We’ve finally had a chance to get our hands on the Fujifilm X-T4, and it’s impressive to say the least. But how does it stack up to its predecessor, the X-T3, and which is right for you?
The X-T4 introduces several key improvements, including in-body image stabilization and a fully articulating monitor, but recycles the same sensor and processor from the X-T3. The older camera is also remaining in the lineup, now for a new low price. Both are excellent cameras, so here is what you need to know about their differences, and why we think the X-T4 is worth the premium price.
Finally, IBIS in an X-T camera
The biggest gripe from the Fuji faithful has long been that their X-series cameras lack image stabilization (well, except the upmarket Fujifilm X-H1). Finally, the cries have been answered and we can now enjoy in-body image stabilization (IBIS) in the X-T4. We would have loved to have seen this feature in the X-T3, but it looks like Fujifilm needed some extra time to develop its new IBIS system, which is completely different from the one used in the larger X-H1.
It now provides up to 6.5 stops of image stabilization with many XF lenses, 6 on most others (the 80mm F2.8 Macro is the sole lens that performs worse, at 5.5 stops). This is fantastic performance on a camera system previously thought to be incompatible with sensor-shift stabilization. You can use a telephoto lens with peace of mind, or shoot handheld video without worrying that a little shakiness will spoil your image.
Even if you often shoot outdoors with plenty of light, IBIS makes it easier to frame your shot by stabilizing your view through the viewfinder or LCD screen. It also helps keep the autofocus point right where you want it, which can improve AF accuracy.
Overall, this feature alone puts the X-T4 well above the X-T3 and is the primary reason to consider the upgrade.
A new vari-angle LCD screen
The X-T3 continued the unwanted trend of having an LCD screen that could tilt up, down, or slightly to one side for shooting vertically when mounted on a tripod. We’re pleased to say the X-T4 has bucked that trend and finally introduced a fully-articulating screen.
With the new 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, videographers and vloggers can finally enjoy better viewing angles and easier framing. It’s a 1.6-million-dot display, not the highest-resolution we’ve seen, but an upgrade from 1.04 million dots on the X-T3.
On the topic of shooting video, there are some slight improvements in the X-T4. The X-T3 had already distanced itself from the rather underwhelming video performance of previous models. It shoots 4k at 60 frames per second, with professional features like F-Log and high-bitrate recording up to 400 megabits per second.
Naturally, the X-T4 keeps all of that, but it’s also added Full HD shooting at an impressive 240 frames per second, allowing for up to 10X slow-motion when playing back at 24 fps.
A battery that lasts
The X-T3’s battery was rated at 390 shots, and the battery itself was unchanged since first-generation X-series cameras.
The X-T4 promises almost double that, with up to 600 photos in economy mode from a new, higher-capacity battery. Compared to a DSLR like the Nikon D780, which gives you over 2000 stills per charge, that may not sound like much. But for a mirrorless camera, that’s actually very respectable; especially one as small as the X-T4. This brings the X-T4 closer to the Sony A6600, which still holds the lead at 810 shots per charge.
Likely because of the larger battery, as well as the the addition of IBIS, the X-T4 weighs a little more (21.5 ounces) than the X-T3 (17.3 ounces). It’s still a lightweight camera, and the 4-ounce difference shouldn’t be too noticeable.
A new film simulation
Fans of film photography that want the digital experience often move to the Fujifilm X-Series. The ergonomics of the camera pay homage to analog systems of a previous era, while the built-in film simulations bring back classic looks.
With the X-T4, Fujifilm introduced a new simulation called Eterna Bleach Bypass. Based on the popular film developing technique that skipped the bleach process in order to preserve the monochromatic effect of silver in color film, it creates a high-contrast, desaturated look that is perfect when you want to create a moody vibe. You won’t be using it on every photo, but it fits certain scenes and subjects quite well.
As always, film simulations really only affect in-camera JPEGs, but they remain one reason why photographers love shooting JPEG on Fujifilm cameras.
Updated controls and a new shutter
Physically, the two cameras appear all but identical, but the control layout has seen slight changes. The metering mode selector has been replaced with a still/movie switch, meaning the movie mode option has been removed from the drive mode dial on the left shoulder. That sounds like a smart change, unless you’re someone who constantly switches metering modes — something we doubt is very common.
The back buttons have been reshuffled. There’s now a dedicated AF-On button instead of AF-L, and the AEL and Q buttons have been repositioned.
The shutter is a new mechanism, and more robust, tested to 300,000 exposures. It also can shoot faster, allowing for continuous shooting at 15 frames per second, where the X-T3 topped out at 11. Actual shutter speed range remains the same, from 1/8000 second to 15 minutes, or up to 60 minutes in bulb mode.
And while not terribly important to a photograph, we also noticed how much quieter the new shutter is. Barely louder than a whisper, it’s great for sensitive locations such as church wedding ceremonies or outdoor wildlife shoots.
What stays the same
Both the X-T4 and X-T3 have the same 26-megapixel APS-C sensor. It’s doubtful too many will have an issue with this as the X-T3 already had excellent image quality. Both cameras also make use of the same processor, Fujifilm’s X Processor 4, as well as the same 3.69-million-dot electronic viewfinder. This means you shouldn’t expect any gains to image quality, save for the potential for sharper shots thanks to the stabilization system.
The cameras also look nearly identical, but the X-T4 is ever so slightly bigger and heavier to accommodate the higher-capacity battery and IBIS system. Don’t worry, it’s still a lightweight and a great travel camera.
Should the Fuji faithful upgrade?
The Fujifilm X-T4 costs $1,700, $200 more than the launch price of the X-T3. However, that is less expensive than the launch price of the X-H1, Fujifilm’s first X-series model with IBIS and a camera that pales in comparison to the X-T4 in nearly every way.
You can grab an X-T3 for just $1,300 right now, though, which is a steal. If the major updates in the X-T4 — IBIS, a vari-angle monitor, better battery life — don’t excite you, then the X-T4 may not be what you need. And if you choose to stick with the X-T3, you’re not left with a camera that’s out of touch — in fact, we see no reason it won’t continue to serve you well for years.
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