Fujifilm X-T20 Impressions

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Back in June I bought my wife, Amanda, a Fujifilm X-T20 for her birthday. She’s a little more into video than stills, and her interest in photography has been fairly recent. This is her first interchangeable-lens camera. I promised that I would not take over her X-T20, which I’ve stayed true to, but I have used it on several occasions, and I have formed a few opinions based on those experiences.

This is not a review of the Fujifilm X-T20, but more of a discussion of who this camera is for. I will share my impressions and talk about the things that I believe others might want to know. What differentiates this article from a review is that this won’t be nearly as in-depth, as I won’t talk about many of the technical aspects of the camera, but I will offer several opinions. This will be a fairly short article. I hope that it will be helpful to those who are trying to decide if they should buy this camera or not.

The Fujifilm X-T20 is an X-Trans III camera, which means it has a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor. It has the same sensor and processor as the X-T2, X-Pro2 and X-E3 and is capable of the exact same image quality, which is nothing short of excellent. What differentiates the different camera models are the features that are and are not included. There’s also the X-T100, which is the closest camera in design to the X-T20, but it has a different sensor and processor, which means that it differs a little in image quality.

I’m actually quite impressed with the X-T20. It has a lot of great features! There are a few things that are missing, such as weather sealing, the focus joystick and a dedicated ISO dial on the body. The first one may or may not be a deal breaker, depending on the conditions you plan to use the camera in. The later two can be worked around fairly easily, and, while they’re nice to have, I doubt anyone would dislike this camera because they’re missing.

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What is included on this camera is a tilting touch screen. It’s not quite as adjustable and has more limited touch options than the one found on the X-T100, but it is definitely a nice addition. It makes the camera easier to use in certain situations. There’s a knob on top of the camera that allows quick access to some of the functions that you might not often use but would otherwise have to dig through menus to find. I don’t find it particularly handy for myself, but if you do panorama pictures or video or use the advanced filters this makes it a tad quicker to access.

If you are familiar with Fujifilm X-Trans III cameras, you will feel right at home using the X-T20. It’s a solid choice for a second camera body to backup an X-T2 or X-Pro2. The learning curve will be extraordinarily small and the images will look just like what your other camera produces. If I was in the market for a second camera body to go along with another Fujifilm camera, this is one I would look very closely at. Between the X-T20 and X-E3, you have two really great options that won’t break the bank.

The X-T20 is a great camera for the hobbyist photographer, or someone who thinks that they might become a hobbyist photographer. There are plenty of tools to help you improve your photography yet some great auto-features that will allow you to capture nice pictures even when you don’t really know what you’re doing. It’s a good camera to learn on. If I was looking for my first interchangeable-lens camera, I think this is an excellent choice but I would also take a look at the X-T100, which might be a slightly better option because it is more designed for beginners. If this wasn’t my first interchangeable-lens camera, but I was upgrading from an older camera, I would definitely recommend it. The X-T20 is a great value as it really does delivers a lot for the price!

If you are looking for a camera that is great for both still photography and video, the X-T20 is an excellent option because it’s good at both, which is the reason I chose it for my wife. It creates beautiful exposures, and the different film simulations are great for those who prefer JPEG over RAW. The 4K video quality is quite good, and all of the different film simulations can be applied to video. If you are primarily a videographer you might want to consider the X-H1 or X-T3 instead, which are Fujifilm’s two best cameras for video, but if you are interested in a budget-friendly camera that is capable of high-quality video recording, the X-T20 is a fine choice.

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The Fujifilm X-T20 seems like an all-around good camera for everyday use. It’s small and lightweight enough to carry around all day without feeling cumbersome. It’s quick. It functions very well. It captures very nice still photographs and video. It does everything well! It’s the jack-of-all-trades camera. It’s a camera that you could recommend to anyone and feel good about it. It’s simple enough for inexperienced photographers and advanced enough for professional use. I think anyone could buy this camera and be happy with it.

The X-T20 does have some minor shortcomings, and that’s why it has an MSRP of only $900 for the body. It can be found for less on sale ($700 at Amazon as of this writing), which is a heck-of-a-deal for what you get! It doesn’t feel like it’s a camera that should be at that price point when you are using it. It’s a quality camera that is versatile yet affordable. There are better cameras, such as the X-T2, X-T3, X-H1 and X-Pro2, but they also cost more, and they’re not significantly better, just slightly better in a couple of ways.

My wife loves her X-T20! She uses it for still photography and video. She’s still learning (aren’t we all?), but I can see that her photography has improved quite noticeably in the five months that she has had the camera. It turned out to be a great decision to buy this particular camera for her. I think that she will use her X-T20 for several years to come.

Below you’ll find 10 photographs captured by my wife, Amanda, and I using her Fujifilm X-T20. I think that her four pictures included here are quite nice!

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Counters – McKinney, TX – Fujifilm X-T20 – by Amanda

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Lone Hiker – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO – Fujifilm X-T20 – by Amanda

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Iced Iced Coffee – Waco, TX – Fujifilm X-T20 – by Amanda

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Jonathan’s Smile – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – by Ritchie

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Fog On The Ridge – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – by Ritchie

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November Rain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – by Ritchie

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Mueller Hike – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – by Amanda

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Last Leaves – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – by Ritchie

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Autumn Morning Sunlight – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – by Ritchie

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Fallen – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – by Ritchie

RAW Doesn’t Make You Better

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Canyon Pinion – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

I read something yesterday that bothered me. A really talented photographer, who has a blog that I like to read sometimes, posted an article stating that the number one thing you can do to improve your landscape photography is to shoot RAW. His argument was, essentially, that post-processing is a necessary aspect of photography, so you might as well fully embrace it and start with a RAW file. I get that if you plan to significantly manipulate your photographs you should probably use RAW because a JPEG is limited in how far you can take it before it begins to degrade. I disagree that post-processing is always or even usually needed, and I don’t think anyone should feel like they must fully embrace it. Edit if you want, or save yourself a bunch of time and strive to get the look that you are after using the options found in your camera. Most of the time it’s possible to get the look that you want straight out of camera, no editing necessary.

Fujifilm cameras are especially great at JPEG processing. Using the different film simulations, which can be significantly customized, and the dynamic range options, it’s possible to get polished images straight out of camera that resemble edited RAW photographs. In fact, while I do some light post-processing occasionally, most of the time I do not edit my photographs whatsoever. I don’t need to! Fujifilm cameras save me so much time because they can produce really nice pictures that don’t require editing, such as the two in this article.

In the early days of digital photography, cameras had a narrow dynamic range, were not particularly good at anything above base ISO, were spotty at white balance, and weren’t programmed to make JPEGs any better than mediocre (at best), so RAW was indeed necessary. Even just 10 years ago camera-made JPEGs weren’t especially great, although on most camera brands they had improved significantly. There was a time when the “you must shoot RAW” argument was valid. It’s not 1998 or 2008 anymore, and almost all cameras are capable of making nice JPEGs. Some cameras are better than others, and that’s why I shoot Fujifilm, but almost any camera make and model manufactured over the last five or so years can make a good JPEG if you take the time to program it to your liking.

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Storm Over San Luis Valley – Alamosa, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2

I’d much rather spend an extra moment setting the camera to what I want before capturing the image than sitting at a computer later fiddling with a RAW file. I’d rather let the camera do the work for me in the field so that I don’t have to at home. My photography doesn’t suffer for it. You wouldn’t know that my photographs are camera-made JPEGs if I didn’t tell you. I don’t know about you, but I already spend too much time sitting at a computer, so the more I can reduce that the better off I am.

Shooting RAW doesn’t make anyone a better photographer. Use RAW if you want, but it’s just a tool to achieve the results that you’re after, just as the JPEG processor in your camera is a tool to achieve desired results. Use the tool that works best for you. Don’t think that you must shoot RAW because someone doesn’t understand how to get good results without it. If the person who wrote the article took the time to set up their camera in the field, I’m sure that they could create the images they want without the need for Lightroom or Photoshop. It’s fine that the person didn’t, but I think it’s unfair to suggest that RAW is necessary for “better” photography. It’s untrue that you must embrace post-processing to create great photographs, because which format you choose has no bearing on your talent.

Introducing The Fuji X Weekly Store

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The Fuji X Weekly blog now has a store! You can shop for shirts, coffee mugs, iPhone cases and more. Click here to check it out!

The Fuji X Weekly shop is a work in progress. I’ve been at it off and on for more than a month, and I’m not completely satisfied with it. I have some different ideas that I will work on as time permits, and I know over time it will improve. I am very happy with the products, which are all great quality. I’ve purchased a couple of items for myself, including the iPhone case pictured above. There are many great holiday gifts found in the store, and Christmas is just around the corner, although you don’t have to wait for the holidays to buy something.

If you look at the top of this blog, and perhaps you’ve never noticed, there are three horizontal lines on the left and four horizontal lines on the right. You can click on those and it will bring up different menus. The one on the left has an About Me page, which also includes a Contact Me option, the Fuji X Weekly shop, and a search box. The one on the right has a link to the ten most recent posts, a full archive organized by month, the top ten most viewed posts over the last week, another search box, and also my six most recent Instagram photos, which if you click on will take you to my Instagram feed. If you are looking for the store, click the upper left horizontal lines, and if you are looking for me on Instagram, click the upper right horizontal lines.

