Fujifilm X-S20

      Photo Review 9.0

      In summary

      The X-S20 is a very competent all-round model that caters to a wide variety of photographers and videographers. With a body weight of 491 grams the new camera will be especially appealing to travellers and run-and-gun videographers who want to document their experiences or create content for social media.

      The new Vlog Mode, which replaces the X-S10’s SP mode on the camera’s mode dial, gives users a more video-orientated interface that makes it easy to access the main controls a content creator/vlogger would routinely use.

      Full review

      Released on 24 May, Fujifilm’s new X-S20 camera has a similar size and body configuration to the two-and-a-half year-old S-X10 model (which we haven’t reviewed), although it provides a number of important improvements. The most obvious addition is the dedicated Vlog setting on the mode dial, which opens a special video-centric user interface that is designed to make the key controls used for vlogging more accessible. Like its predecessor, the X-S20 has a simpler, more DSLR-like user interface, which will make it more appealing to photographers switching from other brands.

      Angled view of the new Fujifilm X-S20 camera with the XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ kit lens. (Source: Fujifilm.)


      Instead of the dedicated shutter speed and exposure compensation dials on Fujifilm’s X-H and X-T cameras, the X-S models have a mode dial with four customisable storage banks plus customisable command dials for key exposure parameters. The X-S20 is available as a body alone at an RRP of AU$2349 or in kit format with the XC15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ lens for AU$2499.

      We tested the review camera with the XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR lens, and also used it for our separate review of the new Fujinon Super EBC XF 8mm f/3.5 R WR lens.

      Who’s it For?
      The X-S20 is pitched at ‘content creators’, although it’s actually a very competent all-round model that caters to a wide variety of photographers and videographers. With a body weight of 491 grams the new camera will be especially appealing to travellers and run-and-gun videographers who want to document their experiences or create content for social media.

      The new Vlog Mode, which replaces the X-S10’s SP mode on the camera’s mode dial, features prominently in Fujifilm’s marketing messages. Selecting this shooting mode gives users a more video-orientated interface that makes it easy to access the main controls a content creator/vlogger would routinely use. (See ‘What’s New’.)

      The X-S20 can also be used as a high-quality webcam by connecting it to a computer via the USB-C port. In this configuration, a 4K/60p broadcast can be live streamed directly from the camera without requiring additional software since the X-S20 complies with the UAC standard. Camera settings can be adjusted while the camera is connected to a computer, which means the Film Simulation settings will be available during live streaming or for online meetings.

      What’s New?
      While the 26.1-megapixel X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor from the S-X10 carries over into the new model, the X-Processor 4 has been replaced by a more up-to-date X-Processor 5 image processing engine. This has boosted the new camera’s video capabilities and enabled it to provide separate Movie and Vlog modes. The camera will display icons to indicate which one is being used for each recording.

      In both modes, recordings can be started and stopped by pressing the shutter button. However, the Vlog mode prioritises settings most appropriate for vlogs, including the self-timer, face/eye detection, IS and product priority modes, background defocus and high-speed recording. The settings used in the Vlog mode are also stored separately from those used in Movie mode and when the movie button is used.

      In Movie mode, the user has full access to all the available settings and manual adjustments. For both modes, when the camera is recording a red box is superimposed on the screen preview (EVF or LCD). This box switches to green when one of the high-speed recording modes has been selected.

      The X-S20 can support up to 6.2K/25p 4:2:2 10-bit video internal movie recording, but shutter speeds can’t be slower than the frame rate. These Open Gate recordings are made with a 3:2 aspect ratio and users can choose between compressed (H.264 or H.265) modes internally or externally in uncompressed raw format. The camera is also cmpatible with the Fujifilm FAN-001 for longer recording and shooting as it minimises heat-related shutdown.

      In addition, users can record 4K/50p (UHD or C4K) and 1080/200p video with normal and extended recording times, although not at full frame size.  4K/50p recordings are frame-cropped by a factor of 1.18x to enable the sensor to handle the data stream from the high frame rate. The same cropping applies for 10-bit recordings, regardless of frame rate.

