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Sensible check for Fujifilm X-T4: approaching perfection

Fujifilm X-T4

“There is still room for improvement, but the X-T4 is the closest to the perfect camera.”

Great 5-axis stabilization

Fully movable screen

600-shot battery

Mechanical shutter at 15 frames per second

Refined video control

RIP headphone jack

No high-resolution recording mode

When Fujifilm launched the X-T4 in February, I was concerned that we finally had the perfect camera. It was supposed to fix every problem I’ve ever addressed with previous X-T flagships by adding image stabilization in the body, a fully moving screen, and (finally!) A higher capacity battery. Would I have nothing more to list in the “Disadvantages” section?

Fortunately, from a reviewer’s point of view, there is still room for criticism. Fujifilm’s inexplicable decision to take a step out of Apple’s book and remove the headphone jack isn’t the end of the world, but it’s a disappointment.

When the capabilities and costs of a product like the X-T4 improve, expectations change too. A missing function that I may have previously ignored is suddenly a point of longing. And when the price of that $ 2,000 mark approaches, the inevitable comparison with full-frame cameras becomes part of the conversation.

But don’t be upset about Fujifilm fans. The X-T4 may not be perfect, but it is a class-defining camera and one of the most sophisticated and feature-rich cameras at all costs.

Note: I was provided with a pre-production camera for this practical device, which still had some errors and inconsistencies in the fit and finish. I have not included these questions in my judgment.

New functions and improvements

The X-T4 looks like an X-T3 that has been in the gym for a few months. Although the difference is small and difficult to notice without direct comparison, it is physically larger and heavier and more robust in the hand.

Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

This Swol frame supports a 5-axis IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization) system, a variable-angle LCD screen that swings forward a full 180 degrees, and a 2200 mAh battery – about 1,000 mAh more than the previous battery.

This is not the first time that we have seen the sensor displacement stabilize on the Fujifilm X series. This loan goes to the larger and more expensive Fujifilm X-H1; A camera that I praised for its video functions, but which was surpassed by the X-T3 in every way (except stabilization).

Fujifilm had to develop a completely new gimbal to integrate IBIS into the smaller X-T body style. In fact, however, it is better than the stabilization of the X-H1 and offers up to 6.5 levels of blur reduction on some lenses and no less than 5 on the others.

Interestingly, the optically stabilized lenses do not offer the best performance. Even the first generation primes, like my 35mm 1: 1.4R and 23mm 1: 1.4R, are suitable for 6.5 stops. In fact, the lowest rated lenses are in the optically stabilized set, including the 80mm F2.8 OIS macro, which is the only lens that offers only 5 levels of blur reduction.

Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

The X-T4 is not the first camera in the X series to have a fully moving screen. However, the X-T4 is the first flagship with such a screen and a blessing for vloggers and YouTubers who need an easy way to monitor themselves in front of the camera.

An articulated monitor isn’t much of an advantage for Fujifilm’s core audience of still photographers, but the X-T4 is ready to break out of the brand’s niche. Due to the excellent video features, I expect that many customers will use the new monitor.

Both still photographers and videographers will appreciate the larger battery. CIPA rates it for up to 600 exposures in economy mode, 500 in normal mode and 480 in boost mode. For occasional use, there’s nothing wrong with keeping the camera in economy mode, but I’ve also found no reason to worry about battery life in boost mode, which improves auto focus speed and LCD / EVF frame rates. This is the most comfortable way to use the camera.

In addition, the CIPA ratings are always conservative. I took about 300 exposures in boost mode and the battery indicator dropped only one bar, which led me to believe that 900-1,000 shots should be easily accessible.

design

Aside from major new features, a few small design improvements solidify the X-T4’s position as a focal point for professionals.

Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

The new shutter mechanism is designed for 300,000 exposures during its lifetime, twice as much as the X-T3. It can also shoot at 15 frames per second in continuous mode, an impressive feat for a mechanical shutter that can only be achieved by much more expensive, bespoke sports cameras.

For the inexperienced eye, the control layout looks identical to that of the X-T3, but a few keys have been repositioned and a key change made: A switch for the still image / film mode has replaced the measurement mode selection switch nested under the shutter speed. This is a more intuitive way to activate film mode, which was previously only an option on drive mode.

Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

Still and movie modes now have different menus, so you can save different settings for each mode. For hybrid shooters, this saves time and ensures that you don’t accidentally forget to change a setting when you switch modes.

The video mode is largely the same as the X-T3 and internally records 10-bit 4K at up to 400 megabits per second. However, Full HD videos can now be recorded at 240 frames per second, even if cropped, for up to 10 times slow motion playback. You get better quality at lower frame rates, but it’s fun.

Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

However, a small change is an undeniable negative, and that is removing the headphone jack. The X-T3 and the X-T2 both offered this. Fujifilm comes with a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter included, but is still an additional accessory that you need to carry with you. This is a strange omission for a camera that is otherwise friendly to videographers.

There is also no external charger included, although the camera can be charged via USB-C. Again, it’s not a deal-breaker for the average user, but a bit strange for a camera that appeals to enthusiasts and professionals who often need to charge a battery while taking pictures with another. For those who need it, an optional dual-battery charger will be available for $ 70.

I can’t blame Fujifilm too much. This was probably a step to keep the cost of the camera as low as possible. At $ 1,700, the X-T4 starts at $ 300 less than the X-H1, but is a better camera in every way except that it doesn’t have an upper LCD display.

Photo and video quality

The X-T4 uses the same 26-megapixel X-Trans sensor and the same X processor 4 image processor as the previous model. So there is nothing new to say about RAW image quality. It’s very good, although high ISO shots are certainly louder than those of the best full-frame cameras.

However, this would not be a new Fujifilm camera without a new film simulation, and the X-T4 offers us the Eterna Bleach Bypass. This is based on the Eterna simulation that was introduced with the X-H1 (which I liked very much), but mimics the film processing technique known as bleaching bypass.

Skipping the bleaching step would leave a color film with the silver layer intact, which would result in a semi-transparent monochromatic image overlaying a color photo. The result is an image with low saturation and high contrast.

Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

The Eterna Bleach Bypass does not provide a look that everyone likes, but it is a unique in-camera effect that matches some motifs and moods. For this test I took all my pictures with a film simulation exposure series so that I can try out Eterna Bleach Bypass without taking the risk of sticking to it.

The film simulation exposure series applies up to three simulations to the same exposure and thus enables multiple looks (in my case Eterna Bleach Bypass, regular Eterna and Provia). It’s not a big deal if you can shoot RAW and change profiles later, but JPEGs in the camera don’t have the same flexibility.

However, the biggest contribution to image quality is the IBIS system. This allows you to shoot at slower shutter speeds without worrying about camera shake, which can result in sharper images. In some situations, the ability to shoot with a slower shutter allows a lower ISO, which results in less noise.

In practice I am not sure if I have reached the full 6.5 stops with my lenses, but it is important to note that this rating comes from standard CIPA tests, which only take pitch and yaw movement into account and vertical and horizontal shifts are ignored.

Nevertheless, I only shot 1/8 of a second with the 35 mm and achieved sharp, usable results. This is good enough for most situations. With the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, you can’t take handheld night sky shots, and I still brought a tripod to get pictures like the waterfall below, but otherwise stabilizing the X-T4 is all you could want.

As with the X-H1, I recommend setting the stabilization to “continuous operation”. This keeps IBIS constantly active, which stabilizes the image preview and gives you a perfect frame. Otherwise, IBIS is only activated when you take a picture. This can extend battery life, but it will show a blurred preview image.

A function that I would have liked to have seen on the X-T4 is a high-resolution mode, as can be found in many Panasonic and Olympus cameras with sensor shift stabilization. By multiple exposures and shifting the sensor by one pixel each additional resolution and color accuracy can be recorded. I’m not an engineer, but I suspect the complex pixel arrangement of X-Trans sensors would make it difficult to apply the same pixel shifting technique used by cameras with standard Bayer sensors.

The Fujifilm X-T4 is a great camera

With $ 1,700, the X-T4 is pushing into full screen territory. The excellent Nikon Z 6, which was less than $ 1,850 at the time of writing, offers better image quality in low light and comparable 5-axis stabilization.

Even this camera lacks the speed and video functions of the X-T4 (at least without adding an external recorder). It’s also bigger overall, especially if you consider the full-frame lenses.

The Sony A6600 is the closest direct competitor and is currently significantly cheaper thanks to manufacturer discounts that cost just under $ 1,200. That’s a lot of camera for the money, though the X-T4 outperforms it in some ways, from continuous shooting to video quality to shutter speed and EVF resolution.

As a dedicated APS-C system, Fujifilm has the most comprehensive portfolio of format-specific lenses. You don’t have the full-screen upgrade path you get with Sony, but for most of us, it means you just don’t need it.

It’s also worth noting that the X-T3 remains in Fujifilm’s product range at a reduced price of $ 1,300. It is still a fantastic camera.

I have no problem calling the Fujifilm X-T4 the best APS-C camera I’ve ever used. It is a first-class act, elegantly designed for the photography enthusiast, with a love of detail that only Leica competes with. They shoot not only for the results, but also for the joy of the experience.

I can’t say that about the competition.

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