We’ve been eagerly awaiting the X-T4’s arrival. Does it live up to our high expectations? Michael Topham put it to the test
Fujifilm X-T4: At a glance
- £1549 (body only)
- 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor
- ISO 160-12800 (ISO 80-51200 extended)
- 15fps continuous shooting (mechanical shutter)
- 5-axis in-body image stabilisation
- 3in, 1.62m-dot vari-angle touchscreen
- In-camera charging via USB-C
When Fujifilm announced they were introducing in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) to the X-H1 in 2018, many photographers began questioning how long it might be before other models in the X-series inherited similar technology. The X-H1’s robust and durable SLR-style body had no problem accommodating Fujifilm’s first IBIS unit, however for it to fit inside other X-series cameras the body size would need to be increased or the IBIS unit would need to be miniaturised.
With Fujifilm’s X-T series continuing to grow in popularity with photographers who’d like the traditional shape of a DSLR combined with the charm of Fujifilm’s classic styling in a body that’s smaller and lighter than many full-frame mirrorless cameras, it didn’t come as a great surprise when Fujifilm revealed the X-T3’s successor would be next inline to be equipped with 5-axis in-body image stabilisation.
The X-T4 was always going to need to offer more than just IBIS though if it was going to be successful at tempting existing Fujifilm users into an upgrade and encourage serious photographers to choose it ahead of its stiff competition the mirrorless market.
Add a fully articulated screen, uprated AF algorithms, bigger battery, faster continuous shooting and a new mechanical shutter to the mix and you get the sense the X-T4 has advanced on the X-T3 in a number of ways, but is this enough? Let’s start by inspecting its key features in more detail.
Fujifilm X-T4: Features
When you glance at the X-T4 in isolation it’s hard to tell what influence the addition of IBIS has had. It looks every bit like an X-T series camera from the front with its sculpted handgrip, centrally positioned viewfinder and intuitive layout of buttons and dials all contributing to its attractive appearance. Place it alongside an X-T3 however and you can just about make out it’s slightly larger – 2mm wider, 5mm thicker and 68g heavier to be precise.
In order to squeeze IBIS into the X-T4 a combination of subtle changes to the dimensions of the body and an entirely new IBIS unit were needed. The X-T4’s IBIS unit is 30% smaller and 20% lighter than that found in the X-H1, plus it uses magnetic springs rather than mechanical coil springs in its construction.
Furthermore, its shock absorbing structure has been refined to stabilise the smallest of shakes and it carries out over 10,000 corrections per second to achieve up to 6.5 stops of stabilisation with 18 out of 29 Fujinon XF lenses.
In those instances where the X-T4 is used with Fujifilm lenses that feature optical image stabilisation (OIS), the OIS corrects angular shake with IBIS left to take responsibility for rotation around the lens axis, along with up/down and left/right movements.
Anyone who chooses to use adapted lenses with the X-T4 should be wary that they only get 3-axis IBIS due to focus distance being a prerequisite for effective 5-axis in-body stabilisation. A full breakdown of the number of stops of stabilisation that can be achieved with Fujifilm’s non-OIS and OIS lenses can be found on their website.
The imaging sensor the IBIS unit is responsible for stabilising is the same 26.1-million-pixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4 chip as used inside the X-T3. This fourth generation sensor has a back-illuminated structure, excludes a low-pass filter and partners up with Fujifilm’s X-Processor 4 to deliver healthy processing speeds that I’ll touch on shortly.
The sensitivity of the sensor is unchanged from its predecessor and spans ISO 160-12,800 (expandable to ISO 80-51,200), but thanks to the addition of a new mechanical shutter it manages to shoot even faster. Compared to the X-T3 which could shoot up to 11fps using its mechanical shutter this has now increased to 15fps, making it the fastest mirrorless camera with a mechanical shutter and APS-C size sensor.
The new focal plane shutter unit presents other benefits too. It’s 30% quieter and offers double the durability of previous models with a lifespan of 300,000 shutter actuations. It should be noted the continuous burst rate does drop to 8fps in live view, however the blackout period in live view burst mode has been reduced to 75msec and the release time is rated at a speedy 0.035sec.
