Fujifilm X-T4 Review
Performance - How well does it take pictures?
Performance starts with image quality, which is the criteria used as the foundation of our digital camera ratings. Ergonomic issues may get in the way, but in the end, image quality counts the most. For an ILC, image quality greatly depends on the lens used. While color, noise, exposure and dynamic-range are properties of a camera, distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberrations are properties of the lens. Sharpness and contrast depend on the weakest link. That is, a camera cannot capture more details than a lens lets through. Conversely, it is quite possible for a lens to transmit more details than a sensor can capture.
Image Noise & Details
Even though the Fujifilm X-T4 sports the same proven 26 megapixels X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor as its the X-T3, a more capable processor allows the X-T4 to further improve upon image quality. This sensor captures an exceptional amount of detail with virtually no noise up to 800, giving it top image-quality comparable to the X-H1 while also benefiting from a slight increase in resolution that make sharp prints larger than 24" x 16" possible.
A unique X-Trans Pseudo-Random Color-Filter Array allows Fujifilm cameras to omit an Anti-Alias Filter for capturing the finest detail transmitted by a lens. However, some noise-reduction is always applied to smooth the output from this dense sensor. At its default level, Noise-Reduction causes minor softening of the smallest details but this can be dialed down. Best results are at -1 for low sensitivities and -2 for higher ones.
The native sensitivity of this sensor is an unusual ISO 160 with ISO 80-100 available as Expanded Low ISO settings. These levels deliver extremely low image-noise with only a slight loss in dynamic-range. The most natural standard low sensitivity of ISO 200 produces noise-free images with expansive dynamic-range exceeding 13½ EVs. Fujifilm cameras have the unique property of widening dynamic-range at ISO 400 and 800 where 14 stops are possible with 200% or 400% Dynamic-Range selected, respectively.
ISO 1600 is surprisingly similar to 800 with almost the same amount of detail and a hint of luminance-noise starting. With NR dialed-down a little, this sensitivity keeps critical sharpness. Colors and dynamic-range are very well maintained at this sensitivity which is completely usable for large prints. ISO 3200 pulls image-quality down slightly with a minor increase in luminance-noise and softening of fine detail. There is still enough resolution at this ISO for moderately large 18" x 12" prints to come out very sharp.
There is a moderate increase in luminance-noise at ISO 6400 for which the X-T4 compensates with increased noise-reduction. Fine detail becomes visibly softer when seen at 100% while noise is very fine which allows for really good looking medium-size prints. Again, the camera keeps color and contrast impressively consistent with almost a stop of dynamic-range lost.
From ISO 12800 onward, each additional sensitivity stop gets noticeably more luminance-noise and destruction of fine details. Both ISO 12800 and 25600 remain remarkably sharp for an APS-C sensor. It is quite incredible that the first expanded ISO of 25600 stays so usable and can produce smooth mid-size prints.
The maximum ISO 51200 expanded sensitivity is clearly noisy but noticeably less than other cropped-sensor cameras. Most impressive is that noise is still limited to the luminance channel and both colors and contrast are really good for such a high ISO. There is obviously a substantial drop in dynamic-range but this sensitivity easily remains usable for small prints and online use.
Sharpness is controllable in 9 levels. The lowest -4 setting is very soft and the highest +4 is certainly over sharpened. The default setting of zero is a tad soft. Pushing it to +1 makes a really nice improvement without any artifacts. At +2, some over-sharpening artifacts appear in the most extreme conditions yet is probably the ideal level for overall image quality. Anything higher shows easily noticeable sharpening artifacts.
Color & White Balance
Fujifilm color rendition is well-regarded and the X-T4 certainly lives up to this expectation. Its color accuracy is excellent with realistic hues. Different Film Simulation modes mostly affecting saturation with the optional Chrome FX and Chrome Blue FX producing targeted exaggeration in color intensity for artistic effect. The standard Provia film exaggerates saturation which can be improved by setting Color to -1.
There are now 3 Automatic White-Balance modes on the Fujifilm X-T4. The new White-Priority mode delivers neutral results under most conditions. It differs slightly in color temperature compared to standard AWD in the presence of artificial lighting. A third Ambience AWB mode skews towards warm colors but very slightly, producing natural looking results with minimal effort from the photographer.
