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: Dynamic range, resolution and noise
We didn’t expect the X-T20 to throw up any surprises in terms of its image quality performance and predictably it doesn’t. By inheriting the same sensor and processor that you find in the X-T2 and X-Pro 2, the X-T20 it produces lab results that are as good as the flagship models. The level of detail the sensor resolves is extremely impressive when you start to analyze images at very close magnification and this is partly down to the fact it lacks an optical low-pass filter. Those who’d like to preserve a very high level of detail for creating large prints and cropping into images won’t be disappointed by the sensor’s performance. The noise response is very good too to the point where users won’t need to shy away from cranking the sensitivity up as high as ISO 3200 and ISO 6400 when required. You can shoot at higher sensitivities, but compromises in image quality do become more obvious when you start to encroach ISO 25,600 and ISO 51,200.
Our Applied Imaging Tests tell us the X-T20 offers 12.5EV of dynamic range at ISO 100, which falls just short of the 13.1EV figure we previously recorded on the X-T2. The graph clearly indicates that the dynamic range stays above 10EV up to ISO 800, with figures at ISO 1600 (9.5EV), ISO 3200 (8.5EV) and ISO 6400 (7.4EV) being almost identical to what we’ve got out of the X-Pro2 and X-T2 before. It’s only when the sensitivity is pushed beyond ISO 12,800 that we see the figure drop below 6EV, with 5.7EV and 5.4EV being recorded at ISO 25,600 and ISO 51,200 respectively. Though this dynamic range performance doesn’t set any records, users can be confident of returning a good level of detail to shadowed regions with minimal noise.
The level of detail recorded by the X-T20’s 24MP sensor is comparable to the detail resolved by X-Pro2 and X-T2. The X-T20 resolves a maximum of 3,400l/ph between ISO 100 and ISO 400, with resolution dropping ever so slightly at ISO 800 to 3,200l/ph. Pushing beyond ISO 800 sees the level of detail stand up extremely well with 3,200l/ph being resolved at ISO 1600 and 3,000l/ph at ISO 3200. Detail dips below 3,000l/ph when the sensitivity is pushed beyond ISO 6400. The detail resolved at ISO 12,800 (2,800l/ph) remains high and the sensor even manages to resolve 2,400l/ph when shooting in the expanded ISO 51,200 setting.
The X-T20 is the third X-series model we’ve run through our lab with the 24.3-million-pixel X-Trans CMOS III sensor. Use the camera between ISO 100 and ISO 800 and you’re guaranteed excellent image quality with barely a hint of noise. Go one stop higher to ISO 1600 and you do start to notice some luminance noise in dark shadowed regions if you look very closely, but this is very easily controlled in post processing with noise reduction. Luminance noise slowly starts to become more apparent in images at ISO 3,200 and 6,400, however some careful application of noise reduction allows you to walk away with excellent results at these high sensitivity settings. Personally, I’d set ISO 6400 as my upper limit when using the cameras Auto ISO setting, but in some extremely dark situations I wouldn’t hold back from pushing up to ISO 12,800 in order to get the shot. The higher ISO 25,600 and ISO 51,200 settings should be avoided wherever possible.