Fujifilm X-T200 review: all the cameras you need
“With substance and style, Fuji’s second attempt at an entry-level X-T camera has been successful.”
Large high resolution screen
4K / 30 video
Improved auto focus
No image stabilization in the body
Continuous AF could be better
The X-T200 is the entry-level camera that Fujifilm fans have long deserved, and probably the X-T100 as well. When I complained about the slow autofocus of the X-T100 in my video review in 2018, I did a lot of flack on YouTube.
“Dude, what do you expect from this camera? This is an entry level camera [sic]. Lol, ”said an angry observer.
“OMG is realistic,” said another.
What people seemed to lack is that autofocus performance is at least as important with entry-level cameras as it is with professional models.
Yes, there are high-end cameras that have been specially developed for sports shots and offer autofocus performance in addition to the rest. For the most part, however, a professional or enthusiastic photographer is the one who spends more time on exposure – you can afford to be patient. Because of this, the Hasselblad X1D II 50C can have a notoriously slow auto focus, and still costs $ 5,750.
You can find Leica rangefinders worth over $ 8,000 that have no auto focus at all.
However, a casual photographer who tries to take a picture of his child or dog does not have the luxury of patience. The camera has to work. Now.
The X-T100 looked even worse after Sony brought its real-time autofocus to the entry-level A6100. There is no longer an excuse for an entry-level camera with poor autofocus.
When the X-T100 has fiddled, the X-T200 has picked up the ball and started running. It brings back everything I loved about the X-T100, while fixing the biggest issues and adding useful features like a dirty simple webcam mode. This is Fujifilm’s biggest effort so far to produce a premium camera for an entry-level customer.
At $ 600 for the camera body or $ 700 with a 15-45mm kit lens (tested), this is also an exceptional value.
It may be an entry-level camera, but the X-T200 is the photographic equivalent of getting dressed for the job you want, not the job you have. Style remains Fujifilm’s main advantage over rival Sony, and I don’t think that’s a point that needs to be emphasized lightly. The appearance of a camera can inspire you to use it. If all other factors are the same, you can choose the camera that looks best around your neck.
Nor is it all form about function. The multiple dials that give the camera its retro look offer a lot of direct access control, but are easily ignored by anyone who finds their presence complicated. Compared to single-digit X-T cameras, the X-T200 may have run down, but you still have special dials for shutter speed and aperture, so many entry-level cameras, especially DSLRs, don’t require a modifier button.
There is also a function wheel on the left shoulder that can be programmed for numerous settings. By default, film simulations (color profiles, with any other name) are run, but I found that reprogramming for ISO control was much more useful – and brought it in line with my personal X-T2, which has a dedicated ISO dial-up position .
Compared to the X-T100, it usually runs as usual, but there are some notable design changes. The first is the built-in handle. Because it’s so small, it’s not the most ergonomic grip in the world, but it helps your hand find a solid buy for the camera. On the other hand, this somewhat ruins the clean lines that have given the X-T100 such a classic, minimalist look. This camera was supplied with a screw-on accessory handle.
The electronic viewfinder with 2.36 million points is unchanged, but that’s pretty solid for this camera class. However, the LCD touchscreen is new. It measures 3.5 inches with a resolution of 2.78 million pixels in a 16: 9 ratio, making it larger and sharper than the X-T100. This screen is shared with the sister camera of the X-T200, the Fujifilm X-A7, and is one of the best I’ve used for an entry-level camera.
On the back of the camera is the four-way button cluster of the X-T100, which has been replaced by a joystick to select the auto focus point. Although I appreciate the recording, I would prefer to have both the joystick and the buttons, but such a setup seems to be reserved for single-digit X-T cameras. It wouldn’t have fit with the new, wider touchscreen, which also offers a new user interface that was also borrowed from the X-A7 to replace some of the functions of lost keys.
However, the X-A7 does not have a viewfinder. With this camera you always stare at the LCD screen. Touch controls are therefore more sensible. You can see what you need to touch. However, if you keep an eye on the X-T200’s viewfinder, you won’t be able to use the touch controls. Physical buttons that let you navigate by feel would have worked better.
This is an admittedly minor complaint. The X-T200 offers more control than most customers want or need.
Image quality and functions
I appreciate the level of control for manual mode, but the truth is that most people who buy the X-T200 are likely to rely on automatic exposure at least initially. Fortunately, it works well too.
Fujifilm’s Advanced Scene Recognition Auto mode (identified by the SR position on the mode dial) adapts to the scene and subject. I found that it did a good job of both focusing and exposure, balancing highlights and shadows in a high-contrast scene. Portraits (in this case selfies – hooray for social distancing) were exposed perfectly.
JPEGs, both in detail and in color, look fantastic straight from the camera, which is not surprising to Fujifilm. You can get more out of the files by shooting RAW, but casual photographers won’t want to stick to JPEG.
When you put the screen in the selfie position, the auto focus for face and eye detection is automatically activated in every exposure mode (you can also activate it for non-selfies in the menu system). It worked very well, with the focus box sticking to my eye or face even when I moved the camera quickly.
While it performs admirably for single shots, it is a little less reliable for continuous shooting or video if the subject moves towards or away from the camera. Still, I think performance would be fine in most real-world situations. The camera records around 16 RAWs or 25 JPEGs at 8 frames per second, which is not bad for the class.
