REVIEW: Using a Fujifilm X-T20 for Sport and Action


In July 2015 I posted a review of the Fujifilm X-T10 which I tested alongside my X-T1 as a lightweight alternative to the larger and more expensive camera.  So when Fujifilm announced the launch of the X-T20 I was keen to put one to the test.  

I took an X-T20 along with me to the FIA World Endurance Championship event at Spa-Francorchamps, the TCR International Series race during the European Le Mans Series event in Monza and I took a few shots with it during the recent Water Ski event at Hazelwood Ski Centre last month.


Like the X-T10, the T20 is tiny compared to it's bigger brother.  Even with the battery grip removed from the T2,  the picture above shows the larger camera dwarfing the X-T20.  

Now this can be seen as a good thing if you are traveling and need a lightweight camera with a big punch but when using it with long lenses such as the 50-140mm or 100-400mm the X-T20 can be a little unbalanced.  And like the X-T10 there is no battery grip option but you can fit a metal handgrip if you wish.



The real test is how it operates in the field and for this I can say it does a great job.  While there a couple of major things missing from the X-T20 compared to the X-T2, which I will go into later, the X-T20 is quite capable of shooting action and producing images at the same quality as the X-T2.

So what are the differences between the X-T20 and X-T2?
For a camera that retails at nearly half the price (the X-T20 is £799 compared to £1399 for the X-T2) you wouldn't expect to have all the bells and whistles included.  Having said that the X-T20 has all the functions you need.  Also the X-T20 has a couple of items that the X-T2 doesn't.  

Here is a quick comparison between the X-T2 and X-T20 on some of the items I use on a regular basis for sport (and a couple I don't but felt I should add them for the X-T20).



X-T2X-T20
Top Shutter Speed (MS/ES)1/8000 / 1/320001/4000 / 1/32000
Weather ResistenceYesNo
AF-C Custom FunctionsYesYes
SensorX-Trans III 24MPX-Trans III 24MP
Processing engineX-Processor ProX-Processor Pro
SD Card Slots21
SD Card CompatibilityUHS IIUHS I
Articulated LCD2 Way1 Way
Battery Grip AvailableYesNo
Frames per second (MS/ES)11 fps  / 14 fps11 fps  / 14 fps
Built in FlashNoYes
Video4K4K
Touch ScreenNoYes


Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/80s @ f18 ISO200
Statistics and Specifications are all well and good but it's how a camera operates in the field that is the test that matters.  Well the X-T20 worked really well, in fact once I had got used to the operation of the camera, which didn't take long as the controls are pretty much the same as the X-T2 with a few exceptions, I was shooting action images with ease.

AUTOFOCUS
I favoured the 50-140mm f2.8 (with the 2x converter fitted on occasion) as, for me, the 100-400mm felt a little unbalanced on the X-T20.  This combination worked really well, the autofocus was 'snappy' and I was able to track the subject with ease.

The lack of a toggle switch to move the AF point around the viewfinder was very frustrating to begin with but the X-T20 menu allows you to select the 4-way pad on the back of the camera to move the focus point around.  So this is one problem solved.  

The custom AF functions work exactly the same as on the X-T2 so I was able to customise the tracking to suit the subject I was shooting.

ISO CONTROL
The lack of a dedicated ISO dial on the top plate also threw me when I started to use the X-T20 but this is easily changed in the 'Q' menu, though I did miss the ability to change the ISO quickly using the front command dial like I can on X-T2.

TOUCHSCREEN
The touch screen is a useful option for the studio or landscapes, but for sport it isn't much use so I switched it off in the menu.

Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/1250s @ f2.8 ISO200
SD CARDS
One of the big differences between the X-T2 and the X-T20 is the number and type of SD cards that can be used.  The X-T2 has two cards which are both the fast UHS-II type. This allows faster write speeds and allows the buffer to clear faster after shooting a burst.  

The X-T20 has one card slot and this is the slower UHS-I.  While the buffer is the same size as the X-T2 the slower write speed means the buffer takes longer to clear and this did cause me an issue trackside on more than one occasion.

The solution is to be more selective with what you shoot and also shoot shorter bursts. 

