Fujifilm X-T4 Review
|Full model name:||Fujifilm X-T4|
(23.5mm x 15.6mm)
|Viewfinder:||EVF / LCD|
|Native ISO:||160 - 12,800|
|Extended ISO:||80 - 51,200|
|Shutter:||1/32000 - 900 sec|
|Max Aperture:||2.8 (kit lens)|
5.3 x 3.7 x 2.5 in.
(135 x 93 x 64 mm)
|Full specs:||Fujifilm X-T4 specifications|
Fuji X-T4 Review -- Now Shooting!
by William Brawley
Preview posted: 02/26/2020
Fuji X-T4 Field Test
A refreshed, improved X-T3 that offers even more performance and versatility
by William Brawley | Posted 06/02/2020
XF 100-400mm: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/850s, ISO 800 (Edited from the RAW file. Click for original.)
It seems as if many of the cameras I've reviewed lately, be it the Olympus E-M1 III, the E-M5 III, or the Fuji X100V, are all, more or less, iterations on their predecessor models rather than complete overhauls to their designs and features. And the same can be said regarding the new Fujifilm X-T4, which, at the end of the day, isn't necessarily a bad thing. It sports essentially the same imaging pipeline and AF system as the X-T3, both of which were and still are excellent. Plus, it features a very similar exterior design, albeit it with some subtle tweaks and updates to make it easier to hold, quieter to shoot and have longer battery life.
However, the big story with the X-T4 is the inclusion of in-body image stabilization. Finally. Despite being an all-around fantastic camera, the Fuji X-T3 lacked one significant feature, a feature that several other competing cameras had long since added: image stabilization. Up until now, the only Fuji X Series camera with IBIS was the bigger, (initially) more expensive, and seemingly now-discontinued X-H1. When the X-T3 appeared on the scene after the X-H1's debut, yet without IBIS, many of us scratched our heads in confusion. However, the X-T3 was smaller, lighter and less expensive than the X-H1, plus it had a newer sensor, processor and autofocus system, so the X-T3 had many positives over its beefier sibling despite the lack of IBIS.
And yet, Fujifilm has returned to the drawing board and designed an all-new 5-axis in-body image stabilization system for the X-T4, one that's both smaller and also rated for higher stabilization performance than the IBIS inside the X-H1. On paper it's the best of both worlds: a compact, durable camera with the same well-respected imaging pipeline as the X-T3 but with the added versatility of a powerful body-based image stabilization system. Sounds good to me.
Design & Handling
With just a glance at a photo of the X-T4, it's no stretch to assume that the X-T4 feels and functions very similarly to the X-T3. Indeed, the overall design of the camera body and the layout of the controls are both nearly identical to its predecessor. The design remains classically Fujifilm, with its pleasing blend of retro-inspired style with modern tech and amenities. Though I don't have the X-T3 to compare side-by-side, the X-T4 does indeed feel very familiar in the hand with regard to its ergonomics based on my prior shooting experience with the older model. The physical dimensions are very similar to the X-T3, though the X-T4 is a bit thicker and ever-so-slightly wider.
The primary handling difference I noticed is the moderately larger handgrip. It's a bit deeper than the standard grip of the X-T3. That being said, it's still a fairly shallow handgrip compared to many other similarly-sized or competing SLR-style cameras, such as the Olympus E-M1 III, Panasonic GH-series as well as many full-frame mirrorless cameras from Canon, Nikon and Sony. As I experienced with the X-T3, this slimmer handgrip design contributes not only to the X-T4's more classic aesthetic but also its relatively compact size. The downside here, however, is that the camera can feel a bit unbalanced when using longer, heavier lenses like the 100-400mm. I'm somewhat disappointed that Fujifilm kept this slim grip design on the X-T4 rather than doing something a bit beefier like on the X-H1. Olympus, for example, manages to keep the E-M1 series reasonably compact, yet it features a fuller handgrip that I can comfortably wrap my hand around. The X-T series has grown in size compared to the original X-T1; it's not as svelte and compact as it once was, and I think Fuji should have given the X-T4 a more substantial grip.
Strangely, Fujifilm used to sell two styles of optional add-on grips, one with just a baseplate that adds an extension to the depth of the main grip and also a full-on vertical battery grip. With the new X-T4, Fuji appears to have done away with this small baseplate hand grip add-on (the X-T3's version was called the MHG-XT3, and given the different physical dimensions, I doubt this would fit on the X-T4). You X-T4 owners looking for a beefier handgrip will need to opt for the large, relatively expensive vertical battery grip (VG-XT4). (One cool new feature about the VG-XT4 battery grip is that not only does it once again two additional batteries -- for a total of three in-use at once -- it also now supports in-camera charging via USB-C. Previously, if you wanted to use in-camera charging, you had to charge the grip's batteries separately using another USB cable.)
Nevertheless, despite the small grip, the X-T4 still feels reasonably secure in my hand, especially when using shorter, lighter lenses. There's also a small notch protruding from the back of the camera to help anchor your thumb, which helps secure your grip on the camera. However, even with a shorter lens like the XF 16-80mm, the X-T4 doesn't feel all that comfortable to hold, at least with one hand. Without a deeper grip filling the palm of my hand, it feels like I have to almost pinch the camera, in a sense, when I'm not actively photographing. Plus, when holding it this way, a lot of the weight centers onto the bottom rear corner of the camera, which can uncomfortably jab into my hand.
