The success of the Fujifilm X-T series cameras has created the demand for a lower cost camera that incorporates most of the features in a more compact body. The Fuji X-T1 prompted the birth of the X-T10, and the X-T2 obviously resulted in the second-generation X-T20. Built to the same standards of the X-T10, the X-T20 might look and behave very similarly to its predecessor, but it is a whole new camera internally.
I had a chance to test this camera back in 2017, but I kept on postponing the review due to my busy travel schedule and other commitments. And while testing out the X-T30 earlier this year, I realized that I did not want to leave the gap in-between, so I decided to go back and finally complete the review. The review of the X-T30 will obviously follow (as well as the review of the X-T3), although I must admit that I am also quite late with those reviews, considering that the X-T4 has already been released.
Similar to its predecessor, the X-T20 inherits most of its features from the high-end Fuji X-T2. It comes with the same 24 MP X-Trans III APS-C CMOS sensor, same processor and autofocus system, same battery. Even most of the camera menu features are the same. The X-T2 stands out with a larger, more weather-proof camera body, improved ergonomics, dual memory card slots, better EVF and better video recording features.
When compared to the X-T10, the X-T20 is a vastly better camera. It has a higher-resolution image sensor (24 MP vs 16 MP), superior processor, much better autofocus system, a newer menu system and 4K vs Full HD video shooting. You will also find newer features like Face and Eye tracking on the X-T20, which are not found on the X-T10. In short, considering how big of a leap the X-T2 made when compared to the X-T1, we can see the same thing when looking at the X-T20 vs the X-T10.
In short, if you don’t want a larger, more expensive camera like the X-T2 and want something newer and vastly better than the X-T10, the X-T20 has a lot to offer for the price.
Fujifilm X-T20 Specifications
- Sensor: 24.3 MP (1.5x crop factor)
- Sensor Size: 23.5 x 15.6mm
- Resolution: 6000 x 4000
- Native ISO Sensitivity: 200-12,800
- Boost ISO Sensitivity: 100, 25,600-51,200
- Sensor Cleaning System: Yes
- Lens Mount: FUJIFILM X mount
- Weather Sealing/Protection: No
- Body Build: Magnesium Alloy
- Shutter: 1/4000 to 30 sec (mechanical shutter) and up to 1/32000 (electronic shutter)
- Storage: 1x SD slot (SD/SDHC/SDXC, UHS-I compatible)
- Viewfinder Type: 2,360k-dot OLED viewfinder
- Continuous Shooting: 8 FPS (14 FPS with Electronic Shutter)
- Exposure Meter: TTL 256-zones metering
- Built-in Flash: Yes
- LCD Screen: 3.0 inch, 1040k-dot, Tilting TFT color LCD monitor
- Movie Modes: 4K @ up to 30p
- GPS: No
- WiFi: Yes
- Battery Life: 350 shots (CIPA)
- Weight: 333g (excluding battery and accessories)
- Price: $899 MSRP (body only)
A detailed list of camera specifications is available at Fujifilm.com.
Camera Construction, Handling and Controls
Just like on its predecessor, the build quality of the X-T20 is superb. Although it certainly feels a bit less rugged with plastic components, the X-T20 has the same tough magnesium alloy base as the X-T2. At the same time, more plastic components and a slightly smaller footprint certainly translate to less weight – the X-T20 only weighs 333 grams, while the X-T2 is quite a bit heavier at 457 grams. This is certainly good for those who want a smaller and lighter camera body, but for those who are used to a large camera, the added weight of the X-T2 is actually an advantage, as it helps balance the camera better, particularly when using higher-end lenses. Still, if one plans to use the compact and lightweight primes, the X-T10’s lighter construction would make it a nice camera to travel with.