In very low-light, every AWB mode starts leaving a yellow cast which is more pronounced with artificial light sources. A Preset can approximately correct this situation, while WB Fine-Tuning along 2-axis in 19 steps makes it possible to neutralize most color-cast. Falling back to Custom White-Balance provides perfectly accurate colors in difficult situations.
The Multi-Segment metering system of the X-T4 is very reliable and highly consistent. The system is tuned for a centered exposure which limits areas of both over and under exposure. It rarely missed by over 1 EV which is easy to correct thanks to a fairly accurate-preview within the exposure-range of the camera. Keep in mind that in Shutter-Priority mode, the preview is not Exposure-Priority and cannot be relied upon.
This mirrorless is capable of capturing an exceptionally wide dynamic-range with class-leading performance across its entire range of ISO sensitivities. A maximum 14 EV of dynamic-range is achieved at ISO 800 and almost that much at ISO 400 and 1600.
The Fujifilm X-T4 offers a Dynamic-Range Priority mode. This can be turned off or set to weak or strong levels. In this mode, Dynamic Range, Shadow Tone and Highlight Tone settings are locked out and the camera takes into account feedback from the sensor to optimize all those settings. Generally though, tuning Shadow Tone to -1 and Highlight Tone to -1½ delivers very good and consistent results.
A new Clarity image rendition parameter was added to the X-T4. This affects mid-tone contrast which provides the illusion of increased subject detail. Unfortunately, the processing required to change image clarity is very high which makes the camera unbearably slow at any Clarity setting other than the default of 0. Images with Clarity set to +2 look really great without seeming unnatural though.
The 4th-Generation X-Trans CMOS sensor inside the X-T4 has an ultra-fast readout speed and an incredible 2.1 million Phase-Detection elements! These elements are distributed over the entire sensor area and deliver phase information to power an ultra-fast Hybrid AF system. Phase and contrast data are combined to produce a virtual 425-Point or a 117-Area autofocus system, depending on how the many elements are grouped together.
Autofocus can be performed using the entire sensor area with face and eye tracking capabilities that are very effective at keep human faces in focus. One can also select 3 zone sizes that group multiple areas to restrict AF into a general rectangular area or 6 point sizes that can be position nearly anywhere in the frame. When enabled, Face and Eye-Detection are performed within the selected AF region. Full-Tracking AF occurs when the camera is to use the entire sensor area for autofocus and the Focus Drive is set to Continuous.
New algorithms allow the Fujifilm X-T4 to focus down to -6 EV which is nearly complete darkness and one of the most sensitive AF system around. Focus is very reliable and and perfectly accurate. Since it is an on-sensor system, it never suffers from front or back focusing issues. Single-shot AF is nearly instant and completely reliable, regardless of the chosen focus point or area. When Continuous AF is enabled, the X-T4 keeps focus locked within the selected area very well and extremely smoothly. There is no signs of focus stuttering common with Contrast-Detect AF systems.
Manual Focus is performed via a fly-by-wire focus ring on most Fujinon lenses to date. The sensor uses information gathered for autofocus to show where the camera is manually focused using its MF Assist modes. The standard Electronic Magnification mode works well at low to mid-level ISO sensitivities. Higher though, there is too much great to adequately evaluate critical focus. Focus Peaking though does a good job at showing which edges are sharp as focus is adjusted.
This is easily one of the fastest mirrorless digital camera ever made. The X-T4 responds instantly to every button and dial without ever slowing down the photographer. The menu system and playback mode are faster than before too. The EVF keeps up with action and shows virtually no lag even when shooting continuously. With the Electronic-Shutter, the view is entirely black-out free, making it extremely easy to follow action.
Continuous shooting up to 20 FPS is possible at the full 26 MP resolution when in Electronic-Shutter mode. Maximum burst speed drops to a still speedy 15 FPS with the Mechanical Shutter, a significant improvement over the X-T3 which launches the newer camera well into professional action-photography level. The internal buffer can accommodate about 36 RAW files, depending on the amount of detail in them since they are losslessly compressed. JPEG images are cleared quickly with 79 images at 20 FPS and 110 at 15 FPS per burst.
