Moving to Copenhagen gave me a lot of free time for myself. I still remember the very first few days I working here: it was 5:30 PM, I was already home, and I did not know what to do! As an Indonesian, I was never used to having so much free time after work.
So I decided to pick up photography again after several years, and started thinking to get a proper camera. “What kind of camera do you want?” I asked myself.
Well, I was, and still am, more interested in taking pictures with humans as my subject. I was looking for something that I could bring along with me when I travel, too. After looking for some inspirations online, I finally decided on getting a Fujifilm X-T20 with the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens. I also subsequently purchased some prime lenses, XF35mm f/2 and XF56mm f/1.2, to complete the package.
I was happy with most of my experience using it when I took pictures of people, or when I took it for traveling. The camera was small and light, yet really packed a punch. It also started up quickly, the controls and dials were great, and it looked super retro-cool.
I liked that the Fujifilm X-T20 had this dedicated exposure compensation dial. My typical setting was that I set the aperture, exposure, and ISO, and let the camera figure out the right shutter speed. Having a dedicated exposure compensation dial was really helpful.
And when it comes to Fujifilm, their lenses were simply fantastic — The kit lens delivered great results, and oh boy the 56mm f/1.2 lens was just plain magic. I used to own Sony and Canon APS-C cameras before, and the lenses that I owned were not up to Fuji’s XF lenses level.
The cherries on top were the colors and the film simulation feature; I could definitely get superb images out of the box.
But, maybe, what I really loved from Fuji was that I got many free software updates along the way. The updates did not only fix glitches, they also enabled new capabilities or improved them. The touch-and-drag autofocus on the screen, for example, was not there until a software update.
However, there were some things that I found lacking: the continuous autofocus and flexibility-vs-depth-of-field. Yes. I need that shallow depth of field with good bokeh and I want the flexibility of doing so.
Now to the autofocus issue. There were times when I told my models to move to capture movement. I even asked some couples to dance, or even do some small jogging. And as I took pictures of them using continuous autofocus, I noticed that my hit rate was low. The continuous autofocus felt jumpy at times.
I also noticed that sometimes the autofocus hunted before acquiring focus, even when I used single autofocus. It behaved like “Should I really focus here? No, I think I need to readjust a bit. What about a just bit more. Wait… Now! Finally! Shoot now.”
This hunting behaviour was noticeable especially in low-light situations. It did not matter much when I take travel pictures, but it really mattered when I took pictures of people.
This does not mean that the camera / autofocus was unusable. It worked quite good most of the time. However, there were just this small percentage of focus misses in some important moments. It could be that I set the settings wrong for that situations, too. I would love to learn if that was the case.
And now about flexibility-vs-depth-of-field; The 56mm f/1.2 lens was my go-to lens. It produces creamy and dreamy bokeh, but there were many times I wished I had the 23/35 lens attached to the body. Most of the times when I did not have much room to zoom out with my feet.
I did not, and still don’t, like changing lenses. Swapping my prime lens with the XF18-55mm kit zoom lens was also not an option — the lens did not give me enough bokeh for portrait-lifestyle photos of people.
Even with all the shortcomings, all in all, the Fujifilm X-T20 is a superb camera — the lenses are also top notch in terms of sharpness. And yes, the X-T20 has been succeeded to X-T30 at the moment of writing. If you have extra money, you can get that one instead. If you want to spend as little as possible, get X-T20 instead, and you’ll still have 80% of X-T30’s features.
The two years I’ve spent with this little camera have been great. I’ve been able to produce great pictures with it. It also has helped me build my skills and confidence in taking pictures, up to the point where I had some strangers contacting me to take pictures of them. I shot some weddings with it, too. Pretty sweet.
Thank you Fujifilm for making such a great small camera system. Please continue doing so in the future. 🙂
P.s: Here are some more photos that I took with this camera. More in my instagram.