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Fujifilm X-T20 versus Nikon D800E

The Fujifilm X-T20 and the Nikon D800E are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2017 and February 2012. The X-T20 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D800 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X-T20) and a full frame sensor. The Fujifilm has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 36.2 MP.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Fujifilm X-T20 and the Nikon D800E. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the X-T20 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Fujifilm X-T20 vs Nikon D800E front
X-T20 versus D800 top view
X-T20 and D800 rear side
Body view (X-T20 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D800E is considerably larger (83 percent) than the Fujifilm X-T20. Moreover, the D800 is substantially heavier (161 percent) than the X-T20. It is noteworthy in this context that the D800 is splash and dust-proof, while the X-T20 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Fujinon X Lens Catalog (X-T20) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D800). Mirrorless cameras, such as the Fujifilm X-T20, have moreover the advantage that they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance and can thus use many lenses from other systems via adapters.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Fujifilm X-T20 (⇒ rgt) 118 mm 83 mm 41 mm 383 g 350 no 2017 899 latest check
Nikon D800E (⇒ lft) 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 1000 g .. YES 2012 3,299discont. check
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 no 2017 779 latest check
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 no 2016 979 latest check
Fujifilm X-E3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 121 mm 74 mm 43 mm 337 g 350 no 2017 899 latest check
Fujifilm X70 (⇒ lft | rgt) 113 mm 64 mm 44 mm 340 g 330 no 2016 799 latest check
Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 339 g 410 no 2016 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-E2S (⇒ lft | rgt) 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 no 2016 699discont. check
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 331 g 410 no 2016 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 118 mm 83 mm 41 mm 381 g 350 no 2015 799discont. check
Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 no 2013 999discont. check
Fujifilm X-E1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 129 mm 75 mm 38 mm 350 g 350 no 2012 999discont. check
Nikon D810 (⇒ lft | rgt) 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 980 g 1200 YES 2014 3,299discont. check
Nikon D610 (⇒ lft | rgt) 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 YES 2013 1,999 latest check
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 YES 2013 2,749 latest check
Nikon D800 (⇒ lft | rgt) 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 1000 g .. YES 2012 2,999discont. check
Nikon D700 (⇒ lft | rgt) 147 mm 123 mm 77 mm 1074 g 1000 YES 2008 2,999discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The X-T20 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 73 percent) than the D800, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Fujifilm X-T20 features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D800E a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D800 is 134 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Fujifilm X-T20 and Nikon D800E sensor measures
Sensor size

With 36.2MP, the D800 offers a higher resolution than the X-T20 (24MP), but the D800 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.88μm versus 3.92μm for the X-T20) due to its larger sensor. However, the X-T20 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 11 months) than the D800, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

X-T20 versus D800 MP
Sensor resolution

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Fujifilm X-T20 (⇒ rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 4K/30p - - - -
Nikon D800E (⇒ lft) Full Frame 36.2 7360 4912 1080/30p 25.6 14.3 2979 96
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p .. .. .. ..
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.4 12.4 1262 77
Fujifilm X-E3 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 4K/30p - - - -
Fujifilm X70 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X-E2S (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/30p - - - -
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X-E1 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/24p - - - -
Nikon D810 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 36.2 7360 4912 1080/60p 25.7 14.8 2853 97
Nikon D610 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 24.2 6016 4016 1080/30p 25.1 14.4 2925 94
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280 no 24.6 13.1 3279 89
Nikon D800 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 36.2 7360 4912 1080/30p 25.3 14.4 2853 95
Nikon D700 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832 no 23.5 12.2 2303 80

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the X-T20 provides a higher video resolution than the D800. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the X-T20 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the D800 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Fujifilm X-T20, the Nikon D800E, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Fujifilm X-T20 (⇒ rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 8.0 5 no
Nikon D800E (⇒ lft) optical YES 3.2 921 fixed no 8000 4.0 12 no
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 9.0 5 no
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.2 1620 tilting YES 4000 9.0 5 no
Fujifilm X-E3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 4000 8.0 no no
Fujifilm X70 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 8.0 7.9 ..
Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 6.0 7 no
Fujifilm X-E2S (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 fixed no 4000 7.0 7 no
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting no 4000 6.0 5 no
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 920 tilting no 4000 8.0 5 no
Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 fixed no 4000 7.0 7 no
Fujifilm X-E1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 2.8 460 fixed no 4000 6.0 YES no
Nikon D810 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 1229 fixed no 4000 5.0 12 no
Nikon D610 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 921 fixed no 4000 6.0 12 no
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 921 fixed no 4000 5.5 no no
Nikon D800 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 921 fixed no 8000 4.0 12 no
Nikon D700 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 922 fixed no 8000 8.0 12 no

The X-T20 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the D800 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D800 was succeeded by the Nikon D810.

Summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Fujifilm X-T20 or the Nikon D800E – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


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Reasons to prefer the Fujifilm X-T20:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (118x83mm vs 146x123mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 617g or 62 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (73 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D800 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D800E:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (36.2 vs 24MP), which boosts linear resolution by 23%.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Has a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2012).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the X-T20 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs.

X-T20 11:07 D800

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the X-T20 or the D800 handle or perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. The full reviews are available, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Fujifilm X-T20 (⇒ rgt) HiRec 82/100 Silver 5/5 .. 4.5/5 2017 899 latest check
Nikon D800E (⇒ lft) - 84/100 Gold 5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2012 3,299discont. check
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4/5 2017 779 latest check
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 82/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4/5 2016 979 latest check
Fujifilm X-E3 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 84/100 Gold 4.5/5 .. 4.5/5 2017 899 latest check
Fujifilm X70 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 76/100 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2016 799 latest check
Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 74/100 4.5/5 - 4/5 2016 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-E2S (⇒ lft | rgt) - 77/100 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2016 699discont. check
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4/5 - 4/5 2016 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 80/100 Silver 5/5 4/5 5/5 2015 799discont. check
Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 Gold 4.5/5 - 5/5 2013 999discont. check
Fujifilm X-E1 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 79/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2012 999discont. check
Nikon D810 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 86/100 Gold 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2014 3,299discont. check
Nikon D610 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 87/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 1,999 latest check
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) - 81/100 4/5 4/5 4/5 2013 2,749 latest check
Nikon D800 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 5/5 5/5 5/5 2012 2,999discont. check
Nikon D700 (⇒ lft | rgt) 89/100 HiRec 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2008 2,999discont. check

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Other comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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