Does the junior model to the award-winning X-T2 pack a punch? Michael Topham finds out if the Fujifilm X-T20 advances enough on the X-T10
Fujifilm X-T20: Build & Handling
If someone told you to shut your eyes before placing the X-T10 and X-T20 down in front of you, you’d have great difficulty identifying new from old. Fujifilm has stuck to the belief that if there’s nothing wrong with the design there’s no reason to change it.. The nicely sculpted handgrip, prominent rear thumb rest and grippy rubberized coating provide a very satisfying feel in the hand for such a small camera. Although a battery grip isn’t available for the camera like there is for the X-T2, an optional metal handgrip can be purchased separately for £89. This accessory has been well though through. It has a cutout to allow fresh batteries and memory cards to be inserted without have to remove it completely and best of all it adds a bit more bulk to the camera for users with large hands or those who plan to use heavier lenses.
Fujifilm hasn’t skimped on build quality – something we commented on when we reviewed the X-T10 almost two years ago. The die-cast magnesium-alloy top and base-plates offer reassurance that it’ll survive serious use and smaller details like its engraved metal dials insinuate it’s made to last. It’s a camera that’ll endure the occasional knock and bump along the way, but it’s not constructed to the same professional standard as the X-T2 so users shouldn’t expect to use it in a persistent rain shower without damaging it. When you pick it up and compare it side by side with the X-T2, its shallower grip and weight difference are obvious, but overall it must be said there’s little to fault regarding the fit and finish.
In typical Fujifilm X-series fashion the body is based around traditional analogue controls. The shutter speed dial is positioned alongside an exposure compensation dial, with the on/off switch located in-between. Those with an eye for detail may notice a few minor differences to the top plate. A new function button replaces the movie-record button, which has since been moved to the drive dial, and there’s a new ‘C’ setting on the exposure compensation dial. This allows users to take up to +/-5EV control using the front scroll dial and check what it’s set to via a small exposure scale that’s presented on the left edge of the screen and EVF.
Newcomers to the X-T20 have the option to flick the camera into a fully automatic SR Auto mode using a lever switch that’s located around the shutter speed dial. Those who’d prefer to take manual control of exposure settings will find that the aperture is usually set via a ring on the lens, but some Fujinon lenses lack this control, including the XC 16-50mm Mark II, which is the £200 cheaper alternative to choosing it with the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS kit lens. When you’re not presented with an aperture ring on a Fujinon lens you’re required to use the front control dial, which can also be depressed to toggle between aperture and exposure compensation when the latter is set to its ‘C’ setting. So you know which you have it set to, a blue semicircle is indicted above the f-stop and exposure compensation icons, both on the status screen and shooting display.
To operate the camera in shutter priority mode you can either rotate the shutter speed dial when the lens is set to its ‘A’ setting or set the shutter speed dial to its T position, which allows you to set a value anywhere between 1/32,000sec-30secs using the rear scroll dial. If you’re left wondering why you can’t increase the shutter speed beyond 1/4000sec with the shutter speed dial in its T position, it’ll be because the shutter type is set to the mechanical shutter. You’ll want to make sure it’s set to the electronic shutter or mechanical and electronic option.
With less physical space on the top plate, the X-T20 lacks a dedicated ISO dial. The good news is that you’re given an excellent level of personal customisation and it’s possible to reposition ISO to where you want it from the quick menu or alternatively access it from one of the five customizable function buttons across the body. After some experimentation, I found one the quickest ways to adjust ISO on the fly was to assign it to the rear dial. Those who’d like to perform back-button focusing can do so by assigning AF-ON option to either the AE-L or AF-L buttons, and in total you get 32 options to choose from when customizing the various Fn/AE-L/AF-L buttons.
Another area where the X-T20 differentiates itself from the X-T2 is the way its screen tilts. The X-T20’s screen offers the same two-way tilt manoeuvrability you get on the X-T10, with Fujifilm deciding to keep its inspired three-way tilting screen mechanism exclusive to the X-T2 and its first model in the GFX-series – the GFX 50S. The way the X-T20’s screen tilts upwards by 90° is very useful for low-level and waist-level shooting. Tilting it down by 45° makes it easier to compose high-angle shots too.