I had just arrived back in South Africa, hadn’t even emptied my suitcases yet, when I got a call from Fujifilm South Africa that they had a brand-new X-S20 they wanted me to test. Since I had only just returned home, I had some free time (the suitcases could wait) to dedicate to this exciting task.
Right off the bat, I indulged in the unboxing experience:
Now that the cat, I mean camera, was out the bag, I looked for good places to take it to. As luck would have it, it was the weekend of an annual street parade that is held in Hillbrow – a neighbourhood in the inner city of Johannesburg. It used to be hip and happening and THE place to be in the 1980’s but has unfortunately fallen into disrepair and is not an area you’d walk the streets by yourself, especially not when carrying a camera.
Having the opportunity to see this neighbourhood filled with people celebrating The Arts during the festivities of the “Hey Hillbrow – Let’s Dlala” Parade was a treat and perfect (reads: “safety in numbers as well as added security to keep everyone safe”) for an outing with the compact and versatile X-S20.
It had been years since I had last watched this parade and I was excited to experience the artists and the performances they had prepared for the day.
Of course I had chosen a film simulation recipe that I thought would be fitting for the occasion (Urban Dreams by Fuji X Weekly). I decided to load the recipes into the C1 slot of the camera (which is conveniently built into the mode dial located on top of the camera and super quick to access) and shoot in jpeg and RAW. This recipe nor any others are made for the X-S20 as yet, so I wanted to keep my options open in case the conditions did not agree with my choice.
Apart from the usual I.Q. settings, the X-S20 also offers a whole bunch of additional settings that can be saved into each of the custom menus. Available for stills and video, this is very handy if you wish to set up a shooting profile, let’s say for sports stills, portraits or travel videos. Despite the fact that setup takes a bit longer initially, it can be a real time-saver.
To keep it nice and simple, I had paired the X-S20 with the XF18-55mmF2.8-F4 R LM OIS. Walking the crowded streets was a breeze with this compact pair. At no point did I feel like I was drawing attention to myself, which made taking candid pictures so much easier and fun. This is a great street photography combo and will make for a awesome travel companion, too.
Since I was planning to capture people moving around (a lot) I decided to turn on Face Detection / Eye Auto and focussed on testing the improved Auto Focus feature. All I can say is – it worked like a dream.
Here are some of the jpegs straight out of camera (I applied a vignette to some of the images in Adobe Lightroom Mobile):
The parade and its very colourful artists lit the streets of the neighbourhood and capturing the vibe was nothing short of fantastic. Having a super compact camera as capable as the X-S20 made it even more fun.
I am pretty happy with the results despite the lighting conditions having been somewhat challenging for the most part of the morning. It was a wintery overcast day and the recipe that I had chosen didn’t handle the extreme contrasts between the people in the streets and the bright, washed out sky so well. Not the camera’s fault, of course! I had used the same recipe the day before at sunset where it had done a great job.
I also shot with a different recipe, Summer of 1960 by Fuji X Weekly, the day after the parade which delivered stunning results.
And after all the weekend fun was over, I had to wave the camera good-bye again. I didn’t get to test many of the other features this camera offers. In particular, its video, webcam, vlog mode and object detection / product priority features which sound very intriguing indeed. This will have to wait until I get my hands on it again.
For now, I can say that the X-S20 is very easy to handle and delivers the fabulous Fujifilm colours we have grown to love so much. Thanks to the latest X-Processor 5, overall image quality is improved and noise levels are reduced. The auto focus is noticeably faster and the camera feels overall quicker and more responsive. The new NP-W235 battery is a very welcomed upgrade and improves the operating time of this little power house to letting you shoot a good 1000 jpegs (in normal mode) before you will have to think about grabbing a spare battery.
If you know me, you will not be surprised to hear me say that the vari-angle LCD is still not my cup of tea, but it will definitely prove very useful for the new vlog mode and other video features.
This will certainly not be the last you hear from me about this new member of the Fujifilm family. To make sure you stay up to date with my articles and other content on my social media platforms, make sure to subscribe here as well as to my YouTube channel and my Instagram. Your support is incredibly valuable!
If you want to read more: I tested the X-S10 in 2021 and you can read all about it here: https://blog.nathalieboucry.com/not-lost-verloren/