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Fujifilm X-S20 hands-on Review

Fujifilm X-S20 - front with screen our

Price when reviewed



Our Verdict

The Fujifilm X-S20 builds on X-S10 with much better battery life, subject detection and a new Vlog mode that makes it easy to start shooting video and gives access to a few useful controls when you are in front of the camera. The Fujifilm X-S20 feels like a true hybrid camera that delivers some great stills and video features along with the company’s widely respected image quality.


  • New Vlog mode
  • Vari-angle touchscreen
  • Excellent sensor and processor combination


  • Not weather-sealed
  • Complex collection of continuous shooting options

What is the Fujifilm X-S20?

Fujifilm announced the X-S10 in October 2020 to appeal to photographers who like the image quality delivered by Fujifilm’s X-series cameras but who aren’t used to traditional exposure controls. It’s for those who prefer to use command dials like on most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras such as the Canon R7 and Nikon Z50.

The Fujifilm X-S20 reviewed here is the replacement for the X-S10, fulfilling a similar role but offering more up to date features including a revised processing engine and the ability to detect and focus on specific subjects automatically. It’s a hybrid camera aimed at photographers, content creators and vloggers who want to shoot high quality stills and video at resolutions up to 6.2K.


  • Camera type: Mirrorless
  • Announced: 24th May 2023
  • Sensor: 26.1MP X-Trans 4 CMOS APS-C format sensor
  • Processing engine: X-Processor 5
  • Lens mount: X-Mount
  • Sensitivity range: ISO 125-12,800 expandable to ISO 25,600
  • Viewfinder: 0.39-inc type 2.36-million-dot EVF (100% coverage) with 0.62x magnification
  • Screen: Vari-angle 3-inch 1.84million-dot touchscreen LCD
  • Autofocus system: Intelligent hybrid with up to 425 selectable AF points
  • Subject detection: Animal/Bird/Automobile/Motorcycle&Bike/Airplane/Train
  • Continuous shooting: Mechanical Shutter: 8fps, Electronic Shutter: 30fps with 1.25x crop, 20fps full-sensor
  • Max video resolution: 6.2K (6240 x 4160) at 29.97/25/24/23.98fps, DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) at 59.95/50/29.97/25/24/23.98fps, 4K 59.95/50/29.97/25/24/23.98fps
  • Stabilisation: 5-axis In-body up to 7 stops compensation, plus Digital Image Stabilization and IS Mode Boost for video
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 127.7×85.1×65.4mm
  • Weight: 491g including battery and card


The Fujifilm X-S20 has the same 26.1MP back-side-illuminated (BSI) X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor as the Fujifilm X-T4 but it’s paired with the company’s latest latest processing engine, the X-Processor 5. This means that the X-S20’s general speed is boosted over that of the X-S10 and the new camera has AI-based subject-detection AF that is capable of detecting animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes, trains, insects and drones.

Fujifilm has also given the X-S20’s Auto exposure mode a new Auto Subject Detection mode in which the camera detects a subject and tracks it automatically, ensuring that it is sharp in stills or video. This is activated by default in Auto exposure mode and can be turned off. It’s not possible to specify a specific subject to detect in Auto mode.

In addition, the Fujifilm X-S20 is capable of recording 6.2K video internally at 29.97p/25.00p/24.00p/23.98p with 10-bit colour and bit rates up to 360Mbps (in H.265 All-Intra 4:2:2 MOV, H.265 All-Intra 4:2:0 MOV, H.265 Long GOP 4:2:2 MOV or H.265 Long GOP 4:2:0 MOV). Naturally, there are a host of other video resolutions available including C4K (4096×2160) and 4K (3840×2160) video at 59.94p/50.00p/29.97p/25.00p/24.00p/23.98p in H.265 All-Intra 4:2:2 MOV, H.265 All-Intra 4:2:0 MOV, H.265 Long GOP 4:2:2 MOV, H.265 Long GOP 4:2:0 MOV, H.264 Long GOP 4:2:0 MOV or H.264 Long GOP 4:2:0 MP4. Meanwhile, Full HD video at up to 240P in High speed mode.

Alternatively, the Fujifilm X-S20 can record 12-bit Apple ProRes raw video at resolutions up to 6.2K at 29.97fps to an HDMI-connected Atomos recorder. It’s also possible to record Blackmagic Raw footage at up to 6.2K 29.97fps to a Blackmagic Design Video Assist 12G.

As usual, there’s an onboard microphone, but the 3.5mm microphone port enables an external mic to be connected for better audio recording. There’s also a headphone port to enable audio monitoring.

F-Log2 (along with F-log View Assist) is available to enable the dynamic range of the video to be pushed to over 13+ stops, giving greater scope for post-capture adjustment.

