Set up the Fujifilm X-T20 for filmmaking
The Fujifilm X-T20 is a wonderful little 4K filmmaking machine, but like many smaller cameras its size means some compromizes had to be made to fit everything in. In this article I'll explain some of the camera's quirks, and offer some workarounds to get the most out of this tiny wonder.
Formatting the card
Like most consumer-cameras the X-T20 is not without its quirks. But luckily the menu-system is much better and easier to use than that of some other brands (here’s looking at you, Sony!). Furthermore, getting good video does not require you to switch to photo-mode (here’s looking at you, Panasonic!) ;-)
One common function I did find oddly placed within the menu was the option for formatting your card. If you need it: it’s under Menu > Set Up > User Setting > Format. ‘Wrong’ way around Strangely FujiFilm did left out the physical ISO dial present on the X-T2 in favor of a more easily accessible shooting-mode dial. To fix this go into Menu > Set up > Button/Dial Setting > Fn/AE-L/AF-L Button Setting > R-Dial and set it to ISO. Now you can finetune your shutter-speed using the rear dial, and press and turn the rear dial to adjust the ISO.
Which bring me to another issue: some dials work the other way around: while turning the rear dial to the left the shutter speed number gets lower, but if you press once and turn the dial left, the ISO-number goes up. One could argue that turning left in both situations increases the amount of light, in which case it would still be more logical if turning right would increase the light, and not left like it is now. Maybe it’s a Japanese thing, because on Nikons the dials also turn the ‘wrong’ way around ;-)
Speaking of wrong directions: by default the focus ring also turns the opposite direction of most cinema lenses and Canon glass. And unlike the direction of dials, this can be hard to get used to. Furthermore, focussing the wrong direction during a take, can ruin the shot. Luckily Fujifilm has realized this and gave us an option to reverse the focus direction! Go to Menu > Set up > Button/Dial Setting > Focus Ring and set it to CCW.
This does bring me to a downside of many of the Fujifilm lenses: the only way you can possibly reverse the focus-direction is when the focus-ring is not physically connected to the lens elements. This means Fuji uses an electronic focus-by-wire system, which makes it hard to accurately repeat manual-focus moves. Luckily FujiFilm incorporated a few great focus-assist tools to help out. Firstly there’s a good focus-peaking function (activate via Menu > AF/MF > AF Illuminator) and an enlargement function for manual focus. To activate the latter, go to Menu > AF/MF > Focus Check. Now if you turn the focus ring, the image will be enlarged.
If you really can't work around/with the focus-by-wire system, there are some Fujifilm lenses that offer a mechanical focus ring, like the Fujifilm 14mm f2.8 or of course make use of Fujifilm's rather excellent touch autofocus.
Just like the Panasonic LX-100, the X-T20 features a dedicated shutter dial. And just like on the LX100, it uses the NTSC-based shutter speed values (1/60th, 1/30th. etc.). There's no 1/50th on the dial, which videographers in PAL-countries need. To overcome this issue, set the shutter dial to 1/60th and fine-tune the shutter speed with the thumb-dial. Downside of this approach is that you can now only choose shutter-speed values that are close to the value chosen on the shutter-speed dial. Set the shutter-dial to 'T' if you want to be able to select any shutter-speed value on the thumb dial.
Got any questions or suggestions about the FujiFilm X-T20? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!
Also check out our X-T20 review