There are also numerous sub-modes for the self-timer to fire the camera based on what it sees. You can choose to have a picture taken when a face, smile, “buddy” or group is displayed. I couldn’t test the last two closely, but the triggers for face and smile work pretty well, though they didn’t always recognize my smile (maybe it could see that I was faking it). I’m also not sure how useful it is to release the shutter when a face appears in the frame, but you might find a use for it.
What is more impressive is that it includes a number of advanced features that I would not expect from a camera of this level, such as interval shooting and time-lapse movies in the camera. There is also an advanced bracketing mode that allows you to set up to seven exposures in steps of 1/3 to 3 stops. There is even a built-in flash commander mode that enables remote flash control.
These are not features that the novice photographer is likely to deal with, but it’s nice that Fujifilm includes them. It means that you should use the X-T200 sufficiently for some time.
The X-T200 now offers true 4K images at 24 or 30 frames per second and is suitable for videos. The X-T100 offered 4K, but only at 15 fps, which basically makes it unusable.
And that’s not all. The X-T200 can also record Full HD at 120 fps for slow motion playback. The clean HDMI output – but without 10-bit color or the flat F-Log profile from high-end Fujis – is suitable for use as a webcam. A High Dynamic Range (HDR) film mode helps maintain color and detail in high-contrast scenes, although it’s limited to 1080p.
There is no sensor shift stabilization yet, but the optical stabilization in the kit lens works well for videos. There are also two forms of digital stabilization: Digital Image Stabilizer and Digital Gimbal. The latter is more extreme, but leads to a strong cropping of the video. In practice, I didn’t find that useful either – but maybe a non-stabilized lens would help with standard digital stabilization. If you were not filming while running, I would avoid the digital gimbal as it sacrifices too much resolution.
For reasons I don’t understand, the lowest ISO available in film mode is 400 – compared to 200 for still images – which can be problematic when shooting outdoors in direct sunlight. However, you can at least record videos in full manual exposure by turning the mode dial to M and then pressing the appropriate start / stop button for recording. If you instead turn the mode dial to the red film mode icon, you are limited to automatic exposure.
We’ve noticed that webcam functionality is becoming increasingly important with the current corona virus pandemic as more and more people work from home and rely on video conferencing instead of face-to-face meetings. The increased demand for improved video quality has led to a shortage of HDMI to USB adapters like the Elgato Camlink. Camera manufacturers have rushed to offer their own solutions to customers wondering how to use a dedicated camera as a webcam, and Fujifilm was one of the first to do so with its Webcam X software.
However, just a week after the first release of this test, Fujifilm announced firmware version 1.10 for the X-T200, which provides native USB webcam support without the need for software (the X-A7 has also been updated with the same functionality) . The firmware update adds a new option to the USB mode selection in the “Connection settings” menu, which is simply referred to as “USB webcam”. If this option is activated, the X-T200 will be displayed as a webcam in supported apps if it is connected to a computer under MacOS and Windows without the need for a driver.
I tested it in Zoom, FaceTime and QuickTime on MacOS and it worked smoothly and offered significantly improved video quality with naturally blurred backgrounds, better colors and a much better dynamic range compared to the built-in webcam. The autofocus responded quickly and kept my face and eyes sharp even when I moved closer or further away, and I also appreciated being able to zoom in and out of the lens to get the perfect frame.
Note that only the video signal is transmitted via USB and not via audio. You still need to rely on your computer, headset, or standalone USB microphone to get audio. In my tests, the audio from the built-in microphone on my MacBook Air seemed to stay in perfect sync with the video feed on the X-. T200. There may be a delay of a few frames, but it is certainly not enough to notice this.
The other “disadvantage” is that the USB webcam mode blocks the camera from automatic exposure and auto focus (with activated eye detection). It also forces Provia (standard) film simulation. You can use exposure compensation. However, if you want to manually set aperture, shutter speed, ISO, or choose a more creative color profile, you’re out of luck. For people who only need basic webcam features, this is not a problem. If you want more control, such as professional live streaming, you need something like the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro.
Despite its limitations, I’m pleased that Fujifilm has responded to customer needs so quickly and has provided a simple and free solution that makes the X-T200 even more valuable. I hope Fujifilm will find a way to provide webcam mode for additional cameras, as this function can be used by more and more people today.
The X-T200 is exactly the camera it needs to be. While performance may not be perfect, it is far above the frustrating X-T100. It’s a powerful and elegant casual photographer machine that’s perfect for travel and has a webcam mode that makes it equally useful when you’re stuck at home.
Enthusiasts might want to save for the X-T30, which is between the X-T200 and the flagship X-T3 and X-T4, but I was still pleasantly surprised by the wealth of advanced features of the X-T200. Not only is this a great first camera for beginners, it also offers plenty of room to grow for anyone who wants to turn their photographic hobby into a passion.
Is there a better alternative?
The Sony A6100 is the obvious comparison. It’s the winner when it comes to autofocus, but otherwise the X-T200 is the nicer camera. Sony’s screen is much less detailed at 3 inches and less than a million pixels. The situation is similar with the EVF, which has only 1.44 million pixels. The X-T200 simply feels like a premium product, even if it doesn’t outperform the A6100.
How long it will take?
In contrast to the X-T100, the X-T200 is designed for several years. From the point of view of specifications, I don’t see much room for significant improvement apart from minor improvements and continued autofocus optimizations.
Should you buy it
Yes. For most people, the X-T200 is the camera you need – but I would recommend investing in some better lenses.
Updated June 22 to include impressions of USB webcam functionality added in firmware version 1.10.