Fujifilm X-S20 review: a mid-range marvel

Everything that made the Fujifilm X-S10 excellent, and then some

Fujifilm X-S20 camera in hand
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The Fujifilm X-S20 simplifies stills photography and video content creation with a host of auto shooting modes that include a dedicated vlogging mode, automatic scene detection, and improved subject tracking. It also ups the video ante by offering 6K/30p 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording. Then there's the bigger battery, plus everything that made the X-S10 such a great all-rounder. It's a shame that these updates have warranted a steep price hike over that camera, which makes the X-S20 a hard sell when the older model is still excellent.


  • +

    Super-impressive video features

  • +

    Excellent handling for beginners

  • +

    Bigger battery capacity


  • -


  • -

    Still no weather proofing

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Two-minute review

The Fujifilm X-S20 takes on the mantle from the X-S10 as Fujifilm's mid-range mirrorless camera. If you're even remotely familiar with how to use a camera, the X-S20 is easy to use, while also offering features to keep more advanced users happy. 

Like the Fujifilm X-S10, the new camera is a very capable all-rounder, now with added features that make the X-S20 feel more targeted towards entry-level users. There’s a dedicated Vlogging mode to simplify content creation, while the Auto photography mode has been expanded to make taking pictures even easier, and includes improved automatic scene detection and subject tracking autofocus.

We still have the same 26MP crop-sensor as found in the X-S10, but video quality has taken a huge leap with 6K / 30p 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording. There's also the choice of 'open gate' video recording, which means you can break free from the 16:9 aspect ration shackles and use the full 3:2 image area of the sensor for a little bit of extra headroom.

Open gate video benefits those in particular that shoot in vertical format, for example for social,  because you don't sacrifice as much of the image area. Video features are above what we would expect from a camera at this level. 

Fujifilm X-S20 camera front with 8mm F3.5 lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

Battery life has also come on leaps and bounds; the X-S20 will go all day no problem, which is no mean feat for such a compact, photo and video camera.

Such is the number of improvements that the X-S20 is almost a different proposition to the X-S10. If the target audience for the Fujifilm X-S20 is, indeed, beginner photographers and content creators, then its higher price might be a sticking point, particularly since the X-S10 is still an excellent camera, and can be had for a lot less, even at full price. 

On the flip side, the X-S20 holds its own against costlier cameras like the Sony A6700, and through that lens it feels good value. It's priced somewhere between entry and enthusiast level, and for either camp the X-S20 is a highly capable all-rounder and ranks as one of our best mirrorless cameras

The X-S20 is a camera that's hard to pick fault with. I'd happily throw in the bag and use it as an everyday snapper, which is probably why the camera also features in our best travel cameras guide. Fujifilm has hit the sweet spot with this one.  

Fujifilm X-S20: release date and price

  • Announced May 24 2023
  • Available to buy from June 2023
  • Body-only price: $1,299 / £1,249 / AU$2,349

Fujifilm announced the Fujifilm X-S20 at the X Summit held in Bangkok on May 24, alongside a new wide-angle lens, the XF 8mm f/3.5 R WR. Both were available from June 2023 around the world.

The camera body will set you back $1,299 / £1,249 / AU$2,349, while a single-lens kit with the XC 15-45mm costs $1,399 / £1,349 / AU$2,499. 

That’s a pretty steep price hike over the Fujifilm X-S10 which launched with a very reasonable body-only price of $999 / £949 / AU$1,699 in 2020. Admittedly, there are a whole bunch of new features here that arguably justify the price hike, but if you don’t necessarily need those features – which includes double the battery capacity – then the X-S10 looks to be the more economical option for those looking for a very capable mirrorless camera.

  • Price score: 4 / 5

The Fujifilm X-S20 body standing beside a kit lens

(Image credit: TechRadar / Sharmishta Sarkar)

Fujifilm X-S20: Design

  • Physically identical to the Fujifilm X-S10
  • No weather sealing
  • Bigger battery

The Fujifilm X-S10 had a chunky grip and a really well-balanced body, and that's been inherited by the X-S20, which I'm all for. It sits very comfortably in the hand, especially for those with small mitts, and the button placements are just right.

Unlike the quintessential lots-of-dials Fujifilm design, the X-S series offers more simplified controls on the top plate. This should make it easy for people who are just beginning their photography or videography journey to get to grips with a relatively advanced camera.

