According to Fujirumors, who is almost always right, the upcoming X-S20 camera, which will likely be announced in May, will have a 26-megapixel X-Trans IV sensor, the same sensor as the X-S10 and all other X-Trans IV cameras, and not the new 40-megapixel or 26-megapixel-stacked X-Trans V sensor.
Wait, what?!? Why would Fujifilm do this?
This doesn’t make any sense because Fujifilm has historically used the same sensor in all models of a certain generation, with few exceptions. What are the exceptions? The X-M1 had an X-Trans I sensor paired with an X-Trans II processor (yet with options more like a Bayer model). The X20, X30, XQ1, and XQ2 were X-Trans II cameras with small sensors and not APS-C. Otherwise, all of the X-Trans cameras in a generation shared the same sensor. All of the X-Trans III cameras had the 24-megapixel X-Trans III sensor. All of the X-Trans IV cameras had the 26-megapixel X-Trans IV sensor. But X-Trans V is definitely different.
First we have the 26-megapixel-stacked X-Trans V sensor in the X-H2S, which presumably will be found only in that one model and no others. Then there is the 40-megapixel X-Trans V sensor found in the X-H2 and X-T5, which presumably will also be found in the next X-Pro and X-100 models. Now we’ll have the 26-megapixel X-Trans IV sensor (presumably paired with the X-Trans V processor) in the X-S20. Weird.
The advantage of having just one sensor for each Fujifilm era is that no matter your camera within a certain generation, you know you will get identical images out of each body. So you could have an X-T2 as your main camera, an X-T20 as a second body, and an X-E3 as a travel option, and the images will look the same, because they all share the same sensor and processor. Consistency. Or you might have an X-Pro3 and X100V, and—no matter which you used—the picture quality will be identical. Now with X-Trans V there’s a lot less consistency across the range, which in my opinion is a disadvantage.
Using the X-Trans IV sensor in the X-S20 does make sense because the sensor, while a few years old, is still excellent, and pairing it with the new processor will (potentially) get the most out of it. I have both X-Trans IV and X-Trans V cameras; while they’re all great, I actually prefer X-Trans IV. I don’t need 40-megapixels. Some people do—yes—but the vast majority don’t, and it’s overkill that for most people only exacerbates storage issues. So I would rather Fujifilm work to squeeze more—increased dynamic range, improved high-ISO, speed, etc.—out of the 26-megapixel sensor than to push more resolution. I feel like 26MP is a really good spot for APS-C, and Fujifilm shouldn’t be in a hurry to move past it. I’ve made many very nice 2′ x 3′ prints from X-Trans IV JPEGs, and the majority of people don’t print that large, let alone bigger.
One question that this raises is what will be different about the X-S20 compared to its predecessor, since they’ll share the same sensor? Apparently the X-S20 will have the new NP-W235 battery, which is certainly nice. I would be surprised if a slight design change isn’t necessary to accommodate the bigger battery, but I don’t expect any drastic changes to the design overall. I expect some improvements to autofocus, maybe image stabilization, and perhaps some small video spec upgrades (such as better time limits) will be included, but certainly nothing major. Most likely more will be alike than dissimilar; however, the upgraded battery and processor will make the X-S20 better than the X-S10, at least by a little, but probably not much more than a little.
I do think this gives some credibility to my theory that another PASM model is in the works—I don’t have any inside information, this is just my personal thoughts. I think a number of X-S10 users would like to upgrade to a higher-end body, but the X-H2/X-H2S is too big and expensive for them. I also believe that a number of X-H2/X-H2S owners would like a more compact and cheaper second body, but the X-S10 is a little too much of a downgrade for them. These folks aren’t interested in the X-T4 or X-T5 because of the traditional dials. Fujifilm has created a need for an in-between mid-tier PASM model. Don’t be surprised if an X-S2 (or whatever they will call it) is being designed right now, which will be a little larger than the X-S20 (but not as large as the X-H2/X-H2S), have weather-sealing, two SD-Card slots, seven Custom Presets, but no external fan accessory and slightly more limited video specs compared to the X-H2 (more similar to the X-T5), with an MSRP around $1,500-ish. Look for it in 2024. Like I said, this is all just a guess.