The other issue is the location of the card slot on the X-T20, like the X-T10 it is located behind the battery in the base of the camera next to the door hinge.  If you have big fingers like me it is really fiddly to swap the cards when one is full and I had to resort to taking the battery out first.  For most people this wont be a problem because, unlike me, they wont need to change cards quickly.


FLASH
This is a useful feature that the X-T20 has over the X-T2.  I have an EF-X500 flash for my X-T2 but it is rarely on the camera unless I know I am going to need it.  For those occasions when a picture presents itself and a little bit of fill in flash would be useful, the X-T20s pop up flash is very useful.


Using the Pop Up Flash - Fujifilm X-T20 + XF18mm f2 - 1/60s @ f2 ISO640

Pop Up Flash selector lever
VIDEO
The X-T20s ability to shoot 4K video, the same as the X-T2, is a big plus point and better than the X-Pro2, which can only shoot 1080P.  I didn't use the video function of the X-T20 for my work, preferring to stick to my tried and tested X-T2, but I did do a couple of quick tests and I can report the function is on a par with the X-T2.

WEATHER RESISTANCE
This might be an issue for me and my work but I have to remind myself that I have shot in Bahrain out in the desert and also in the rain in Scotland with a non WR X-Pro1 with out any issues. As long as you don't allow your X-T20 to become soaked and cover them up when the rain does come down, I wouldn't worry too much about the lack of a weather resistant finish to an X-T20.







CONCLUSION
The X-T20 is a worthy successor to the X-T10 and a camera capable of shooting action with ease.  There are a few items that are missing that I  have grown used to on the X-T2 but let's not forget that this camera is £799 rrp compared to £1399 rrp so it is not surprising that some of the functions are missing.

The X-T20 would be worth considering for those of you looking for a high performance camera as their main body and can't justify the expense of an X-T2, or it could be considered as a second body to an X-T2.

After three weeks with the X-T20 I can conclude that Fujifilm have done it again and the X-T20 can be considered a worthy addition to the X Series line up.

For more information on the X-T20 CLICK HERE


The kerbs at Spa-Francorchamps - Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/800s @ f2.8 ISO200

Morning at Spa-Francorchamps - Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f16 - 1/400s @ f18 ISO200
The old banked track at Monza - Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/1000s @ f2.8 ISO200

Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/1600s @ f2.8 ISO200

Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 + 2x Converter - 1/125s @ f10 ISO200
Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 + 2x Converter - 1/320s @ f8 ISO200
Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 + 2x Converter - 1/180s @ f13 ISO200

Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/160s @ f2.8 ISO3200

Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/125s @ f2.8 ISO3200

Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/160s @ f2.8 ISO3200
TCR International Series Start - Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/1000s @ f4 ISO200
TCR International Series Start - Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/1000s @ f4 ISO200
TCR International Series Start - Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/1000s @ f4 ISO200
TCR International Series Start - Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/1000s @ f4 ISO200
TCR International Series Start - Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/1000s @ f4 ISO200
TCR International Series Start - Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/1000s @ f4 ISO200
TCR International Series Start - Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/1000s @ f4 ISO200
Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/60s @ f16 ISO200 
Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/60s @ f16 ISO200
Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/125s @ f11 ISO200
Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/125s @ f11 ISO200
Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/200s @ f2.8 ISO3200

Fujifilm X-T20 + XF50-140mm f2.8 - 1/1250s @ f2.8 ISO200



Jeff Carter is an Official Fujifilm X Photographer and was named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador in June 2015. In 2016 he worked with the company on the launches of the Fujifilm X-Pro2 in Tokyo and the Fujifilm X-T2 in Paris in July 2016.  You can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE


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FUJIFILM X-TREME

Fujifilm X-Treme is a project run for Fujifilm by official X-Photographers Jeff Carter of MacLean Photographic and John Rourke of Adrenal Media.  

Having already proven that Fujifilm cameras can work as well as any other camera system in the world of motorsport within the World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, these two sport and commercial photographers will be taking the Fujifilm X-Series and GFX cameras and lenses to the extreme in different sporting environments.

If you are using a Fujifilm camera to capture action images in extreme conditions we invite you to come and join us in the Fujifilm X-Treme FACEBOOK GROUP

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