In this post I will try to show you what the differences between the small Fujifilm X sitsters is. At this point the 2 lower price offerings with the X-Trans III sensor are the Fujifilm X-T20 and Fujifilm X-E3. Both of them cost below €1.000 for a body, making it more or less half the price of the X-Pro2 or the X-T2.
- Viewfinder – they both have the same EVF (a little too small in my opinion), they differ however in where it is placed on the camera.
- LCD screen – Fujifilm states that both screens are identical in terms of resolution, other sorces say that X-E3’s screen is better, which is also my experience. Tending to believe Fujifilm’s own website, it’s probably in my head because I like the X-E3 better….
- touchscreen functionality – both cameras have touchscreen and it can be used for focusing (The X-E3 additionally lets you use screen for focusing when using EVF, something that will most likely come with one of the updates to the X-T20 as well). If however you expect your experience to be on par with what Olympus or Lumix have to offer, you will be dissapointed. It is not by any means a “drag and drop” system, think more like lifeview on a Nikon D5300. Slow, quirky and you cannot drag the focus point, you can only move it by touching the exact focus point, which makes it less precise. I personally only use the this functionality when mounted on a tripod. X-E3 additionally has swipe functions that have the same functionality as the D-pad on the X-T20. It is a nice function and does pretty well, the D-Pad however is much better and the X-E3 lacks it, so it is really hard to say that it would be X-E3s advantage over the X-T20.
- Screen movability. – Fujifilm X-T20 has a screen that tilts up and down, but not sideways like the X-T2. The X-E3 has a fixed screen which you can do nothing with, movementwise. Tilting screen of course is important and very practical especially if you need to go to ground level. Although I prefer the X-E3 as a camera, I have to give this point to X-T20. It is a real bummer not to have it.
- Joystick – This is really the ultimate reason for me choosing the X-E3 over X-T20. I really hate having a D-Pad performing double (triple in case of Sony) usage as focus and functions selector. You cannot change ISO while selecting focus point and vice versa, and so on. Really if you use a camera with a joystick once, you will never want to go back. It is fast, precise, and what’s most important, always on. With the X-T20 I came to a point when I set the only functionality of the D-Pad was to select focus, it made it faster but also severily slowed down the setting up (I lost 4 quick access buttons after all). This however does not really substitute having a real joystick
- Drive dial – im my opinion it is very handy to have that physical dial to choose frame rate and so on, so here’s another point to the X-T20, as the X-E3 does not have it at all. It has a dedicated button on the back to access it quickly, it is however not the same. You might say it is the D-Pad-joystick situation in reverse. I personally find joystick to be much more useful than a drive dial, but still it would be nice to have, although with rangefinder style body it would be hard to put it somewhere. If there was a way, they would put it on the X-Pro2, which they didn’t
It is really hard to say something less superficial about the differences, other than pointing out design distinctions. The X-E3 seems to be focusing a little faster, but Fujifilm is known for fixing such things with firmware updates. Sensors and algorhythms are the same, which is also how Fujifilm planned it.
Their philpsophy is to produce a camera that gives great results and sell it with couple of different bodies, based on customer’s budget and preferences, so that you do not have to buy one camera for speed, one for video and another one to walk around with (my finger is pointing at you, Sony). It all comes down to what you prefer. In my opinion the ergonomics are much better on Fujifilm X-E3, mostly because there is more space between camera’s edge and the joystick on the X-E3 than there is between edge and the D-Pad on X-T20, which makes it easier to handle with my big hands.