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Mar 25

Review: Fujifilm X-T20

Hot on the heels of my (somewhat late) X-T2 review comes the review of its little brother, the X-T20. The X-T20 is the successor to Fuji’s X-T10, which was released almost two years ago.  The X-T10 proved to be a very capable body with nearly all the features of the X-T1 in a smaller package. The X-T20 follows that same mold, but with enough new features to be both a worthy upgrade for X-T10 owners and a real viable alternative for potential X-T2 buyers who may not want to spend the $1,600 asking price for Fuji’s flagship camera.  The X-T20 is priced at just $899 for the body only, with two kits available at $999 for the camera body with the XC 16-50mm lens, and $1199 for the body with XF 18-55mm lens. Is the X-T20 an X-T2 in a smaller package?  Let’s find out…

Fujifilm X-T20

Fujifilm X-T20

Construction and Handling

The X-T20 shares the same exterior body as the X-T10 that preceded it.  This means that all the positives and negatives I had to say about the X-T10 are still present here on the X-T20.  The body is a shrunken version of the X-T2 style, with a DSLR styled body with center EVF, in a very compact package.  The X-T20 is available in both silver and black, and my copy is the silver version.  The camera looks great in my opinion, but that is a very subjective thing. It’s a solidly constructed body made of a mix of composites and metal, with a full metal top and bottom plate. While it lacks the X-T2’s weather sealing, it otherwise fits into the X-T series very well with a high-end build quality.

The X-T20 is a small, retro styled mirrorless camera

The X-T20 is a small, retro styled mirrorless camera

There is no flex anywhere in the body, and it feels reassuringly solid. The small contoured grip on the front provides a reasonable hold on the camera when using the smaller lenses in the Fuji lineup. The biggest downside to the grip is the positioning of the rear thumb rest. That thumb rest is just a bit too far to the right, which causes the camera to pull left and down when holding the camera with my normal grip. When using larger Fuji lenses, the built-in grip isn’t particularly adequate, and you’ll definitely want to support the camera by the lens in these cases (which is the best way to hand hold a camera with large lens anyway).

Fujifilm X-T20 with the MHG-XT10

Fujifilm X-T20 with the MHG-XT10

I purchased the MHG-XT10 metal hand grip for my X-T20, and it makes a very noticeable improvement in handling for the camera with bigger lenses. It’s still not quite as comfortable as the X-T2’s grip, but the improvement in handling is worth the asking price for the grip, and I plan on leaving it attached more or less permanently on my X-T20. It’s worth noting that the metal hand grip is ever so slightly too tight on the left side of the camera body, and it has caused a small mark in the silver finish of the base at that location. As I plan on leaving the grip on all the time, it’s not a big deal to me, but it’s something Fuji should fix.

The X-T20 has the same overall button and control placement as the X-T10 with a few minor changes. Fuji has removed the movie record button entirely, moving movie control to a dedicated place on the drive mode dial with control moved to the shutter button. The Fn button, which resided in the lower right corner of the rear of the X-T10 has now moved to where the movie record button used to be.  That Fn button was a bit hard to reach on the X-T10, so the better placement of the button on the X-T20 is a welcome change.  The buttons on the rear of the camera have a nice positive clicking action, but those on the top plate are a bit mushy and small.  In all, though, all the controls are very easily accessed and within easy reach during shooting.

Operation and Controls

The control layout on the X-T20 will be familiar to any current Fuji X series shooter, and as mentioned previously, is almost identical to the X-T10. There’s a shutter speed dial and exposure compensation dial on top, along with the previously mentioned Fn button that sits next to the power switch and shutter button. Like all the Fuji X bodies with shutter speed dials, the mode of the camera is controlled by how the aperture and shutter speed are positioned.  Putting the shutter speed dial into A makes that function automatic. Thus selecting ‘A’ on the shutter speed while selecting a specific aperture puts the camera in aperture priority mode.  Want a specific shutter speed?  Simply select it and you’re in manual mode.  Move the aperture ring on a lens to A and the camera is now in shutter priority.  With both dials set to A the camera moves to Program mode.

