05.19.2017 Karen Hutton

The X-T20: A Love Affair Continues by Karen Hutton

Karen Hutton

Karen Hutton is an International Landscape and Travel Photographer, Artist, Speaker, Author, Educator, and Voice. Through stunning imagery, humor, thought-provoking ideas and a genuinely positive outlook, she inspires people to discover their artistic voice in photography — while making it all feel like an unforgettable and eye-opening adventure. Photography has been a part of her life from inception. She’s widely followed in social media and her voice has been heard around the world in commercials, narrations, apps, trains, tutorials and television. 

As well as being a Professional Fujifilm X-Photographer, Karen creates online courses and leads photography workshops/retreats in the U.S. and Europe focused upon Storytelling, Seeing Photographically, Finding Your Artistic Voice and the Power of Awe and creates online courses for Kelbyone. Her articles have been translated into multiple languages and she speaks all over the country about photography and inspiration. She is also featured in a short documentary film about her approach to photography, created by Smugmug. Her adoring fans + customers have called her “Pure JOY, LIGHT & absolute FUN!”, “An inspirational gem” and “Incredibly artistic. Captivatingly genius. World class!” Karen believes deeply that finding your truest voice and “living life as if it were your art” is of the highest calling. That when you let it in, light, artistry and creativity flood everywhere, pouring through life’s nooks and Guilty pleasures? When she’s not traveling the world, you can find her watching epic movie trailers, crunching popcorn at the latest superhero blockbuster and sipping Bulletproof coffee.

Favorite Quote:
“The artist vocation is to send light into the human heart.” – Robert Schumann

When I switched to the FUJIFILM X Series mirrorless cameras a couple of years ago, I seriously thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Gone were the heavy gear loads and huge packs that any landscape & travel photographer staggers under. That was a given. The surprise?  In came so much soul and inspiration that it took my breath away. Those swoon-worthy colors, that dynamic range, the micro contrasts, the ergonomics and form function. Sigh. But those are just fancy words for what my inner voice was really shrieking: “THIS IS THE CAMERA I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!”. Prophetic words, as it turns out – since each iteration in the X Series line has managed to steadily build upon the swoon factor and place an even more breathtaking paintbrush in my hands.

As a photographer, these cameras have helped me re-discover my lifelong, deep and abiding love for the sport.  As an artist, they have opened up a level of creativity and joy that I only dared to imagine before!

My mother instilled in me a strong belief in “the right tool for the job”. Throughout my various lives as a professional equestrienne, figure skater, dancer, skier, actress, I always sought the best tools and gear I could acquire for each job. They didn’t take the place of hard work and ability, but they removed at least some of roadblocks and made all those efforts go further. My tools weren’t necessarily the “popular” best, but they were always uniquely suited to me. This approach has never steered me wrong.

I have always applied this principle to photography, of course… but it took Fujifilm to rocket everything into realms I only dreamt were possible until now.

My favorite camera to date has been the X-T2. It’s the one I imagined in my head when first switched to mirrorless. It’s a weather-sealed force of technical nature that almost knows what I’m thinking before I do. It’s my practically-perfect creative tool and go-to camera every day of the week.

The X-T20 is its little sister (or brother, if you prefer.) and WOW it’s a feisty little beast! Understandable, since it inherited the X-T2’s practically-perfect genes: the same 24MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor, the same processor and 4k video. I can use all the same lenses AND it uses the same batteries as the X-T2. #Winning!

But there are a few awesome differences. The biggest one: Touchscreen! Where the X-T2 uses a joy stick to move the focal point, the X-T20 sports a really fast touchscreen. It operates with a few modes that gets the focusing/shooting job done FAST. Plus, you can scroll between photos and videos – and pinch to zoom in to 100%. I had never used a touchscreen before and wondered if I’d like it. After experiencing this one, I totally get why people love them! This touchscreen offers amazing flexibility and an agility that I can literally take ANYWHERE.

Between the X-T20’s size (small) and power (huge), it’s been like discovering a whole new creative realm. Take landscape photography, for instance. I typically carry a couple of cameras and zoom lenses in my pack, which cover a wide variety of possibilities for whatever I’m likely to encounter out there.  My favorite go-to lens is the XF16-55mmF2.8, then either the XF50-140mmF2.8 or maybe the XF60mmF2.4 MACRO, depending on where I’m headed. I don’t like changing lenses too much out in the elements, so this 2+2 system works well for me.

Since I like my side-by-side systems to be similar in functionality (which keeps me in my creative zone, not jumping over into tech brain)… the two cameras in my pack  now are the X-T2 and X-T20. Same approach, now with even less weight! They both turn out equally gorgeous images that have the wooft for large prints, which is an important part of my vision and business (and yes, I do use the X-T20 with my XF50-140mmF2.8 lens!). And since 4K video is becoming my newest means for expressing artistic vision, these cameras give me twice the ability to develop it!

Traveling, I keep the X-T20 and say, a 23mm prime in my purse or on a camera strap and blend in like a tourist. I love that, since I prefer not drawing attention to myself with gear, for both security and spontaneity reasons. It’s a small package that produces BIG results and keeps both the fun, document-the-journey side and the fine art part of my world right at my fingertips.

How can I be more in love with FUJIFILM X Series cameras?
The X-T20. It’s like the best kind of relationship. It just feels right.