This year has brought Fuji to the forefront as a real contender in the professional realm, no longer a fringe element among camera brands. With the discharge of their medium format GFX 50s and increasing support from major brands that are commonly used by advantages like Profoto and Capture One, it’s very clear that Fuji is a brand to watch. Meanwhile, mid-range cameras like the X-T20 are Fuji’s loaf of bread and butter, and its new features suggest good things to come for the brand as a whole.
The X-T20 is usually a mirrorless, interchangeable lens APS-C camera with a 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor. It, like most of Fuji’s offerings, is definitely styled after older film cameras with a vintage aesthetic intrinsic to its persona. It sits below this line’s flagship, the X-T2, though it provides much in common with its slightly older (and higher-priced) sibling. It replaces the X-T10, which occupies the space beneath the previous X-T1 flagship, and adds some important brand-new features such as a touchscreen, significantly higher sensor resolution on a third-generation X-Trans sensor, and updated autofocus.
Check Out: Best Lenses for Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-T20: Price
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Fujifilm X-T20: Performance
An interesting thing as a first time Fuji user is the learning curve. I am a current Canon shooter, former Nikon shooter, who’s also done some professional work with Sony and Phase One, and this was the initial camera I’ve picked up where I’ve reached a point where it was necessary to throw up my hands and say “Fine! I’ll look at the manual.” Once you start to find the hang of it, even though, it all makes sense. Even after basic functions are locked down, there are so many ways to customize the camera that it’s a little overwhelming at first, much like Sony. Tinkerers who love to mess with every setting to attain a totally custom knowledge will appreciate this.
Other than being a little on the complicated side to figure out, the X-T20 performs very well. Great ISO handling is impressive for an APS-C camera, with ISO 12,800 producing images that, unsurprisingly, can’t be considered clean, but are nonetheless usable in a pinch for things like social mass media or capturing an important moment on a consumer level.
Dynamic range is good, with raw data files granting quite a bit of leeway, particularly at lower ISOs. White balance is pretty reliable, though curiously there is no ‘flash’ preset even though there is an ‘underwater’ preset. Priorities, or something.
Fuji’s famed JPEGs give high-quality rendering using their in-camera film emulation, though raw shooters can access the same in their post-processing workflow via Lightroom’s ‘profile’ menu in the ‘camera calibration’ tab, regardless of how it was shot.
Autofocus is one of the more complex settings, though it does work very well for stills. There are several options for autofocus including five different AF-C modes for different types of subject movement. The 91 autofocus points in the hybrid contrast and phase-detection system can be utilized minutely to effectively equal 352 areas for grabbing precise focus in a variety of configurations. Successful tracking of moving subjects was elusive, however, and in video mode autofocus had a tendency to jump around, making unsightly jitters in the footage.
The camera’s design is compact, much more so than a small DSLR. It nestles comfortably into a petite hand, can easily be carried around all day, and can be unobtrusive to use in public. That makes it great for candid street photography, or simply for shooting in public areas without being yelled at for being a photographer. If your hands aren’t small, you can look into the MHG-XT10 metal hand grip to add some girth to the grasp.
Its tilting touchscreen LCD is useful for pictures above and below eye-level, but its flexibility is limited compared to some of its mirrorless competitors just like the Canon M100 using its screen that flips forward for selfies or the significantly common fully articulating display screen found on many DSLRs. The touch screen itself is certainly responsive and useful, though it will be nice to be able to use it to focus while looking through the viewfinder like the aforementioned M5.
Perhaps the most irritating design limitation may be the fact that, from the box, there is absolutely no way to use a physical control to change ISO. By default, it is accessible through the ‘Q’ menu, but it’s really preferable to have the ability to alter all sides of the direct exposure triangle quickly on the fly. It is doable, but it will take some menu digging to generate custom settings.
Fujifilm X-T20: Quality
Build-quality feels sturdy and top-notch. This little camera has a magnesium alloy body and doesn’t feel fragile at all when managed. The knobs and switches all experience strong and tactilely pleasing. The dials are textured steel with that old-school appeal, and the camera feels like it’s built to last like they used to make them.
Aside from the body of the camera itself, Fuji is known for making high-quality lenses, and those renowned X-mount lenses are all compatible with the X-T20.
Fujifilm X-T20: Conclusion
There’s a lot to like in this preciously compact camera. It’s full-featured, versatile, and reasonably priced while being attractive and durable. Image quality is lovely, the resolution is ample, and data files are easy to work with. This would be a great “for fun” camera for somebody who doesn’t desire to lug a DSLR around just about everywhere; a worthy, yet lower-cost backup to an X-T2 for a Fuji-shooting professional, or a camera capable of producing share-worthy photos directly from the camera for hobbyists who have no desire to approach their photos.
It is not recommended solely on its video graphics merits, and it isn’t the best in its class. The lack of a headphone jack for audio monitoring is normally disappointing, though sadly common. For sharper 4k, look to the X-T2 or a competing brand for something like Sony’s a6500.
Really, there are therefore many things to talk about with this camera, it’s hard to pack it all into a review rather than a book. It really is definitely worthwhile to spend time flipping through the manual and even invest in a quick-start guide of some sort to hit the ground running if you make the purchase.
In all this is a great camera, and at its price point, it is a suitable choice for a fun mirrorless sidekick to a pro’s DSLR or a for a customer who just wants something little and cute to quickly shoot a variety of genres from street to action. It packs some serious features right into a minuscule container and sits at a price that makes it an excellent bang for the buck. Couple this with Fuji’s current momentum in the professional world and consistent updates, and you’ve got a somewhat future-proof purchase in a camera and brand.