by Johnnie Behiri | 16th March 2017
Late last year while visiting Japan, I was fortunate enough to test the FUJIFILM X-T2. Now I’m delighted to have its little sibling before me, the X-T20, which was first announced at the beginning of 2017. I certainly had some expectations in regards to the video capabilities from this little camera, especially knowing how well the bigger X-T2 preformed. Here’s my FUJIFILM X-T20 review, where I will focus on its video performance. FUJIFILM X-T20 If you have been following the latest developments in our industry, you might agree with me that something good is happening regarding all things FUJI. Besides FUJINON – their optical devision that now brings us quality cinema zoom lenses at a reduced price – FUJIFILM now offers high-quality 4K video throughout their new APS-C line, an indicator that the company is listening to their customers. If I can be a fool and look into the future, I wouldn’t be surprised if FUJIFILM’s ambitions eventually merge, and what we will see is a proper high-quality filming tool to accompany their high-quality glass. Ergonomics But back to the FUJIFILM X-T20. I was surprised to see how small (yet stylish) the camera is. What I really liked about this camera (and this is true across the board with other FUJIFILM cameras), is that a number of essential functions take the form of actual buttons rather than being buried inside the menu. A good example is the physical “view mode” button for cycling between the EVF/LCD or eye sensor. Another is the camera’s triple focus mode function – with the flip of a button you can choose between M, AF-S and AF-C modes. I was truly impressed with the AF-C (Continuous) focus mode: when using it, the changes are fast and seemed to be accurate. People using handheld gimbals would greatly benefit from this continuous AF mode. AF-S also showed good accuracy, but what I truly missed when using this mode was an “AF point joystick” (à la GFX50S) to allow you to simply move the stick to your desired focus point. Currently, you can either tap on the touch screen and choose a focus point (even while recording), or press the shutter release button half-way. Note that you can’t really change between focus points in a Sony a6500-style, i.e. using your finger on the LCD screen and dragging while recording to change focus points. All actions are done by tapping. FUJIFILM X-T20 – Physical focus selection knob A bit larger than the Sony a6500 and with a solid grip on the right hand side, the FUJIFILM X-T20 feels decent to hold for my small hands. Note that you won’t find the number “50” on the mechanical shutter wheel – which is relevant if you come from a PAL country – although you can select this option electronically by turning a different back wheel. The shutter release button acts as a dedicated REC button and, alternatively, you can start filming by programming the LCD touch screen to become your recording trigger. The screen does not swing out, but can be tilted up and down and, as with other slim-body FUJINON cameras, attaching a standard or long tripod plate is a hard thing to do. With the supplied FUJINON XF 16-55mm f/2.8 lens, there is no way to use either of those. FUJIFILM X-T20 – Movie menu settings FUJIFILM X-T20 Menu The FUJIFILM X-T20 maintains the menu structure found on other latest FUJIFILM cameras, but I still doubt its usefulness for the occasional video shooter. On the one hand, one would think the MOVIE SETTING menu clearly indicates where to navigate to for basic video-shooting functions. On the other hand, there are still many other possible video functions scattered all over the place. I truly hope that the day will come when all manufacturers decide to make it possible to see all video-related functions under a dedicated menu. Image detail of the FUJIFILM X-T20 vs. X-T2 Color and Image Detail of the FUJIFILM X-T20 vs. X-T2 FUJIFILM X-T20 Video Features When it comes to camera frame rates and resolutions, the FUJIFILM X-T20 allows recording in 720 up to 60p, 1080 up to 60p and 4K (UHD) up to 30p. Note that this is a “world camera” and changing frame rates and resolutions is fairly easy. While I did not test the quality of any of the 1080p shooting modes, I was pleasantly surprised with the 4K picture quality. Being a notch less sharp and less detailed than its larger sibling the X-T2, the outcome is still very nice and pleasant to look at. One set back that should be taken into consideration when shooting is the restricted 10-minute recording time in 4K, 15-min in full HD and 29-min in 720p. And while on the subject of restrictions, bear in mind that this new camera does not support F-log either internally or externally, leaving you to use all other FUJIFILM film stock simulations instead. On the audio side, this camera is very similar to the FUJIFILM X-Pro2 camera (see my review here). With a 2.5mm remote/audio jack and no