The X-T20's top dials provide a wealth of direct control

The X-T20’s top dials provide a wealth of direct control

It’s a fluid scheme and one of the things I love about Fuji controls.  However, the X-T20 also features a full Auto mode that can be accessed with a flip of a switch. When Auto is engaged, none of the dials serve any purpose and the camera will simply attempt to use all the best settings.  It’s worth noting that RAW is not available in the Auto mode.

A great feature of more recent Fuji bodies, including the X-T20 is a functional Auto ISO in manual mode with exposure compensation.  As such, you can select your shutter speed and aperture, adjust exposure via the exposure compensation dial, and let the ISO float to make up those exposure changes.  This is really useful if you find yourself in dark environments and want to adjust the minimum shutter speed on the fly, but don’t want to change it via the ISO menu.  Now just a quick flick of the shutter speed dial and you’ve got it.  It’s also extremely useful for video shooting, where you want shutter speed to stay constant.

Another great new feature that comes first to the X-T20 (but will be added to the X-Pro 2 and X-T2 with a firmware update later this month) is the ability to select ‘Auto’ as the shutter speed in Auto ISO.  When this is selected, the camera will choose a shutter speed based on the focal length. Specifically, 1 / (FL*1.5)s.

On the left side of the camera sits a dedicated Drive dial.  While I’d probably prefer ISO be in this position, the Drive Mode dial is very convenient and makes it quick and easy to switch between continuous shooting, single shot, movie mode, advanced filters, panorama modes and two different bracketing setups, which the user can specify in the menus.  Next to the Drive Mode dial is the release for the integral pop-up flash, which deploys with almost alarming speed and sureness.

The rear of the X-T20 is again very similar to that of the X-T2, but a bit more simplified.  The dials on the X-T20 are pressable, and pressing the rear dial activates the focus assist function, like it does on all other Fuji X bodies outside of the X-T1. The AEL and AFL buttons flank the rear dial.  On the top left of the rear, the play and trash buttons can be found, and the View Mode control for the EVF and rear screen is prominently featured beside the viewfinder.

The back of the X-T20 will look familiar to most Fuji shooters

The back of the X-T20 will look familiar to most Fuji shooters

The biggest new feature with regards to camera control is the new rear touch screen.  This is the second X-Series body to feature a touch screen, but the first with interchangeable lenses. While the X-T2 and X-Pro2 both included the rather excellent focus stick for switching between focus points, the X-T20 loses that control but gains back some of that quick selection capability with the rear touch screen. A quick touch allows you to instantly change the focus point, or change the focus point and then take the picture.  The touch screen can also be used during image review in the same manner as with a modern smartphone. Slide between images and pinch to zoom both work well. If you don’t like using the touch screen, you can, of course, disable it. One feature that is missing, but I hope will eventually make it to the X-T20 via firmware update, is a way to reposition the AF point with the touch screen while using the EVF. Olympus and Panasonic cameras both have this capability, and the rear screen can be used as a touch-pad for AF point positioning.  I love this feature on my OM-D E-M10 Mark II and hope that the X-T20 gains this capability soon. In any case, I’m glad to see Fuji start providing touch capability in the X-Series, and hope it continues with new bodies to come.

The X-T20’s controls are well laid out and allow for a high level of customizability.  All four of the four-way directional buttons can be assigned a custom function, as can the Fn button, the movie record button and the pressing function of the rear dial.  In all, that’s seven programmable buttons, which allow you to set the camera up to your liking. These buttons, in addition to the Q menu, which allows access to many other commonly used functions make trips to the menu for settings changes a rare occurrence. Programming the buttons can be done either through the menu system or by long pressing on the button in question, which will immediately bring you to the custom settings for that button. The last physical control on the camera is the focus mode selector switch, which sits on the front left of the camera for easy access with your left hand.

The X-T20's Programmable Quick Menu

The X-T20’s Programmable Quick Menu

Going back to the menus, the Q menu is laid out similar to all the other X-Series cameras, and can be customized to your needs. The Q menu allows you to quickly change ISO, JPEG parameters, self timer settings, AF mode, flash mode and quick sets. The X-T20 also inherits the same upgraded menu system that first debuted on the X-Pro2.  It’s a very well laid out menu system with settings grouped in logical pages.  Unfortunately, the touch screen can’t be used to navigate menus.

