Here's our review of the enthusiast Fuji X-T20 CSC
Fujifilm’s X-series is going from strength to strength, with its recent releases tempting many serious photographers away from their beloved DSLRs. Hot on the heels of the revamped X-Pro2, ground-breaking X-T2 and recently released X100F, it’s time for the X-T20, big brother to 2015’s X-T10, to make its debut. The X-T10 was the stripped down version of the X-T1, Fuji’s extremely capable flagship CSC. The X-T20 is marginally larger than its predecessor owing to its slightly deeper grip, but everything else, appearance-wise, seems familiar.
Fuji's X-T20 features 4K video and 0.06sec autofocus
At its core, you might be surprised to know how much of the X-T20’s functionality is shared with the X-T2. The APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor is the same as you’ll find in Fuij’s top spec models, as is the inclusion of 4K video, which is able to shoot for 10 minutes at 30fps, as well as Full HD at 60fps for 15 minutes. There’s also Intelligent Hybrid AF, which switches between phase and contrast detection depending on the scene, and the new X-Processor Pro which is 4x faster than the previous models.
Fuji has packed in a Super Intelligent Flash, giving the pop-up flash through-the-lens (TTL) ability to help expose your scene perfectly, and Interval Timer shooting for all your time-lapse needs.
The phenomenal 0.06sec autofocus is calculated on-sensor via Intelligent Hybrid AF, which mixes both contrast and phase detection. The central 40% of the imaging area is comprised of 49 phase detection points, covering 50% of the frame horizontally and 75% vertically. The remainder are contrast detection types to take it up to a total of 325 points, which is a lot more than the older X-T10’s 49-point total. The inclusion of five autofocus presets help you make the smartest decision for a range of situations, each one specialising in specific, often tricky scenarios, such as erratic movement or rapid acceleration.
The new tilting 3in LCD touchscreen is present, though not achieving quite the same range of movement as on the X-T2. The screen boasts an increase from the previous 920k-dot resolution to 1040k-dot, while still retaining 100% coverage, and now allows you to control your focus points in Live View. Touchscreen also lets you use multiple gestures, which will be instantly familiar to anybody with a smartphone, such as pinch-to-zoom and press-to-focus, which works well though not as smoothly as you’d expect. The EVF remains unchanged with a very capable 0.39in 2360k-dot OLED viewfinder and any lag is virtually unnoticeable.
The famous film simulation modes are still present – those already familiar with Fuji will know you can choose from a variety of retro film presets such as Classic Chrome, Velvia or the newly added ACROS – and these can now be applied directly to video.
Native ISO ranges from 200 to 12,800, higher than the 6400 found in the X-T10, with much better image quality than before. It expands to a blistering 51,200, allowing for some serious low light potential.
The X-T20 also boasts both a mechanical and electronic shutter, which means when the shutter speed reaches its 1/4000sec mechanical limit, the electronic shutter carries it to 1/32,000sec. The latter can cause rolling shutter distortion, where the top of the image is captured slightly before the bottom, causing issues for fast-moving subjects. That said, using the electronic shutter boosts the burst rate from 8fps for 62 JPEGs or 25 RAWs, to a staggering 14fps for 42 JPEGs or 23 RAWs before the buffer fills up.
Handling & build
Fuji has carved out a deserved reputation for beautiful styling, and the clean, sleek lines of the X-T20 don’t disappoint. The body is solid thanks to magnesium plating on the top and bottom plates, while the rest of the camera is textured plastic that feels equally robust. The slightly increased grip size makes the camera feel even more comfortable and secure in the hand, and the extremely compact size keeps it highly versatile.
The dial placement will be familiar to those upgrading from an older Fuji CSC, retaining much of the feel of the original. As on the X-T2 and X-T10, the inclusion of an exposure compensation dial at the expense of an ISO dial won’t be to everyone’s taste. That said, ISO can be set to a function button for easy access. It’s a pity an ISO dial couldn’t have been incorporated into the shutter speed dial, as on the X100F.
The ergonomics of the X-T20 have to be applauded, as sacrificing size hasn’t come at a cost to usability. Unfortunately, the dual memory card slots found in the X-T2 didn’t make the cut, nor the hugely praised additional thumb wheel on the rear. The current directional button control system is tried and tested, though it would be nice to have the more intuitive inclusion.
Fujifilm claims to have an approximate 0.4sec start-up time and it is indeed rapid, though we only managed to time it at a consistent 0.6sec for the start-up and 1sec from starting to taking a shot, which is still very impressive and definitely won’t leave you waiting.
The autofocus is snappy, with the phase-detect areas picking focus up in an instant and the contrast-detect areas working extremely accurately, with only a little searching in the corners. The AF presets make tracking objects exceptionally easy by letting the X-T20 do the hard part. The AF comes into its own when you’re filming 4K video, with the seemingly delay-free touchscreen allowing you to pick focal points with the press of a finger and the X-T20 creating a smooth shift from one point to another.
Although the touchscreen handles well, it’s only capable of interaction for image review or focusing. Sadly, you can’t operate any of the system menus through touch, meaning you’ll have to select most options with the directional buttons. This isn’t a major issue, but it is a shame to see it missing.
In testing we found the mechanical 8fps burst mode delivered exactly as advertised. The electronic shutter’s 14fps burst mode sounded like a machine gun, and requires some sneaky selections in the menu to activate. Thanks to the new 24MP X-Trans CMOS III upgrade, image quality is noticeably superior – at ISO 200 and 100% crop you get excellent clarity. Even at ISO 12,800 images are still far more useable than expected, making this a very versatile choice for photographers of any level.
The Wi-Fi works flawlessly with the Fuijfilm Camera Remote app, and whether for controlling the settings or transferring images is quick and virtually lag-free.
The X-T20 feels like a love letter from Fuji to its enthusiast following, with every feature well crafted and exceptionally presented. From image quality to functions such as AF tracking modes and high-speed shooting, everything feels like it’s had an overhaul and been redefined from the X-T10.
There are a few disappointments, such as the 350-shot battery life, which still isn’t at DSLR level, and the touchscreen which feels very underutilised. Hopefully this will be addressed in a firmware update though. But essentially the X-T20 delivers the competency of a pro-level camera in a very portable, reasonably-priced body, and as such is sure to prove very popular with both current Fuji fans and those new to the CSC market.
Number of features
No image stabilisation
Limited touchscreen functionality
- Kit lens: XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS
- Effective resolution: 24.3MP
- Sensor: 23.6x15.6mm APS-C X-Trans CMOS III
- Processor: X-Processor Pro
- LCD: 3in 1040k-dot tilt
- Shutter: 1/32,000-30sec
- Autofocus: 325 points (49 phase-detect)
- ISO: 200-12,800 (expands to 100-51,200)
- Shooting speed: 14fps for 23 RAWs or 42 JPEGs (electronic shutter)
- Video: UHD 4K at 30fps, Full HD at 60fps
- Pop-up flash: Yes, TTL
- Other features: Touchscreen, Film simulation, AF presets, Super Intelligent Flash
- Battery life: 350 shots
- Card type: SD, SDHC, SDXC
- Size (WxHxD): 118x83x41mm
- Weight: 693g
- Find out more on the Fujifilm website