When it comes to the controls on the X-T4, the overall usability experience is, as mentioned, vastly similar to that of the previous model. Those familiar with both the X-T3 and Fujifilm cameras, in general, should feel right at home with the X-T4. As with the predecessor, the vast majority of buttons and dials can be customized to fit your shooting style and preferences, including customizable "Touch Functions" on the touchscreen LCD -- you can assign a function to four swipe directions on the touchscreen. The Touch Functions are a nifty addition, but as I've experienced with this feature on other Fuji cameras, I find it easy to accidentally "swipe" the screen, so I usually disable Touch Functions altogether. Compared to the previous X-T3, a few of the buttons on the rear of the X-T4 have been repositioned; for example, there's now a dedicated (labeled) AF-ON button rather than Separate AE-L and AF-L buttons.
Unlike other recent Fujifilm cameras, such as the X-Pro3 and X100V, the X-T4 keeps the 4-way directional buttons on the rear of the camera, for which I'm extremely pleased. For a smaller, simpler camera like the X100V, I can get around not having the 4-way buttons, but Fuji even did away with these buttons on the massive medium-format GFX 100 camera. With a number of model revisions elsewhere in Fujifilm's X Series lineup removing the 4-way buttons, I was worried they'd do away with them on the X-T4, but I am delighted that they didn't. Not only are these buttons superior for menu navigation compared to the multi-directional joystick control, but they also serve as valuable custom-function buttons -- ones that I use all the time.
As typical with Fujifilm cameras, the X-T4 utilizes a trio of control dials for primary exposure settings and shooting modes rather than the more standardized PASM mode dial on other cameras. For those unfamiliar, the X-T4 features two primary dials on the body itself, one for shutter speed and another for ISO, while the aperture setting is on the lens itself (for the majority of X-mount lenses). For lenses without an aperture ring, you can control aperture settings with one of the front or rear sub-command dials. Depending on the combination of settings selected via the two main control dials (Aperture and Shutter Speed), you can switch between the four PASM shooting modes. For instance, with both set to the "A" (auto) position, the camera is in Program Auto. If you rotate the Shutter Speed dial to manually select a shutter speed, the camera switches into Shutter Speed Priority (and vice versa with the Aperture ring on the lens). With the ISO dial, you can quickly switch between Auto ISO (of which the camera allows three presets with different upper ISO limits and minimum shutter speeds), or a manual ISO. Plus, the X-T4 allows you to shoot in Manual exposure mode with Auto ISO, which is a handy feature depending on your situation or subject matter.
One of the other notable changes to the X-T4 is a redesign of the rear LCD panel. Since the X-T2, this camera series has offered a unique two-way tilting LCD screen, one that could tilt up or down when shooting horizontally, but could tilt up in a vertical orientation as well. It was a clever and helpful screen design, but one that was, admittedly, more appropriate for still photography than for video. Given the X-T4's impressive features and capabilities for video shooting, it's no surprise that it now switches to the more accommodating vari-angle articulating display with the ability to flip completely forwards. Personally, I still prefer the previous tilting LCD design since I shoot photos much more often than video, but I can understand the reason for changing the LCD design here.
Aside from the physical change, the LCD screen itself has had a pleasant upgrade, too, going from a 1.04-million-dot display in the previous to a higher-resolution 1.62M-dot panel. It's not a huge leap in resolution, but I found the LCD on the X-T4 to be bright, crisp and sharp enough to properly access critical focus out in the field. Usually, I'd resort go magnifying a shot using a camera's EVF (which also works well on the X-T4), but the ability to simply look down and review a shot with the sharp rear screen is super easy.
The EVF, meanwhile, remains unchanged from the X-T3: a 3.69M-dot OLED screen with a 100fps refresh rate. I had no complaints about the EVF on the X-T3; it was bright, large and sharp with little to no visible lag, and the same can be said with the X-T4.
Like the X-T3, at first glance the X-T4 looks like a very photo-centric camera, but it actually packs in quite an impressive array of video features, including 4K 60p, F-Log, 10-bit internal recording, and now even 1080p up to 240fps. One notable control change on the X-T4 is that there's now a dedicated Photo/Video mode toggle switch rather than having to rotate the Drive Mode sub-dial all the way over to Movie mode. Sandwiched under the Shutter Speed dial, and taking the place of the Metering Mode sub-dial of the X-T3, the new "Still / Movie" toggle switch lets you quickly go back and forth from shooting photos to shooting video. But the toggle switch does more than just set you up to shoot video, it switches exposure and shooting settings to dedicated video-specific ones, as well as completely swaps over the menu system for video settings. In fact, in Still mode, you can't see or change video settings at all, and you can't even record video while in Still mode (and vice versa) as there's no dedicated video recording button on the camera. In Movie mode, the shutter release button becomes the video record button.
For exposure settings, the X-T4 has separate Still vs. Movie exposure settings, which I find very handy, making it much easier to go back and forth if you find yourself needing to capture both types of imagery. It's great to be able to flip over to Movie mode and have the camera remember the proper video-specific shutter speed for your set frame rate. In theory, this all works well. However, remember that the X-T4 relies on a lot of physical dials for its exposure settings, and those will carry over into Movie mode. For example, if I have the Shutter speed dial set to 1/500s in Still mode, but want 1/48s for 24p video, I can't simply toggle into Movie mode and have the camera switch to a 1/48s shutter speed; it will also be in 1/500s since that's what the physical dial is set to. Instead, for this to work, I need to move the Shutter Speed dial to "T" mode and use the rear command dial to set the shutter speed (much like a typical, non-Fuji camera). You can then set the shutter speed to one value in Still mode and another separate value in Movie mode. Similarly, for example, you can't be in Aperture Priority for Still Mode and then switch to Movie Mode and automatically be in Shutter Speed Priority. So, while having separate photo and video exposure settings are very handy (and work quite well on the GFX 100) it's a bit tricky to implement and utilize given the X-T4's style of exposure controls.
