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.
– 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.
– 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.
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.