Fujifilm X-T200 review

The Fujifilm X-T200 is a kind of bridge between the company’s basic mirrorless models and its more advanced cameras. Fujifilm is perhaps best known for its classically-designed X-series cameras, with external exposure controls and traditional handling. It also makes entry-level mirrorless digital cameras in its X-A range, designed for first-time users and smartphone upgraders. The X-T200 sits right in the middle between these two camera ranges, with simplified controls for novices but an electronic viewfinder like the more complex models.

The X-T200 follows on from the Fujifilm X-T100, with a (much) better rear screen, faster processing, proper 4K video with a ‘digital gimbal’ feature and improved autofocus. It’s so much better than Fujifilm might want to watch out that it doesn’t start cannibalising sales from its more upmarket cameras, though after spending a bit of time with this digital camera we think the differences are pretty clear. On paper, the X-T200 looks a match for the X-T30, but in your hands, it’s obvious its a cheaper, simpler camera. If you like the X-A7 but wish it had a viewfinder, get this. If you want an X-T30 but don’t have quite enough money, we’d suggest saving up for a bit longer – the X-T200 is not a lot cheaper and might prove a disappointment.

Fujifilm X-T200 Price

Specifications

Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS
Autofocus: Hybrid phase/contrast AF
ISO range: 200-12,800 (exp. 100-51,200)
Max image size: 6,000 x 4,000
Metering modes: 256-zone, multi, spot, average
Video: 4K UHD, 30/25/24p
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 2.36m dots
Memory card: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS I)
Max burst: 8fps
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Size: 121.0 x 83.7 x 55.1mm
Weight: 370g (including battery and memory card)

Key Features

Fujifilm has been careful to keep the lower-end X-T200 one step behind its best X-series cameras. It does not have the 26.1-megapixel X-Trans sensor in the X-T3, X-T30, X-Pro3 and the new X100V compact, making do with a regular 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor. This has proved a very good performer in its own right, so it’s not the disadvantage it might sound.

Fujifilm offers upgraded both the sensor and the processor in this camera to support 4K video at up to 30fps (unlikely the inadequate 15fps inside the X-T100), with 3.5x faster processing that’s claimed to reduce any ‘rolling shutter’ effect. This digital camera can also shoot ‘HDR video’ which combines videos at different exposures in some way we’ve yet to explore, and a ‘digital gimbal’ that uses an in-camera gyro and an electronic stabilization algorithm to smooth out your footage. This will reduce the field of view, however – presumably because the camera needs space to be able to adjust the framing.

The X-T200 can shoot continuously at 8 frames per second and has an improved hybrid AF system covering the whole frame, together with updated face and eye detection.

And despite the new 3.5-inch 16:9 vari-angle rear screen, the X-T200 is 80g lighter than the old X-T100, which was itself hardly a heavyweight. It will come in Silver, Dark Silver and Champagne, and will typically be bundled with the Fujinon XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ kit lens.

Build and Handling

There are some between the X-T200 and more advanced Fujifilm cameras like the X-T30 and X-T3 that become obvious straight away. It’s a lot lighter, for a start, with a more plasticky feel, and lacks the external shutter speed and lens aperture controls. Instead, it’s laid out more like regular digital cameras – a deliberate decision, we’re told, to make it more easily understood for novices.

It’s a bit more than just a simple ‘novice’ camera, though. It has twin control dials, customisable function buttons and a ‘Q’ quick menu for common digital camera settings. It’s part of Fujifilm’s more basic mirrorless camera series, but it has features and controls to match most mid-range cameras.

The lightweight build and plastic construction feel a little cheap against higher-end X-series cameras, just like the X-T30 upwards, but the X-T200 nevertheless feels like a well put together camera that’s had a bit of thought put into its design. Interestingly, there’s no four-way controller on the back; instead, Fujifilm has added a small joystick for setting the AF point and menu navigation. It’s good in some ways because it leaves the trunk of the digital camera relatively clear of buttons which might get pressed accidentally – and because that big flip-out screen doesn’t leave a lot of room for settings anyway.