XF 100-400mm: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 500 (Edited from the RAW file. Click for original.)
To be honest, going in-depth about the image quality performance of the X-T4 isn't all that interesting given that the camera shares the same sensor and processor as the earlier X-T3. That camera offers excellent image quality, with top-notch resolution and color rendition as well as fantastic high ISO performance. And the X-T4, as expected, follows suits with another stellar showing in the image quality department.
XF 16-80mm f/4: 80mm, f/4, 1/240s, ISO 160
Having also field-tested the X-T3, I was once again very pleased by the images I was able to capture with the updated X-T4. The 26MP X-Trans sensor offers both excellent resolution when it comes to pixel-count, but also due to the lack of an optical low-pass filter, you can really capture images with exceptional fine detail. As expected, low-ISO image quality performance is wonderful. Images are clean and sharp with fantastic detail, excellent dynamic range with flexible raw files, as well as pleasing color reproduction using both the standard Provia film simulation and the punchier, more saturated Velvia preset -- the two Film Simulations I found myself bouncing between. Sometimes Provia can feel a bit bland, and I like to give my nature and wildlife photos a bit of a boost in color and contrast, so Velvia can help liven things up. That said, Velvia can some times feel too saturated depending on the subject or scene, and it also isn't ideal for accurate skin tones. Thankfully, the X-T4, like most other Fujifilm X Series models, offers in-camera raw processing. I'm always shooting in RAW+JPEG mode, which not only gives me the raw "backup" for careful processing back on my computer, but it also gives me the freedom to play around with the film simulations. Take a shot with one preset and realize later that I'd rather have used a different one? Well, you can simply re-process the raw film in-camera using a different film simulation (or use X RAW Studio later with your computer).
The new Eterna Bleach Bypass Film Simulation
XF 16-80mm f/4: 50.5mm, f/4, 1/740s, ISO 160
Provia (Standard) Film Simulation
While the image quality of the X-T4 at the lower end of the ISO range is certainly impressive, much like it was on the X-T3, it's fairly safe to assume that most modern cameras these days offer pleasing and often quite impressive image quality at lower ISOs. However, if you're frequently photographing challenging subjects like sports and wildlife or you constantly find yourself in low-light situations (perhaps photographing wildlife in low light), what's more interesting and more important is high ISO performance. Historically, we've found Fuji's APS-C X Series cameras to be exceedingly capable at high ISO performance, with Print Quality results even rivaling some full-frame cameras.
XF 100-400mm: 400mm, f/8, 1/500s, ISO 400 (Edited from the RAW file. Click for original.)
As I've mentioned, one of my favorite things to photograph is wildlife, and so when I picked up the X-T4, the first lens I grabbed was the longest lens Fuji currently offers, the XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6. As you can see, at the maximum 400mm focal length, the lens already limits you with a fairly dim f/5.6 aperture. Even in bright, sunny conditions, photographing wildlife in heavily forested conditions is still very tricky, with light levels much lower than you'd initially think. The combined O.I.S. lens and on-board image stabilization do help here, allowing you to slow the shutter speed down somewhat when shooting stationary subjects and thus lowering the ISO. But despite that, I was finding myself cranking the ISO up quite a bit.
XF 100-400mm: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/300s, ISO 12800 (Edited from the RAW file. Click for original.)
Luckily, the Fuji X-T4, like its X-T3 predecessor, is fantastic at higher ISOs. With its fairly large sensor, I typically don't worry about boosting the ISO up to around ISO 3200 -- I'm fine with that ISO even on Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras -- but in some situations during my time with the X-T4, the ISO was reaching 6400, 8000 and even 12,800. Those levels are ones I try to avoid if possible, but as you can see with this ISO 12,800 shot above, the X-T4 is capable of capturing images with tons of detail even at very high ISO levels. At close inspection, you can see some softening of finer detail thanks to the camera's JPEG noise reduction processing, which at the camera's default "0" setting on a +/-5 NR scale is a tad strong for my taste. However, I found that you can pull out more fine detail from the raw file. Nonetheless, I am still very pleased by the image quality straight from the camera; the image processing does a very good job of maintaining an ample amount of resolution yet removing and controlling heavy noise.
RAW conversion crop
Autofocus & Performance
Much like the X-T3, the new model here features an altogether similar AF system, for the most part. It features a massive array of up to 425 user-selectable, phase-detect-capable AF points and offers a variety of AF point configurations and customizable subject tracking settings. Like its predecessor, the X-T4 strangely defaults to a smaller number of selectable AF points, just 117 in a 9 x 13 point array. In the AF/MF menu, you can easily change this to the full 425 points with a 17 x 25 point array. I'm not sure why Fujifilm sets the default on the X-T4 and other X Series cameras to the lower number of AF points, but it's always one of the first settings I change. Having the full array of selectable AF points gives me more precision and controls over AF point placement, which I prefer.
