Fujifilm XT20 review-in-progress

The Fujifilm XT20 is a mid-range mirrorless camera, aimed at enthusiasts who want the quality and flexibility of the X-system, but in a smaller, lighter and more affordable package than the flagship XT2. Announced in January 2017, it replaces the XT10 from almost two years earlier, and like that model it shares a great deal with its more sophisticated sibling.

The XT20 shares the 24 Megapixel / APSC / X-Trans III sensor and image processor of the XT2 and X-Pro2, making it the most affordable body to feature Fujifilm’s latest imaging technology. It also means the XT20 not only inherits all the Film Simulations including the latest ACROS monochrome option, but also the broader and denser embedded phase-detect AF system, allowing it to focus more confidently across 40% of the frame; it even includes the XT2’s five custom Continuous AF profiles and the ability to continuously autofocus at 8fps (or 5fps with live feedback) and even at 14fps with the electronic shutter. The XT20 also inherits the 4k movie mode of the XT2, capturing UHD at 24-30p at 100Mbit/s, as well as 1080p up to 60p, and has a microphone input.

The body is comfortably smaller than the XT2 in every dimension, but still includes a popup flash, plenty of manual controls including shutter, drive and exposure compensation dials as well as push-to-click thumb and finger wheels, and a threaded cable release. The viewfinder panel shares the same 2.36 Million dot OLED panel as the XT2 (albeit with a smaller 0.62x magnification), along with a 3in tilting screen which may not flip to the side like the XT2, but does now feature touch-sensitivity, allowing you to reposition AF areas by touch, along with pulling focus in movies and swiping, pinching and tapping through playback. There’s also an electronic shutter option for silent shooting up to 1/32000 and built-in Wifi for smartphone remote control. It all adds up to a highly compelling mid-range option which brings key aspects of the XT2 to a smaller, lighter and more affordable body. I’ve begun testing the XT20 so ahead of my full review, keep scrolling for my sample movies and XT2 comparisons or skip to my sample images!

Fujifilm XT20 movie samples

Above: Download the original file (Registered members of Vimeo only). Sample movie filmed with a Fujifilm XT20 in 4k / 24p at 200 ISO, using the XF 18-55mm zoom lens and in the standard Provia profile.

Above: Download the original file (Registered members of Vimeo only). Sample movie filmed with a Fujifilm XT20 in 4k / 25p at 800 ISO, using the XF 18-55mm zoom lens, and in the standard Provia style.

Fujifilm XT20 vs XT2

Fujifilm’s XT20 cherry-picks a number of key features from the flagship XT2 to deliver the same image and movie quality, not to mention the same continuous shooting speeds, while actually including some features absent from the top-end model. As such, like the XT10 before it, it’ll be an attractive option for anyone who wants the quality of the XT2 but in a smaller, lighter and more affordable body. But there are of course a number of key differences between them.

In its favour, the flagship XT2 features a tougher, weatherproof body, and while it is larger and heavier, this allows it to include a more substantial grip. The viewfinder may share the same OLED panel and resolution, but delivers a much larger image with 0.77x magnification versus 0.62x. The screen is the same size and resolution, but as well as tilting up and down, it’ll also angle out sideways on the XT2 for more comfortable framing in the portrait orientation. The XT2 may lack the touch-screen of the XT20, but it does feature an AF joystick for easy positioning of the AF area, and while both bodies share the five AFC presets, the XT2 offers a sixth completely customisable option. The XT2 boasts a fastest mechanical shutter of 1/8000 compared to 1/4000 on the XT20, and a faster flash sync too of 1/250 vs 1/180. In terms of connectivity, the XT2 wins with dual SD card slots, a full-sized USB-3 port vs USB-2 on the XT20 and a 3.5mm microphone jack vs 2.5mm on the XT20. While both share the same video quality, the XT2 offers a flat F-Log output, albeit currently only through the HDMI to external recorders. Finally, the XT2 enjoys the benefit of an optional battery grip that not only provides portrait controls and a headphone jack, but potentially triples battery life, extends the longest 4k clips from 10 to 30 minutes, accelerates the top mechanical burst speed to 11fps, and extends the performance boost mode (absent entirely on the XT20) to sport faster AF, shortened blackout times and smoother viewfinder refresh rates.

See myFujifilm XT2 review for more details.

Understandably the XT2 out-features the XT20, but it’s not all one-sided. In its favour, the XT20 features a touch-screen, a switch to easily enter fully Automatic regardless of your previous settings, a dedicated drive mode dial (albeit swapped from the dedicated ISO dial of the XT2) and a built-in popup flash. The target audience may also prefer the smaller and lighter body that certainly makes it more discreet in street shooting environments.

I think Fujifilm has made sensible choices to differentiate the products and while the XT20 may inherit a great deal from the XT2 only a few months after the flagship model was released, there’s more than enough to justify one over the other. Anyone who bought the XT2 purely on the sensor may be miffed to find it deployed soon afterwards in a cheaper body, but the sheer number of additional benefits of the XT2 make it a much more sophisticated proposition that’ll continue to be preferred by enthusiasts and pros. Meanwhile for those who just desire the XT2’s quality, AF and burst shooting in a smaller, lighter and cheaper body will love the XT20.

Next check out my sample images!

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