First of all, I hope that you are safe out there amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Stay safe and healthy, folks, so you can enjoy photography more! Now onto the review…
In what seems to be a diversion from the upgrade cycle of the X-T series of cameras, Fujifilm has released the X-T4 only a year and a half after the X-T3. Looking at the spec sheet, it actually seems more like an X-T3S or X-T3 Mark II. Aside from the IBIS, new battery, and flip screen, the T4’s specs seem to be pretty much identical to the previous body. Another thing to note is that Fuji did not discontinue the T3 and both are still on the market at different price points.
I actually skipped buying the X-T3 because I felt it didn’t offer that much over my X-T2 and X-H1 for my needs as a travel, event, and portrait photographer. However, with the added features of the X-T4, I’ve finally made the jump to the next generation of Fuji X cameras. I have been shooting with the X-T4 for about a week now as I write this, and I will share my thoughts and experiences with the features that stood out the most for me.
- Bigger battery – With almost twice the capacity, the benefit of the new NP-W235 battery is obvious in real-world use. It offers more shots between charges and holds up better when recording 4K video compared to the smaller NP-W126S batteries. I imagine the NP-W235 will most likely be the battery standard moving forward, so investing in the T4 is also helping to future-proof your kit.
- More refined IBIS – Fuji initially said it couldn’t be done, but I’m so glad they were able to shrink down the IBIS mechanism into a smaller body. IBIS performance has also been upgraded over the X-H1, offering more stops of stabilization across the range of XF and XC lenses. And like the X-H1, the X-T4 will be able to stabilize any manual lens adapted to the camera.
- Flip-out screen – The new fully-articulating screen offers more viewing angles and is great for self-recording and vlogging. Surprisingly, I have also come to like shooting with the screen hidden, X-Pro 3 style.
- Improved shutter mechanism – Fuji rates the shutter life of the X-T4 at 300,000 shots. I haven’t killed a Fuji shutter yet and I would rather not test this limit, but it’s good to know that it’s built to last longer. The new shutter also has some speed improvements such as faster frames per second and less shutter lag, both of which you can feel in real-world use. It’s simply a fast and responsive camera to shoot with.
More Pros (Features shared with the X-T3)
- Significantly improved AF system – The autofocus on the T4 is super snappy and confident, especially when it comes to face recognition and tracking moving subjects. It’s the best AF system so far on the Fuji X bodies. Older lenses like the OG 35mm f/1.4 also get new life breathed into them as their AF performance is better than ever on the X-T4. According to Fuji, the AF algorithm of the T4 is improved over the T3, especially with tracking movement. Since the two cameras share the same processor and sensor, the improvements might also make it over to the X-T3 via firmware update.
- Video features – I’m more of a stills photographer by trade, but the added resolution settings, compression options, and bitrates are all good to have when the need arises. Photo and video modes each have their own separate menus and settings, and the dedicated STILL/MOVIE switch makes it easy to switch between modes. Fuji seems to be getting more and more serious about video with each new body, making us better-equipped for both photo and video needs.
- Lockable diopter dial – This may be one of the lower-key features, but as someone who has constantly had to deal with readjusting the diopter after pulling the camera out of my bag, I really appreciate this feature.
- USB-C – I love the USB-C standard, and it’s great to have a camera that pretty much seamlessly integrates into the same charging ecosystem as my laptop and phone. USB-C power delivery also opens up so many possibilities with recording longer video clips and timelapses using a power bank or wall charger, basically giving you unlimited power.
- Lack of headphone jack – It’s a shame that this was added to the X-T3 only to be taken away in the T4. The included adapter is appreciated, but it limits audio monitoring while using USB C power delivery unless you purchase the VG-XT4 battery grip.
- Flip-out screen – Although I appreciate what the new screen brings to the table, one of the things I immediately missed was the ability to tilt the screen up or down without the need to swing it out first. I really liked the design of the screen on previous bodies like the T2 and T3 and it’s a little sad to see that go. I’m also just a tiny bit concerned about the longevity of the new flip-out screen mechanism. The previous articulating screen design is a tried and tested one and time will tell whether the new flip out design will be as durable.
