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Is the Fuji X20 Video Quality Good Enough For African Maasai Guides?

During our month on Safari in Tanzania, we took several hikes with local Maasai guides. On one of those hikes, they suddenly stop, start discussing amongst themselves (in their local dialect), and hacking away at various dead trees with their machetes.

Granted, that wasn’t – by far – the weirdest thing that happened on these hikes. However, if you are alone with a guide in the middle of the bush, and he pulls out his machete, you kind of want to know what is going on.  No chance = they kept ignoring us, chopping away, comparing and discussing the various chunks they take off the trees, until after a while they seem to agree on the right two pieces of wood. They finally acknowledge our existence again, and proudly declare they would show us “how the Maasai make fire”.

Ok, awesome, that would be a cool video to take home, where is my D4? My ND filter? Back in the camp, that’s where. Hey, it was insanely hot and dry; I opted for water instead of camera.

I did, however, have the small Fuji X20 on me. Never used in for video before, ever. And those guys didn’t wait; they went to town on the fire-making immediately. So I threw the camera into video mode and tried my best. The results are, well… it’s more for fun, anyway.

My thoughts on the X20 video capabilities: First off: I really think video was put into this camera  as an afterthought. HD modes are available only in 60fps. Auto focus and exposure adjust automatically during video capture. As I found out later, the focus seems to track only in AF-C mode… who knew. RTFM,  yeah yeah…  No external microphone support (sorry Fujifilm, only supporting your own mics don’t count)… the list goes on.

What is kind of nice is that the camera allows you to shoot stills while recording video.

Most importantly, video quality is… well, as one would expect from a point-and-shoot: Not the best. Don’t get me wrong: I really like the stills coming out of this little guy. For video, however? Not a fan! If you are in a pinch, it’s better than not having a camera on you, but don’t get this camera if you are already planning on shooting video with it – there are better options out there for the price.

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