Gear

Panasonic Lumix GX800/GX850/GF9 vs Fujifilm X-T20: Specs Compared

It might seem strange to compare these two models with each other; each is priced very differently to the other, and positioned in a different part of their respective lines.

Yet, as we’ll see, the two have many commonalities, from tilting touchscreens to 4K video recording. They also inherit a number of features from more senior models, meaning that they may well be considered as suitable backup bodies. Let’s dig deeper to see where they differ and what you get for your money.

Design and ergonomics

It’s clear that the two are designed along very different lines. With a proper grip and a centrally positioned viewfinder, the X-T20 has been crafted more like a DSLR, while the GX800 (also known as the GX850 and GF9 in some regions) opts for a more streamlined form. Neither is better or worse as such, as both of these have their advantages and drawbacks. Really, it’s more down to personal preference and intended use.

Fujifilm X-T20

Panasonic Lumix GX800

With three dials on its top plate the X-T20 provides more immediate control over things like shutter speed and exposure compensation than the GX800, whose more minimal design only allows for a single dial that’s used to alter exposure mode.

Both models have been designed with 3in LCD screens with 1,04million dots apiece, and both displays respond to touch. Each screen can also be pulled away from the body and tilted to a range of angles, and here, each has its pros and cons.

Fujifilm X-T20

Panasonic Lumix GX800

The GX800’s hinge is at the top of the screen, which makes downward tilting (for high-level shooting) impossible, but does allow for the screen to rotate all the way around to face the front. Not surprisingly, Panasonic has also provided selfie-specific features to make shooting in this way easier.

The X-T20 can’t manage to do the same, but it’s ability to tilt upwards and downwards does make it more flexible if you don’t plan on being in front of the camera.

Image Quality

Both of these cameras have the honour of adopting sensors that match those inside more advanced models.

Just like its X-T20 sibling, the X-T20 offers a latest-generation 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor and an X-Processor Pro engine. The GX800, meanwhile, has a low-pass-filter-free 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, which also features inside the pricier GX80 and G80, together with a Venus processing engine.

Naturally, some may be drawn to the larger sensor and higher pixel count of the X-T20, as well as Fujifilm’s popular collection of Film Simulation modes. The G80 and GX80 have, however, been noted for their excellent image quality, so the familiar imaging pipeline should ensure the GX800 delivers something that’s at least very similar.

Special Features

Possibly the main thing that splits the two models is the inclusion of an electronic viewfinder on the X-T20. The GX800 neither offers one in its body, nor allows for the use of a separate unit on account of it not having a hot shoe (which, incidentally, the X-T20 also finds space for).

Their focusing systems differ too. The X-T20 employs a Intelligent Hybrid phase- and contrast-detect AF system, with 91 points as standard and the ability to expand this to 325 points where required, as well as plenty of control over continuous focus.

Fujifilm X-T20

Panasonic Lumix GX800

The GX800’s system appears a little more rudimentary by comparison, with a contrast-detect AF system that offers 49 focusing areas as standard, although you still get very good control in both auto and manual focusing options, with advanced options such as focus peaking and things like pinpoint AF to help when shooting smaller subjects.

Both models have been designed with mechanical shutters but also allow for electronic shutters to be called upon, and the latter has the effect of boosting burst speeds.

On the X-T20 you can shoot at up to 8fps with the mechanical shutter and 14fps with the electronic one, while the GX800’s standard 5.8fps option can be boosted to 10fps when its electronic shutter is enabled. So, the X-T20 has the upper hand here, but the GX800 is certainly no slouch.

These electronic shutters also allow for maximum shutter speeds with the mechanical shutters to be increased. The X-T20 wins here again with a top speed of 1/32,000sec, although the GX800 isn’t too far behind at 1/16,000sec.

Panasonic Lumix GX800

Fujifilm X-T20

Elsewhere, the two offer plenty of additional options to sweeten the deal. The GX800 goes on to offer clever features such as Post Focus and Focus Stacking, while the X-T20 boasts Fujifilm’s Lens Modulation Optimiser to help counter peripheral blur and diffraction when shooting at smaller apertures. Both also come with in-camera Raw processing and Wi-Fi as standard, although neither provides NFC.

The GX800’s use of microSD cards may discourage some, as might the 210-shot battery life. The X-T20 fares much better here, with a slot for the more standard SDHC/SDXC format and battery life rated to 350 shots.

Video Quality

Both cameras record 4K UHD videos (3840×2160 pixels) at up to 30p, although knock this down to Full HD and you can record at up to 60p. 4K footage is recorded at 100Mbps as standard on each, with the X-T20 wrapping it up in the MOV format and the GX800 opting for MP4.

One advantage of the X-T20 is that it offers a 2.5mm port for external microphones, while the GX800 does not. The GX800 does, however, allow you to extract images from 4K footage, something that’s not possible with the X-T20.

Conclusion

Is the X-T20 a better camera than the GX800? In some respects, certainly. Even if we ignore the differences between sensors the X-T20 scores many points over the GX800, particularly with its handling and level of physical control. The fact that it offers an electronic viewfinder is likely to be a deal-breaker, while its more advanced AF system and better battery life are also significant.

Yet, despite being billed as a more entry-level model, the GX800 has an awful lot going for it next to the X-T20. Its beats it for price, size and weight by some margin, matches its key video specs and has a broader selection of compatible lenses. The lower battery life is unfortunate, but this can be remedied by carrying a spare, and while it can’t quite reach the same burst rates or top shutter speed, the difference between them isn’t as great as the pricing and billing may suggest.