Fujifilm has also given the X-S20 a new Vlog Mode with a dedicated setting on the mode dial. When this is selected, the settings change to those suitable for shooting from in front of the camera – vlogging or making video selfies. This mode can be tailored to shoot in your preferred exposure mode, effectively making it a custom shooting mode for video.

Helpfully, the Fujifilm X-S20 can operate as a webcam without any additional software when it’s connected to a computer via a USB-Type C cable. You get full control over the exposure settings and Film Simulation modes while live streaming.

As is expected now, the Fujifilm X-S20 has 5-axis in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) built in and it’s said to extend the safe hand-holdable shutter speed by up to 7 stops.

While the X-S10 accepts the NP-W126S battery, the Fujifilm X-S20 uses the newer NP-W235 battery that is also used in the Fujifilm X-T5, X-H2S and X-H2. In the X-S20, this battery is claimed to enable over around 800 images to be shot on a single charge. That’s more than double the number of images that can be shot with the X-S10’s battery.

Other Features

The Fujifilm X-S20 has 19 of Fujifilm’s excellent Film Simulation modes, plus Grain Effect, Color Chrome Effect and Color Chrome FX Blue.

It’s also possible to record HEIF instead of Jpegs. HEIF files deliver greater dynamic range than Jpegs, and they take up less storage space, but currently there’s limited scope to edit them and they’re not a great choice if you want to share images widely.

The X-S20 has Fujifilm’s Multiple Exposure mode which enables up to 9 images to be composted in-camera with Additive, Average, Bright or Dark blend modes available.

Pixel Shift Multi Shot mode is not available on the X-S20.

Fujifilm X-S20 review - sensor

Build and handing

Anyone who has used the Fujifilm X-S10 will find themselves on familiar ground with the X-S20. As you’d expect from a Fujifilm camera at this level, the X-S20’s body is made from magnesium alloy. That helps to give it a solid, durable feel yet it weighs just 491g. It’s important to note, however, that the Fujifilm X-S20 is not weather-sealed.

There’s also a deep, ergonomic grip which ensures the camera feels comfortable in my hands. I’m around 5 foot 2 inches tall, but I have quite large hands for my height. There’s just enough room for three fingers of my right hand to fit on the grip while my index finger is on the shutter release. It means my little finger doesn’t have to slip under the camera, but if I use the X-S20 one-handed, I tend to slip my little finger underneath anyway to give a little extra leverage.

Unlike the Fujifilm X-T5 that has traditional exposure controls with a dedicated shutter speed dial that is used in combination with the aperture ring on a lens, the X-S20 has a mode dial. With the Fujifilm X-T5, for instance, setting the shutter speed dial and aperture ring to ‘A’ sets the camera to program mode, and putting one to ‘A’ while the other is set to a specific value means the camera is in aperture or shutter priority. Setting both to a specific value means the X-T5 is in manual exposure mode. Using an exposure mode on the X-S20 arguably makes it more intuitive for inexperienced photographers. It’s also more familiar for many potential users because its an approach used by many other camera manufacturers.

With the exposure mode set via the dial on the X-S20, the shutter speed and aperture settings can be set via the camera’s command dials. Like the X-S10, the Fujifilm X-s20 is still compatible with lenses that have an aperture ring and you can choose how you prefer to set the aperture value.

By default, in manual exposure mode, the X-S20’s front common dial is used to set the aperture value (when the lens aperture ring setting is set to ‘A’) while the rear dial is used to adjust shutter speed. In aperture priority and shutter mode, the rear dial adjusts exposure compensation and the front dial’s role switches between adjusting aperture or shutter speed depending upon the mode.

Like its predecessor, the X-S20 has a more SLR-like design than cameras in Fuji’s X-T and X-Pro lines such as the Fujifilm X-T5 and Fujifilm X-Pro 3, including a larger grip. As I mentioned earlier, Fujifilm has also given the X-S20 the high-capacity NP-W235 battery which means it can capture more than double the number of images on a single charge than is possible with the X-S10.

Fujifilm X-S20 review - Vlog screen

When Vlog is selected on the mode dial, tapping the word ‘Vlog’ on the screen reveals a range of 6 features that are useful when you’re recording yourself talking to the camera. For starters, there’s a video self timer that gives you a count down for recording – this can be set to 3, 5 or 10 seconds. There’s also control over the Face/Eye Detection, image stabilisation and the High Speed recording options. In addition, there’s a Product Priority Mode, which turns off the Face/Eye AF and sets the camera to focus on an object being held up to it. Lastly, there’s a Background Defocus Mode that sets the widest aperture available with the mounted lens and prevents it from being adjusted.

Fujifilm X-S20 review - back of camera

Fujifilm X-S20 viewfinder and screen

As it’s a mirrorless camera, the Fujifilm X-S20 has an electronic viewfinder. Fuji has plumped for 0.39-inch type 2.36-million-dot unit with 0.62x magnification. There’s also a 1.84-million-dot rear screen that’s mounted on a vari-angle hinge. This screen can be flipped out, tilted and twisted to make it visible from a wide range of angles. It can be flipped to face forward for vlogging and shooting selfies.