XF 16-80mm f/4: 80mm, f/5, 1/340s, ISO 160 (Classic Negative Film Simulation)
Quick aside for a very minor default settings change I noticed: The X-T4's Release/Focus Priority settings now defaults to "Focus" for AF-S, which, to me, makes a lot more sense. Before, Fuji cameras would default to Release priority for AF-S, meaning the camera would still allow you to capture an image even if focus couldn't be fully achieved. For still subjects, situations where you'd often use AF-S, this didn't make any sense; why would I want the chance of a poorly-focused shot when given that I'm using single-shot AF and likely aren't tracking shooting moving subjects. For AF-C, the X-T4 still defaults to Release priority, which I can understand somewhat, but I always change AF-C priority over to Focus Priority, as well.
Overall, the autofocus performance on the X-T4 is extremely reliable and essentially offering the same excellent experience I had with the X-T3. Single-shot AF, once again, is practically instantaneous in most situations with decent to bright lighting and good contrast. More often than not, when I half-press the shutter release, the camera seems already in focus.
XF 100-400mm: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/900s, ISO 800 (Edited from the RAW file. Click for original.)
The camera also does well with low-light autofocusing for the most part. Fuji says they've improved the low-light focusing over the X-T3, from -3EV to -6EV, and while I didn't have an X-T3 to shoot side-by-side, the X-T4 can indeed focus in some fairly dim and difficult lighting conditions. However, focusing speed does slow down in low light or on subjects of lower contrast. In one particular situation, I was attempting to photograph a distant hawk that had landed on the forest floor. Everything was completely shaded, very dimly lit, and the scene was very flat and had very low contrast. Attempting to capture a sharp frame with the X-T4 and the 100-400mm proved difficult. Images weren't coming out as sharp as I had hoped, but I had to keep in mind that I was also shooting at higher ISOs (JPEGs were definitely being softened by NR processing) and the XF 100-400mm isn't tack-sharp at 400mm. High ISOs, low-contrast scenes and subject, a small subject relative to the full frame, as well as lots of trees, branches and leaves situated between the camera and the hawk, all proved to be a very challenging situation for the X-T4 and the focusing system.
XF 100-400mm: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 3200 (Edited from the RAW file. Click for original.)
XF 100-400mm: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/250s, ISO 3200 (Edited from the RAW file. Click for original.)
One of the other notable focusing features on the X-T4 is improved Eye AF. Unfortunately, during this global pandemic/quarantine situation, I haven't really been able to do all that much portrait shooting or people photography in general, but I did test out Eye AF -- mainly on myself -- and it does work quite well. The face and eye detection system feels responsive and quickly recognizes a face and/or eyes within the scene and begins to track it throughout the frame. I found that it could detect faces and eyes even when they were fairly small in the scene. In terms of tracking a moving subject, the face/eye-tracking system would keep up and locked-on if the subject moves calmly and slowly, such as with a typical portrait shoot. If the subject moves sporadically and quickly, the tracking does seem to lag behind, but if the subject slows down or you closely follow the movement, the X-T4 will quickly re-find the face and eye(s).
Compared to my experience with Eye AF in the updated Nikon Z6 (vs. the Sony A7 III), I would have to say that the X-T4 leans similar to the Eye AF performance of the Nikon Z6, though it does feel more responsive than the Z6 and recognized the eye a bit sooner or when smaller in the frame than the Nikon. Overall, the X-T4's Face/Eye AF system is not bad by any means, but it's not the most responsive Eye AF tracking I've experienced; Sony still has the edge here by a good margin. Recent Sony cameras also offer Eye AF for Animals, something the X-T4, unfortunately, doesn't offer.
XF 100-400mm: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 800
Doing some comparison testing between the X-T4 and the Olympus E-M1 III, both camera's face and eye detection AF systems appear to first need to detect a face and then it'll notice the eyes, whereas Sony cameras can almost instantly begin detecting the eye. I found that both the Fuji and Olympus cameras wouldn't detect or track eyes if it couldn't see an entire face. For example, if I got close to the camera, where I was still within usable close-focusing distance but only my eyes were in-frame, the cameras both could not detect or track eyes. It's also worth noting that the X-T4's (and E-M1 III's) eye detection wouldn't work while I was wearing a face mask, even if my entire face and head were in view. The minute I pulled down my mask to reveal the rest of my face, however, the camera's Face+Eye Detection system sprang back into action.
In terms of other performance areas, the X-T4 is a very fast, very nimble camera. When it comes to continuous shooting, the X-T4 offers some seriously top-notch specs. The updated mechanical shutter now offers up to 15fps, which feels like a machine gun. Combined with a deep buffer and fast UHS-II SD cards, the camera can continuously capture frame after frame for a decent amount of time, especially if you shoot with just JPEG. The buffer isn't unlimited, however, with Fuji claiming around 110 JPEG frames at 15fps or around 35 frames with uncompressed RAW. Still, at 15fps -- or 20fps with the electronic shutter at full-resolution -- the X-T4 can easily handle fast action and sports subjects with ease, likely able to capture more frames than a typical action burst sequence requires. For my shooting, I was more than happy with the maximum 8fps burst rate of the "Continuous Low" drive mode.
