Fujifilm EF-X20 Flash: Review and Photo Samples

I love using a flash associated with a slow shutter to create motion in my photographs. Especially at dust or night, this is a technique and an effect I particularly appreciate in street photography. Logically, after purchasing the x100s, I was in the market for a portable flash and after a quick research, stumbled on the ef-x20 from Fujifilm. I won’t go further in the technical specifications of the flash that are available online but instead, will review my experiences on the field with it.

Fujifilm EF-X20 Flash review photo sample

The Fujifilm ef-x20 flash side by side with a regular flash unit

Pros

– The main advantage of this flash is its size. Compact and lightweight – 100g without batteries – it is simply non noticeable in my camera bag and that is very important for me.
– It is powerful. It has its limits if ever compared to the most powerful flashes – and bigger – but as far as I’m concerned, from a documentary perspective, I’ve never found myself needing more power.
– The design and built quality of the device is top notch as expected from a company such as Fujifilm. The body is in metal and its design perfectly compliment the X-series cameras. But not only… The ef-x10 also works with my Canon 6D and 5D mark II.
TTL. It does it. I only us the flash in manual mode however.
Slave function. I honestly didn’t use this function as I flash directly on camera but it can be a plus for some photographers.
– Price. At 180 Euros, some might think it is too pricey for a small flash but that’s the whole point here. The ef-x20 is small in size yes, but I consider it affordable considering its build quality and performances.

Photo Sample Fujifilm ef-x20 flash review

Using the Fujifilm ef-x20 flash associated to a slow shutter for street photography

Cons

– The flash takes 2 AAA batteries and they don’t last very long. May be 50 shots. On the other end these batteries are cheap and easy to carry. I usually bring a total of 4 batteries for each shooting.
Recycling time of the batteries is rather slow and I can understand how it can be a problem with heavy shooters. I personally carefully choose my shots, therefore this isn’t an issue for me, especially in the streets where I never take two consecutive shots.
– It doesn’t tilt. If you like to bounce your flash, the ef-x20 just isn’t going to work and you will need to get it off camera.

Photo Sample Fujifilm ef-x20 flash review

Using the Fujifilm ef-x20 flash associated to a slow shutter for street photography

Conclusion

I used to reluctantly bring my flash when shooting as it was always too big and too intrusive but since I got the ef-x20, I flash more than ever. In fact, it never leave my camera bag and it does perfectly fit my documentary shooting style. I flash directly – no bouncing – and always in manual mode and the ef-x20 is perfect for my needs. However, I can see how some photographers would easily find limitations to the ef-x20. Purchasing or not this flash will greatly depends of your shooting style and the way you use a flash unit as the Fujifilm ef-x20 hasn’t necessarily been designed for studio use for example but for documentary photography, it is one of the best portable flash available in the market.

Sample photos using the Fujifilm ef-x20

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