When it comes to handling, I personally prefer the X-T2, thanks to its more sizable grip. I really love how small the X-T20 is, but it is not particularly comfortable to hand-hold for long periods of time, because my pinkie constantly slips down under the camera. A fix for that would be a metal handgrip, but it results in a bigger and heavier camera, so you will need to decide if that’s something you want to pursue.
Comparing to its predecessor, the X-T20 is basically identical on the front (with only the front command dial changing paint to match the color), so the differences are on the top and the back of the camera. Let’s start out from the top of the camera:
As you can see, both cameras are very similar, but there are a few important changes worth pointing out. The Fuji X-T20 no longer has a dedicated video recording button – it has been replaced by the function button that used to be on the back of the camera. The video recording feature has been moved to the left dial. The shutter speed and exposure compensation dials are basically the same (aside from “A” getting brighter red color paint), but functionally, the exposure compensation dial has received an improvement – you can now go all the way to +5 to -5 EV by using the front command dial.
The back of the camera is also nearly identical to its predecessor, but the move of the function button to the top has resulted in that button disappearing from the back of the camera. The rear command dial color has been changed to match the top finish. Other than that, there are no other changes.
Sadly, the bottom of the camera is still the same. This means that the tripod mount is where it has been on the X-T10, which is right next to the battery door! This is a poor design choice by Fuji engineers, as it makes it impossible to change the battery or the memory card when the camera is mounted on a tripod, or when a tripod plate is attached. I understand that the camera does not have adequate space to put the tripod socket in the middle of the camera, since that would push it too close to the mount and internals of the camera, but I wish Fuji put it on the other side of the mount as there is plenty of space there.
Other than this, the Fuji X-T20 does not have ant other ergonomic issues. The camera is an absolute joy to use – the controls on the X-T20 are well-placed and very intuitive to access, similar to what we have previously seen on the X-T10. I like the camera’s minimalistic design approach – it is a perfect tool for beginners and enthusiasts!
I am not a huge fan of the thin strap that comes with the Fuji X-T20, so I would recommend to replace it with something better and thicker. Fuji straps are very uncomfortable and they do irritate bare skin quite a bit. Despite the fact that one side of the strap is a little smoother than the other, it is the thin size of the strap and lack of any sort of padding that causes these issues. I am a huge fan of neoprene straps from OP/TECH. The classic version of the strap would probably be ideal, although if you feel that it is too thick or too big for the X-T20, they have all kinds of smaller sizes too. Just make sure to pick up a strap that is thin enough to go through the “ears” on the sides of the camera.
Lack of weather sealing is also something you want to keep in mind when shooting in harsh weather conditions. Unlike the X-T2 that you can use in extreme weather, including rain and high humidity, the X-T20 is not really suitable for such situations.
The built-in flash pops up when you move the flash lever on the left top of the camera. Similar to what we have seen on lower-end X-series cameras, the built-in flash on the X-T20 is pretty weak. I personally never bothered using it, although it can certainly work for adding a bit of fill-flash to your subjects. Speaking of flash, the flash shoe on the top of the camera is standard, so you can use pretty much any speedlight or a flash trigger you would like. I have previously tested the Nikon SB-900 speedlight along with the PocketWizard Plus III on the X-T20, and both worked out great. Unfortunately, Fuji’s flash sync speed is quite limiting at 1/180th of a second, but that’s a normal thing to see on many Fuji cameras.
Overall, the ergonomics of the Fuji X-T20 are excellent and I love the retro appearance of the camera, especially in silver finish.
The updated menu system is excellent (the same from the X-T2), and it is a big step up from what the menu system of the X-T10. I love the way Fuji organized the menu – everything makes logical sense, and things are easy to find. The only menu feature I wish Fuji updated is Auto ISO. It would be nice if Fuji implemented an automated way to control the minimum shutter speed according to the reciprocal rule, so that one could choose between “Slower”, “Normal” or “Faster” shutter speeds. Both Nikon and Canon have had this feature for many years now and it is time for Fuji to catch up.
