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: Performance
One feature I’m yet to comment on is the X-T4’s electronic viewfinder (EVF). It’s the same 0.5in, 3.69-million dot OLED unit as that used by the X-T3 and provides a similarly sharp and accurate viewing experience while displaying faithful colour to that rendered by the rear screen and seen by our eyes.
One area of difference is the three new ‘Boost’ modes, which change the responsiveness of the LCD and EVF. In Luminance Priority, Resolution Priority and Frame Rate Priority boost modes, the AF speed, LCD frame rate and EVF frame rate increase. In all three modes the AF speed goes from from 0.08sec to 0.02sec.
By selecting frame rate priority mode the EVF frame rate increases from 60fps to 100fps, resulting in smoother transitions when panning and tracking moving subjects. In use I found that if you want the smoothest LCD/EVF viewing experience possible it’s best to set performance to boost and select EVF Frame Rate Priority as your boost setting. Both are hidden away in the setup power management settings.
The performance of the IBIS system is extremely effective. I’d class it to be up there with impressive IBIS systems found on other mirrorless cameras such as the Olympus OM-D E-M5 III and Nikon Z 6. Under the camera icon in the main menu there’s a sub-head for IS mode. Selecting continuous means the IBIS system is always active when the camera is switched on. Set it to ‘shooting only’ means IBIS will only activate when the shutter button is half pressed.
With non-stabilised lenses you have the option to turn IBIS off from the same menu, but when you use a lens with OIS built-in, the option to turn off IBIS disappears. In this instance, image stabilisation is controlled from the OIS switch on the lens.
As with all IBIS systems, you’ll achieve sharper handheld shots with slower shutter speeds using a wide lens than you will with a long telephoto that accentuates the smallest of handheld movements. How slow you can achieve pin-sharp results is completely dependent on the user as some people have steadier hands than others.
During my testing I found I was able to capture consistently sharp handheld shots of static subjects at 1/25sec using the XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR at full telephoto that’s equivalent to 600mm. With a medium telephoto prime like the XF56mm f/1.2 R that features no OIS I managed several sharp frames as slow as 1/5sec. With a wide-angle zoom like the XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS I achieved several sharp handheld frames with a 1-second exposure at the widest point in the zoom range.
While the X-T4’s IBIS is great to have and allows you to shoot sharper shots at slower speeds, it should be looked at as a shooting aid and not technology to overcome poor shooting technique. Photographers who are constantly on the go and shoot stills quickly without a tripod, not overlooking videographers who want to create silky smooth stabilised handheld footage, will reap the reward of having IBIS on the X-T4.
Other benefits include the new lease of life it brings to previously unstabilised lenses and the way it allows for creative freedom with motion while keeping stationary subjects perfectly sharp.
The X-T4’s autofocus performance is lightening fast and super responsive. It’s more than capable of keeping up with erratic birds in flight, fast cars at a race circuit, trains approaching at speed and most situations where an immediate autofocus response is required. Zone AF and continuous AF combine brilliantly for tracking shots of fast, unpredictable subjects and it’s worthwhile exploring the AF-C custom settings that let you tailor the AF response to your subjects behaviour.
I found face and eye detection more responsive on the X-T4 than the X-T3 when shooting portraits in burst mode. This is a great feature to use when working under pressure and you want to maximise your hit rate of sharp shots on the eyes. A white square clearly reveals which the eye the camera locks onto in eye auto mode, which turns to green when the shutter is half depressed. Like the X-T3, you can tell the X-T4 to prioritise focus on the left or right eye, which works particularly well.
Images straight out of camera leaves little to be desired. Colours are rich, vibrant and are rendered true to life. The film simulation modes allow you to get creative and are effective at adding extra punch at the point of capture, plus they can be applied post capture by making a simple in-camera raw conversion.
The two new Auto White Balance options (White Priority and Ambience Priority) are located either side of the standard Auto White Balance (AWB) setting. With standard Auto White Balance (AWB) rarely putting its foot wrong outdoors, these new modes are most likely be used indoors where the light source is subject to change or may not always be consistent. The X-T4’s TTL 256-zone metering system judges scenes well and with exposure compensation a thumb flick away it’s quick and easy to adjust when required.
Paired with a pair of Toshiba Exceria Pro 32GB SDHC UHS-II cards, the X-T4 sustained 38 raw files being taken at 10fps and 35 raw files at 15fps before the buffer became full. In electronic shutter mode, the camera managed to record 35 raw files at 20fps (without 1.25x crop) and 33 raw files at 30fps with the 1.25x crop.
Shooting in Fine JPEG saw the X-T4 reach 60 frames at 15fps using the mechanical shutter and 55 frames at 20fps with the electronic shutter before signs of slowing were noticed. At 30fps (with the 1.25x crop) the X-T4 rattled off 52 Fine JPEGs before slow down occurred, but the buffer wasn’t hit and the camera continued shooting until the card was full.