XF 16-80mm f/4: 72.1mm, f/4, 1/170s, ISO 160 (Velvia Film Simulation)
One quick note about burst shooting rates: it varies depending on the shutter mode you use. In addition to selecting just Mechanical shutter (ME), just Electronic shutter (ES) or just Electronic Front Curtain Shutter (EF), the X-T4, like its predecessor, offers various combinations of shutter modes that will change depending on the shutter speed. If you set the camera to one of these combo shutter type modes, the maximum available burst rate for Continuous High might be limited. When set to Mechanical + Electronic, the camera will use MS until 1/8000s and then switch to ES up to 1/32000. However, Continuous High will be limited to 10fps (15fps is disabled). Similarly, using the "super combo" setting of EF+MS+ES mode (EF until 1/2000s, MF faster than 1/2000s, ES faster than 1/8000s) will also limit you to 10fps. However, the EF+MS mode (EF until 1/2000s, MF until 1/8000s) will allow for 15fps continuous high burst, but then your shutter speed cannot go faster than 1/8000s.
The X-T4 also introduces new Boost modes beyond just the standard Normal and Boost. The camera now introduces an Economy mode for increased battery life, at the expense of the fast AF speed and LCD and EVF screen frame rate. Economy mode lowers the LCD frame rate to just 30fps while the EVF stays at 60fps. It also sets an Auto Power Save setting after 12sec of standby.
XF 16-80mm f/4: 80mm, f/4, 1/550s, ISO 160 (Classic Negative Film Simulation)
For Boost, there are now three different types to choose from depending on the situation, one for low-light, one that prioritizes screen resolution, and another for screen frame rate (best for tracking fast action). All three Boost modes technically are supposed to increase the AF performance compared to Economy and Normal modes, though in real-world use, I found the differences to be very subtle. In lower light situations, I noticed Boost modes seemed to focus ever-so-slightly quicker than Normal power mode, and large focus changes -- for example from near to far distances -- seem slightly snappier in Boost modes compared to Normal. The primary differences in these Boost modes are viewing experience. The Low-Light Boost mode is designed for shooting in low-light situations, and the camera drops the frame of the EVF and LCD to 30fps, which can look a bit choppy if you pan around quickly. However, in the dark, the view through the EVF appears less noisy, and it's slightly easier to see dimly-lit objects. The Resolution Boost Mode ups the frame rate for both displays to 60fps, offering a very smooth shooting experience. I'm not exactly sure how it allows you to see finer details as Fuji claims, as both the LCD and EVF looks very crisp and clear regardless of Boost mode. Then, there's Frame Rate Boost mode, which ups the frame rate of the EVF to 100fps, making it even smoother and the best option when shooting sports or other action subjects.
XF 100-400mm: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 500
Finally, I'd be remiss not to talk about in-body image stabilization, one of the major new features of the X-T4. With the body itself, Fujifilm claims the X-T4 is capable of up to 6.5 stops of correction, which is impressive. However, the amount of stabilization varies with the lens. With the two lenses I used the most, the XF 16-80mm f/4 OIS and XF 100-400mm OIS lenses, you get up to 6 stops and up to 5.5 stops, respectively. Nevertheless, having powerful in-body image stabilization is a very welcomed feature.
Powerful image stabilization is helpful not only in capturing images with slower shutter speeds and lower ISOs, but also to help with framing purposes, especially when using long telephoto lenses. At long focal lengths, hand shake and other vibrations can make framing your shot more difficult, and I found image stabilization system with the X-T4 and the 100-400mm provided a noticeably smoother, steadier view through the viewfinder.
In the field, the X-T4's image stabilization combined with OIS lenses works well, but it doesn't feel quite as powerful as the stabilization system inside an Olympus E-M1 II or E-M1 III, for example. While I was certainly able to capture handheld shots with the X-T4 at shutter speeds that would be unusable without I.S., I was never able to capture extremely slow shutter speed images like I could with the Olympus camera. For example, back with the E-M1 Mark II, I managed to capture handheld shots with shutter speeds as slow as six seconds, whereas I really struggled to capture sharp, blur-free images with the X-T4 + 16-80mm OIS lens at shutter speeds of just one second. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on the lens used as well as how steady you can hand-hold the camera.
XF 100-400mm: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 6400 (Edited from the RAW file. Click for original.)
What I liked
- Excellent image quality
- Very good high ISO performance
- In-body image stabilization
- Very fast AF with solid tracking performance
- Rugged build quality
- Good battery life and fast USB-C charging
What I didn't like
- Small handgrip isn't ideal for balance with longer, heavier lenses
- For photos, I prefer the tilting screen design of the X-T3
Overall, much like my experience with the X-T3, I came away with very few complaints about the X-T4. In the hand, the camera feels sturdy and robust, and offers a lot of user customization. Despite minor improvements, I would once again welcome a larger handgrip, or at least have Fuji bring back the non-vertical add-on grip. That's really my only complaint about the camera's design and ergonomics. In terms of image quality and performance, the X-T4 is a stellar camera, just like its predecessor. Image quality is fantastic at both low and higher ISOs, with the X-T4 again showing impressive high ISO performance for an APS-C camera. The faster burst shooting combined with swift and responsive AF makes the X-T4 a highly capable camera for a wide array of photographic pursuits. From landscapes and portraiture to sports and wildlife, the Fuji X-T4 is designed with versatility in mind.
