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Fujifilm x s20 review feature

FUJIFILM X-S20 Review: Outstanding Bang for Buck

I’ve had my hands all over the latest FUJIFILM cameras over the last 16 months as the brand continues to build a reputation for some of the best-performing budget-conscious cameras on the market. The latest model to join the X Series line-up might be the best embodiment of that idea yet. Dubbed the X-S20, it brings AI-based subject-detection AF to the table with up to 6.2K/30P video recording capabilities.

Perfect for content creation and travel, the new X-S20 is the mirrorless digital camera that you want if you’re looking for capabilities across the board, including high resolution, stable video, and even a few print-quality photos if paired with the right lens.

In my time with the new camera, I also had a chance to sample the newly released XF8MMF3.5 R WR lens that’s designed for vlogging. And while I live a pretty cool life (if I do say so myself), I lacked the correct vlogging rig to really make the most of the camera. As such, I’ve included stationary images and videos below shot in hand on my favourite FUJIFILM lens, the XF56mmF1.2 R WR.

RELATED: Two of the Fastest SUVs in the World Through the Lens of the FUJIFILM X-T5.

Fujifilm x s20 in hand
FUJIFILM X-S20 | Image: Supplied

How Much Does the FUJIFILM X-S20 Cost?

Priced around the FUJIFILM X-T4 (from AUD$2,339), X-T5 (replacement for the X-T4) I tested recently, and the X-H2 hybrid that’s one of my favourites for video tasks (from AUD$3,199 on sale), the FUJIFILM X-S20 has an RRP of AUD$2,349. Although, I’d highly recommend spending the extra and picking up the kit with the XC15-45mm lens for AUD$2,499 which represents nearly AUD$2,800 of value.

Its position in the lineup is rather interesting because it’s similarly priced to the X-T4 and actually shares many of the same features, albeit in a slightly more compact size. It’s missing the 40.2MP sensor used in the X-H2S and X-T5 and it doesn’t offer 8K video capture. However, the 6.2K footage that’s taken from a cropped region of the sensor (not the full width like the X-H2S) is still fair in quality.

Ultimately, you’ll spend most of your time shooting in 4K30P if you’re looking to upload to social media or YouTube like a true vlogger. More importantly, you can shoot in F-Log, F-Log2, and H.265 HEVC file format for post editing the highest quality Instagram Reels and TikToks.

If it’s cinema-quality video you’re looking for, we suggest the X-H2S as the better option.

Fujifilm x s20 in front in hand
FUJIFILM X-S20 | Image: Supplied

What Makes the FUJIFILM X-S20 a Great Vlogging Camera?

What is the Image Quality Like on the FUJIFILM X-S20?

Compared to cameras like the FUJIFILM X-T4 the X-S20 has a few significant tricks up its sleeve for vlogging. At the top of that list is unlimited video recording, whereas the X-T4 could only manage up to 30mins of videos. Beyond this, it records up to 6.2K/30P 4:2:2 10-bit video internally and also supports extensive video functions including 4K/60P and 1080/240P capability.

I loved playing around with the F-Log2 recording format that unlocks 13+ stops of dynamic range for enriched tonality in post-production colour grading. The result is extremely high-quality social media videos e.g. Instagram Reels that appear as though they’ve been shot and uploaded in 4K, where they’ve actually been compressed to 1080P. I could go on all day about how this works, but smaller files (H.265 HEVC in 10-bit colour) with more dynamic range equal less compression and high-quality videos online.

Your mobile phone does an OK job of doing this for you, however, if you’ve ever wondered how some creators achieve UHD videos online, you’ll need a camera like the X-S20.

Fujifilm x s20 autofocus example 2
The autofocus is a huge improvement over the FUJIFILM X-T4 I use everyday. | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

Is the Autofocus Good?

Autofocus is leaps and bounds ahead of the FUJIFILM X-T4 we use as our daily driver here at Man of Many. The subject-detection AF has been developed with Deep Learning technology and AI to accurately detect animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, aeroplanes, trains, insects, and more. In my testing the autofocus has no issue adapting to changing light conditions, just remember to lock the autofocus to ‘Single autofocus’ if you’re filming moving videos!

If you remember to keep it on, the AF system automatically tracks an intended subject while keeping it in focus, allowing users to concentrate on a shutter opportunity and framing. The evolved AF prediction algorithm enables stable focusing even when in the AF-C mode.

How is the Image Stabilisation?

In hand, you’ll notice two things that aid with image stabilisation from the get-go. First, the X-S Series’ signature large grip for hand-holding stability. Second, the 491g weight, which is down 116g over the similarly priced X-T4.

From a hardware point of view, the camera is equipped with the five-axis in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) mechanism that offers up to a 7.0-stop advantage. It makes it easy to shoot hand-held at night or in low-light conditions, however, in my testing, this only works particularly well if you’re pointing it at your head in a vlogging scenario where it combines with stabilising software. It wasn’t great when shooting videos in close-up scenarios.

If you’re looking to shoot social videos or sports, cars, etc. I highly recommend picking up a DJI RS3 Mini for around $539 AUD at the D1 Store. It supports weights up to 2KG.

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What About Mounts, Ports, and Screens?

When you’re pointing the camera at your face for vlogging situations, the X-S20 makes use of a 1.84-million-dot rear LCD monitor with something the brand calls a ‘vari-angle structure’, which can be positioned in a range of angles. In short, it sticks out the side of the camera.

Cameras like the Canon Powershot V10 are more compact than the X-S20 and offer an LCD monitor that goes directly out the top of the camera, so you don’t catch yourself constantly glancing off to the side of the camera.

The USB-C port on the side of the camera can be connected to your computer for use as a webcam (for streaming, etc.) without having to use software such as FUJIFILM X Webcam. While the shooting settings can also be adjusted with the camera connected to the computer. And while I didn’t get the chance to stress test the recording length, it can be linked to the FUJIFILM FAN-001 for extended use when streaming.

Fujifilm x s20 shooting modes
FUJIFILM X-S20 | Image: Supplied

Man of Many’s Verdict on the FUJIFILM X-S20

I absolutely loved my time with the FUJIFILM X-S20. And while I’m far from a professional photographer, and very far from a professional videographer, I felt like there’s enough headroom and features built into the X-S20 that I’d keep experimenting with and never stop learning. It’s a notch above the X-T4, but a little more comfortable for those who don’t want to fork out for the new X-T5.

Vloggers will love the size, weight, video capabilities, and solid internal stabilisation. However, those who are looking to film content of cars and other moving objects should look to invest in a solid gimbal mount.

All around, this is a great budget-conscious option for beginner photographers and those content creators who are looking to take their videos up a notch, away from their phone.

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