One unique action-oriented feature provided by the X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor is its 1.25X cropped mode which captures 20 MP frames with an equivalent 1.9X FLM compared to Full-Frame. The slightly lower volume of data of this mode allows the maximum continuous drive speed to reach 30 FPS. At this fast rate, the camera can clear 60 JPEG images per burst. This extends to 114 at 20 FPS and an outstanding 500 at 10 FPS. Both memory card slots support UHS-II which is necessary to achieve such fast buffer clearing speeds..
The following measurements characterize the performance of the Fujifilm X-T4:
- Power-On: Below ½s without sensor-cleaning. Excellent.
- Power-On to First-Shot: 1 second. Superb.
- Autofocus: Below ¼s, even in very low light. Class-leading.
- Shutter-lag: Immediate with no blackout. Spectacular.
- Shot-to-shot: 2/3s with AF. 1/4s with MF. Very good.
- Playback: A little less than ½s to enter or exit. Good.
- Power-Off: Under 1s with sensor cleaning. Great.
- Video: Instant. Perfect.
The X-T4 nearly produces identical numbers to its predecessor which delivers the fastest all-around performance among mirrorless cameras. We measured slightly less fast shot-to-shoot speeds but this is easy to overlook given that this camera can shoot continuously extremely quickly. The AF system is just rock solid and faster than the majority of high-end cameras.
The Fujifilm X-T4 is powered by a large proprietary Lithium-Ion battery which provides 600 shots-per-charge, a 50% improvement compared to the X-T3. This puts it in the middle of the top 10 longest-lasting mirrorless digital cameras of all time. Given that it can shoot so fast though, a second battery is recommended for full day of photography.
Performance - How well does it shoot video?
When Fujifilm introduced the X-T3 after stalling the X-H1 series, most of its video-centric features were brought to the X-T series. With the new X-T4, the transition is complete. This camera offers every video feature available without compromise and with a tremendous amount of flexibility.
This mirrorless can record standard 4K Ultra-HD (3840x2160) and the wider Cinema 4K (4096x2160) format at 60 FPS, which is also supported at Cinema HD (2048x1080) and Full HD (1920x1080) resolutions. There are two video file formats to choose from: Standard MPEG-4 with H.264 codec or Quicktime with either H.264 or the newer H.265 codec. The bit-rate can be selected between 50 and 400 Mbps with some restrictions based on the selected video resolution and frame-rate.
The X-T4 offers a choice of Long GOP or All-Intra compression. Counter intuitively, the achieve 400 Mbps, the camera must use Long GOP. Otherwise, the maximum bit-rate is 200 Mbps. All-Intra encoding results in slightly lower image-quality as each frame is compressed independently while maintaining the same overall bit-rate but is much more efficient to process and edit. Resulting files are huge.
Video quality from the Fujifilm X-T4 is very good. It shows virtually no compression artifacts starting at 200Mbps in 4K or Cinema 4K and 100Mbps in 1080p or Cinema HD. Halving the bit-rate natually discards more fine detail which is useful when space is at a premium. At its best quality level, video quality from the X-T4 is impecable. Each frame captures plenty of fine details with a wide dynamic-range, low noise and beautiful colors. Motion is rendered smoothly and minimal distortion.
Given that it takes just 12 megapixels to produce 4K video, the X-T4 has a huge amount of extra resolution yet uses its entire sensor area which is oversampled to produce smooth output. Regardless of the selected video aspect-ratio, the captured field-of-view remains constant.
Just like its predecessor, the X-T4 shows no video lag. It start recording immediately when the shutter-release is fully pressed and stops just as quickly. With SDXC UHS-II cards, the buffer clears very quickly after recording video, allowing the next one to start without delay. This is an excellent performance.
Recognizing that photography and videography needs are not the same, the Fujifilm X-T4 offers separate configuration for Film Simulation, White-Balance, Dynamic-Range, Highlight Tone, Shadow Tone, Color, Sharpness and Noise-Reduction, Focus Area, Movie AF, MF-Assist, Face/Eye Detection and Focus-Check. Additionally video can be stored as F-Log or HLG with various combination of internal and external output types.