Stay tuned for more in our Fuji X-T4 Review! This field test focused primarily on stills, but the X-T4 is packed with tons of high-end video features as well. And with the addition of IBIS, it certainly warrants taking a closer look at the X-T4's video features and performance. We plan to follow-up with a detailed look at video, with X-T4 sample videos, IBIS testing and comparisons, and more.
• • •
Fuji X-T4 Review -- Product Overview
by William Brawley
Preview posted: 02/26/2020
Raise your hand if you'd like a Fuji X-T3 with in-body image stabilization?
Congratulations! The fine folks over at Fujifilm did precisely that. Say hello to the Fuji X-T4.
The just-announced Fujifilm X-T4 essentially blends an X-T3 with the X-H1, offering a more compact yet still SLR-shaped mirrorless camera but now with built-in 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization. We don't yet know what the future holds for Fuji's X-H-series and whether or not an "X-H2" is on the horizon. However, at this point, the new X-T4 looks and feels like Fujifilm's most feature-packed, highest performance X-Series mirrorless model to date.
For the most part, the X-T4 shares a lot of similarities with the predecessor, including using the same image sensor and processor. The photo and video features are largely unchanged, too, but there have been some performance improvements to the AF system, new shooting features and usability improvements, and an additional Film Simulation added in for good measure as well. On the physical side of things, the body design has been updated with tweaked ergonomics, a new LCD design, an all-new battery, a quieter shutter mechanism, and a smaller, lighter IBIS unit than what's used inside the X-H1. Wow.
All in all, the X-T4 looks to take the already-excellent X-T3 and make it even better. Let's dive in to see all the new features and improvements to Fuji's latest X-Series camera...
Key Features & Specs
- 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS IV BSI image sensor
- Quad-core X Processor 4 imaging processor
- 425-point hybrid AF system with phase-detect
- Improved low-light AF down to -6EV
- ISO range: 80-51200 (Native: 160-12800)
- New Compressed RAW image quality option
- 5-axis Image Stabilization system rated up to 6.5 stops
- Faster 15fps burst shooting with mechanical shutter
- New shutter mechanism rated to 300,000 actuations
- 4Kp60 video recording at both DCI 4K and UHD resolutions
- New Enterna Bleach Bypass Film Simulation
- Larger battery; CIPA-rated to 600 shots per charge
- Articulated, tilt-swivel LCD touchscreen
- 3.69M-dot/100fps OLED EVF
- $1699.95 body-only
For the most part, the Fuji X-T4 looks extremely similar to its predecessor, sporting the same retro-inspired SLR-esque design with central EVF, large exposure control dials, front and rear control dials, and a slim-profile contoured handgrip (with rear thumb notch). Despite offering in-body image stabilization (IBIS) like the larger X-H1, the X-T4 remains lighter and more compact without that sizable, deep handgrip. Though we've yet to see the X-T4 in-person, we imagine the handling characteristics will be very similar to the previous model in typical shooting scenarios.
Perhaps the most visible design change is to the camera's rear screen. Gone is the clever three-way tilting LCD panel, and in its place is a more traditional -- and more video-friendly -- articulated tilt/swivel LCD design. The previous X-T3's LCD was more conducive for still photography, offering easy tilting for shooting at low and high angles in both horizontal and portrait/vertical orientations. For video creators, that screen design was less user-friendly, particularly for those recording videos of themselves. With the X-T4, you can now keep the screen flush against the back of the camera, with the screen facing outwards or completely hidden, or flip it out for low- or high-angle shooting or for video shoots. In other words: versatile.
The screen itself remains a 3.0-inch 3:2 aspect-ratio touchscreen, with customizable on-screen touch/swipe function "buttons." However, the screen resolution gets a slight upgrade, going from a 1.04-million dots on the X-T3 to 1.62-million dots with this new model.
The EVF, meanwhile, remains largely unchanged, offering the same high-resolution 0.5-inch, 3.69-million dot OLED electronic viewfinder display with a fast 100fps refresh rate and a 0.75x magnification ratio. The EVF offers approximately 100% frame coverage. Fujifilm has, however, tweaked the eyecup design compared to the previous model; it's now more rigid than the X-T3's and is designed to lock onto the viewfinder housing better.
Elsewhere on the rear of the X-T4, we can see the other tweaks to the design, namely to the button function and controls. First and foremost, however, we're happy to see that the X-T4 keeps both the multi-directional joystick control and the four-way direction button cluster. Other recent Fujifilm cameras, such as the X-Pro3, X100V and even the GFX 100, did away with the useful four-way controls, but they happily remain here on the X-T4.
In terms of other changes, the X-T4 has a few buttons swapped around: the Q (Quick Menu) button is now up at the top-right corner, while the AE-L button is moved to the Q buttons former location right above the joystick. For the first time now, the X-T4 features a dedicated AF-ON button (in the AE-L button's former spot on the X-T3). The AF-ON button will be a handy feature for those who like to shoot with back-button focus.
Another change to the X-T4 controls, one that also makes the camera more user-friendly for video creators, is a toggle switch to go back and forth between Stills mode and Video mode. This shooting mode toggle switch replaces the metering mode sub-dial below the Shutter Speed dial on the X-T3. Further enhancing the video shooting functionality, the X-T4 will remember stills-specific and video-specific exposure modes and other settings, similar to the GFX 100, so you can more easily flip back and forth between shooting modes and not have to re-adjust exposure settings every time. Furthermore, the camera now offers two different Quick menu screens, one for photo-mode quick-access settings and another dedicated for video settings. Very user-friendly for hybrid shooters indeed.