Continue: Viewfinder, Rear Screen, Autofocus and Performance

About the author

Jordan Steele

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Admiring Light; Photographer; Electrical Engineer and Dad

23 comments

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  1. schralp

    I wanted this to be my next Fuji camera and was able to tolerate the change from the EVF of the X-T1. However, i found that I could not hold the camera with any lens besides my 35 f/1.4 without pressing the right button on the D-pad with the base of my thumb. The only solution was to lock them but that lockout takes a few seconds and toggling on/off to move the focus point was a disaster. Ideally, the focus point movement would be tied to a joystick and the D-pad locked independently. Alternatively, the touchscreen could be active when using the EVF (it works great when using the LCD and I really love that functionality and the haptics in my X70) but of course that brings up another set of issues I would expect; moving the focus point with your nose. Even with my smallest lens (the aforementioned 35) I struggled to keep from pushing the buttons with the base of my thumb. I guess that means it’s the X-T2 for me or stick with the X-T1….

    1. Jordan Steele

      Interesting. I can’t say I’ve ever accidentally hit that button when holding the camera. I will say that the add-on grip helps quite a bit in the handling of the camera…it is finicky due to its size without the grip. Still, the X-T2 is definitely going to feel better in the hand, especially if you have bigger hands.

  2. Stefano

    Thank You Jordan for your detailed review. I really appreciate your work.
    What you say about the EVF will maybe help me solving my doubts: I’m going to upgrade from XT1 and I’m not so happy to spend 1600 euros for the XT2. I think that the XT20 will fit most of my needs. My biggest concern was the smaller EVF indeed.

    I do hope that a future firmware update will allow the touch screen to be used for changing the focus point while looking into the EVF.
    I also hope that some of the features just announced for the next XT2 firmware update (up to 15 minutes exposure in “T” mode in particular) will be soon available for the XT20 as well.

    1. Jordan Steele

      It is definitely notably smaller. If you’ve used any of the X-E series, it’s the same apparent size, though you need to be closer to the optics to see the whole thing…some people don’t like that, I actually don’t mind at all because I position my eye that distance anyway, and it feels a bit more immersive that way. The only way to tell is to try yourself.

      1. Stefano

        Thank you very much.
        To me, the smaller size and direct usb charging (perfect features for a travel and hiking/trekking camera) are major pros for the XT-20.

        You wrote that the X-T20 has replaced the X-T1 as your primary Fuji body.
        Eventually, was the XT20 a worthy upgrade from the X-T1 for you, despite the smaller EVF and worse grip?

        Thank you!

        1. Jordan Steele

          I think so. The EVF is a fairly easy adjustment to be honest. Since I review lots of cameras, I’m used to jumping around different EVFs, so while the drop in magnification is certainly noticeable, you get accustomed to the smaller finder pretty quickly. It’s also the same resolution, so you’re not giving up any detail, just size.

          The extra detail and better AF performance were the big things for me, so in that realm I like it. If I shot exclusively Fuji, I probably would have sprung for the X-T2, but I shoot both Fuji and Sony primarily, so I couldn’t justify the extra cost, and I think it’s the right choice for me.

  3. Craig

    Jordan,

    Always appreciate your reviews for the practical and detailed considerations of a camera’s merits. Plus your photos are awesome. Really appreciate you using with a variety of lenses to show the possibilities. My X-T20 has been on back order for three weeks. Oye vey the anticipation!

    Craig

    1. Jordan Steele

      Thanks! Hope you enjoy it like I have!

  4. andi

    Hi Jordan
    I shoot with a XT-1 now, and I’m quite satisfied.
    If you compare the same pictures from the XT-1 and the XT-20 :
    is it a tiny or quite a huge difference?

    Andi

    1. Jordan Steele

      It’s not a huge difference. Noise wise, they’re fairly close…perhaps a half stop difference to the X-T20. The X-T20 definitely has more detail available, and while visible in a print, it’s not a massive difference. I did a comparison of the X-Pro2 to the A7 II, and at the end, to the X-T1 (for noise), but you can see the crops there. Image quality is the same for the X-T20 and the X-Pro2. http://admiringlight.com/blog/fuji-x-pro-2-vs-sony-a7-ii-noise-comparison/

      For the detail difference between them, see this crop from that test: http://www.admiringlight.com/2017/xt1-pro2.jpg

