a compact, discreet and autonomous camera

I had the opportunity to take control of the Fujifilm X-S20, the new small-format hybrid camera from the Japanese manufacturer. Here is a first opinion before a more complete test.

The Fujifilm X-S20 // Source: Geoffroy Husson – Frandroid

Decidedly, Fujifilm is in great shape. In less than a year, the manufacturer has launched no less than four new hybrid cameras with interchangeable lenses. After the Fujifilm X-H2, Fujifilm X-H2S and Fujifilm X-T5 unveiled since July 2022, the firm presented last week an even more compact device, the Fujifilm X-S20, which succeeds the small X-S10 launched in 2020.

During a visit to the Rungis market, I had the opportunity to take this new camera in hand before giving you a first opinion before a full test.

All photos in this article were captured by the Fujifilm X-S20 with an 18-55mm (f/2.8-4.0) equivalent 27-82mm zoom lens. Unless otherwise stated, JPGs come from RAW files interpreted without processing by Adobe Lightroom software.

A case that relies on autonomy and discretion

Before getting to the heart of the matter, it is worth presenting the Fujifilm X-S20 in due form. It’s actually a hybrid camera halfway between the previous X-S10 and the new X-T5. In fact, Fujifilm has taken over the compact size of its X-S10 while allocating it a new X-Processor 5 processor, the same as on the X-T5 and the X-H2 and X-H2S. Enough to allow him in theory a better autofocus with eye tracking, face detection, birds, bicycles, trains or planes. This new processor also allows the capture of photos in HEIF formats.

The Fujifilm X-S20
The Fujifilm X-S20 // Source: Geoffroy Husson – Frandroid

If the burst remains limited to 8 images per second, the size of the buffer has meanwhile been multiplied by 10. Thus, it is possible to take up to 1000 shots in the same burst, against 100 on the X-S10.

The new Fujifilm X-S20 is also characterized by its new battery, allowing you to record up to a total of 800 photos, compared to 400 for the previous model. However, the device retains what made it attractive, namely its compactness. Not only is the X-S20 a camera with an APS-C sensor – smaller than full frame sensors – but it’s also a rather small device with dimensions of 127.7 x 85.1 x 65.4 mm and a weight of 491 grams with battery and memory card.

The Fujifilm X-S20
The Fujifilm X-S20 // Source: Geoffroy Husson – Frandroid

Note also the presence of a 180-degree rotatable touch screen, an OLED electronic viewfinder, a micro-HDMI output, but a single SD card slot, present under the device, at the same level than the battery. On the performance side, the Fujifilm X-S20 is able to go up to a sensitivity of ISO 12,800 (51,200 in extended mode) and a shutter speed of 1/4000 s in mechanical shutter and 1/32,000 s in electronic shutter. Note however that the device retains an APS-C X-Trans 4 sensor – the same generation as on the X-T4 and X-S10 – of 24 megapixels which is therefore not stacked.

A very easy to use device

If I have had the opportunity to try Panasonic, Olympus, Sony, Canon or Nikon cameras in the past, this is the first time I tried a Fujifilm body. Suffice to say that I was slightly apprehensive about the ergonomics of the device and especially the navigation in the menus.

The Fujifilm X-S20
The Fujifilm X-S20 // Source: Geoffroy Husson – Frandroid

However, the Fujifilm X-S20 seemed particularly easy to handle and I found my little ones very quickly. The case is actually quite simple to understand and, like the previous X-S10, opts for classic ergonomics with shooting mode selection dials (P, S, A, M, C1, C2, C3, C4, Filter, vlog and Auto) and not one wheel per setting. In addition to this mode selection, the camera has three customizable dials that easily fall under the right thumb, right index finger, and left thumb. We will also find a stick to move the autofocus points.

Above all, I was particularly seduced by the menus that were particularly simple and understandable and yet quite complete. Accustomed to the old generation Sony ergonomics – on the Sony A7 III – I must admit that I found myself there much more easily on that of Fujifilm whereas, it is all the paradox, I discovered it for the first time. The button “Q“, which provides access to the main settings, is as such a model of efficiency.

The “Q” menu on the Fujifilm X-S20
The “Q” menu on the Fujifilm X-S20 // Source: Geoffroy Husson – Frandroid

The case is also very pleasant to hold and use with a fairly deep grip that will allow you to hold the case very easily with your fingertips. Nevertheless, as the case is rather compact, we will find the same concern as on Sony devices, with the little finger which will slightly protrude from the handle. Nothing serious, but worth noting. More regrettable, the X-S20 has only one SD card slot, positioned at the level of the battery hatch. Again, this is a compromise to be made in terms of compactness, but this may put off users of plates positioned under the chassis of their device.

The SD card slot of the Fujifilm X-S20
The SD card slot of the Fujifilm X-S20 // Source: Geoffroy Husson – Frandroid

However, I was able to appreciate the efficiency of the touch and rotating screen which allows comfortable use in vlogging or selfie. The electronic eyecup, on the other hand, is more limited with its magnification of only x0.62.

Convincing Fuji film simulations

Quickly and after only a few adjustments, I was able to have fun for a few hours with the X-S20. It must be said that its very simple ergonomics makes it easy to grasp and that the lens used during this grip allows great versatility.

Overall, most of the 237 or so photos I was able to take — many of them duplicates with burst mode — are very well made. On the selection above, however, we will note images where the X-S20 was a little more difficult, in particular because of its tendency to make noise when you go up a little too much in the ISO. This is particularly the case for the first photo in the gallery.

If all the previous photos are from the development of RAW files without any particular adjustment from Lightroom, I nevertheless wanted to try my hand at Fujifilm’s own film simulations, first with bottles of oil in various colors, then with candlesticks.

This is where we understand the attraction of some for the devices of the Japanese manufacturer. Remember that Fujifilm is not only a manufacturer of digital cameras, but also designs its own silver film from which it draws inspiration for the rendering of these “movie simulations“.

Finally, this is a very good point for those who would like to try to give a different aspect to these photos without having to spend long hours developing RAW files or without having Lightroom presets.

Fujifilm X-S20 price and availability

Announced on May 24, the Fujifilm X-S20 will be available during the month of June in France. The device is displayed naked at a price of 1399 euros, with a 15-45 mm lens at 1599 euros and with the 18-55 mm lens used for this grip at 1799 euros.

As a reminder, the Fujifilm X-S10 launched in 2023 was offered at launch at a price of 999 euros. Opposite, we can also mention the Canon EOS R10 and the EOS R7, also equipped with APS-C photo sensors.

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