headphone socket, it leaves a lot to be desired. On the positive side, audio levels can be adjusted while recording. FUJIFILM X-T20 – “Q” selected video settings options Functionality I’ll start with charging the battery. This is something that I keep mentioning across all of my other FUJIFILM camera reviews: how many times have you put a battery in the charger to charge and the light goes green immediately? That was the case here and it was a bit confusing. Apparently, in FUJIFILM’s philosophy, green light is “charging” and no light is “battery charged.” Way to take a global standard and flip it on its head! By now, I’m pretty familiar with the FUJIFILM menus and I must say that assigning video related functions to the various buttons and in particular the “Q” button is very straight forward. However, my two major concerns when working with the camera are as follows: After pressing the REC button, some necessary elements can’t be changed. ISO, White Balance settings or even how to monitor the video (via the LCD or EVF) are good examples. Whatever your settings were when you pressed record, that’s what you are stuck with for the rest of that take. The White Balance presets looks a bit off. For example, in order to get an accurate 5600K, I had to tune my settings to 4500K. Also, for whatever reason, matching the camera to the FUJIFILM GFX 50S on the same Film Simulation settings was not possible. The outcome yielded a completely different picture tonality. On the positive side, ISO 3200 and anything below is VERY clean (ISO 6400 is still OK, with some noise in the shadows). The EVF is nice and easy to work with, though I wish the rubber eyepiece was more comfortable for video work, and the light meter is accurate and effective. Comparing the FUJIFILM X-T20 to the Sony a6500 FUJIFILM X-T20 vs Sony a6500 The obvious thing to do is to compare the video performance of these 2 APS-C sensor size cameras (see my Sony a6500 review here). While their physical size, and overall picture quality is pretty much the same, Sony has the advantage of accommodating an XLR audio attachment for better audio connectivity, it has a Log recording mode, 5 axis in-body stabilization function, a longer 4K recording functionality and overall better low-light performance. The X-T20, on the other hand, offers FUJIFILM’s out-of-the-box Film Simulation mode, looks cooler and, more importantly, is available for $500 less. FUJIFILM X-T20, Full audio level control while recording Fujifilm X-T20 Pros (in no particular order) Mirrorless APS-C sensor, exchangeable lens camera (FUJIFILM X mount) Nice color rendering and 15 in-camera film simulation modes (available options:PROVIA / Standard, Velvia / Vivid, ASTIA / Soft, Classic Chrome, PRO Neg.Hi, PRO Neg.Std, Black& White, Black& White+Ye Filter, Black& White+R Filter, Black& White+GFilter, Sepia, ACROS, ACROS+Ye Filter, ACROS＋R Filter, ACROS＋G Filter Sharp OLED viewfinder LCD touch screen (for those who like it) that allows you to to control focus points and activate video recording Good low-light performance: ISO 3200 and anything below is VERY clean (ISO 6400 is still OK with some noise in the shadows) Fast and accurate autofocus system An assortment of focus-aid tools to ensure easy focusing while filming (peaking, magnification). World camera and up to 4K (UHD) 30p (use a card with UHS Speed Class 3 or higher for 4K recording). Video clips exceeding 4 GB will be recorded into separate files External recording via HDMI is possible (HDMI micro connector) Camera light meter is accurate and helps in exposing correctly Manual audio recording is possible, including sound-level adjustment after pressing the REC button Mic/remote jack (but with 2.5mm jack instead of the standard 3.5mm) Battery life is good (if you remember that the green light means “charging,” not “battery full”!) FUJIFILM X-T20 – changing a battery or SD card will always require an extra step. Fujifilm X-T20 Cons (in no particular order) 10-min limitation for 4K clips (15 min in HD) Tilt-only LCD screen No aspect ratio marker display. It would be nice to have 2.35:1 and 1.85:1 markers No Log picture profile (even on an external recorder) No joystick for quick and accurate focusing positioning White Balance presets seem not to be accurate. For 5600k, set you camera to 4500k No headphone jack Severe rolling shutter when shooting in 4k. (comparable to the Sony a6300) but much better in HD You CAN’T change various camera settings or values AFTER pressing the REC button Changing the battery or removing the SD card will always require the extra step of moving the tripod plate first Automatically switching between the LCD or EVF when looking through them is possible only before recording. Once you press the REC button, you are stuck with your last monitoring choice FUJIFILM X-T20 – Top view Regarding the lens used in this video, it was the FUJIFILM