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Is the new Fujifilm X-S20 the latest hybrid mirrorless to beat?

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Fujifilm has released the much anticipated X-S20 the latest addition to its mirrorless range and successor to the widely popular X-S10.

The feature-rich X-S20 aims to be a hybrid of all trades catering to an array of differing photographer and videographer needs, but how well does it perform for lowlight stills shooters?

Fujifilm Australia provided this publisher with devices for testing purposes. This did not affect our views of the device, and our review remains independent of the manufacturer.

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Along with the Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R WR, I tested the new X-S20 at the FIFA fan festival in Sydney’s Tumbalong Park. The fan festival was the perfect environment to test out the lowlight capabilities of the X-S20 given its abundance of colour and fast night life movements.

Specifications

The New Fujifilm X-S20 mirrorless camera. Credit: Fujifilm Australia
  • 6.2K/30p, 4K/60p,1080/240p video and 4:2:2 10bit internal recording
  • Compact and lightweight body design coming in at 491g
  • 26.1MPX-Trans CMOS 4
  • Built-In 5-Axis Image Stabilisation
  • 1.84-million-dot tilting rear LCD monitor
  • 2.36-million-dot EVF with 0.62x magnification
  • Subject Tracking AF: animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, aeroplanes, trains, insects, and drones
  • F-Log2 for recording video in the expanded 13+ stop dynamic range
  • Extended battery life of 730 frames (More than double the X-S10).
  • 19 Film Simulation Modes
  • Optional external cooling fan for extended video recording in high-res
  • New Vlogging Mode
Fujifilm XF 56mm F1.2 R WR. Credit: Fujifilm Australia

Lowlight autofocus

Equipped with the fast aperture 56mm F1.2 the X-S20 delivered excellent results in lowlight shooting conditions.

Lowlight autofocus test with the X-S20 at Sydney’s FIFA Women’s World Cup fan festival. Credit: Nicholas Gane

The X-S20’s autofocus performed very well under the conditions and had no issues capturing smaller items such as a phone when targeted in fast-moving celebration movements. The quick-burst rate of the X-S20 (up to 20fps continuous shooting with electronic shutter) was also a massive plus when it came to capturing important moments throughout the night.

Colourful scenes as fans celebrate a Matildas goal during the FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-final. Credit: Nicholas Gane

Faced with an array of moving foreground subjects, the X-S20 locked onto desired targets with relative ease and even allowed me to capture detail in faces both from a front-on and side-on perspective.

Fans watch on as Australia take on England during the FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-final. Credit: Nicholas Gane

In very low-light situations with the X-S20 geared in high ISO settings (ISO 4000+) it performed relatively well. The X-S20 captured details in the subject’s facial features, while also minimising and maintaining acceptable noise levels in the darker areas of the image and foreground. In post using Adobe Lightroom I was able to uplift the shadows of the images while also retaining detail in the darkened foreground incredibly well. Having this flexibility is great for nighttime sports photography, as you can capture fast-moving subjects without having to go into longer exposures for pin sharp bursts.

Body design

Like many Fujifilm cameras the X-S20’s construction is incredibly solid. I have always been a fan of Fujifilm’s body design, preserving elements of tradition as well as improving functionality and feel. The X-S20 was very comfortable while shooting with its signature large grip format. Although built to a robust standard, you’ll need to be a bit more careful with the X-S20 when shooting in inclement outdoor conditions, as there is no weather sealing for this unit.

Performers hit the stage at Sydney’s FIFA Women’s World Cup fan festival. Credit: Nicholas Gane

The lightweight design of the body, as well as the lenses, made getting around a breeze. This gave me more time to focus on composition and exposure of the images at hand and lessened fatigue.

Final thoughts

The X-S20 with its light-weight body design and powerful frame rate bursts is a perfect combo for any street, Travel, Sports and portrait photographers looking to up their Game from entry-level units. The X-S20 offers an abundance of features for a lower price point than most and would be a great addition to photographers or videographers looking for an updated mid-range hybrid shooter.

If you are looking to expand your photo and video skill set within the Fujifilm ecosystem, the X-S20 should definitely be in your sights.

Note: All test images have undergone post-processing editing.

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