Monday, May 28, 2018

The Fujifilm XT-20

Some time ago, I wrote about falling in love with the Fujifilm X T20. However, back then, I just based my assessment on a The Verge article and my own experience of handling the camera inside a store for a whole 15 minutes or so. However, after using the camera for several months now, even taking it outside the country, I am ready to give my assessment of the camera and whether or not it is worth falling in love with.

This is my long term review of the Fujifilm X T20.

When I first held the T20, it seemed as if the camera fits into my hands like a glove. I instinctively knew where my fingers would go. It’s as if I have held the camera for a long time already. The buttons and dials, for me, are laid out where they should be. It seemed as if there is no misplaced thing on it.

The T20 is also very well-made. It is light enough for your everyday use but it doesn’t feel cheap. The dials are not loose, nor is the battery and SD card door. When you turn a knob, it gives a very satisfying click every time.

But all these things, it being well-made, it being good looking, it conveying love at first sight, mean nothing at all if it does not make wonderful photos. And I must say, in this regard, the Fujifilm X T20 really shines! The T20 has an APS-C size sensor but the camera produces really clean images even at high ISOs. Photos are crisp and, as with other Fujifilm cameras I have used, the saturation of the photos right out of the camera are well-suited for my taste. I really love the processing that Fujifilm cameras make.

And the photos made are so good I do not even bother to shoot in RAW. Just JPEGs for me all the way. It’s smaller in size and can easily be transferred to my iPad or iPhone and shared right away. No post processing needed. Well, except maybe to crop the photos and/or to level the photos. The photos made by this camera are really so good that they are shareable right away.

And boy have I shot with this camera. I photographed my friends playing badminton and I was able to convey the intensity of the game. Ok, it wasn’t an intense game, just a friendly game, but anyway, I was able to catch up with my friends’ movements with this camera. We are not pro athletes and I am not a pro sports photographer but, in a pinch, even pros would be able to use this camera for high-speed, high-intensity games.

I took the camera to Singapore and Japan and, because it is a light camera compared to DSLRs, that, walking around different places wasn’t much of a chore. Also, since the entire system is lighter compared to DSLRs, you can bring a couple more lenses and still you won’t be hampered by the weight of your camera gear. Actually, I plan to get a 23mm f/2 lens (34.5mm full frame equivalent) for my street photography. Also, because the camera is small, people on the streets won’t mind you as much. Compared to my DSLR, when I shot with the T20, I was able to shoot street scenes more inconspicuously. Shooting from the hip is much easier with this camera, especially with the flip screen.

I photographed fireworks with the T20 and I was very much impressed with the photos it produced. Despite the long exposure time, there wasn’t much noise in the JPEGs produced.

And, with the right lens, this camera can be an all-around camera. With the Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens that came with the camera, the T20 is perfect for friends and family gathering, for travel, and even for indoor sports. It’s even perfect for my product photography.

However, as with all relationships, not all is wrinkle-free when it comes to the T20. First, the battery doesn’t last long. I know this is true for all (or most) mirrorless cameras but a rating of 200 shots per charge is ridiculous. Even if I only use the electronic viewfinder, the battery is still doesn’t last long. I already bought an extra battery but, if you are going to do a whole day event, say a wedding, then you would need at least four batteries. It’s a good thing that the camera can be charged via USB so, when the wife and I went to Japan, I charged the camera using a battery pack while we were in transit.

Second, the location of the SD card is not very ideal. It sits beside the battery and taking the SD card, or even putting it back on, is really difficult. Wish the SD card is housed separately from the battery compartment...

I have not shot video with the T20 extensively but in the few occasions that I did, the camera gets really warm. I conferred with another T20 user and he said that that was normal.

Unfortunately, you cannot shoot selfies with this camera. Or, you can’t “easily” shoot selfies with the T20. This is because the screen doesn’t flip all the way back, so you won’t be able to see yourself when you shoot selfies.

However, all of these are not enough to turn me off the Fujifilm XT-20. It is a really wonderful camera and I don’t mind bringing it with me wherever I go. It is the perfect all-around camera.

The Fujifilm X T20 is Highly Recommended!

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