XF 16-55mm f2.8 R LM WR. It is FUJINON’s flagship “XF standard zoom lens” with a Full Frame focal length equivalent to 24mm – 84mm and a constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the range. Here is a quick list of the Pros and Cons I found while combining it with the X-T20: Pros: Excellent sharpness throughout the zoom range Constant f/2.8 aperture Weather-sealed design Speedy focus motor Cons: No optical stabilization Heavy Conclusion: The FUJIFILM X-T20 offers a good combination between affordable price, video picture quality, fast accurate autofocus in video mode and portability. It’s a pity that FUJIFILM did not include log picture profile support as this would have made the camera truly shine! All in all, if you are on a budget and looking for an affordable high-quality mirrorless stills camera that can shoot video, this is a camera for you to consider. Camera settings for this review: 4K (UHD) 25p. Film Simulation: Pro Neg Std. Sharpness -4, Shadow Tone -2, Highlight Tone -2. Edited on Adobe Premiere Pro latest edition. Color corrected with FilmConvert set to make: default, model: default, film setting: FJ Ast 100. No sharpening added to the final video. A bit of the green cast in the above video was caused due to the studio’s working LED light. Music by Art-list. Theme: Around Us by Introspective Acoustic Folk Many thanks to Julia and Markus from LOOOPS candles. You can visit their site by clicking hereRead more
by Johnnie Behiri | 9th August 2016
FUJIFILM, a respected company well-known for making high quality stills cameras, photo lenses and professional video and cinema lenses, is now taking its first steps towards implementing proper 4K video recording into their new X-T2 mirrorless camera. If you take a moment to look at the interview we recently conducted with Jun Watanabe, a manager at FUJIFILM corporation, you will hear how serious they are in planning to develop and enhance the video capabilities of that camera, and establish their name as a company that listens to their customers by supplying them with the right tool for their work. Tokyo, July 2016. The heat and humidity are almost unbearable. I guess the only person who really doesn’t care about it is me. After all, I just got the X-T2 for a short test ride, and learning its ins and outs completely distracts me from that heat wave. As the camera is still on a beta stage and the installed firmware is not final, I have to be very cautious with what I write. I know for sure that some of the key limitations I found while working with it are now being reviewed by FUJIFILM, and some if not most of them will be addressed in the final firmware release (or the one after). Before I continue, I must confess that during my meeting at FUJIFILM, I had the pleasure of meeting humble yet determined and professional people who really gave me the feeling of talking to a company that is willing to listen to customers. If the demand for a certain feature is there, they will do their best to fulfil those wishes and implement them as long as the hardware used allows for it. In order to achieve maximum picture quality, FUJIFILM provided me with the X-T2 mirrorless camera and the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 lens. I had in my hands an APS-C mirrorless camera which uses the H.264 compressing method with a data rate of around 100 Mbit/s in 4K mode. I’ll write up front that this combination is not suited for the occasional documentary shooter, as neither the camera nor the lens have any kind of built-in stabilisation, and micro shakes become very noticeable. For my next test, I will be using the less expensive yet equally capable Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4. This lens has a built-in OIS, so I expect to have a different user experience.. (Note that buying the X-T2 together with that lens will save you $300 over buying those two items separately). Here is a summary of what I found while working with the beta X-T2 camera. FUJIFILM X-T2 Pros: (in no particular order) World camera. UHD video in 25p and 24p, plus a variety of frame rates (up to 60p) in HD mode. F-log 4:2:2 (8 bit) through HDMI and external recording. For many, the 8 bit figure won’t cut, but with the current hardware being used, we have to be realistic. EVF is truly high quality! LCD screen is good and can be tilted. No dedicated video REC button. The photo shutter release button is used to start video recording. For people like me who are not interested in taking photos while shooting video, this is a plus as the button is located very logically. But for others, it might be a big obstacle, one that can result in skipping purchasing that camera all together. I’ve put this point in the Pros section because it works well for me. Testing during a relatively long interview, the camera did not get warm to the point of shutting off. I will experiment more when