- Not including a dedicated battery charger in the box – As I mentioned before, I love that the camera can be charged via USB-C port. However, Fuji took it a step further and chose not to include a dedicated battery charger in the box. I still believe that a dedicated charger is best for repeated charging day in and day out. I’m just not comfortable with the idea of charging directly through the camera body 100% of the time, as the additional electrical (and physical) wear and tear of this may take its toll on the camera in the long run. I will definitely be getting the $70 BC-W235 dual charger.
- Placement of the AF-On button – I am a back button focus user and I find the position of the X-T4’s default AF On button a little uncomfortable. It’s a bit of a stretch for my thumb, and the fact that it’s recessed due to the camera’s rear body line makes it even less comfortable. Because of this, I have reassigned the closer AEL button to serve as the back button focus.
Enhanced use with manual focus / vintage lenses
Previous readers of my blog have probably heard of my fondness towards shooting vintage / manual focus lenses with the Fuji X system. The X-T4 brings a few more features to the table that will make shooting with these lenses even better.
- Resolution Boost – one of the new performance boost modes on the X-T4 is an EVF/LCD RESOLUTION PRIORITY boost that increases resolution of the electronic viewfinder and LCD. It’s a subtle but effective boost that can really help with manual focusing, especially when you punch in using the FOCUS CHECK function. Alongside the focus assist modes like digital split prism and focus peaking, the new boost mode makes it even easier to use manual lenses.
- Edit Lens Name – Previous cameras have always allowed you to edit the focal length setting of manual lenses to save in EXIF data. The X-T4 now allows you to edit the name of the lenses as well for even better referencing.
- More customizable manual lens slots – in previous bodies, you could only customize two of the six manual lens slots. Now you can customize all six slots with both focal length and lens name information for the EXIF data. More customizable slots also means you can precisely dial in more focal lengths for proper IBIS performance with manual lenses.
New Film Simulations
The Eterna Bleach Bypass film simulation is an interesting one. I didn’t like it at first, as it brought to mind the color grading of old music videos from the late 90’s ;). It has since grown on me and I now think of it as a good option for when you want a desaturated look with a hint of color.
Since I skipped the T3, the Classic Neg film simulation is new to me as well. I really like this one! As a fan of Superia film presets for Lightroom, it is great to have access to a similar look built in to the camera. The vintage film look is great for reportage and street photography.
X-T4 or X-T3?
As you can see from everything we discussed, the Fuji X-T3 actually offers most of the advantages that the T4 does. If you are okay with no IBIS and are willing to stick with NP-W126 batteries, then the T3 might be a better choice at a lower price point.
X-T4 vs older bodies
I wanted to include this section for those who are on a budget or those who might not necessarily need the latest and greatest. I believe the 3rd (X-Trans III) generation of cameras was the turning-point for all-around pro-level use of the Fuji X system. This was when they hit the 24-megapixel mark, as well as a sufficiently speedy and accurate AF system and 4K video recording. Quite honestly, there’s not much practical difference in the image files produced by the 3rd and 4th generation cameras. That’s why I didn’t buy the T3. To be honest, the primary reason why I got on board with the T4 was to begin the transition to the new batteries. If you do not need the latest in AF speed performance and video bells and whistles, the X-Trans III bodies like the X-T2 and X-Pro 2 might be worth a look for a significantly lower price. I personally still have an X-T2 as a backup body, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it even in demanding conditions.
The X-T4 is a solid upgrade to the Fuji high-end series of APS-C cameras. The fast and confident autofocus system, the in-body stabilization, and the pro-level video features are a great companion to Fuji’s trademark image quality and ergonomics. It has a lot to offer in the compact design of the X-T series bodies that we know and love. All in all, it is a well-rounded jack-of-all-trades that I’m happy to have in my bag. The X-T4 is Fujifilm’s best APS-C body yet and as a Fuji X user since the early days, it has been truly amazing to experience the evolution of the camera system into what it is now.
In the end, it’s really all about the images. So I’ll close with some photos that I’ve taken with the X-T4 and various lenses during my first week with it.