Engaging the X-T4’s silent electronic shutter can be used to shoot beyond the mechanical shutter’s 1/8000sec limit up to a maximum of 1/32,000sec. In addition, the electronic shutter permits even faster continuous shooting at up to 30fps with a 1.25x crop of the sensor. More information about this can be found below.
To keep up with the speed of the faster frame rate Fujifilm has reworked its autofocus algorithms. This has resulted in an acquisition speed as fast as 0.02sec, with an improved AF tracking performance that uses colour information and the subject shape to achieve accurate focus when attempting to follow moving subjects. The response of face and eye detection has been uprated too and is said to be twice as good at tracking people’s faces and eyes when shooting a continuous burst.
Improvements don’t end here. The AF system in the X-T4 works down to -6EV in low light, which is quite a jump from the -3EV autofocus sensitivity offered by the X-T3. The hybrid AF system upholds 2.16-million phase-detection pixels on the sensor and the number of selectable AF points remains unchanged. There’s a choice of either 117 selectable AF points laid out into a 9×13 grid, or there’s a 425-point layout consisting of a 17×25 grid.
Users get the the option to choose between six AF target sizes in single point AF mode and three in zone AF mode. Accompanying the single point, zone and wide/tracking AF modes are five autofocus custom settings with three user-adjustable parameters to refine focusing characteristics in AF-C mode.
The impressive specs don’t just lie with shooting stills. The employment of IBIS will attract videographers who’d like to effectively stabilise their handheld footage too. Broadcast-quality 4K/60P 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output and 4K/60P 4:2:0 10-bit internal recording to an SD card is available up to a maximum record time of 20 minutes, with high-speed 240p recording available in Full HD resolution for up to 3 minutes.
Videographers are likely to appreciate the 400Mbps bitrate (200Mbps and 100Mbps are available) when shooting in 4K resolution as well as the optimised user interface that includes a movie-specific quick menu, along with entirely independent shooting settings.
Added to this, video files can be recorded to both SD card slots simultaneously for backup and users are presented with a 3.5mm microphone socket at the side. To monitor audio videographers can use the supplied USB-C to 3.5mm adapter to plug in headphones. Alternatively, there’s 3.5mm headphone socket that can be used when the optional battery grip is attached. All existing film simulation filters can be used in stills and movie mode and the X-T4 introduces a new Eterna Bleach Bypass mode that gives a high-contrast, desaturated look.
The X-T4’s larger NP-W235 battery is another welcome addition. It has enough juice to last for 600 shots on a single charge in economy mode and it can be charged in-camera via USB-C. It’s good to see Fujifilm addressing the issue whereby the battery in the camera as well as two batteries housed in the vertical grip can be charged simultaneously.
The new vertical grip (VG-XT4) costs £299 and features a new performance switch that provides the option to select economy, as well as the usual normal and boost settings. Just to clarify, those who own a VG-XT3 vertical grip won’t be able to use it with the X-T4.
Fujifilm X-T4: focal points
There’s much more to the X-T4 than just in-body image stabilisation. Here we study a few of the other changes Fujifilm has made.
- Fujifilm has made an additional dual battery charger (BC-W235) for the X-T4. It costs £59 and is capable of charging a pair of NP-W235 batteries simultaneously. As well as revealing a battery status bar, it displays the percentage of the current level on a small LCD.
- The X-T3’s shutter was rated to have a life expectancy of 150,000 cycles. This has doubled to 300,000 cycles on the X-T4. This longer shutter lifespan is reassuring for professional sports and wedding photographers who shoot high numbers of images on a daily basis and demand an extremely durable camera for their work.
- The X-T4 features new White Priority and Ambience Priority white balance settings. As its name suggests, White Priority prioritises the reproduction of white, with Ambience Priority prioritising the ambience of the light source in any given scene.
- The frame rate of the LCD varies depending on the performance mode the X-T4 is set to. In economy mode the LCD refreshes at 30fps, whereas in Normal and Boost modes it refreshes at a faster 60fps.
- Unlike the X-T3, the X-T4 doesn’t have a headphone jack. Instead you’ll need to use the supplied USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter. Other terminals include a 3.5mm microphone port, 2.5mm remote release port, HDMI (micro D) port and a USB Type-C port, with the latter supporting in-camera charging. The X-T4’s battery grip does feature a headphone input.