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Mar 25

Review: Fujifilm X-T20

While you’ll notice throughout this review that the X-T20 shares quite a lot with the X-T2, one of the major differences between the two cameras is the size of the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF).  The X-T20 has a 0.62x magnification viewfinder, which is fairly standard for mid-range mirrorless cameras and prosumer APS-C DSLRs.  While the EVF is nice and clear, with crisp optics, good brightness and excellent detail thanks to the 2.32 million dot panel inside, it is notably smaller than the X-T2’s giant 0.77x finder.  The EVF is the same apparent size as the X-E2, but for some reason I think it feels larger in actual use, and that may be due to the shorter eye point.  Many glasses wearers feel a longer eye point is more comfortable for them, but I’m a glasses wearer, and I actually prefer the shorter eye-point of the X-T20, and I feel it makes for a more immersive experience compared to the X-E2.  That said, the finder on the X-T2 is certainly a step up, and is one of the things you are paying for when you opt for the more premium body.

The rear touch screen of the X-T20

The rear touch screen of the X-T20

The display in the EVF is essentially identical to that of the X-T2, with a wealth of information that rotates to keep the indicators correctly oriented in the portrait orientation.  The X-T20 also has the same wide variety of focus aids available for manual focus, including enlarged focusing, focus peaking and Fuji’s unique split-prism focusing aid, which uses the phase-detect pixels on the sensor to provide a view similar to that of a split prism focus screen on a DSLR, though with four horizontal bands instead of a single split inside a ring.

The rear screen is a 3 inch, 1 million dot capacitive touch screen, and displays excellent viewing angles, good contrast and nice color.  The screen can tilt flat for low angle shots or down at around a 50 degree angle for shots above you.  Unlike the dual-tilting screen on the X-T2, the X-T20’s rear screen can’t tilt out for shooting low in the vertical orientation. In all, it’s a quality screen that is on par with other recent Fuji cameras.

Autofocus

The 24 megapixel X-Trans III sensor in the X-T20 is the same sensor used in the X-T2 and X-Pro2, and with the same processor and algorithms, has essentially the same autofocus system as well, with a few minor differences. This sensor has an expanded phase-detect area that covers around half of the total sensor area, and provides improvements to autofocus speed and accuracy over a wider portion of the frame compared to the earlier X-Trans II sensor.  I found the X-T20 to focus quickly and accurately in single shot mode, in essentially any lighting condition.  Slower lenses in dim light would slow down a bit, but overall speed is excellent, especially with the faster focusing primes like the 35mm f/2. The X-T20 shares the same wide focus point arrangement as the X-T2, with the basic mode showing 91 focus points, with an even finer 325 point grid available if you need extreme precision in focus point placement.  The focus points provide nearly 100% frame coverage.  Like the X-T2, the central 13 columns (or 7 columns if in the reduced focus point arrangement), are phase-detect AF points.

Running - Fujifilm X-T20 with Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 - Continuous AF

Running – Fujifilm X-T20 with Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 – Continuous AF

The X-T20 inherits the same improvements to the continuous autofocus system that first debuted in the X-T2, with much improved algorithms for subject tracking.There are 5 different continuous AF custom setting presets that alter the logic used for continuous focusing. The basic mode is similar to the existing logic used for tracking on earlier bodies, but the other modes offer advantages in a variety of other situations.  The other modes include one for ignoring obstacles that come between you and your subject, one for accelerating or decelerating subjects, one for suddenly appearing subjects, and one for erratically moving subjects.  One of the two differences between the X-T20 and the X-T2 is that the X-T20 lacks the custom setting option that is present on the X-T2, so you’ll have to use one of the preset modes on this newer body. Accuracy of the continuous AF is consistent with the X-T2 and a nice step up from previous generation Fuji X-Series cameras. The shot above was taken at the end of a 2 second burst with my son running at me, in which the vast majority of the frames were in perfect focus, including this one, even at a very close focus distance.

Fuji made improvements to the face detection algorithms in this latest generation of Fuji cameras, and that development continues in the X-T20. The face detection system can detect whole faces as well as eyes, with settings for a preference towards a left or right eye, or letting the camera choose the nearest eye. In a change from the X-T2, the X-T20 is the first Fuji camera to allow for continuous AF with phase detection, while face detection is enabled. Now you can leave face detection on and get accurate continuous autofocus at the same time: a great tool for use when shooting pictures of your kids playing, among other uses. However, I found that accuracy took a small hit if the subject is rapidly changing position while face detection was enabled, and that using zone focusing along yielded a higher percentage of in-focus shots.

Performance

The X-T20 has the same X-Processor Pro as the X-T2 and X-Pro2, and this quick processor allows for fast file processing and excellent responsiveness.  You won’t be waiting on this camera.  The X-T20 also has the same continuous burst rates as the X-T2, with 14fps and 11fps rates available in electronic shutter mode (and fixed focus), and 8fps frame rates available with focus tracking. In my experience with the camera, focus tracking works with both the mechanical and electronic shutter at the 8fps frame rate.

One of the biggest limitations with the older X-T10 was the extremely limited buffer, which filled after only 7 RAW shots or 8 JPEG shots: less than one full second of shooting at continuous high burst rate.  Thankfully, Fuji has removed this handicap from the X-T20.  I was able to capture 25 RAW shots or 65 JPEG shots in a single 8 fps burst before the camera began to slow down.  This is better than the X-T1, and only a bit short of what the X-T2 can accomplish.

In all, I am very pleased with the performance of the X-T20.

Continue: Key Features

About the author

Jordan Steele

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

22 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

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