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FUJIFILM X-S20: the perfect creator’s tool

Posted on Aug 19, 2023

Town planner turned visual storyteller Pete Elliott tells us why the X-S20 fits him like a glove

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The hybrid capabilities of the FUJIFILM X-S20 are fast proving themselves to be the perfect tools for delivering the creative content that town planner turned freelance photographer Pete Elliott needs to tell his stories.

Working with a lot of recognisable brands, Elliott specialises in creating engaging, story-based visual content for the outdoor sector, whether that’s utilising stills or moving images to fulfil the brief. 

Having used the X-S20 for over a month now, the photographer shares that he’s finding it “as capable as my X-H2S, but in a smaller and more compact body. I love the X-H2S, but haven’t used it for a whole month now, in favour of the X-S20.”

At the X-S20’s heart is a back-side illuminated, 26.1-megapixel X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor, coupled with a high-speed X-Processor 5 image-processing engine. For videographers, it offers up to 6.2K-resolution video at 30fps, or 4K at a generous 60fps.

“My video and stills work is more or less 50/50, so having a camera that can do both equally well is a good USP,” the photographer notes. “6K video gives you so much flexibility. If I can’t get as close to the subject as I want, I can crop in post and still get plenty of detail.

“Especially with differing social media image ratios, it gives you room to play around. For example, I could easily turn something into a vertical video for Instagram.”

For content creators considering this camera for vlogging, there’s also a new, dedicated Vlog setting on the mode dial, which automatically alters camera settings to those most suitable for self-portraiture. Elliott recognises this as ‘an extremely useful feature’, adding: “I can see the X-S20 is a dream camera for someone starting out in content creation. Shooting on a Fujifilm camera just feels more authentic than shooting on other brands.”

Describing the new model as ‘lightweight, yet packed with all the features you need’, Elliott reasons that it’s the only camera he needs to take out with him for a day’s shooting. Another aspect of the X-S20 he particularly enjoys is ‘the nice, deep grip on it, which is useful when running and gunning – which I do a lot’.

The X-S20’s in-body image stabilisation provides the equivalent of seven stops, so shooting handheld is no problem for Elliott. In fact, he describes the IBIS system as so good it’s ‘insane’. He adds: “I shoot a lot of video, and when panning handheld, the difference the IBIS makes is incredibly noticeable.”

Explaining that he finds the camera’s autofocus ‘super reliable’, another plus is that ‘the Raw files are incredible to edit, with amazing colour rendition and tonality’.

Having a choice of an eye-level EVF or vari-angle back-plate monitor enables Elliott to employ a mix of the two to best realise the shot he’s after. “Normally, I’d use the eyepiece, but have found I’m using the vari-angle screen more for shooting close to the floor and when I’m trying to include some foreground interest and detail in a landscape scene.”

Speaking of landscapes, Elliott enthuses about Fujifilm’s new ultra-wide XF8mm f/3.5 R WR prime lens, launched at the same time as the X-S20 and which offers the equivalent of 12mm in 35mm terms.

“It initially took me a while to get used to a view that wide,” he admits. “But I realised I could get up close and personal to a subject while still showing as much of the landscape and context as possible. That is very important to me in telling the story.”

Ultimately, he notes, the X-S20 is ‘the lightest and most portable camera I’ve ever used – that’s why it’s the perfect creator’s hybrid tool’.

Originally published in Issue 110 of Photography News.

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