      While both DCI and UHD 4K recordings remain uncropped at 25p and 24p in 8-bit mode, the new 1080p ‘LP’ modes apply a 1.29x for both 16:9 or 17:9 formats.

      Fujifilm has also added F-Log2 recording for shooting video with an expanded 13+ stop dynamic range for enriched tonality, adding freedom in post-production creativity. When an ATOMOS HDMI device is connected, users can record RAW video output as 12-bit Apple ProRes RAW at resolutions up to 6.2K and frame rates up to 29.97fps. Similar support is provided for Blackmagic RAW recordings with Blackmagic Design Video Assist 12G devices.

      While the X-S20 has the same USB 2 and 3.5 mm microphone and headphone sockets as its predecessor, the ability to connect the camera to a computer and use it as a webcam is new. Many people will also appreciate the ability to adjust camera settings, including Film Simulation modes, during live streaming.

      The autofocusing system has also been upgraded with new algorithms that offer similar capabilities to Fujifilm’s higher-end cameras. Subject-detection autofocusing has been developed with Deep Learning technology, enabling the system to detect and track animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes, trains, insects and drones, that last two included under the ‘Birds’ and ‘Airplanes’ settings.

      In the Auto mode, the system‘s AF prediction algorithm will automatically select the optimum setting for the scene so it can automatically detect a subject and track it while keeping it in focus. This ensures stable focusing for stills and video capture, including in the AF-C mode.

      The five-axis in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) mechanism has also been improved and now offers up to seven stops of shake correction, one stop more than the system in the X-S10. Nineteen Film Simulation modes are provided, including Nostalgic Neg., which combines high saturation and soft tonality.

      Build and Ergonomics
      The X-S20’s control layout has barely changed from the X-S10 but the X-S20 is 26 grams heavier than its predecessor due to its enlarged grip to accommodate the higher-capacity NP-W235 battery. CIPA rated for 750 to 800 frames per charge, this battery provides more than twice the capacity of the NP-W126S battery in the X-S10.

      Build quality is very solid although, like the X-S10, it is not weather-sealed. Like its predecessor, the X-S20 sports 3.5mm microphone/remote release connector, which sits atop the USB-C and Type D HDMI Micro connectors on the left side of the camera body. A separate headphone jack is located just below and aft of the right hand side strap clip.

      view of the X-S20 with no lens fitted. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      There are few controls on the front panel, which is mainly given over to the hand grip moulding and lens mount. A ridged command dial is semi-embedded in the top of the hand grip, while an embedded LED that plays multiple roles (AF-assist light, self-timer indicator and tally light) is located between the grip and the EVF/flash housing. The only remaining control is the lens release button on the lower, grip side rim of the lens mount.

      Top view of the X-S20 with the 15-45mm kit lens, showing the mode dial with the dedicated Vlog Mode. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      The top panel is relatively crowded for a Fujifilm camera, with a cluster of controls on the front of the grip moulding comprising the combined shutter button/on-off switch, movie record button and ISO and Quick Menu buttons. Behind them lies the rear command dial, with the mode dial to its left.

      The combined EVF and flash housing is located roughly in the centre of the panel. A small, not very powerful (GN 7 at ISO 200) pop-up flash is located in the top of the EVF housing.

      The flash can’t be used with the electronic shutter and with settings like the panorama mode.  A hot shoe on the top of the flash head accepts external flashguns. The built-in flash can also be used to control secondary units in a studio set-up.

      To the left of the EVF is the programmable Fn (function) dial, which can be set to enable quick selection of Film Simulation or filter modes. Below it is the lever that raises the flash head. Flash settings are controlled through the camera’s menu.

      Rear view of the X-S20 with the adjustable monitor reversed. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      The rear panel controls are quite sparse, with most of the panel covered by the reversible LCD monitor. This 1.84-million-dot vari-angle screen can be positioned to make self-portraits easy, a convenient feature for vloggers.

      Above the screen sits a 2.36-million-dot EVF with 0.62x magnification, a 17.5 mm eyepoint and -4 to +2 dioptre adjustment. An eye sensor is located just below the eyepiece and a programmable function (Fn) button is located to its right.