The only change on the top plate is on the main PASM dial, with the Scene Position (SP) mode on the X-S10 replaced by a dedicated Vlog mode on the X-S20. 

The new camera remains compact, and weighs in at just 491g – that's 26g more than the X-S10, with the added weight coming from the physically larger and higher-battery capacity. The X-S20 gets the NP-W235 battery pack that's used in Fujifilm's medium-format cameras and which effectively doubles the shot life to about 800 (from 325 on the X-S10) on a full charge.

Those minor changes aside, the design of the X-S20 is largely identical to that of the X-S20 – and, disappointingly, given the price increase, that includes the lack of weather sealing. There's the same 2.36 million-dot viewfinder with a magnification of 0.62x, and the same 3-inch 1.84 million-dot fully articulating touchscreen.

As on the X-S10, instead of the D-pad controls found on Fujifilm's X-T cameras there are just three buttons beside the monitor and four along the top, each clearly labeled. The joystick controller offers good feedback when you use it to move the focus point or navigate the menu system.

Bolstering the dedicated Vlog and Movie modes are a 3.5mm audio input jack for attaching external mics, and a micro HDMI port for video capture to an external recorder – although, as mentioned, there's no weather sealing, so you'll need to be careful when shooting in inclement conditions outdoors.

A USB-C cable connects the camera to a PC for file transfer, and can be used to charge the battery in-camera.

The X-S20 handles remarkably well, even with a long lens attached. As a relatively petite person with small hands, I found it comfortable even to use the camera single-handed for some still shots, although I didn't quite trust myself or the camera's IBIS for steady video capture with one hand.

  • Design score: 4.5 / 5

Fujifilm X-S20: Features and performance

  • New Vlog mode
  • Easy Auto shooting features with better subject tracking
  • Proven sensor and better IBIS

While things remain more or less the same on the outside, a lot has changed on the inside to make the X-S20 a worthy upgrade for some – if you can spare the cash.

The new camera inherits the same 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor that's used in the X-S10 and the Fujifilm X-T4, so we already know how well it can perform, and speed and performance are improved courtesy of Fujifilm's latest-generation imaging engine, the X-Processor 5, which also makes the X-S20 a little less power-hungry.

To make the X-S20 even more beginner-friendly, Fujifilm has improved the Auto shooting mode, which can now automatically select an appropriate scene setting depending on what you're shooting – I photographed a riverside scene, and the camera made the colors in the images more vivid. The Auto mode can also now automatically detect a subject and track it, which is particularly handy for animals and video capture.

Subject-tracking autofocus can recognize people, animals (including birds and insects), cars, motorbikes, airplanes, trains, and even drones.

The dedicated Vlog mode is another ease-of-use improvement. Content creators using this mode have features like Product Priority (much like Sony's Product Showcase autofocus mode) and Background Defocus options available at a tap of a button, so they can get their videos looking the way they want without having to think about how to do this.

Fujifilm has also improved the in-body stabilization, upping the compensation from 6.5 stops in the X-S10 to seven stops, for better results when shooting video and low-light stills.

  • Features and performance score: 5 / 5 

Fujifilm X-S20: Image and video quality

  • 6K 'open gate' video and Full HD 240p slow motion
  • Same 26MP APS-C sensor as X-S10
  • 19 color profiles, plus filter effects

Further similarities between the X-S20 and the X-S10 include Fujifilm's plethora of color profiles – Fujifilm calls these Film Simulation modes – and filter effects. With Film Simulations such as the divine Fujifilm Acros and Nostalgic Neg just a scroll of the top-left dial away, the process of applying effects is beginner-friendly, and I found myself playing around with different looks more regularly than usual. In fact, I wrote about how the Fujifilm X-S20 makes shooting black and white street photography super-fun.

You can easily find a profile to adopt for various scenarios – I love Fujifilm Acros for bright sunny weather, for example. The filters have a dedicated place on the mode dial, while the Film Simulation modes – which are available for every shooting mode, including video – can be found in the Quick Menu (Q button) on the top plate. You can see what some of those filters and Film Simulations look like in the image galleries.

Auto mode subject tracking was a little hit and miss for me while trying to capture a pair of dogs playing, but the auto detection of scenes works like a charm.

Video capture has gone up a couple of notches on the Fujifilm X-S20, and what's on offer here is close to overkill for a camera at this level, with 6K open-gate 10-bit 4:2:2 video, plus options to shoot in ProRes RAW. 