As for the rest of the camera's design and control layout, as mentioned, the X-T4 is basically identical to the X-T3. The camera still sports the characteristic separate locking exposure dials -- one for ISO and one for shutter speed, while the aperture setting is typically handled by the lens' dedicated aperture ring. As before, there's a large (non-locking) exposure compensation dial, too. The only other tweak is that the top-deck Function (Fn) button is moved further forward, off to the right of the shutter release button.
As with the X-T3, the X-T4 does not have a built-in pop-up flash, but it does feature a hotshoe connection and features a small, portable EF-X8 external flash in the box.
When it comes to the imaging pipeline, much like the physical design, the X-T4 is very similar to its predecessor. The Fuji X-T4 uses the same 26.1-megapixel APS-C-sized X-Trans CMOS IV back-side illuminated sensor paired with the same quad-core X Processor 4 image processing chip.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
We've been extremely pleased with the image quality from previous 26MP Fujifilm X Series cameras, so we're not at all disappointed with the X-T4 continuing to use the same imaging pipeline. The X-T4 offers the same ISO range as its predecessor, with a native range of ISO 160 to ISO 12,800. This can be expanded with low ISOs of 80 and 100, and up at the high end all the way to ISO 51,200. Low ISO image quality on the X-T3 is fantastic, with images offerings lots of resolution and fine detail, particularly due to the lack of an optical low-pass filter (a usual feature for X-Trans sensors). As the ISO rises, we also expect to see excellent quality, much like we did with the previous model. Of course, we can't pass final judgement until we get a sample in the lab, but needless to say, we expect great things from the new X-T4 given its imaging system.
The metering system is also unchanged, using the same TTL 256-zone metering system with Multi, Spot, Average and Center-Weighted metering modes. The X-T4 keeps things simple, offering just four primary exposure modes, Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and full Manual exposure mode. Exposure compensation for stills ranges from +/-5EV, though the physical exposure compensation dial ranges from +/-3EV (flip it to the "C" position and control the full range of Exposure Comp. using the command dial). Movie Mode exposure compensation, meanwhile, ranges from +/-2EV.
The X-T4, as expected, offers both RAW and JPEG image recording, including both 14-bit uncompressed and lossless compressed RAW formats. Additionally, Fuji's introduced a new lossy compressed RAW recording option, allowing photographers more editing and post-production flexibility compared to typical compressed JPEG files.
For those that don't necessarily want or need to bring their images over to the a computer or tablet for editing, the X-T4, much like its predecessor, offers a host of in-camera raw processing options, filters and exposure tweaks. The camera has an adjustable clarity setting, grain effect, color chrome effect, and a range of Advanced Filter options, such as Toy Camera, Pop Color, Partial Color and more. There are also HDR shooting modes as well as in-camera Panorama.
And of course, there's a range of Fujifilm's classic Film Simulation options, including ACROS, Classic Chrome, Velvia and others for a total of 18 different options. The earlier X-H1 introduced the ETERNA film simulation, designed more for video shooters, offering a lower-saturation, flatter look with better post-production leeway. With the X-T4, there's a new ETERNA option: ETERNA Bleach Bypass. This new Film Simulation is said to offer more muted tones than the standard ETERNA setting, with low saturation yet a higher contrast look.
Of course, the major story with the X-T4 is its in-body image stabilization system. Prior to this camera, the only Fujifilm camera with IBIS was the larger X-H1, while other models had to make do with optically-stabilized lenses or none at all. The inclusion of IBIS will make the already-versatile X-T line even more enticing and useful in more shooting scenarios.
The X-T4 incorporates an all-new IBIS system, not one simply brought over from the X-H1. The X-T4's IBIS system is both 30% smaller and 20% lighter than the IBIS mechanism/assembly inside the X-H1. And despite the smaller, lighter design, the X-T4's IBIS is more powerful than that in the X-H1, offering up to 6.5 stops of stabilization, whereas the X-H1 was rated for "just" 5.5 stops. The 6.5 stops is just for the body alone, offering powerful shake correction with almost any lens you mount to the camera. It's not 6.5 stops across the board, and it's still unclear just how much communication or cooperation Fuji's existing OIS lenses bring into the stabilization equation (in other words, we're not sure at this time if or in what manner the OIS lenses work in tandem with the IBIS system as in similar setups like Olympus' Sync IS or Panasonic's Dual IS). For example, the Fuji XF 200mm f/2 OIS lens offers 5 stops of optical stabilization but will offer up to 5.5 stops when used with the X-T4.
For video shooters, the inclusion if IBIS is a big win for versatility, allowing for a much better shooting experience when handholding the camera. The X-T4 features a new digital image stabilization mode for movie shooting, allowing smoother, steadier footage. There's also an IS Boost Mode that's designed for handheld static shooting without panning or tilting.
For video creators, the Fuji X-T4 offers a vastly similar array of high-end and versatile video features and performance as in the previous camera. The X-T4 offers both 4K and Full HD video modes, with 4K offered at both Cinema 4K (DCI 4K, 4096 x 2160) and UHD (3840 x 2160) resolutions up to 60 frames per second. Full HD video, meanwhile, is now capable of being shot at up to a whopping 240 frames per second, making this a very enticing camera for filming sports, action or other fast-paced subjects and creating really smooth, dramatic slow-motion footage.