      Left of the EVF and above the screen sit the drive and delete buttons, while the AE-lock and AF-on buttons are to its right. The panel on the right of the screen also carries an embedded indicator/tally lamp with the focus joystick below it. The menu and display/back buttons complete the set.

      The single UHS-I / UHS-II UHS and Video Speed Class V90 compliant SD card slot is located in the battery compartment. It’s a bit easier to access since the large grip allows additional room to accommodate it.

      Sensor and Image Processing
      As mentioned, the 26.1-megapixel X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor is the same as the chip used in the X-S10, the X-Pro3, the X-T4 and X-T3 and the X-E4. Like those cameras, the X-T4 provides a native ISO range between ISO 160 and ISO 12,800, with extensions to ISO 80, 100 and 125 at the low end and ISO 25600 and ISO 51200 above. Image resolutions and file sizes are unchanged from the X-T3 and covered in our review of that camera.

      The sensor is paired with the relatively new X-Processor 5 image processing engine, which has also been used in the X-T5 and X-H2 cameras. This has increased the new camera’s video capabilities and boosted continuous shooting rates to a maximum of 30 fps with the electronic shutter and 1.25x frame cropping or 20 fps with full frame recording.

      When the mechanical shutter is selected the max frame rate drops to 8fps. However, there’s been a significant improvement to the buffer capacity, which can hold up to 1000 Large/Fine JPEGs or compressed RAW files when the mechanical shutter is used or up to 256 uncropped JPEGs, 79 compressed RAW or 28 uncompressed RAW files at 20 fps with the electronic shutter.

      Most of the improvements to the camera’s video capabilities have been outlined in the What’s New section above. Essentially, the new camera offers many of the same shooting modes as the X-H2  – with the notable exception of supporting 8K recording. This is due to a combination of a lower-resolution sensor and a single SD media card.

      For those who want high resolution, regardless of whether you use the Vlog or Movie mode, tthe X-S20 can record 6.2K/30p 4:2:2 10-bit video internally, provided the SD card is fast enough and has enough capacity. Up to 158 minutes of video can be recorded on a 64GB SD card at the default bit rate.

      Users can choose between H.264 and H.265 codecs but the former is only available with LongGOP compression. The H.265 codec supports ALL-I compression, which is better if footage will be post-processed, as well as LongGOP. RAW video footage can only be recorded to external devices.

      High-speed movie recording is available at Full HD 1080p resolution with the option to choose between 16:9 and 17:9 aspect ratios at speeds of 100, 120, 200 or 240 frames/second. No soundtracks are recorded. Playback rates depend upon which recording speed has been used.

      If you want to playback recordings made in the Vlog mode you must press the Vlog button before tapping the playback icon on the screen.

      We found the regular settings had problems dealing with scenes with a wide dynamic range (examples are shown in the Samples section below). Fortunately, Fujifilm has included F-Log, F-Log2 and HLG (Hybrid-Log Gamma) shooting modes to expand the dynamic range to encompass more than 13 stops.

      We tested the review camera with the XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR lens. JPEGs straight from the camera were sharp, colour-accurate and colour reproduction appeared true-to-life with the default Provia/Standard setting. While the dynamic range in JPEGs showed a tendency to clip highlights,  this was far less common in the raw files.

      As we found with the X-H2, at the highest ISO settings noise was more visible in converted RAF.RAW files than in JPEGs due to relatively high levels of noise-reduction processing in the latter. Examples showing differences between the two file formats are provided in the Samples section of this review.

      Our Imatest testing showed the colour reproduction in JPEG files from the X-S20 to be a little more accurate and slightly lower in saturation than files from the X-H2. The same was true for RAF.RAW files from the camera, which converted into TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw.

      Imatest measurements on JPEG files were slight above the expected resolution for the 26-megapixel sensor, while those made on RAF.RAW files were well above expectations. The graph below shows the comparison between JPEG and converted uncompressed RAF.RAW files across the review camera’s ISO range.

      Test shots at night showed little evidence of noise up to ISO 6400. After that point, however, shadow details became compromised by reduced contrast and softening and we’d recommend reserving the ISO 51200 setting for situations where no alternative was possible.

