Photos

Much cheaper, but image quality equally excellent

The Fujifilm X-T20's autofocus is almost instantaneous in locking onto a subject in bright sunlight.
The Fujifilm X-T20's autofocus is almost instantaneous in locking onto a subject in bright sunlight. PHOTO: FUJIFILM

The Fujifilm X-T20 is a poor man's version of its more illustrious cousin, the flagship mirrorless camera X-T2.

Like the X-T2, the X-T20 uses the same 24.3-megapixel X-Trans III APS-C CMOS image sensor and X-Processor Pro image processor. It also features the same sleek retro SLR design that comes in silver or black. I reviewed the silver model with the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens.

But, at $1,100 cheaper, many things have to give for the X-T20.

It lacks the weather sealing, the autofocus (AF) joystick and dedicated ISO dial found in the X-T2. The X-T20 also does not feel as sturdy in terms of build.

In addition, the X-T20 lacks the dual memory card slots and the battery grip option of the X-T2.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $1,499 (body only)

    IMAGE SENSOR: 24.3-megapixel X-Trans III CMOS

    DISPLAY: 3-inch tiltable touchscreen display with 1,040,000 dots; electronic viewfinder with 2,360,000 dots

    SENSITIVITY: ISO 100 to 51,200

    SHOOTING SPEED: Up to 8 frames per second

    CONNECTIVITY: Wi-Fi

    WEIGHT: 383g (body only, with battery and memory card)


    RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

However, there is a hand grip option. And I think I might need one, as I do find the camera to be a tad small. While the grip felt comfortable, there is no room for my pinky.

Otherwise, handling is decent as the top shutter speed and exposure compensation dials allow quick changing of settings.

The X-T20 also has a smaller electronic viewfinder (EVF) with a magnification ratio of 0.62x, compared with the X-T2's EVF which has a magnification ratio of 0.77x. You do need to squint a bit when composing your photos using X-T20's EVF.

But you can always use the 3-inch tiltable touchscreen display, which now allows you to do touch shooting, or tap to shoot. However, you can choose only either touch AF or touch shooting. Many cameras let you do both.

On the bright side, the X-T20 has the same number of AF points (92) as the X-T2. Its predecessor, the X-T10, has 77. And the improvement in AF speed shows.

The AF is almost instantaneous in locking onto a subject in bright sunlight. Even under dim lighting conditions, it takes at most 1sec to secure a focus with the aid of the AF-assist light.

Operation-wise, the X-T20 starts up in around 0.5sec and shuts down in 1sec. Pretty fast when compared with the usual 2sec needed for each process for cameras in its class.

With an SD card that has a writing speed rated at 90MB per second, the X-T20 was able to shoot 25 RAW images in 3.4sec before the buffer ran out - just as advertised.

As you might expect from any Fujifilm camera with the X-Trans III image sensor, the image quality is excellent with great dynamic range and sharp details. Colours are accurately and vividly reproduced most of the time. In fact, when I compared X-T2's test shots with X-T20's, there was virtually no difference in quality.

The ISO performance is stellar. You will not see any image noise until ISO 3,200, when noise artefacts start to appear. Even at IS0 12,800, the images are still good enough for small prints and Web use. But, at ISO 25,600 and above, there is too much chromatic noise with clearly discernible loss of details.

Battery life is average. But, at around 350 still images on a full charge, it is actually slightly better (10 frames more) than the X-T2.

• Verdict: The Fujifilm X-T20 might not have the sturdy build or better handling of the X-T2, but it produces the same image quality as its flagship cousin.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2017, with the headline 'Much cheaper, but image quality equally excellent'. Print Edition | Subscribe