  5. Tiago

    Jordan
    Great pratical review.
    Inhave following your site for 2 years and this is my first post
    I have bought my xt-20 weeks two weeks ago and really like the camera. Coming from a XXD canon camera is really nice to have such high quality pictures (iso 12800 acros is really usefull for small prints and very film like), nice af tracking , nice video with film simullations, wonderful film simulations in a very small package
    I really agree with your pros and cons list: my main cons is the function button on the top plate is really mushy. The first i used it I was not sure if it was ok or Broken
    Two questions:
    What noise reduction settings do you Prefer?
    How would you classify shooting with manual portrait primes on it (with a nikon 85 mm)?
    Thank you and keep up the excelent work

    1. Jordan Steele

      I shoot RAW for the most part, so the noise reduction doesn’t get used unless I am using the the in-camera RAW conversion to share. Generally I leave it on -1, as I generally prefer a more detailed result with some noise than a smoothed image.

      I’d definitely recommend the grip for shooting with larger primes, but other than that, it works great. I think the clear EVF with focus peaking + magnification makes locking in on the focus point fairly straightforward, and certainly easier than on a DSLR.

  6. Jim Murray

    Hi Jordan, just found your site and and find it very informative.

    Have you any experience using the Thumb rest/grip made by Lensmate?
    They are not inexpensive but do look very well thought out and made.

    I do find the camera to be very compact, one of the attractions but do agree that holding it is cramped and also find myself hitting the four way switch with the heel of my thumb.

    Just wondering if the Lensmate thumb grip has worked for anyone.

  7. Jerome Froese

    I tried to like the X-T20 but found the grip to make this probably the most uncomfortable camera I’ve held in a very very long time. I tried it for 2 weeks but ended up returning it along with the 3 lenses I bought with it in exchange for a Sony A7II. Much more comfortable in hand for me.

  8. Gary

    Excellent review, very thorough.

    What wrist strap is that on your X-T20? It looks like a must have.

    Please let us know.

    Thank you.

    1. Jordan Steele

      That’s from Gordy’s Camera Straps. I have one for my Fuji and one for my Sony A7 II, and I love them. They are slightly stiff when you first get them, and then they break in over time and become very soft and supple. The one in this picture I’ve had for around 4 years and it’s holding up great.

  9. dunsun

    Hey Jordan,

    I really love your practical reviews.

    Please could you tell me if you had any troubles with auto white balance on this camera ?
    I’m thinking about getting this camera (I shoot m43 + Fuji X-A1).Fuji X-A1 produces excellent out of camera jpegs.
    From what I have seen auto white balance is not right (greenish tint) on this camera. For me it’s a very important criteria since I’m partly color blind and always fight with WB setting.
    This greenish tint is mentioned in many reviews (for example):
    http://mirrorlesscomparison.com/fujifilm-vs-olympus/omd-em1-mark-ii-vs-fuji-xt2/#Colours-white-balance-and-JPG-settings

    Regards

    1. Jordan Steele

      I can’t say that I noticed a tint in any of my shooting. Of course, I didn’t notice a green tint in my shooting with the X-T2 either. That said, I will often adjust white balance to taste in RAW, which may not be particularly useful for you, given the colorblindness, so I apologize I may not be of more help!

  10. Red Slater

    Great review. I have ordered one to replace my X-T10. I am quite satisfied with the 16M sensor, and am getting the T20 for other enhancements. My question is, if I switch the IMAGE QUALITY from FINE to NORMAL, so I get a 16M JPEG instead of a 24 JPEG, will the image match the 16M JPEG from the X-T10 in quality and print size?

  11. simo

    Hi jordan
    what about the gird artefact (inside the purple flare) with the x-t20.
    I readt that x-t2 and x-pro2 have the problem, did you see that problem with x-t20.

  12. Justine

    Which camera would you choose? The XT20 or the Oly EM10II? Curious to know :)

  13. Jonathan

    Terrific review and photos, thank you. I am seriously contemplating buying one. May I ask what software you use for converting X-trans raw files? Do you have a recommendation?

    Thank you
    Jonahan

  14. Ash

    Hi Jordan,

    Great review! It helped me make the decision to trade in my trusty X-T1 for an X-T20.

    I’m relaly happy with the video ease of use improvements, as well as the autofocus. The T1 as a great camera, but the T20 is a better fit for me.

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