      White balance performance with the auto settings was good, as expected, with the white priority setting delivering neutral – or close to neutral – colour rendition under fluorescent and flash lighting and close to neutral with warm-toned LED light. But none of the setting was able to correct the warm bias of the tungsten lighting.

      As expected, the Incandescent lighting pre-set delivered shots with a faint purplish cast, while the three fluorescent presets tended to over-correct slightly. There are no white balance pre-sets for LED or flash lighting but plenty of in-camera adjustments are available, along with Kelvin pre-sets and all are straightforward to use.

      We found autofocusing to be consistently excellent, even with the auto subject detection mode disabled. Very little hunting occurred with the 56mm lens, even when shooting close-ups in low light levels and in high-contrast situations.

      Autofocusing for movies was equally fast and accurate, and the camera was able to pick up subjects entering the frame and switch quickly to focus on them and then back to the scene as they exited the frame. Even without subject detection enabled, there were few problems finding the nearest subject in the frame to track.

      Overall video quality was as good as the X-H2’s, although we noted the new camera’s exposure system was less able to handle scenes with a wide dynamic range. It could also take a second or two for the system to adjust between shadowed interiors and bright outdoor areas. Using one of the Log modes would probably reduce this problem, although post-capture processing would be required

      We only checked two frame rates, 25 fps and 50 fps, since Australia is a PAL system country and interestingly, you had to look closely at frame transition with relatively fast-moving subjects to see any difference between them. In normal footage, sharpness, colour rendition and smoothness remained relatively constant across the resolutions we checked out.

      The built in microphones delivered usable soundtracks and we didn’t detect any camera or lens noises in the soundtracks. However, without an external microphone or recording device, we were unable to test the full audio recording capabilities of the camera.

      Our timing tests were carried out with 64GB SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC card with a speed rating of 300MB/second. The review camera powered-up in less than half a second, while  capture lag times ranged from 0.3 second when the lens was drastically out-of-focus to an average of 0.1 seconds without pre-focusing. This lag was eliminated when shots were pre-focused.

      Processing of single JPEG shots was virtually instantaneous, while a RAF.RAW file or a RAW+JPEG pair took 0.2 and 0.3 seconds, respectively. Shot-to-shot times in the single-shot mode averaged 0.4 seconds, which was as fast as we could keep pressing the shutter. Processing was completed within 0.3 seconds of the final shot.

      The fastest burst rate for full-sized frames is 20 fps with the electronic shutter so we used that setting first for testing burst shooting. In this mode, the camera recorded 224 Large/Fine JPEG frames in 10.3 seconds, which is very close to the specified frame rate. Processing was completed within 5.3 seconds of the last frame recorded.

      When we swapped to recording uncompressed raw files, the camera recorded 34 frames in 1.9 seconds before stopping. This burst took 11.3 seconds to process. A similar, close to specifications frame rate was measured when we swapped to recording losslessly compressed raw files. The camera recorded 102 frames in 5 seconds and tool5.9 seconds to process the burst.

      The fastest burst speed for the mechanical shutter is 8 fps. In our test, we recorded 93 Large/Fine JPEGs in 10.5 seconds, which is a little faster than the specified frame rate. Processing was completed within 0.6 seconds of the last frame.


