The Game-Changer for Hybrid Shooters: Fujifilm X-S20 Camera Review

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The Fujifilm X-S20 didn't have to be this good. Fujifilm could've cut some features, and this would still be a competitive tool for photographers and videographers. But thankfully, they didn't.

In fact, they've loaded the Fujifilm X-S20 with an impressive array of features that are not in any way limited. This makes the camera incredibly versatile, and it can be almost whatever you need it to be.

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The Overview

The Fujifilm X-S20 takes the tried-and-tested 26-megapixel X-Trans IV sensor from the predecessor and pairs it with the newer, fifth-generation processor to open up what this camera can do.

The result is a camera that can capture images up to 20 frames per second, shoot 6.2K video, and deliver Fujifilm's finest autofocus. This camera helps improve focus accuracy over the recently released X-T5. In challenging low-light situations, the X-S20 could also track subjects and maintain that lock.

I'll dive more into the specs and image quality later, but I want to talk about the ergonomics of this camera body. The X-S line from Fujifilm doesn't have any of the retro stylings that the company's known for. You have a modern design that looks and feels like a traditional camera. While seemingly modest, the grip provides a surprisingly comfortable and secure feel. Additionally, the fact that the body weighs less than 500 grams makes this camera a delight to carry around for extended periods, enticing you to use it more frequently. That's a feature, people!

As you examine the camera, you'll notice a front command dial that doesn't have a click-in function. In addition, there are two unlabelled dials, several buttons that you can customize, a joystick, and a new mode dial. This dial includes your standard PSAM, Auto, and Video modes. You can also swiftly transition between four custom modes, whether you're working with photo or video settings. Lastly, a new Vlog mode automates certain features, particularly those related to focusing, to simplify the setup when you're directly addressing the camera. Oh, wait, yes… there's also a Filter Mode which, again, I beg they replace with another custom mode in the future.

The camera also has a built-in flash which is valuable if you know how to bounce it. You also have access to a USB-C, micro HDMI, mic, and headphone port to connect any accessories, tether your camera for photography or use it as a webcam. As you may have guessed, a camera of this kind has a single SD card slot and runs off the new standard Fujifilm battery.

Of course, the LCD tilts all the way around, making it easier to monitor yourself. And the back has the option for the new Fujifilm cooling fan if you plan on using this in warm environments.

The camera also has wifi and Bluetooth, but what's more exciting is that Fujifilm has announced a brand new Fujifilm App for transferring photos and videos along with remote control features. I didn't get a chance to test the app out, but I hope we can see a considerable improvement in the overall experience with connecting your Fujifilm camera to your phone.

That's enough about the camera's design; let's talk more about what it can do in your hands.

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The Specifics

The Fujifilm X-S20 boasts a 5-axis image stabilization, providing up to 7 stops of stabilization in real-world settings. I could achieve half a second exposure time with a prime lens while still producing sharp handheld images.

As anticipated from this sensor, the image quality is excellent. With access to all 19 film simulations that Fujifilm has on the market, you can have this as a powerful street and travel camera that creates stunning images.

What also makes the entire capture experience more accessible is the autofocus with an eye, face, body, animal, and vehicle detection. You can dial in on what you're capturing to let the camera do more heavy lifting. This is just a breath of fresh air, and I'm happy to see Fujifilm deliver a top-class autofocus experience.

When it comes to video… holy shit! This surprised me. You can shoot up to 6.2K30P video in a 3:2 aspect ratio — similar to the Fujifilm X-H2S —in F-Log or F-Log2. This makes capturing for the web easier since you can recompose your shot with much more latitude. At the oversampled 4K, you can go up 60P, which is a healthy amount of room for most people. And slo-mo can be done up to 240FPS in 1080P. There's also the option for raw recording through an external recorder. And as a fantastic surprise, this camera can stream to your computer at 4K60P, which most cameras on the market don't offer.

Combining these robust video features with solid autofocus and the massive pool of photo functions, the X-S20 is a value-rich offer for individuals seeking a new creative tool. Is this a camera for professionals? No, I don't think so. For people looking to move from their phone or an older camera, this is a camera you look at because it gives you such a comprehensive feature set while being incredibly portable.

And remember, you have access to a massive collection of X-mount lenses, including this new gem…

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The New Lens

Say hello to the latest XF 8mm F3.5 — yes, 8mm F3.5. When you look through the lens, it has an equivalent perspective of 12mm, which is wildly expansive. You'd typically consider this for landscapes and architecture, but you could also pull off ambitious shots for video from this perspective.

The autofocus is quick and relatively silent, which can be a great option in sensitive environments. What's also amazing is how compact it is while remaining weather-resistant. Being an F3.5 lens, you have something you'll mostly use during the day when you need something unique but not heavy.

If you're into landscapes, architecture, or capturing many creative videos — predominantly for social media — this is a lens you should try to test out. Find a place with a relaxed return policy, or see if there's a loaner program near you. It's definitely not for everyone, but it's one of those perspectives you can go to a few times to differentiate your work.

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The Conclusion

If you don't need the photo resolution of an X-T5 or all the video frame rates from the X-H2S, the Fujifilm X-S20 seems like the best Fujifilm solution for your creative work. I've spent nearly a month with this camera and am continually surprised at its capability.

It used to make sense that you'd previously had these wider feature gaps between cameras. Some cameras do more, and as a result, they cost more. But now, we're seeing more and more solutions that pack a ton of value at an aggressive price. Now is a great time to be creative.

The Fujifilm X-S20 camera can be whatever you want. The ceiling is extremely high, and most limitations will come down to your creativity. When testing it, I didn't feel like this was an "entry-level" camera. And if you've been waiting to find a practical tool for your day-to-day, you should seriously consider this camera.

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