Conversely, the Vlog mode makes it easy for less experienced users to get to grips with video capture. Image stabilization for movies is good, but on windy days and when shooting with a long lens a tripod is still a must.

  • Image quality score: 4.5 / 5

Fujifilm X-S20: Test scorecard

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Fujifilm X-S20
PricePricier than the X-S20, but with more features4 / 5
DesignCompact, sits in the hand perfectly, and suited to users of any skill level4.5 / 5
Feature and performanceFujifilm has gone to town, with generous photo and video features5 / 5
Image qualityDecent photo and video quality from its 26MP APS-C sensor4.5 / 5

Should I buy the Fujifilm X-S20?

Fujifilm X-S20 camera front with 8mm F3.5 lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You need a camera that will go all day
Fujifilm has worked wonders with the X-S20's battery life; it's double that of the X-S10 and will last an entire day of moderate use – perfect for a travel camera where you might not have the luxury of mains power to top up.

You mix it up between photo and video
With excellent 26MP stills and 6K open gate video, supported by dedicated controls and modes for both disciplines, the X-S20 is the epitome of hybrid. 

You're a beginner who wants a long-term camera
It's list price is hardly beginner-level, but the design and handling of the X-S20 is completely beginner friendly, and there's enough here to keep you interested as your skill level grows, including manual exposure control. 

Don't buy it if...

You don't shoot much video
Like its predecessor, the X-S20 is a highly capable stills camera, and it comes with much 6K video... at a cost. If predominantly shoot stills, then the X-S10 could be the economical choice. 

You need a super tough camera
The build quality of the X-S20 is decent, almost deceptively so, because it isn't in fact weather-sealed. If you're a rough a tumble photographer out in inclement weather, the Sony A6700, or stepping up to another Fujifilm camera like the X-T5, might be the better choice.  

You're style conscious
The X-S20 is a decent looking camera, but it's no X-T30 II – a camera which packs the retro charm with its silver top plate and exposure dials. No, the X-S20 is a more functional Fujifilm offering.   

Fujifilm X-S20: Also consider

If our Fujifilm X-S20 has inspired you to think about other options, here are two more cameras to consider…


Sony A6700
Sony's latest flagship APS-C camera is the pricier, rangefinder-style A6700. It's a close call between the two cameras; the A6700 has a weather-sealed body, excellent autofocus and incredible battery life, while the X-S20 handles a little better and its 6K video image quality has the upper hand. We've published a Sony A6700 vs Fujifilm X-S20 article that goes into more detail. 

Read our full Sony A6700 review


Nikon Z fc
Another travel-friendly crop-sensor mirrorless camera to consider is the Nikon Z fc. With retro charm it's actually the more attractive camera of the two – who would've thought another brand could out-retro Fujifilm – plus it's the economic option by some margin. However, after that the X-S20 is the clear winner, with better photo and video quality, broader lens choice, and an all-round impressive feature set.

Read our full Nikon z fc review

How I tested the Fujifilm X-S20

Initially had the Fujifilm X-S20 for a few days on a trip to the coast for the Fujifilm X Summit in Malta, where I also had the multi-purpose XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens, plus the ultra-wide XF 8mm f/3.5 lens. After that hands-on, I subsequently had a longer time with the camera in the UK for more in-depth experience, with the same two lenses. Put simply, I'm very familiar with the X-S20 and what it is capable of. 

You can see from some of the selection of photos taken from an archive containing 1,000's of images that I've put the X-S20 through its paces in a number of shooting scenarios; as an everyday travel camera (where it excels), for portraits, landscapes, night scenes and more. Almost all of the pictures are taken handheld, which has provided a decent test for the X-S20's image stablization skills.

First reviewed May 2023 and updated August 2023

Timothy Coleman
Cameras editor

Tim is the Cameras editor at TechRadar. He has enjoyed more than 15 years in the photo video industry with most of those in the world of tech journalism. During his time as Deputy Technical Editor with Amateur Photographer, as a freelancer and consequently editor at Tech Radar, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with cameras, educating others through news, reviews and features. He’s also worked in video production for Studio 44 with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi. Tim is curious, a keen creative, avid footballer and runner, and moderate flat white drinker who has lived in Kenya and believes we have much to enjoy and learn from each other. 

With contributions from