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      Image sensor 23.5mm x 15.6mm (APS-C) X-Trans CMOS 4 with million photosites (26.1 megapixels effective)
      Image processor:  X-Processor 5
      Lens mount:  Fujifilm X-mount
      Focal length crop factor:  1.5x
      Image formats: Stills: JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver. 2.31), HEIF (4:2:2 10-bit), RAF.RAW (14-bit), RAW+JPEG, TIFF 8bit / 16bit RGB (In-camera Raw Conversion Only); Movies: HEVC/H.265, Linear PCM (Stereo sound 24-bit / 48KHz sampling), MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, Linear PCM (Stereo sound 24bit / 48KHz sampling), MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, AAC;   All Intra / Long GOP compression
      Image Sizes: Stills: 3:2 aspect – 6240 x 4160,  4416 x 2944, 3120 x 2080; Panorama –  Vertical: 9600 x 2160, 6400 x 2160; Horizontal: 9600 x 1440, 6400 x 1440; Movies: 6.2K(3:2)] 6240 x 4160, 25p/24p/23.98p, 360Mbps/200Mbps/100Mbps/50Mbp;  DCI 4K, UHD 4K at 60p/50p/30p/25p, FHD  17:9 & 16:9 at 60p/50p/30p/25p; frame crops also available
      Aspect ratios: 3:2, 16:9, 1:1
      Image Stabilisation: Image sensor shift mechanism with 5-axis compensation, up to 7 stops of shake correction (CIPA standard); Digital IS in movie mode
      Dust removal:  Ultra Sonic Vibration
      Shutter (speed range): Focal Plane Shutter, (Mechanical 30-1/4000 seconds plus Bulb to 60 minutes; Electronic: 30 to 1/32,000 second in P & A modes,  15min. to 1/32000sec. in S & M modes; X-sync at 1/180sec. or slower
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 5EV in 1/3EV steps (+/-2EV for movies)
      Exposure bracketing: 2,3,5,7 or 9 frames in 1.3EV steps up to +/-3EV
      Other bracketing options: Film Simulation, Dynamic Range, ISO sensitivity, White Balance, Focus
      Self-timer: 2 or  10 seconds delay (10sec. / 5sec. / 3sec. for movies)
      Interval recording: Yes, for time-lapse
      Focus system: Intelligent Hybrid AF (TTL contrast AF / TTL phase detection AF)
      AF  selection: Single point AF: 13×9 / 25×17 (Changeable size of AF frame), Zone AF: 3×3 / 5×5 / 7×7 from 117 areas on 13×9 grid, Wide/Tracking AF: Yes (AF-S: Wide / AF-C: Tracking); Face/eye detection; subject detection for Animal, Bird, Automobile, Motorcycle & Bike, Airplane, Train
      Focus modes: AFS (Single) / AFC (Continuous) / MF
      Exposure metering: TTL 256-zone metering with Multi, Spot, Average and Centre-weighted metering patterns
      Shooting modes: Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual Exposure
      Film Simulation modes: 19 modes (PROVIA/Standard, Velvia/Vivid, ASTIA/Soft, Classic Chrome, PRO Neg.Hi, PRO Neg.Std, Classic Neg., Nostalgic Neg., ETERNA/Cinema, ETERNA BLEACH BYPASS, ACROS, ACROS + Ye Filter, ACROS + R Filter, ACROS + G Filter, Black & White, Black & White + Ye Filter, Black & White + R Filter, Black & White + G Filter, Sepia)
      Advanced Filter modes: Toy camera / Miniature / Pop colour / High-key / Low-key / Dynamic tone / Soft focus / Partial colour (Red / Orange / Yellow / Green / Blue / Purple)
      In-camera adjustments: Dynamic range (AUTO / 100% / 200% / 400%), Monochromatic colour, Colour Chrome Effect, Colour Chrome Blue,
      Colour space options: sRGB and Adobe RGB
      ISO range: Auto (3 options), ISO 160-12800 with extensions to ISO 80, ISO 100, ISO 125 and ISO 25600, ISO 51200
      White balance: White Priority / Auto / Ambience Priority, Custom (x3), Daylight, Shade, Fluorescent (x3), Incandescent, Underwater
      Flash: Manual pop-up flash (Super Intelligent Flash), GN approx. 7 (ISO 200・m)
      Flash modes: TTL (TTL Auto / Standard / Slow Sync. ) / Manual / Commander / Off
      Flash exposure adjustment: +/-  EV in 1/3EV steps
      Sequence shooting: Max. 30 fps. with Electronic shutter and 1.25x crop, 20 fps uncropped with Electronic shutter;  Max. 8fps with Mechanical shutter
      Buffer capacity: Max. 1000 Large/Fine JPEGs or compressed RAW files with Mechanical shutter; 256 JPEGs, 79 compressed RAW or 28 uncompressed RAW files at 20 fps with Electronic shutter
      Storage Media: SD, SDHC, SDXC cards (UHS-I / UHS-II UHS  & Video Speed Class V90 compliant)
      Viewfinder: 0.39 inch OLED colour EVF, with approx. 2.36 million dots. 100% coverage, 17.5 mm eyepoint, 0.62x magnification with 50mm lens; -4 to  +2 dpt adjustment, built-in eye sensor
      LCD monitor: 3.0 inch vari-angle touch screen colour LCD with approx. 1.84 million dots
      Weather sealing: No
      Interface terminals: USB Type-C (USB3.2 Gen2x1), HDMI Micro connector (Type D), 3.5mm terminals for microphone and headphones
      Wi-Fi function: Built-in Wi-Fi (IEEE802.11a/b/g/n/ac); Bluetooth v4.2 (Bluetooth Low Energy)
      Power supply: NP-W235 rechargeable Li-ion battery; CIPA rated for 750-800 shots/charge for stills, 80-85 min. for video
      Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 127.7 x 85.1 x  65.4 mm (excluding protrusions)
      Weight: Approx. 491 grams with battery and card
      Accessories included: Li-ion battery NP-W235, AC power adapter AC-5VJ, Plug adapter, USB cable, Shoulder strap, Body cap Cooling fan connector cover.

