Thoughts on the Upcoming X-S20

According to Fujirumors, who has a reputation for being quite accurate, the next Fujifilm model will be the X-S20, which will be announced at the X-Summit in April. What are my thoughts on this upcoming camera?

First of all, I want to state that I have zero inside information. Fujifilm doesn’t tell me anything. I haven’t spoken with anybody who has knowledge about upcoming cameras. What I state about the X-S20—or any unreleased model—is my opinion (nothing more) and should be consumed with a grain of salt.

The X-S10 was a successful model for Fujifilm, doing what it was intended to do: attract those unsatisfied with their Canikony camera who have an interest in Fujifilm but are intimidated by the traditional dials because they have only ever used PASM. I have no doubt that the X-S20 will be just as successful, if not more so.

I believe it will have the same 40-megapixel sensor as the X-H2 and X-T5. It won’t be weather-sealed. It will be 95% the same camera as the X-S10, just with the new sensor and processor. I would be surprised if there were any big surprises. If the X-H2 is too expensive for you, or if you have an X-H2 but want a smaller and cheaper second body, the X-S20 will be the one to consider.

What will separate the X-S20 from the X-S10? Megapixels. Autofocus. Improved IBIS algorithm. Nostalgic Neg. 6K video. I don’t expect the new version to be head-and-shoulders better, but an improvement nonetheless, but with some give-and-take, so an argument could be made that the X-S10 is actually “better” (subjectively, of course), just like the X-T4 might be considered better than the X-T5 by some.

I do wonder if Fujifilm has intentions of introducing a mid-level PASM model. The X-H2/X-H2S cameras are “flagship” cameras that are true “hybrid” models (excellent for both stills and video), but unfortunately those are PASM models, which means long-time Fujifilm photographers were left out in the cold—the X-T4 and X-H1 are the only “flagship hybrid” cameras for you to choose from (yes, an argument could be made for the X-T5, but it is clear Fujifilm intends it for those who primarily are still photographers, not videographers). The X-S10 and X-S20 are entry-level (as in the new entry-level, which used to be mid-level). What’s in-between the high-end X-H2 and the low-end X-S20? For the PASM shooter, nothing. I’m not certain if something is needed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Fujifilm is exploring that possibility, or even in the process of creating it.

I don’t think, in the current market, that it makes sense to have three entry-level models. That means either the X-E line or X-T00 line is likely on the way out. The X-T00 has historically been more popular, but the X-E line is beloved, and the X-E4 has been especially successful. I’m not sure what might get the ax or when, but it’s possible that the X-T30 II or X-E4 was the last in their respective series. Or maybe the X-T40 (or X-T50… they might skip using four because it is an unlucky number in Japan) or X-E5 will be the last. I hope I’m wrong about this, and both lines continue for years to come, but I don’t think that will be the case.

I’m disappointed that the X-S20 is the next camera to be announced. Six out of the last nine Fujifilm cameras will have been PASM models—X-S10, GFX100S, GFX50S II, X-H2S, X-H2, and X-S20—while one of the three non-PASM models—X-T30 II—wasn’t much more than a firmware update (so essentially 3/4 of Fujifilm’s latest releases have been PASM). I think it’s clear that Fujifilm is more interested in becoming a part of Canikony (Canikonyfilm?), which they see as their future growth potential, than to embrace and better communicate what makes them unique (and why that uniqueness is desirable). Shame. But, at the same time, the X-S line was due for an update, so I’m not too surprised that this is their next model. Still, I think with the current demand for the X100V, which Fujifilm cannot keep up with due to parts shortages, that they would expedite the X100Z (or whatever it will be called). To me, that would have made more sense.

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