Another question that is raised is whether the X-T40 (or maybe they’ll call in X-T50) will have the X-Trans IV sensor like the X-S20, and I think the answer is yes. Fujifilm will use the “old” sensor to differentiate low-end models from mid and high-end bodies. If there is an X-E5, which is far from guaranteed, it would also have the 26-megapixel X-Trans IV sensor. I don’t personally believe that both the X-T00 and X-E lines will continue, and most likely the one to get axed is the X-E series, which is unfortunate because I really like the X-E line. If there eventually is an X-E5, look for it in 2025 near the very end of X-Trans V. Fujifilm should 100% be making an X80—the long awaited successor to the X70—and if they do it will certainly also have the 26-megapixel X-Trans IV sensor, but I don’t think that such a camera is in the works. I really hope I’m wrong.
I don’t know if the X-S20 (and future X-T40) will have an output more similar to X-Trans IV or X-Trans V or something unique. My guess is that the processor will be programmed to produce results more like the X-T5, which renders blue a little deeper on some film simulations and does some odd things with AWB (otherwise the differences between X-Trans IV and V are pretty small overall). We’ll have to wait until the camera comes out to find out.
Personally, I feel as though camera makers release new models much too quickly. There’s still quite some demand for X-Trans IV models. The X-E4 and especially the X100V have long backorder lists. A camera store told me that if they received zero new orders for the X100V and they continued to received new bodies at the same rate that Fujifilm has been delivering them, that it would take them six months to fulfill all of the current X100V orders; yet, they continue to receive new orders at a higher rate than bodies are being shipped to them by Fujifilm, so the backorder list is constantly growing. Fujifilm should concentrate their efforts on fulfilling current demand for X-Trans IV before pressing forward with X-Trans V. Unfortunately, camera makers will constantly push slightly improved new models because there is so much GAS and FOMO out there that people will buy them up.
There’s a cycle, which I’ve certainly been caught up in, and it’s not healthy: buy a new camera every year. People often have two camera bodies (sometimes someone has only one, and sometimes someone—like me—has a bunch)—and one of the two is replaced every odd year and the other is replaced every even year. Perhaps in 2021 you replaced your X-T2 with an X-T3 and in 2022 you replaced your X100F with an X100V; maybe in 2023 you will replace your X-T3 with an X-T5, and in 2024 you’ll look to replace your X100V with an X100Z (or whatever they’ll call the next X100). The cycle goes on and on.
My most recent camera purchase was an X-T5, but I did so in order to try the new film sim and make Film Simulation Recipes for X-Trans V; otherwise I didn’t need it—yes, the X-T5 is very nice to have and I’m not complaining whatsoever, but I’d be just as happy without it. I purchased my X-E4 two years ago, and I have no desire to replace it anytime soon—it was my most-used camera in 2022. My X100V was a birthday gift from my wife nearly three years ago, and I’m sure I’ll skip the next X100 series model, unless there’s something really radical about it. A year before that I bought an X-T30, which is a good camera that would still seem fresh if Fujifilm had shown it more Kaizen love, instead of releasing the firmware as a new model. Of those four, the X100V and X-E4 are my two favorites, and I hope to be still using them in 2025 and perhaps well beyond that. If Fujifilm made an X80, monochrome-only X100 or X-Pro, or an IR model, I’d be in line to buy those, but otherwise I’m not personally interested in anything new. I have what I need, but more than that I need to break the cycle of buying a new camera every year.
The fact is that even the older Fujifilm models are good. Yes, the newer models are better in many ways, but that doesn’t mean that their predecessors weren’t good. I used my Fujifilm X-T1 exclusively for a couple of weeks last November, and, not surprising to me but perhaps a surprise to some of you, the X-T1 did exceptionally well in most situations, including sports—the biggest shortcoming was autofocus in dim-light. If your camera still works for you, there’s not likely a good reason to upgrade.
Of course, the X-S20 isn’t intended as an “upgrade” model. Its purpose is to convince those unhappy with their Canikony cameras to consider Fujifilm instead. The X-S line’s main goal is to attract those from other brands who aren’t interested in (or are intimidated by) Fujifilm’s traditional tactile controls, but want Fujifilm’s colors and such. The X-S20 is an entry-level model, so Fujifilm is hoping that those with a Nikon D3500 or Sony A6300 or Canon T7 (or another model along those lines) will take a long look at the X-S20. I’m sure it will sell well, bringing people into the Fujifilm fold who otherwise wouldn’t be.
Speaking for just me, I don’t want 40mp. There has not been a single image that I couldn’t capture that the limitation was the lack of resolution.
