Fstoppers Reviews the Fujifilm X-T200: All Touchscreen, (Almost) All the Time

Fstoppers Reviews the Fujifilm X-T200: All Touchscreen, (Almost) All the Time

The Fujifilm X-T200 looks like it swallowed an iPhone. With a screen size that matches that of a previous-generation iPhone 4, it might as well have. It's this screen that is the camera's most significant selling point, boldly signaling to smartphone users to put down their poor, small-sensor cameras to embrace this instead. It primarily works for its intended audience, with a few caveats.

The X-T200 sits squarely in the entry-level range of Fujifilm's X-series camera, slotting below the X-T30 and the X-T4 (to say nothing of the X-H1). Its entry-level origins can be seen in its use of a 24.2 MP APS-C CMOS sensor with a Bayer filter as opposed to the company's well-regarded X-Trans sensor that's used in its siblings above it in the range, as well as the lack of weather-sealing and control points. However, what it lacks in control points, it makes up for with easy-to-use touchscreen controls.

The spartan rear and top plates of the Fujifilm X-T200 don't feature a lot of buttons, but there sure is a lot of screen.

The spartan rear and top plates of the Fujifilm X-T200 don't feature a lot of buttons, but there sure is a lot of screen.

Let's start with that screen. It's easily one of the best displays in any camera out there, period. It's a 2.7k-pixel, fully articulating 3.5" screen with a 16:9 ratio. That 16:9 ratio makes the camera surprisingly useful for shooting video, more so than even the X-T30 I had an extensive amount of seat time with last year. There's an EVF as well, but it's a similar 2.36M-dot unit as the X-T30. Solid, but nothing to write home about, especially in light of the overachieving screen.

While I talk more about how this camera compares to the very-close-in-price X-T30 later, if you're shooting video, mainly a vlog, with an X-series camera, the X-T200 jumps near the top of the list just because it's one of the few offerings with a fully articulating screen that lets you see yourself while shooting.

Handling

The X-T200 is the first non-X-Trans sensor Fujifilm camera I've experienced, coming from an X100T, X-T1 that I still own and use almost daily, and an X-T30 and X-T3 I've used for extended periods. All have been enjoyable cameras. While the image quality differences between the different types of the sensor on this camera don't seem to be that vast, the user experience on a camera that's almost all screen is frustrating.

There are some highlights to the control points. As always, Fuji's control system sensibly places aperture on the ring of the lens, and there's a shutter speed dial encircling the release up top. There are two configurable buttons for exposure compensation and a customizable dial on the left that I turned into an ISO control. Unlike the X100F, X-T30, and X-T4, there's a mode dial where you'd expect shutter speeds to be. The problem with the customizable buttons and dials is that they're not labeled, and you can't know where you are at with ISO by looking at the dial itself if configured this way. You must rely on that screen.

More than that, I had one issue with the controls back when I looked at the X-T30, which was the incredibly tiny AF-lever that was a bit fiddly in usage. Sadly, Fuji made things worse on this model by including the same lever in an even more awkward position because of the large screen size. Oof.

I was able to use the touchscreen to focus on the flower I wanted here, but I would have preferred using the AF-lever, if it weren't placed so poorly. Still, at this price point, it's nice to have one at all.

I was able to use the touchscreen to focus on the flower I wanted here, but I would have preferred using the AF-lever, if it weren't placed so poorly. Still, at this price point, it's nice to have one at all.

Perhaps it's because the company expects most users to use the touchscreen to focus, but for photographers used to an AF-lever to control autofocus, it's a letdown.

Other than that, the camera looks all-Fuji in its design — handsome, with a good feel in the hand and quality metal/plastic. No one will mistake this for a solid, weather-sealed X-T3, but considering its price point, it's a cut above other entry-level models.

Image Quality

This many generations into its X-series cameras, there aren't any bad sensors in the range. I went back to look at the photos I got with the X-T30 last year, and while I prefer that model's grain and high-ISO noise performance, the truth is, I'm splitting hairs. The X-T200 comes close enough that image quality shouldn't be the deciding factor here when you're looking at Fuji models in this price range.

Image quality and good color are strengths across the Fujifilm range. I was able to pull back blown highlights easily in this image of a rather large duck.

Image quality and good color are strengths across the Fujifilm range. I was able to pull back blown highlights easily in this image of a rather large duck.

Like other X-series cameras, the X-T200 comes with several popular films presets, such as Astia, Velvia, or my favorite, Classic Chrome. Also, again like other X-series cameras, it's one of the few camera brands I feel comfortable using JPEG files straight from the camera.

In short, it's all very X-like, which is to say it's consistently good.