Image Quality, RAW Files and Adobe RAW Handling
Fuji continues to use X-Trans sensors on X-series cameras, and the X-T20 is not an exception. While I personally don’t mind X-Trans and I have gotten used to it when using post-processing software like Lightroom, some people do not like the blotchy patterns it can create when sharpening images. A lot has been said on this topic, with some photographers recommending different post-processing software to edit images. To be honest, I have tried a number of software tools and while they do indeed produce superior results when compared to Lightroom, the amount of time I end up wasting at the end does not make it worthwhile for me.
Lightroom has gotten much better when it comes to handling Fuji X-Trans files, and the performance has improved as well, so it is not as big of a deal as it used to be.
Autofocus Performance and Accuracy
As I have pointed out earlier, the Fuji X-T20 inherits the excellent autofocus system from the X-T2, which is vastly superior to what the X-T10 was able to do. First of all, the number of focus points went up from 49 to 91 (up to 325 total), which is a big increase. Second, almost half of the center area is covered with phase-detection AF pixels, which allow the camera to focus much faster compared to phase-detection autofocus. Third, the X-T20 gains superior Single Point AF and Zone AF modes for tracking moving subjects, something the X-T10 really struggled with. Fourth, the X-T20 significantly improves the Face Detection / Eye Detection autofocus algorithm, which now works much better in AF-C mode. And lastly, the menu system now provides five different presents for continuous tracking that allow photographers to fine-tune the camera’s autofocus behavior.
While I previously found Fuji’s continuous autofocus tracking to be extremely poor, the X-T2 and X-T20 cameras have completely changed that. I can say that the X-T20 is now on-par with most mirrorless cameras on the market in the same price range, and it tracks fast-moving subjects quite well, which in itself is a huge achievement by Fuji.
As for focus accuracy, the X-T20 is as good as the X-T2, which is excellent. With all the focusing done on the sensor (no need for focus calibration, since there are no separate phase-detection sensors to deal with), all you have to do is make sure that the subject has enough contrast – and the camera will take care of the rest. The ability to zoom in and adjust the focus with extreme precision before shooting is also indispensable, something I love about all mirrorless cameras. Fuji makes that easy with the X-T20 – all you have to do is push the rear control dial, and the camera will instantly zoom in to the scene. This can be especially important when shooting with adapted manual focus lenses.
I also love the fact that I can easily customize the rear navigation buttons to change focus points. I set up mine to do this on the X-T20 as soon as it arrived (Set-Up -> Button / Dial Setting -> Function (Fn) Setting -> Fn3, Fn4, Fn5, Fn6 set to “Focus Area”). Although this potentially wastes the function buttons, I personally don’t mind it, as I can access most of what I need to access either through the Q button, or through the camera menu.
Manual focus is still the same as on all X-series cameras, which is pretty slow to rotate from one end to another. That’s because Fuji does not rely on a mechanical focus ring like on traditional lenses. When you rotate the focus ring, the focus is adjusted electronically via the fly-by-wire system. A focus scale is provided inside the viewfinder or on the rear LCD to indicate where you are at. It would be nice if Fuji added an option to speed up focus rotation by 2x, 3x, etc.
Metering and Exposure
The metering performance felt to be about the same as the X-T2, which is pretty accurate and actually works surprisingly well in most situations. If you shoot in tricky lighting, the exposure compensation dial is right there on the top of the camera to make those fine adjustments. I personally rarely used exposure compensation, since the camera performed well most of the time.
Shooting Speed (FPS) and Buffer
While the continuous shooting speed is the same for both X-T10 and X-T20 at 8 FPS, that’s only true for the mechanical shutter. Just like the X-T2, the X-T20 is also capable of reaching up to 14 FPS when using the electronic shutter. But the biggest gain comes in the camera buffer. Unlike the X-T10 that was limited to a second of shooting with its 8-frame buffer, the X-T20 extends the buffer to 25 lossless compressed RAW images. This means that you can now shoot continuously for a little over 3 seconds without worrying about the camera buffer filling up, which is great. If you switch to full-size JPEG images, you will be able to shoot for almost 8 seconds.