When I started this blog I wanted it to look simple and clean. I used to have a different photography blog that was always cluttered and looked like a mess. I vowed to keep this one from resembling that, which is why the menus aren’t completely obvious. There’s more to the Fuji X Weekly blog than meets the eye, but you’ve got to know where to look. I’m planning to add more goodies to these “hidden” menus, so you will want to check them every once in awhile to find what’s new.

Photoessay: Antelope Island State Park Buffalo Corral

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Buffalo Corral – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Antelope Island is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake. It’s home to about 700 wild buffalo. Every year Antelope Island State Park rounds up the buffalo herd so that they can be counted, examined, and vaccinated. This event, which is open to the public, happens every autumn and takes place over a seven day period.

I had the opportunity to photograph a portion of this year’s buffalo roundup, which I was very excited about. I missed the actual roundup, where a bunch of cowboys on horseback traverse the island to guide the bison to the corral, but I did get to witness the second phase, where the animals are seen one at a time by a veterinarian. This operation takes a team of about 40 people several days to complete. It’s fascinating to watch, but it’s also a slow process and there is a lot of downtime where very little is happening.

I used my Fujifilm X100F to capture these photographs, which are all unedited camera-made JPEGs. For the camera settings I used the [Not] My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Tri-X Cross Process Film Simulation Recipe, utilizing the X100F’s built-in neutral density filter so that I could use high ISOs even in bright midday light. I took a photojournalist approach, and I think these settings worked particularly well for it. I’m pleased with how this series turned out and I hope that you enjoy the pictures!

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White Rock Bay – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Park Patrol – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Time To Watch Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Waiting For A Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Buffalo Corral Workers – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Buffalo Head – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Cautious Buffalo – Antelope Island, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Running Bison Calf – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Roundup Downtime – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rope On The Gate – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Leather Gloves – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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A Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Workers Waiting – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Between Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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On The Fence – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Utah Cowboys – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Park Ranger – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Bison Barriers – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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From The Holding Pen – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Mother & Calf – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Buffalo Track – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Three Bison – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Tractor Ride – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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State Park Workday – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujfilm X100F

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Circular Gate Operator – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rope Preparation  – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Bison Spying – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rope Pull – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Pulling Hard – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rope Runner – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Waiting Games – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Waiting Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Bison Skull – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Island Shore View – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Weekly Photo Project, Week 14

The interesting thing about where I live is that I have a front-row seat to the progression of autumn. I can see the colors turn first at the top of the mountain, which is clearly visible out the back door, and move down the hill over the following weeks. As the leaves begin to disappear off of the trees on the mountain, they start to turn from green to yellow, orange and red down in the valley, which is where I live. The fall colors have mostly disappeared off of the mountain, but they’re still vibrant in the foothills, although the trees have thinned out considerably. There’s probably one more week of autumn trees. Soon the landscape will be somewhat stark and barren, with the chill of winter quickly coming.

Monday, October 22, 2018

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Autumn Tree Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

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The Yellow Tree – Layton, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

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Joy Rider – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Thursday, October 25, 2018

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Yellow Tree Behind Fence – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Friday, October 26, 2018

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Weber County Public Library – South Ogden, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Saturday, October 27, 2018

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Pentax Camera – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Sunday, October 28, 2018

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Sycamore Autumn – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Week 13  Week 15

Tri-X Push Process On The Fujifilm X100F

I have been using the [Not] My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Tri-X Push Process Film Simulation Recipe on my Fujifilm X100F, and I realized that the X100F is actually a better camera to use these settings on. Why? I will explain that in just a moment.

The Tri-X Push Process recipe is my favorite black and white option. It creates stunning results that are so film-like that you could easily convince people that it is film you used and not digital capture. The “problem” with it is that it requires a high ISO, the higher the better, in fact. It looks best at ISO 12800, which is a practical setting for dark situations but not for anything else. The recipe can’t be used all of the time because often it’s just too bright to use an ultra-high ISO.

Bumble Bee – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Tri-X Push Process”

The Fujifilm X100F has a 3-stop neutral density filter built in. That means on the X100F the Tri-X Push Process recipe can be used anytime if you activate the neutral density filter in bright light situations. This is one reason, albeit an unexpected reason, why the X100F is such a great camera!

I do find it funny that I’m using the neutral density filter to increase the ISO. I doubt anyone at Fujifilm expected that to be a use of this feature. It was intended to allow a slower shutter speed or a wider aperture. I’m using it for an unorthodox reason. It’s a great feature on the camera that is often overlooked.