Fujifilm is trying to beat Sony at its own game with the launch of the 26-megapixel X-S20, a content creation-oriented camera. Though it has a similar body and the same sensor as its predecessor, the X-S10, it offers some major improvements in terms of video quality and more. At the same time, it’s considerably more expensive than the X-S10 was at launch.
“X-S20 is truly a dream camera for any content creator looking to take their photos and videos creation to the next level, but especially for the ones that are documenting their lives, traveling the world, or streaming their stories online,” said Fujifilm’s Lisa Baxt, essentially describing the camera’s market and purpose.
Though it has the same last-generation 26-megapixel X-Trans sensor as the X-S10, it uses the company’s new X-Processor 5. That allowed Fujifilm to install its latest deep learning AI autofocus technology that boosts speeds and allows the camera to detect animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, trains, insects and drones, much like the higher-end X-H2 and X-T5. Plus, it can detect all of those automatically, so the user doesn’t need to pick a subject before shooting.
That also boosted the camera’s video powers considerably. Where the X-S10 was limited to 4K 30p 10-bit video, the X-S20 can shoot 6.2K 4:2:2 10-bit open gate video that can be cropped into any horizontal or vertical format you want. It can also handle DCI 4K at 60 fps and super slow-mo 1080/240p video. In addition, it supports F-Log2 with up to 13-plus stops of dynamic range (DR), where the X-S10 was limited to F-Log with a stop less DR.
It offers a much higher 360Mbps bit-rate thanks to support for faster UHS-II cards, though there’s still only a single card slot. You can also record 12-bit Apple ProRes and Blackmagic RAW video at 6.2K 30p and 5.2K/30p externally, either to Atomos or Blackmagic recorders. Finally, Fujifilm is offering an optional external cooling fan that allows for 6.2K video recording for up to 80 minutes, compared to 40 minutes without the fan.
Fujifilm flattered Sony by imitation with its dedicated “Vlog” function on the mode dial. This new setting gives you direct access to a vlogging touch menu that offers functions like product priority focus mode, background defocus, high-speed recording, face/eye detection and more. Much like Sony’s V-series models, product priority mode disables face/eye detection so the camera will focus on a product placed in front of it, while background defocus opens the lens aperture as wide as possible for more background blur.
Also new is UVC/UAC support that lets the camera work directly as a webcam by just plugging it into your PC. You can also stream 4K/60p video live online using OBS studio.
For photography, the X-S20 can fire bursts at up to 8 frame per second in mechanical shutter mode, or 20 fps in electronic mode. The buffer supports over 1,000 JPEG or compressed RAW images in mechanical mode — considerably more than before. However, it’s limited to 35 frames for uncompressed RAW images, about double the X-S10. In electronic mode, the buffer can handle 79 compressed RAW images before filling, or 28 uncompressed RAW shots.
As before, it comes with five-axis in-body stabilization, though Fujifilm has boosted the power from six stops to seven with supported lenses. It also has a fully articulating 3-inch display, with resolution boosted to 1.84 million dots, up from 1.04 million. The OLED electronic viewfinder has 2.36 million dots of resolution and a 100 fps refresh.
It retains much the same body design with a slightly larger grip, and 491 gram weight that’s a touch heavier — but it’s still pretty light for such a powerful camera. Other features include microphone/headphone and HDMI micro ports, and yes, the pop-up flash is back.
The X-S20 is priced at $1,300 (body) only, which is considerably more than the $1,000 launch price of the X-S10. You can also grab it in a kit with XC15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 lens for $1,400, or with the XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens for $1,700. Shipping starts on June 29th.
Along with the camera, Fujifilm unveiled the XApp designed to control X- and GFX-series camera for remote shooting, file transfers and more. The company said it “listened carefully to user feedback” when developing the app, so here’s hoping it’s a large step up from the previous (dreadful) app. Fujifilm also unveiled the ultra-wide-angle XF8mmF3.5 lens ($800) shipping on or around June 29th, 2023.
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