The viewfinder provides a clear view that is true to the captured image. However, even when its refresh rate is set to 100p, movement still looks a little jerky in video mode.

The screen can also be relied upon to give a good preview of the final image indoors and in low-light levels, but you’ll need to increase its brightness in sunny conditions.

In most instances, I was able to see the electronic level turn green on the screen to indicate that the camera was level, but it would be handy to have the option to make the line thicker and easier to see in some situations.

The ‘Red Rec’ display that puts a red frame around the screen when the X-S20 is recording is helpful, especially in bright conditions. It’s also nice that the frame turns from red to teal when shooting in High Speed Rec mode to capture slow-motion footage.

Fujifilm X-S20 - top of camera


So far I’ve spent a day shooting with the Fujifilm X-S20 in mostly bright, sunny conditions in Malta ahead of its announcement. I’ve also managed to pop inside to a few dark interiors to check the camera’s low light performance and I’ll be shooting some more with it after its announcement. I’ll update our Fujifilm X-S20 review as soon as I can. However, it’s clear that the camera is capable of producing high quality video and stills.

The X-S20’s Face/Eye detection works well with humans. It’s very quick to spot a face or an eye in the frame, even when its very small in the frame, and it stays with them well as they move, keeping the subject sharp. As yet, the only animal that I have encountered with the X-S20 was a cat that was well beyond the compositional range of the Fujifilm 8mm F3.5 R WR lens that I had mounted at the time. I’m looking forward to testing the system further at a later date, but I’m not expecting it to be quite up to the same standard as the Fujifilm X-H2S because that camera’s 26.1MP sensor has a stacked design. That structure means the sensor has faster data read-out which gives the X-H2S an advantage when it comes to detecting subjects and focusing on them.

I’ve been able to test the X-S20’s standard autofocus system in a range of conditions and it’s been fast and accurate. It seems to take low light in its stride as it managed to focus quickly in the gloomy, low contrast conditions inside a church and a cave.

Fujifilm X-S20 image quality

At low ISO settings, the Fujifilm X-S20 captures plenty of detail for a camera with a 26.1MP APS-C format sensor. With the Film Simulation Mode set to Provia / Standard, the colours look pleasingly natural and a good match for the scene. There are 18 other options available in case you want to capture something a little different. Classic Chrome, with its muted earthy tones and Eternal Bleach Bypass are two of my favourites for colour photography while Acros delivers very nice monochrome images straight from the camera.

The images that I have shot so far with the X-S20 indicate that it keeps noise in good control throughout its native sensitivity range of ISO 160 to 12,800. However, ISO 6400 images look just a little cleaner and crisper than ISO 12,800 images and it would be worth keeping to a maximum of ISO 6400 if possible. And although the X-S20’s Jpegs look very good, the raw files have a little more detail (and luminance noise) visible at the highest settings.

As usual, when the X-S20 is set to use it ISO expansion settings, the images become rather noisy and smudged in places. So while ISO 25,600 and 51,200 might be useful on occasion, I’d advise avoiding using them.

I have stuck to using the Fujifilm’s default metering (Photometry) mode, Multi, although when Face/Eye Detection or Subject Detection is activated, the camera prioritises the exposure towards the subject. As the viewfinder gives an excellent preview of the exposure, white balance and colour, there’s little need to stray away from these settings. There are a few occasions when a little positive or negative exposure compensation is required but there are no surprises about when this is necessary. As a rule, the X-S20 handles exposure very well.

Fujifilm X-S20 battery life

While I have shot with the Fujifilm X-S20 for a full day, I haven’t been able to test the battery life fully yet. After shooting around 210 raw and jpeg images (420 files in total) and 35 video clips of various resolutions, the battery indicator dropped to 3/5. This suggests that Fujifilm’s claim of it having a life of over 800 images on a single charge is feasible, but it’s something I’ll have to investigate further when I’m able to shoot for a much longer period of time.

Fujifilm X-S20 - rear of camera

Fujifilm X-S20 sample images

Follow the link to browse and download full-resolution images from the Fujifilm X-S20. Please respect our copyright.

Early verdict

There may be some photographers who wish that the X-S20 had the 40MP sensor that’s in the Fujifilm X-H2S and X-T5, but that would push its price up. It would also decrease the differentiation between the X-S20 and the X-H2S. By using an existing 26.1MP sensor with the latest processor, Fujifilm has enabled some significant improvements in the focusing system over the X-S10.

The move to a larger battery is also attractive, but the new Vlog mode is possibly the most interesting introduction for anyone interested in getting more serious about shooting video. Having the Vlog setting alongside the Video setting on the exposure mode dial means that you can switch quickly between two different video set-ups. The new Vlog mini-menu also makes it easy to change a few key settings quickly.


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