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Fujifilm X-T20 versus Nikon D850

The Fujifilm X-T20 and the Nikon D850 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2017 and July 2017. The X-T20 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D850 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X-T20) and a full frame (D850) sensor. The Fujifilm has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 45.4 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Fujifilm X-T20 vs Nikon D850

The physical size and weight of the Fujifilm X-T20 and the Nikon D850 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. 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. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage 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).

Compare Fujifilm X-T20 vs Nikon D850
Compare X-T20 versus D850 top
Compare X-T20 and D850 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D850 is considerably larger (85 percent) than the Fujifilm X-T20. Moreover, the D850 is substantially heavier (162 percent) than the X-T20. It is noteworthy in this context that the D850 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 (D850). 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.

Concerning battery life, the X-T20 gets 350 shots out of its NP-W126S battery, while the D850 can take 1840 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15a power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Fujifilm X-T20» 4.6 in 3.3 in 1.6 in 13.5 oz 350 n Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
Nikon D850« 5.7 in 4.9 in 3.1 in 35.5 oz 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
Canon 5DS R« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Fujifilm X-A5« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.6 in 12.7 oz 450 n Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-T100« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 15.8 oz 430 n May 2018 599 i i Fujifilm X-T100
Fujifilm X-E3« » 4.8 in 2.9 in 1.7 in 11.9 oz 350 n Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X70« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.7 in 12.0 oz 330 n Jan 2016 799- i Fujifilm X70
Fujifilm X-A3« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.0 oz 410 n Aug 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-A10« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.7 oz 410 n Dec 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-E2S« » 5.1 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 12.3 oz 350 n Jan 2016 699- i Fujifilm X-E2S
Fujifilm X-T10« » 4.6 in 3.3 in 1.6 in 13.4 oz 350 n May 2015 799- i Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-E2« » 5.1 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 12.3 oz 350 n Oct 2013 999- i Fujifilm X-E2
Fujifilm X-E1« » 5.1 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 12.3 oz 350 n Sep 2012 999- i Fujifilm X-E1
Nikon D5« » 6.3 in 6.3 in 3.6 in 49.9 oz 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
Nikon D810« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Nikon Df« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.6 in 26.8 oz 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
Nikon D610« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610

Any camera purchase will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The X-T20 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 73 percent) than the D850, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Fujifilm X-T20 vs Nikon D850

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and 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 D850 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D850 is 133 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 D850 sensor measures

With 45.4MP, the D850 offers a higher resolution than the X-T20 (24MP), but the D850 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.35μm versus 3.92μm for the X-T20) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D850 is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the X-T20, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further 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 D850 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Fujifilm X-T20» APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-T20
Nikon D850« Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100Nikon D850
Canon 5DS R« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886Canon 5DS R
Fujifilm X-A5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p----Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-T100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p----Fujifilm X-T100
Fujifilm X-E3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X70« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X70
Fujifilm X-A3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-A10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-E2S« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-E2S
Fujifilm X-T10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-E2« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-E2
Fujifilm X-E1« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/24p----Fujifilm X-E1
Nikon D5« » Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388Nikon D5
Nikon D810« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397Nikon D810
Nikon Df« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280-24.613.1327989Nikon Df
Nikon D610« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594Nikon D610

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Fujifilm X-T20 vs Nikon D850

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the X-T20 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the D850 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Fujifilm X-T20 and Nikon D850 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Fujifilm X-T20»2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T20
Nikon D850«optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 9.0 n n Nikon D850
Canon 5DS R« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS R
Fujifilm X-A5« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-T100« »2360 n 3.0 1040 full-flex Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T100
Fujifilm X-E3« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 8.0 n n Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X70« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X70
Fujifilm X-A3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-A10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting n 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-E2S« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 7.0 Y n Fujifilm X-E2S
Fujifilm X-T10« »2360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-E2« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 7.0 Y n Fujifilm X-E2
Fujifilm X-E1« »2360 n 2.8 460 fixed n 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-E1
Nikon D5« »optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 8000 14.0 n n Nikon D5
Nikon D810« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D810
Nikon Df« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 5.5 n n Nikon Df
Nikon D610« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 6.0 Y n Nikon D610

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The X-T20 has one, while the D850 does not. While the build-in flash of the X-T20 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The X-T20 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D850 uses SDHC or XQD cards. The D850 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the X-T20 only has one slot.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Fujifilm X-T20»YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-T20
Nikon D850«YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D850
Canon 5DS R« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS R
Fujifilm X-A5« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-YFujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-T100« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YFujifilm X-T100
Fujifilm X-E3« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YFujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X70« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X70
Fujifilm X-A3« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-A10« »-stereomono--mini2.0Y--Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-E2S« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-E2S
Fujifilm X-T10« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-E2« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-E2
Fujifilm X-E1« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Fujifilm X-E1
Nikon D5« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D5
Nikon D810« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Nikon D810
Nikon Df« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon Df
Nikon D610« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D610

Both the X-T20 and the D850 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The X-T20 replaced the earlier Fujifilm X-T10, while the D850 followed on from the Nikon D810.

Review summary: Fujifilm X-T20 vs Nikon D850

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Fujifilm X-T20 better than the Nikon D850 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Fujifilm X-T20:

  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More compact: Is smaller (118x83mm vs 146x124mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 622g or 62 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (73 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2017).

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D850:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (45.4 vs 24MP), which boosts linear resolution by 38%.
  • Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
  • Richer colors: Larger sensor generates images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Capable of capturing a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can be used in poorly lit environments and still produce good images.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Features 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.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 1040k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1840 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (6 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D850 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

X-T20 07:19 D850

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 D850 handle or perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Fujifilm X-T20»HiRec82/1005/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
Nikon D850«HiRec89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
Canon 5DS R« »Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Fujifilm X-A5« »Rec-4/54/53.5/5 Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-T100« »Rec79/1004/5-4.5/5 May 2018 599 i i Fujifilm X-T100
Fujifilm X-E3« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X70« »-76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 799- i Fujifilm X70
Fujifilm X-A3« »-74/1004.5/5-4/5 Aug 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-A10« »--4/5-4/5 Dec 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-E2S« »-77/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2016 699- i Fujifilm X-E2S
Fujifilm X-T10« »HiRec80/1005/54/55/5 May 2015 799- i Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-E2« »-80/1004.5/5-5/5 Oct 2013 999- i Fujifilm X-E2
Fujifilm X-E1« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 999- i Fujifilm X-E1
Nikon D5« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
Nikon D810« »-86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Nikon Df« »-81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
Nikon D610« »HiRec87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610

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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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