or Sony a6300.

Nonetheless, for the professional, this camera can undoubtedly serve as a backup, especially for those already familiar with the Fuji ecosystem. It can even serve as a b roll camera.  It offers stellar performance and a robust feature set. Not only that, It’s small, compact and compatible with all XF lenses. For those unfamiliar with Fuji, this camera serves as an excellent entry-point. Overall, this camera is best suited for those looking for a comprehensive yet portable system. It provides attractive colors, superior image quality, and removes much of the post-processing work needed to get fantastic images. It has minimal editing required before images are ready to be shared online. The X-T20 is the perfect camera for the prosumer or advance hobbyist that’s serious about their long term development and growth. It’s a discrete yet powerful camera, and a winner even in 2019.

Overview
  • Image Quality
  • Video Quality
  • Focusing Performance
  • Low Light Performance
  • Dynamic Range
  • Battery Performance
  • Display & Viewfinder
  • User Interface
  • Physical Layout & Ergonomics
4

Summary

The Fujifilm X-T20 marks a notable improvement over the X-T10 and is reminiscent of the X-T2 in many ways. For most users, especially beginners and enthusiasts, it’s got more than enough performance to make your photography uncommon. For those unfamiliar with Fuji, this camera serves as an excellent entry-point. It provides attractive colors, superior image quality, and removes much of the post-processing work needed to get fantastic images. Fuji removed much of the complexities and streamlined the design, and functions to make a camera that’s minimal, yet capable. While it is a photography centric device, it offers adequate performance for everyday videography needs. It packs significant features into a small body that’s almost the size of a tradition point & shoot camera. It’s a discrete yet powerful camera, and a winner even in 2019.