the final version is here. Rolling shutter looks well controlled in full HD 50/60p, but average in 4K 24p. To be checked in our lab test soon. Audio quality is well above what we are use to having in such small cameras when connecting an external microphone. Good battery life. Having 3 of those batteries (one in camera and 2 in the handgrip) helped me to shoot throughout the whole working day without a problem. The VPB-XT2 handgrip can serve as a very fast battery charger. FUJIFILM X-T2 Cons: (in no particular order) The camera together with a standard lens can only accommodate a very short photo tripod plate. Recommendation: use the additional VPB-XT2 handgrip to overcome that problem. Using the X-T2 together with the XF 16-55mm f/2,8 and VPB-XT2 handgrip, proved to heavily lean to the left side. On my next test, I will be using the Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 and hope to have a different experience. Eyecup is hard and not replaceable. Not so easy to judge exposure during daylight. The headphones plastic cover on the VPB-XT2 handgrip is extremely hard to open. Patience is the keyword…. The default setting for the ISO and SHUTTER wheels is “rotation free”. If you push the center lock button, THEN you can’t twist them anymore. To my opinion, the default should have been LOCKED and when pressing the center lock button, then be able to twist the wheels freely. Currently “punch-in zoom” in order to verify manual focus is not possible. Currently changing ISO values while recording is not possible. Currently changing WB while recording is not possible. Noticeable aliasing/moiré in some situations while shooting in 4K. In full HD/60p, it is more evident. LCD/EVF are locked at the last viewing position. In other words, if one starts an interview looking at the picture in the viewfinder and then move away from the camera, the LCD will not turn on. Microphone and headphone jacks are located separately, one on the camera body, the other is on the handgrip. One will be forced to buy additional equipment in order to have total control over audio. Currently, waveform is not available in video mode In the beta camera I had, I could not monitor some of the changes I made in WB or film simulation. I know those are not possible to observe while in the Q menu mode, but I will repeat this test when I get the camera again and see why I couldn’t change it. One of my biggest concerns is the highlight roll-off when using the different film simulation modes. It is very easy to over expose the picture. FUJIFILM assured me that the highlight tone / shadow tone is based on a film simulation mode which was previously available only in photo mode, but that will now be available for video. This will help with addressing this phenomenon. At times, it felt like it takes longer then usual to write the data onto the SD card after stopping the recording, despite the very fast card I had. No screen layouts to help with simulating 2,35:1 or any other ratio but 16:9 Not all photo-related functions in the menu are greyed out. It can be confusing when judging what is available for video mode. Although the autofocus algorithm is totally the same, it is rather slow and inconsistent in 24p (as opposed to 60p). Dual SD slots are relevant for photo mode only. It would have been nice to see FUJIFILM using both for video too. Camera charger shows green light when charging. A bit confusing for the crowd who is used to translate green light as “charged”. As FUJIFILM is following its “illumination one color rules”, maybe the chosen color should be red instead of green (color on meaning charging, color off is battery fully charged, and blinking means battery fault). Conclusion: For now, I will avoid giving a solid conclusion as the camera I worked with is still in its beta stage. The final version should be on our desk towards the end of August. What I would like to emphasize is that the potential is clearly there, and it is up to FUJIFILM to decide in which direction to go. Also, I do hope that FUJIFILM will decide to implement an in-camera F-log function, although it will be 4:2:0 8 bit only. I’m truly looking forward testing the X-T2 in its final form. Last but not least, as the competition gets tougher and the anticipation for newer models from Panasonic (GH5?) and Canon (EOS 5D mark IV?) gets real, I can only conclude this article with 3 words: “interesting times ahead!”. Settings for the above video: 4k/24p, Film Simulation– “Pro Neg. Std”. Edited in Adobe Premiere CC latest edition. No color correction was done, but there was a minor change in exposure in a few shots. Audio with Machico-san was recorded in camera. Music supplied by: Art-list – The East Mother by Alon Ohana – Nova Beat, Audiojungle – The Love Angel, Travelling Japan Many thanks to Machico-san an her beautiful family.Read more
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