Autofocus

This is where the rubber meets the road here and also where the camera falters a bit. Autofocus is decent in a field where suitable isn't suitable anymore. After using Canon's EOS R and its excellent implementation of Eye-Detection autofocus, coming back to Fuji's system hybrid phase/contrast system was a bit of a letdown. The system was easily confused by multiple faces, and once it picked up an eye, there's little else you can do to control what it focuses on. This would be fine if the system was actually fast enough to track an eye, but whereas the X-T30 seemed to at least work when there was a single person in the frame, the X-T200 was a bit inconsistent across the board when it came to eyes. Here are a few example frames where the camera should not have had trouble, but it did:

This is the amount of hunting it took over 10 seconds to get an image critically in focus with the camera's Eye-detection AF. It was generally inconsistent in being able to track eyes and worked better (for me at least) with the feature turned off.

This is the amount of hunting it took over 10 seconds to get an image critically in focus with the camera's Eye-detection AF. It was generally inconsistent in being able to track eyes and worked better (for me at least) with the feature turned off.

After a couple of weeks of trying, I ended up turning the feature off and getting better results with the standard autofocus that I could control with the (very small) AF lever. There's nothing particularly wrong with the autofocus here; it's just not up to the admittedly high standards set by its bigger brothers in the chain. Fuji's literature describes the camera's AF sensitivity as down to -2 EV, which is a lower spec than the X-T30, which should temper expectations. That said, the situation above was not a -2 EV situation.

The camera can shoot at eight fps, but with the AF situation being what it is, I didn't end up using continuous shooting that often.

Video

This is where I'd argue the camera makes the most significant case for itself. While the camera isn't rugged or feature-packed enough for professional filmmakers, everyone else will find the video features of the camera quite pleasing. I shot a bit of 4K video with the camera, and coming from someone who is used to the clarity and pleasant image quality of Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras, I'd say the footage out of this camera competes easily with those more video-centric cameras. Fuji makes the case that the better image quality comes from the camera shooting 6K footage and downsampling to 4K (3,840 x 2,160). Whatever magic is going on inside the camera, it works.

On the audio side, Fujifilm thoughtfully packs a USB-C to headphone adapter to monitor sound. There's a microphone input included as well, something that's often stripped out of more entry-level cameras. That said, audio quality from the built-in mic input was merely OK; I still found myself using a dedicated audio recorder for better quality audio.

Autofocus for the video was not much better than stills, but if you pre-focus on what you're shooting, the results look good. The central portions of the video above were shot with the X-T200, to give you an idea of the quality.

Conclusion

I struggled a bit with this camera. The image quality was decent. I loved the video out of the camera. Autofocus was frustrating, but no more so than my X100T, so it wasn't something that I wasn't used to. It wasn't until I read Chris Malcolm's piece about why he loved his Fujifilm X-T2 that I put my finger on it, or didn't, as the case may be. He wrote: "...the design of the Fuji cameras simply reminded me of the joy of taking a photograph. It inspired me to try new things and new combinations. It made me want to take pictures for the love of the game."

It's then I realized why I still use my six-year-old Fujifilm X-T1 all the time and why I gravitated naturally toward the X100T, X-T30, and X-T3. That tactile, intuitive control scheme that just makes you want to pick up those cameras and shoot. That's what's missing from the X-T200. While it looks like a Fujifilm and takes pictures like an X-series camera, it doesn't feel like one.

Fuji's targeting a different market with this camera, and the large screen is the most significant cause for that. Smartphone users used to tapping their way to a photo will love it. Vloggers who need to see what they're shooting when the lens is pointed at them will love it.

The rest of us will spend the extra $200 and get the X-T30.

What I Liked

  • Everything about the screen — it's big, beautiful, and fully articulating
  • 4K video looks great
  • USB-C port for in-camera charging or audio monitoring
  • Well-thought-out touchscreen controls

What I Didn't Like:

  • Autofocus is a bit slower and less accurate than the competition
  • Autofocus lever design is (still) terrible
  • Tripod mount not centered with lens and blocks battery/card door
  • Mostly touchscreen-based controls are not for everyone

Purchase

You can order the X-T200 here with a 15-45mm kit lens or body only.

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1 Comment

Matt Williams's picture

I'm really not a fan of this move toward touchscreens only. I love having a touchscreen on my camera, but I also want a D-pad. Fuji is the main culprit here, having removed the D-pad on the X-E3, X-T30, GFX 50R, and even the GFX 100, which was absolutely insane to me. Look at the back of that camera and how much empty space there is - removing the D-pad from their highest end camera for no reason was just bizarre as hell. That camera also has tons of random, unmarked buttons which was also a no-go for me. I handled one and found it to be a mess compared to the GFX 50S.

Touchscreens are largely useless for me when I'm using the EVF. At least there's a joystick, but I'll always prefer both a stick and d-pad.

I recently got the Nikon Z50 to complement my Z6 and it's a wonderful little camera. It has a great touchscreen and a few buttons (zoom in/out and Display) are integrated into the screen now, but it still keeps the d-pad... it's a tiny camera and if it can manage to do that, so can these Fujis.