Hands on: Fujifilm X-T20 review

Fujifilm’s bargain mirrorless camera packs serious 4K video

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Our Early Verdict

The Fujifilm X-T20 is an impressive, barely cut-down version of the X-T2 with the same high-resolution sensor and 4K video recording options.

For

  • 4K video for a mid-range camera
  • Speedier autofocus performance
  • Convenient touchscreen controls

Against

  • Autofocus system lags behind the competition

The Fujifilm X-T10 was a spectacular mini-me version of Fujifilm X-T1, offering many of the same features in a smaller package and at a lower price point. Now we have the Fujifilm X-T20, which even more closely copies the X-T2, bringing 4K video plus its own added touchscreen to the mid-range shooter.

All together the new Fujifilm X-T20 is a camera worthy of not only being called the X-T2’s little brother, but also one of the most value-packed cameras yet.

Features

  • 24.3MP X-Trans III APS-C sensor
  • 4K video capture at 30p
  • $899 or £799 (about AU$1,200) body only
  • $999 or £899 (about AU$1,600) with XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 lens
  • $1,199 (£1,099, AU$1,799) with XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens
  • Available February

Following in the footsteps of the X-Pro2 and X-T2, the X-T20 incorporates Fujifilm’s latest 24.3MP X-Trans III APS-C sensor, a significant upgrade from the X-T10’s 16.3MP sensor. 

On top of creating sharper images there’s an expanded ISO range that runs from ISO 200-12,800 natively, and is expandable to ISO 100-51,200.

The Fujifilm X-T20 also comes equipped with a new X-Processor Pro imaging engine. Although continuous shooting remains capped at the same 8fps, the updated mid-range shooter boots up slightly faster, in 0.4 seconds, and shutter lag has been reduced to 0.05 seconds.

The updated processing engine also brings with it a new Grain effect for a distinctive film-like graininess, in addition to Fujifilm’s film-simulation filters. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to test out the new effect in our short hands-on time, but stay tuned for more impressions on it in our full review.

Following Fujifilm’s new-found focus on video, the surprisingly offers 4K (3840 x 2160) movie capture at 30p as well as Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 60p, both of which support film simulations as well.

The Fujifilm X-T20 sticks to the same 2.36m dot OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF), but your eyes and fingers will more likely be drawn to the new touchscreen.

Like on the Fujifilm X70, the touch-sensitive display makes moving the autofocus point a cinch. Outside of shooting, you’ll also be able to swipe through your photos, and pinch-to-zoom for a closer look. 

That said, Fujifilm’s touch interface isn’t as robust as Olympus’s and operating menus still requires manipulating the physical controls. Not that we'd have it any other way with Fujifilm's classically dial-driven interface.

Build and handling

  • Magnesium top and bottom plates
  • A teensy bit larger and heavier than the X-T10
  • No weather-sealing

Despite the beefier guts, the Fujifilm X-T20 has retained the Fujifilm’s X-T10’s diminutive size. In fact, it almost feels like it’s an X-T2 that went on a diet and lost a third of its mass. Although it’s small, the camera feels solidly constructed thanks to magnesium top and bottom plates, while the rest of the body is made of a plastic.

The Fujifilm X-T20 also features a slightly beefier grip that’s only a teensy sliver thicker, but adds up to a much more secure feel when you have the camera in hand.

In traditional Fujifilm fashion, the top plate is busy with controls including  shutter speed, exposure compensation and drive dials – the last of which sees the addition of a video mode.

The exposure compensation dial also gets a new ‘C’ position, which enables up to +/-5EV in 1/3 steps when used in conjunction with the front command wheel.

Sadly, an ISO dial hasn’t been added as it has been on the Fujifilm X100F and X-Pro2, but it’s easy enough to assign this setting to the new custom function button that takes the place of the movie record button that was on the X-T10.

 Otherwise nothing has changed about the rear-side controls on this camera, save for the added touchscreen controls.

Autofocus

  • 325 autofocus points
  • 49 phase-detect AF points
  • 91 AF areas in Zone AF mode

The Fujifilm X-T20’s autofocus system has seen the most impressive upgrade, boasting a total of 325 autofocus points compared to the prior 49 points on the X-T10. What's more, phase-detection AF points have been boosted from 15 to 49.

There are also plenty of modes on tap including single point, Wide/Tracking AF and Zone AF (with selectable groups of 3x3, 5x5 or 7x7 AF points).

Beyond the numbers, the X-T20 feels much snappier, and focused in an instant even while we were testing the camera in a dimly lit event space.

Early verdict

The Fujifilm X-T20 gives you almost all the same features found in the X-T2, in a smaller and much cheaper body. Aside from the weatherproofing and simpler autofocus system, this is a fully featured camera at an affordable price.

Rather, the X-T20 is the feature packed mid-range camera we’ve been waiting for from Fujifilm. It’s competitive with the Panasonic Lumix G80/85 $899 (£699, AU$1,399) and the $999 (£999, AU$1,549) Sony A6300, while offering more physical controls and Fuji’s attractive color rendering – and that might just be enough to attract everyone’s attention, as it has ours.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin has been a writer for the better part of five years covering everything from green energy to high octane cars, videogames and tech, biohacking, and even city politics. At TechRadar he's settled into a life as the Computing Editor while also covering cameras and shooting video. He can be often found in the lab testing a half dozen laptops at a time or deciding which camera bags to carry for the day.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.