The joystick is good, but Fujifilm has added a central click ‘OK’ action which is a little too easy to activate accidentally. It’s the perennial problem with multi-function handles – you ‘click’ when you meant to ‘push’.

The star feature, however, is the big 3.5-inch vari-angle touchscreen. The only other Fujifilm camera to have this is the X-A7, and it’s a shame you don’t get this on the higher-end models too. The screen has a 16:9 ratio that’s perfect for video and it flips round to the front for selfies and vlogging.

The X-T200’s external controls are more sophisticated than they look. Most digital cameras in this sector have a single control dial, however, the X-T200 offers three. Two of these are on the right side of the digital camera, one around the shutter release and one behind it where your thumb rests, but there’s a third, larger dial on the left part of the camera. By default, this cycles through the different Film Simulation modes, showing a split-display rendition of the current style on the remaining and the alternative styles on the proper. It’s a brilliant idea, brilliantly implemented.

In general, we like the Fujinon XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ kit zoom lens too. It’s very light, and its power-zoom mechanism means it retracts when the camera is powered off to make the digital camera/lens package quite compact. The zoom action isn’t very fast, though, and we can never remember which way to turn the ring to zoom in/out. It also seems to shunt around for no obvious reason when switching between stills and video or starting recording – electronic zoom handle from the camera body can be a mixed blessing.

The 15mm minimum focal length of this lens is usefully wider than the average kit lens, offering a 23.5mm equivalent focal length – not bad at all. On the other hand, the 45mm maximum (67.5mm effective) is pretty short for a kit lens.

Performance

The image quality is everything we expect from Fujifilm cameras now. The detail rendition is very good, Fujifilm’s extensive range of Film Simulations should suit all tastes, and the dynamic range expansion options can be genuinely useful for preserving highlight fine detail in high contrast scenes.

Current coronavirus lockdown restrictions have delayed our usual lab testing processes so we will update the review just as soon as those have been completed.

We found the autofocus experience somewhat mixed. For stills photography, the touch AF and contact shutter options are really useful. The AF modes are somewhat complicated, with three menu options were most cameras offer two (focus mode and focus point/area selection). The X-T200’s focus setting choices are straightforward enough (single AF, continuous AF), and the AF Mode options are clear enough – Single-stage, Zone, Wide/Tracking and All – but there’s a third Focus Area menu where you can set the AF point position and size, and here there is some confusing crossover with the AF modes. With some AF settings, this menu is disabled, with others you can change the focus point size and even the area (single point, zone, full) in a way that duplicates or contradicts the AF Mode menu.

It shouldn’t take owners long to get all this figured out, but camera novices and newcomers might feel as if they’ve been thrown in the deep end.

The AF performance in burst and video modes seemed a little more hit and miss. We tested in on an active dog playing fetch with a lot of movement both around the frame and towards the camera while filming and got some pretty hit and skip results. Next time we’ll try a slower dog (or a bit more practice).

Digital gimbal is a nice idea. It works, we presume, by shifting frames to keep subjects centred. It only works for Full HD video, though – the 4K option is disabled when you select this.

Below is really a set of images of the same subject taken at ISO settings from 1600-12800, with the lighting adjusted to fall on the background to show the effect of the ISO noise reduction on defocused detail.

Inevitably, fine textural detail does start to smooth over eventually but just becomes particularly visible at ISO 6400. Even then, hard-edged detail is still rendered very well. This will be an amazing performance from a consumer APS-C digital camera and owes a lot to the Fujifilm’s in-camera JPEG processing. Adobe Camera Raw retains more fine detail but can’t compete with the camera JPEGs for saturation and sound control.

Verdict

We liked the original X-T100 for its clean lines, low cost and user-friendly features, but the X-T200 ups the stakes with a big, vari-angle touchscreen, vastly better 4K video functions and improved autofocus. It’s also more expensive, so it’s no longer the cheap and simple SLR style mirrorless camera the X-T100 was. The screen is great and the image quality is everything we expect from Fujifilm now, but don’t think of this as a cheap X-T30, think of it as a supercharged X-A7.

Check Fujifilm X-T200 Price and Bundles 

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