Audio is highly configurable with Auto, Manual or Disabled input. In Manual input mode, the audio level can be adjust from -30 to +6 dB. There is also an Audio Limiter, a Wind Filter and a Low-Cut Filter. The stereo input mini-jack supports microphone and line input.
Time Code is supported by this camera, a feature only normally found in serious video cameras. It can be displayed or not and the start time can be manually entered or taken from the internal clock. There is an option to include Time Code in the HDMI output too. The X-T4 is equipped with front and rear lights to indicate that the camera is recording. Settings include options to use the front, back, both or none in steady or blinking mode.
The new Fujifilm X-T4 truly deserves its spot as the flagship Fujifilm APS-C mirrorless digital cameras. Merging feature from the high-end X-T series with those of the X-H series allows the X-T4, it surpasses the top-of-the-line models from both series to be a true hybrid mirrorless.
With its capable 26 megapixels X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor already recognized for its exceptional combination of image-quality and speed, it is no surprise that the X-T4 produces superb images rich in detail, color and dynamic-range. Noise is virtually absent from ISO 80 to 800 and starts appearing very gradually at higher sensitivities where this camera takes a substantial lead over other APS-C models. Image quality remains very good through ISO 6400 while being the cropped-sensor camera with the most usable maximum sensitivity.
Dynamic-range has been one of the strongest points of Fujifilm digital cameras forever and the X-T4 lives up this level of performance. From its native ISO 160 sensitivity to 800, it captures unmatched dynamic-range with up to 14-stops even at moderate sensitivities. This camera also manages incredibly well to keep color and contrast consistent in low-light. The metering system inside this camera is highly reliable and produces well-balanced exposure under most circumstances.
The newly added builtin 5-axis image-stabilization mechanism makes the Fujifilm X-T4 extremely capable in low-light. It easily provides over 3 stops of compensation and up to 6½ under ideal conditions, particularly when combined with an optically-stabilized lens. Improvements in the autofocus system even allows the camera to accurately focus down to -6 EV. This mirrorless matches the fast speed of its predecessor in nearly all aspects and remains responsive at all times.
It is honestly difficult to find fault with the X-T4, which shows the level of achievement by Fujifilm with each new model. For all its numerous and highly efficient controls, this is where this camera could be improved. With its huge exposure attitude, there are too many parameter values to fit onto dedicated dials which results in an unusually complex interface where a total of 5 dials plus an aperture-ring are required for completely controlling exposure parameters. What emphasizes the issue is that Fujifilm made the detents of most dials - and particularly the aperture-ring of lenses - too soft, resulting in frequent accidental changes.
An improved preview makes the superb 3.7 megapixels 0.5" EVF of the X-T4 even better than before. Exposure, color and white-balance are now accurately shown under most circumstances and stay that way down to very low light levels. The 0.75X magnification is sufficiently large to comfortably frame subjects and resolution is adequate to confirm critical focus.
Video output from the Fujifilm X-T4 is highly competitive. The camera produces huge files with a high amount of details and fluid motion. There is a tremendous amount of video features that are refined to the same level of photographic ones, complete with their own settings and menus. Fujifilm even gave the X-T4 a rotating LCD hinge which is much less practical for photography than videography.
Predictably, the Fujifilm X-T4 earns our highest Excellent+ rating even exceeding the performance of its predecessor on nearly all fronts. It delivers class-leading image-quality with top-notch speed and a truly rich feature-set in a durable weatherproof and freezeproof body.
Fujifilm X-T4 Highlights
Sensor-Size: 24 x 16mm
Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI
|26 Megapixels Mirrorless||ISO 80-51200|
|Fujifilm X Mount|
|5-Axis Built-in Stabilization, 6.5-Stop Improvement||Full manual controls, including Manual Focus|
|0.50" Built-in EVF 3.7 Megapixels (0.75X)||Custom white-balance with 2 axis fine-tuning|
|Automatic Eye-Start sensor||Spot-Metering|
|1 Axis Digital Level||Hot-Shoe & Sync-Port|
|Weatherproof down to -10C||Stereo audio input|
|Built-in Dust Reduction||Lithium-Ion Battery|
|20 FPS Drive, 79 Images||Secure Digital Extended Capacity x 2|
|4096x2160 @ 60 FPS Video Recording|
|3" LCD 1.6 Megapixels|
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