      Distributor: Fujifilm Australia, 1800 226 355



      Based on JPEGs recorded with the XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR lens.

      Based on RAF.RAW files recorded simultaneously and converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw.



      All shots taken with Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR lens.

      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.

      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting, white priority.

      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting, ambience priority.

      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.

      Auto white balance with flash.

      Auto white balance with warm-toned LED lighting.

      Auto white balance with warm-toned LED lighting, white priority.

      Auto white balance with warm-toned LED lighting, ambience priority.

      60-second exposure at ISO 80, f/3.2.

      20-second exposure at ISO 160, f/3.5.

      8-second exposure at ISO 800, f/5.6.

      8-second exposure at ISO 1600, f/8.

      2.5-second exposure at ISO 6400, f/8.

      1.5-second exposure at ISO 12800, f/11.

      1-second exposure at ISO 25600, f/16.

      Flash exposure at ISO 80, 1/60 second at f/1.2.

      Flash exposure at ISO 160, 1/60 second at f/1.2.

      Flash exposure at ISO 800, 1/60 second at f/1.2.

      Flash exposure at ISO 1600, 1/100 second at f/1.4.

      Flash exposure at ISO 6400, 1/150 second at f/2.2.

      Flash exposure at ISO 12800, 1/170 second at f/4.

      Flash exposure at ISO 25600, 1/170 second at f/5.6.

      Wide brightness range scene: ISO 160, 1/70-second exposure at f/5.6. Top image from JPEG, lower image from RAF.RAW file.

      ISO 160, 1/210 second at f/8.

      Still frame from 6.2K 3:2 (6240 x 4160 pixels) video clip recorded at 25p.

      Still frame from 6.2K 3:2 (6240 x 4160 pixels) video clip recorded at 25p.

      Still frame from 4K 16:9 (3840 x 2160 pixels) video clip recorded at 50p.

      Still frame from 4K 16:9 (3840 x 2160 pixels) video clip recorded at 25p.

      Still frame from C4K 17:9 (4096 x 2160 pixels) video clip recorded at 50p.

      Still frame from Full HD 17:9 (2048 x 1080 pixels) video clip recorded at 50p.

      Still frame from Full HD 17:9 (2048 x 1080 pixels) video clip recorded at 25p.

      Still frame from Full HD 16:9 (1920 x 1080 pixels) video clip recorded at 50p.

      Still frame from Full HD 16:9 (1920 x 1080 pixels) video clip recorded at 25p.

      Additional image samples can be found with our review of the Fujinon Super EBC XF 8mm f/3.5 R WR lens.



      RRP: AU$2349 (body only); $2499 (with XC15-45mm kit lens)

      • Build: 9.0
      • Features: 9.0
      • Ease of use: 9.0
      • Autofocusing: 9.0
      • Still image quality JPEG: 9.0
      • Still image quality RAW: 9.0
      • Video quality: 8.9