As for battery life, not much has changed on that front – it is still around 350 total frames since Fuji has been reusing the same battery from one model to another.
Video / Movie Recording
It is interesting to see how Fuji went from a very undesirable camera for shooting video, to acceptable (X-T2 and X-T20) and then finally to highly desirable (X-T3, X-T30, and X-T4). Fuji realized the importance of video when it released the X-T2 and X-T20 cameras, so these were the first to feature 4K video recording, which had already become the industry standard at the time.
Unlike the Fuji X-T2 that uses oversampling, the X-T20 applies line-skipping when recording 4K video content. This results in slightly less detailed 4K video when compared to the X-T2, which is not ideal, but certainly acceptable considering the price of the camera. In addition, the X-T20 cannot record in LOG format and it does not have a headphone input port in order to monitor sound quality. These are by no means deal-breakers for most photographers out there though, who probably don’t care for either feature. Those who need such advanced features would likely buy a higher-end camera anyway.
High ISO Performance and Dynamic Range
Considering that the sensor on the X-T20 is literally identical to the one on the X-T2, I don’t have much to add when it comes to high ISO performance and dynamic range. You can read most of my findings in my Fuji X-T2 review, where I also compare it to the Fuji X-T1.
In short, both high ISO performance and dynamic range are excellent, and nothing to complain about.
The Fuji X-T20 is a pleasure to shoot with. Its beautiful retro body, intuitive dials and controls, a well-organized menu system, as well as its minimalistic, ergonomically-friendly interface make the camera the ideal choice for any aspiring photographer. It is a very compact and lightweight camera, so if you couple it with Fuji’s excellent line-up of X-series lenses, you will be able to get superb results in a tiny, and yet versatile package.
For those who want to move up from the X-T10, the Fuji X-T20 has a lot to offer, making it a highly desirable upgrade. While the bump in image resolution from 16 MP to 24 MP might not be trivial for many photographers, the drastic improvements in the autofocus system alone are worth the cost of the upgrade in my opinion. Prior to the X-T2 / X-T20, the Fuji X system was only suitable for still subjects – it failed miserably at capturing moving subjects. That all changed with the introduction of the X-T2 (and subsequently, the X-T20), which gained an excellent AF system with many more phase-detection sensors and an updated algorithm that does a nice job in continuously tracking and capturing moving subjects. The menu system has also received a big facelift, with a better and more organized menu system form the X-T2. While Fuji kept most of the exterior look and the controls the same, most of the upgrades are clearly internal.
At almost half the price of the X-T2, the X-T20 offers a lot of value. Not everyone needs the build quality, the weather sealing, or the extra video features of the X-T2, so if you are one of those people, you will find the X-T20 to be a superb choice. Those who already own the X-T2 might find the X-T20 to be an excellent choice as a secondary or backup camera – the controls, as well as the menu system are very similar between the two.
Overall, although the X-T20 has now been replaced by the X-T30, it is still an excellent choice that I can highly recommend to our readers, especially if you are able to find it at a good price.
Fuji X-T20 Image Samples
All Images Copyright © Nasim Mansurov, All Rights Reserved. Copying or reproduction is not permitted without written permission from the author.
- Build Quality
- Focus Speed and Accuracy
- Battery Life
- Image Quality
- High ISO Performance
- Size and Weight
- Metering and Exposure
- Movie Recording Features
- Dynamic Range
Photography Life Overall Rating
Nasim, thanks for a nice review. It’s nice to see that in a market dominated by Nikon that the medical imaging company Fujifilm has carved out a niche’ for themselves in the APS-C mirrorless market.
Thank you Paul, glad you’ve enjoyed the review! I am about to post the review of the X-T30…