Quality-wise, the X-T4 offers a lot of versatility for bitrates, with 4K offered up to 400Mbps, as well as 200/100/50Mbps options. However, 400Mbps 4K is offered only for 30/25/24/23.98fps (not 60p). Full HD is offered at 200/100/50Mbps, while 1080p240 and 1080p120 is offered at 200Mbps. The camera also offers a choice of file format, MOV or MP4, as well as frame compression, the higher quality ALL-I or more compressed Long-GOP.
Like its predecessor, the X-T4 still can't record video continuously for an unlimited duration. 4Kp60 is limited to approximately 20 minutes, while lower frame rates can be shot for up to 30 minutes. Full HD at 240p is limited to just 3 minutes, while 120p is double up to 6 minutes.
As with the X-T3, there are also more advanced video options, such as F-Log recording, 4:2:2 10-bit recording in-camera, clean HDMI out, and more. For F-Log shooting, the X-T4 offers an F-Log View Assist option, which applies a BT709 gamma curve to the live view screen, allowing the filmmaker to better see exposure.
Autofocus & Performance
The autofocus system inside the X-T4 remains largely unchanged, utilizing the same 425-point hybrid AF system with on-sensor phase-detection. As before, the 425 points are just the user-selection AF points, but the phase-detection pixels span the entire area of the sensor for a total of 2.16 million phase-detection autofocus pixels.
The camera offers a number of AF modes, including single-point, Zone and Wide/Tracking. Within each mode, the AF area size can be adjusted, depending on the type of subject you're shooting. Zone AF mode uses a smaller cluster within a 77 AF point area, while Wide/Tracking utilizes 77 AF points across the entire sensor. Furthermore, the camera features Face and Eye-Detection AF, with selectable face options and C-AF tracking.
For additional versatility, like with the X-T3, the new X-T4 offers various C-AF preset modes that fine-tune the tracking sensitivity, Speed tracking sensitivity and Zone area switching, depending on the type of subject being photographed. There is also a fully Customizable AF preset mode. The camera's autofocus system also gets a nice boost to low-light performance, which is now rated down to -6EV compared to the -3EV level of the previous model.
In terms of continuous burst shooting, the X-T4 offers a bit more oomph than the predecessor thanks to its new mechanical shutter mechanism. Not only is this new mechanical shutter assembly quieter than the predecessor, it also allows for up to 15fps continuous shooting -- whereas the X-T3 maxed out at 11fps with its mechanical shutter. (According to Fujifilm, the new X-T4 mechanical shutter is also rated for up to 300,000 actuations.)
With electronic shutter mode, however, the X-T4 offers similar specs to the predecessor, with up to 20fps at full-resolution or 30fps with a 1.25x crop mode.
Buffer depths are rated similar to that of the predecessor, though the numbers aren't exactly the same. At full-resolution, shooting at the maximum 15fps mechanical shutter mode, Fuji claims a buffer capacity of 110 JPEGs, 38 lossless compressed RAW/compressed RAW frames, and 35 uncompressed RAW frames. The X-T3, by comparison, at its 11fps max mechanical burst, tested at 187 best quality JPEGs in our lab. Meanwhile, the 20fps full-res electronic shutter mode is rated up to 79 JPEGs (slightly better than the X-T3), 36 lossless compressed RAW/compressed RAW frames, and 34 uncompressed RAW frames.
Prior to the X-T3, you needed the accessory battery grip in order to enable the camera's Boost Mode, which upped the AF performance, increased the EVF refresh rate and decreased the release time lag. The X-T3, and on the X-T4 as well, allowed for Boost Mode to be used without the batter grip. With or without the grip, though, the Boost Mode would use more power and therefore decrease overall battery life. With the X-T4, the camera offers more than just "Normal" and "Boost" modes. There's now a Boost Low Light, which adjusts the display brightness,; a Boost Resolution Priority, which increases the display resolution; and Boost Frame Rate Priority, which increases the screen refresh rate. Additionally, going the "other direction," the X-T4 offers an Economy mode, which extends battery life.
And speaking of battery life, the X-T4 uses an all-new, larger capacity rechargeable battery. In Normal shooting mode, the camera is CIPA-rated for 500 shots per charge, while Economy mode extends that out to 600 shots per charge. Adding the optional battery grip, which accepts two additional batteries, extends battery life out to about 1500 shots or nearly 2000 frames when combined with Economy mode. That's a lot of frames.
Storage & Connectivity
For media storage, the X-T4 offers the same dual UHS-II SD card slots as on the X-T3.
In terms of connectivity, the X-T4 features built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low-energy for wireless media sharing, traversing and remote control capabilities. As with the predecessor, the X-T4 offers in-camera battery charging via the USB Type C port, but now the camera can also charge batteries inside the add-on battery grip; the X-T3's grip required its own charging cable.
Additional ports include a Type D mini-HDMI connector and a 3.5mm microphone jack and a 2.5mm remote jack. Somewhat oddly, Fujifilm has done away with the built-in 3.5mm headphone jack on the camera body itself, and instead put the headphone jack back on the battery grip like they did with the X-T2.
Pricing & Availability
The Fujifilm X-T4 will be available in both black and silver and is expected to go on sale in Spring 2020 with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,699.95 USD and $2,199.99 CAD for the body-only configuration. Two additional kit options will also be available: a kit with the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 priced at $2099 USD; a kit with the XF 16-80mm f/4 OIS priced at $2199 USD.