These two models may not differ too much in price but they each belong to a very different system. So where does each excel? And where might one come up short against the other? Let’s find out.
Design and ergonomics
With their respective batteries and a memory card on board there’s around 150g of difference on the scales, with the EOS 800D being heavier. This is partly explained by its significantly bigger footprint; you may expect the X-T20 to be heavier, given the fact that metal is used more liberally in its construction.
The more defined grip perhaps makes the EOS 800D a better option if you want to pair it with a longer or weightier lens, while the X-T20 is perhaps better for portability, with its more robust body also providing a little more confidence in use. Neither camera claims to offer any kind of weather resistance, however.
Both cameras have been fashioned with LCD screens that can be adjusted in some way, although the two companies have approached things differently here.
The EOS 800D’s screen can be flipped out all the way to face the front through its side hinge, and configured to a wealth of positions in between, while the X-T20’s display can only be pulled up and down. Of course, for many people, the latter will probably suffice.
Both screens are sensitive to touch and both have the same 3in dimensions and 1.04million-dot resolution.
Both cameras make use of 24MP APS-C sensors, although the fact that the X-T20’s is based on Fujifilm’s X-Trans CMOS III technology means that it’s alone in having no anti-aliasing filter.
A smaller point of difference is that the X-T20’s sensor is fractionally larger, which means its crop factor is 1.5x (vs the EOS 800D’s 1.6x). The fact that the EOS 800D has a much broader range of native lenses also gives it a significant advantage over the X-T20.
As an X-series model, the X-T20 also arrives with an assortment of Film Simulations modes that are designed to mimic the company’s popular emulsions, such as Astia and Velvia. Canon, meanwhile, has opted for its Picture Styles, which include Portrait and Landscape, and these can have their individual parameters (contrast, saturation etc) adjusted. If you fancy it, you can even create your own Styles.
Neither model offers sensor-based image stabilisation; instead, each uses the image-stabilisation systems found inside compatible lenses. One bonus on the EOS 800D, however, is an electronic system that can compensate for camera shake during video recording.
As a DSLR, the EOS 800D has a separate 45-point, all-cross-type, phase-detect AF sensor that’s used as standard. When using live view or recording videos, however, you get to take advantage of fast and smooth phase-detect AF from the main imaging sensor, as this has been constructed with phase-detect AF pixels (that form Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF system). This offers 49 areas as standard, although you can shift a single focusing point to more precise positions too.
With phase-detect pixels incorporated into its own sensor, the X-T20 also offers phase-detect AF, although it also uses this in conjunction with contrast-detect AF to form an Intelligent Hybrid autofocusing system. The camera offers 91 AF points as standard, although you can expand this to 325 points should you need to. There’s no handy focus lever as there is on the likes of the X100F and X-T2, but then this is the sort of omission we’d expect on a cheaper model.
The X-T20’s viewfinder has 2.36million dots and 100% scene coverage, together with a magnification of 0.62x in 35mm terms. The EOS 800D, meanwhile, has been designed with a pentamirror finder with approx. 95% coverage, and a higher 0.82x magnification. Which is better, of course, is entirely down to personal preference.
The X-T20 trounces the EOS 800D with its burst rates, though. When each camera is using its mechanical shutter it offers 8fps against the EOS 800D’s 6fps, but the X-T20 is able to boost this up to 14fps by employing its electronic shutter.
Still, the EOS 800D does have a handful of advantages in other areas. For example, although both cameras offer Wi-Fi, it has the additional sweeteners of NFC and low-energy Bluetooth on top of this.
Furthermore, and as is generally the case when pitting a DSLR against a mirrorless camera, its battery life is also stronger. Although the X-T20 is rated to around 350 frames per charge when using the rear LCD and the EOS 800D to only 270 frames when used in the same way, Canon reckons you can squeeze up to 600 frames per charge when using the camera’s optical viewfinder.
Those taking video more seriously will be pleased to learn that each camera sports a mic port for higher-quality audio recording, although neither provides a port for headphones, which rules out audio monitoring.
With its faster burst rate, more advanced AF system, better build quality and the option to record 4K video, many will no doubt view the X-T20 as the clear victor in this particular battle. The fact that it offers so much from the acclaimed X-T2 inside a much cheaper body shows just how aggressively Fujifilm is taking on its rivals – and, according to the company, the model is selling particularly well.
Of course, for some people the EOS 800D may make more sense, particularly those who already own a selection of EF and/or EF-S lenses. It’s a fitting upgrade to an older, entry-level EOS body, and should appeal to a broad range of users, from traditionalists that prefer an optical viewfinder to an electronic one to younger users who would appreciate things like NFC and Bluetooth (and that front-facing LCD screen). The fact that its battery life is so much better should also make it appeal more to those looking for a fitting travel companion.