I have 7 Fujifilm cameras and honestly, 16mp was pretty much perfect, 24mp was not too big of a jump and I accepted 26mp.
I don’t want or need 40mp to clog up my computer and show the “weaknesses” in my early generation XF lenses.
I’ve been after an X100V for a long time but of course the supply issues make the acquisition of a new-in-the-box model pretty much impossible. My fear is that the next model in this series will be 40mp, which means I won’t be buying one.
I’m assuming that I have already bought my last Fujifilm cameras with my two X-T3s, and I haven’t yet exceeded the capabilities of my X-Trans II bodies, much less the III and IV sensors.
I have no interest in this new camera, but I’m glad Fujifilm is allowing options to those that they don’t need 40mp to do photography.
That’s the thing: most cameras made in the last five years, if not 10, exceed the ability of the photographer. It’s not the camera that’s incapable. I agree that X-Trans III, and probably X-Trans II, is as much as anyone “needs”. There are some who truly do need and use the full capability of the new models, but it’s a very small group. Thanks for the feedback!
I agree with many things in your comment. My X-T3 is the only body I have. I bought only lenses I knew I would use regularly – XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR, XF27mmF2.8 R WR, and XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR. This system is capable of capturing images that make excellent-quality prints I can hang on my wall.
Would a 40-megapixel sensor enhance the emotional and artistic quality of my images? I doubt it.
I printed two identical pictures—one captured with me X-E4 and one captured with my X-T5—at 2′ x 3′ and… from two feet away you can tell the X-T5 picture is a little more detail-rich, but from 3 feet away and further, it’s really hard to tell the difference.
Considering that I voluntarily shoot with cheap glass (my favorite being the 7artisans 35mm f1.2, which never really reaches good sharpness and is downright mushy at f1.2, which I shoot it at most of the time; I’ve also ordered a super cheap 18mm “body cap” lens, which should arrive on Thursday, you can guess that I’m not looking for sharp stuff xD), I don’t need 40mpx either and I’ve been very happy with my X-T4. The only thing I want in new cameras is fun film simulations and JPG parameters to get my shots just right SOOC. I have a 24×36 canvas print from a slightly cropped 16mpx X-T1 shot that looks plenty good, so no, 40mpx isn’t necessary for me, and I’m glad Fujifilm isn’t entirely doing the mpx war with the full lineup.
You’ve got to love the character of those lenses! Sharpness and resolution are much too highly valued in photography, whereas artistry and storytelling aren’t discussed enough. Thanks for the input!
I’m quite happy with my XT-30; the only real update I’d love to see would be in-body stabilization, which I miss from my old Pentax K-01. I’ve got no complaints with the 26mp sensor and as others have said, I think I’d ultimately prefer to keep it at 26 instead of 40. I don’t need the larger file sizes at the very least!
It would be nice if Fujifilm gave the X-T30 Classic Negative, but otherwise it’s still a great camera that’s more than capable. Thanks for the comment!
It’s the 26 mp sensor with the new processor, your title is wrong… So faster calculation, better battery, better autofocus
The title is correct.
The bigger battery will likely be the most significant improvement. We’ll have to wait and see what the new processor does with the “old” sensor… I’m sure there will be improvements (there’s definitely potential), but I will be surprised if it is anything earth-shattering. I’m sure better and more robust (over the X-S10) subject tracking in continuous focus mode will be the headliner.
What i wanted to say, the sensor could be 26 mp, the old one but the procesor is x-trans V, what i hope is better autofocus, ibis in smaller/entry cameras, better battery life, and all the quirks user mentioned to be fixed, for example when you don’t ise the screen, only evf, when your eye is not close to the evf, the evf turnes off, like in nikon zfc
From what I understand, expect the 26-megapixel X-Trans IV sensor paired with the new X-Trans V processor. We’ll have to wait to find out what that does—what the new processor “unlocks” from the old sensor—but I wouldn’t expect anything beyond the capabilities of the X-T5 (that would be highly unrealistic)—more realistically, the entry-level X-S20 will likely have less capabilities than the X-T5. The X-S10 had IBIS, so it’s safe to assume the X-S20 will have IBIS. Will it be the same exact IBIS unit in both cameras? Possibly. The EVF behavior you described, the cameras going back to at least X-Trans III have this capability already, so that wouldn’t be a new feature—they already can do that. Here it is in the X-S10 manual: